4 Wheel Parts President and CEO, Greg Adler, stepped out from behind his desk and into the driver’s seat to take his #210 Ultra4 Jeep to the finish line of what is widely considered the world’s most challenging single day off-road race – The 2017 King of the Hammers – this past weekend. The annual off-road pilgrimage drew tens of thousands of enthusiasts to the Johnson Valley Lake bed to race, cheer on competitors and celebrate off-road culture and lifestyle during the weeklong festivities.
For Adler, his focus of leading the Transamerican Auto Parts significant marketing efforts throughout the week quickly shifted on Friday as he competed in the nearly 200-mile competition in which he faced a course that combined the high-speed challenges of open desert racing with technical rock crawling through canyons and over boulders in seemingly unpassable conditions. With the race’s opening miles covering an extensive desert portion of the course, he enlisted desert racing icon and multi-time winner of the Baja 1000, Rob MacCachren, to share duties behind the wheel and while MacCachren lived up to his reputation as one of the fastest men on four wheels in the dirt, the team faced its initial challenge of the day as the #210 approached the first serious rock obstacle.
“We got off to a strong start with Rob Mac tearing through the field and putting us to a top five position, but a fitting broke inside the fuel cell and stopped the car at race mile 60,” said Adler. “The team got the situation fixed and we were up and running, but by then we were almost three hours off the pace. At that point, we decided to shift into finish mode and make sure we brought it home to the finish line.”
Now on the move, MacCachren found a pace that would set the tone for the day as he found the race pace with his meticulous driving style and expertise.
“We learned a lot from Rob throughout the week,” said Adler. “Of course, he’s fast and can drive anything, but he also has an incredible attention to detail. He’s taking on this challenge with the same painstaking approach he brings to everything he races. Pre-running and racing with him has been a tremendous experience.”
At about the halfway point in the race, Adler began his stint behind the wheel and immediately began attacking the signature trails that have become an iconic feature of the event. As he made short work of Backdoor, Sledgehammer, Jackhammer and Chocolate Thunder, he headed toward the final and most challenging obstacles that stood in the way between him and the finish line. In those closing few hours, Adler was able to work his way through the final set of challenges before he made the last turn toward home, finishing with a time of eleven hours and twenty seven minutes. Of the 122 Ultra4 vehicles to take the start that morning, he was one of just 50 official finishers in this year’s edition of the epic race with a final position of 31st.
“This certainly wasn’t where we wanted to be in the final standings today,” said Adler. But in a race like this, where the odds are stacked against you, to finish is a great accomplishment for this team.”
For Team 4 Wheel Parts, the result capped a week that saw Greg Adler’s brother, Kevin bring home his #4830 Legends Class Car to the finish line in the prior day’s Smittybilt Every Man Challenge. Kevin Adler was also one of 50 cars to complete the race among a crowded field of 133 vehicles.
“What a week,” said Greg Adler. “I couldn’t be more proud of my brother, Kevin. We brought home two cars and had a great time racing together and that’s what being out here is all about.”
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