“We tore out of there and had an air bubble in our system, and we had to jump back out of the car and Erik Miller passed us for the physical lead,” Healy said. “We poured in stop leak and had one gallon of coolant left and we poured it in there. I sort of felt like the car was wounded at that point and we were watching that temperature gauge like a hawk, the car was just really pissed off. But it kind of came back to life for me for about 40 miles, and then I broke a front u-joint and was able to keep moving for the final 25 to 30 miles. The vibration in the front end was just horrible – we were trying to run 100 mph across the lakebed and it felt like the car was going to come apart on me, but I wasn’t lifting.”
Healy was able to keep the car together just long enough to edge West for the win. Though they didn’t have the fastest car on the speed sections, West knew his rock-crawling skills and consistent driving was good enough to be in contention.
“It started off pretty good, but on lap two we got into Wrecking Ball and rolled over,” West said of his only major problem of the day. “We got it back up pretty quick, got on our way and it was a pretty uneventful day after that. On the first lap everybody passed us in the desert it seemed like, and when we got in the rocks we started getting people again, and cars started going down, so consistency worked. I don’t think we got the car over 85 mph today. I just kept it cool on the lake beds today. I figured they had 10 mph on us everywhere else so no need to push it on the lake bed.”
Tony Pellegrino crossed the finish line third to earn second place at the 2014 King of the Hammers.
“This was rough. I mean, this was really rough!” Pellegrino said. “Even some of the rock trails, like Upper Big Johnson, there was a new rock kicked out like the size of a small Volkswagen and we had to try and get over that thing – it wasn’t pretty. We got stuck the second time we went through Aftershock, but we managed to get out and keep moving. That’s all we were trying to do is keep moving.”
Bill Baird, the oldest competitor in the 2014 KOH at 64 years of age, finished in the final podium spot today, and he couldn’t be happier.
“I just drove my heart out,” Baird said. “I got hung up on a rock. First time I ever had to winch in my life, and I had to get out and winch myself up [on Aftershock]. I mean, there was no reason, I just backed up and drove up on a rock, just stupid!”
Baird rode his single-seat rock racer to his only finish at the event, overcoming his aforementioned winch up Aftershock and two flat tires. Knowing how tough this race is first hand, he didn’t seem all that upset about missing the podium.
“I don’t know how many people started this race today, but to finish fourth or fifth is a pretty big deal,” he said.
Jake Hallenbeck finished just behind Baird in the fourth-place position. Like every racer competing in the King of the Hammers, even those who didn’t complete the full 12-round bout, he was spent. He kept his description of the race short and sweet.
“Brutal, absolutely brutal,” he said. “That’s all I have to say.”
At the time of press, many racers are still fighting the Hammers course and haven’t tapped out yet, as we are told there are still 61 vehicles on the course that can potentially finish the race before timing out. We’ll provide more updates as they become available.
2014 King of the Hammers (Unofficial Finishers)
1. Loren Healy – 8:03:25
2. Tony Pellegrino – 8:18:42
3. Bill Baird – 8:23:37
4. Jake Hallenback – 8:27:29
5. Derek West – 8:29:34*
6. Rick Mooneyham – 9:01:10
7. Tom Wayes – 9:05:21*
8. Alex Hardaway – 9:08:42
9. Randy Slawson – 10:03:43
10. Andrew McLaughlin – 10:23:17
11. Lucas Murhpy – 10:29:10
12. Roger Lovell – 10:39:55
13. Travis Cook – 10:44:58
14. Casey Currie – 10:49:46
15. Wayland Campbell – 11:03:25
16. Ben Napier – 11:15:36
17. Craig Ross – 11:55:08
18. Dave Ashman – 11:56:17
19. Cody Waggoner – 11:56:19
20. Brian Shirley – 11:58:53
21. Levi Shirley – 12:01:24
22. John Webb – 12:11:08
23. Hunter Sparrow – 12:23:07
24. Fabio Manno – 12:30:45
25. Erik Miller – 12:44:11
26. Mark Danzo – 13:00:09
27. Jim Marsden – 13:05:00
28. Justin Foxworthy – 13:12:15
29. Jason Oneal – 13:17:50
30. Kevin Yoder – 13:19:06
31. Andy Brown – 13:44:53
32. Larry Anderson – 13:48:19
*West and Wayes both received penalties for missing part or parts of the course.
More King of the Hammers Coverage:
2014 KOH Photo Highlights