2017 King of the Hammers: Campbell Becomes First-Ever Three-Time King
Here’s Why This Year’s King of the Hammers was the Best One Yet
Every February out of the nothingness of barren sand, rocks, and dry lake beds, a small city grows out of the assemblage of passionate gas-powered souls. The people gather for nine days, enjoy a series of races and events, and once the nine days are over, everything and everyone disappears, not to be seen again until the same time the very next year. Through oral tradition to those who have yet to experience this temporary town, its inhabitants and the associated racing action, an unbelievable event is described in a narrative resembling a tall tale written from someone’s wildest dreams or drunken fantasy.
However, the Nitto King of the Hammers powered by OPTIMA is no fantasy … just ask the drivers. Rather, ask the first-ever three-time King, Shannon Campbell, about how much of a fantasy it is.
Tom Wayes started out with early domination in the February morning. Honestly, when it comes to Ultra4 racing, he’s always a fun one to watch as he puts it all on the line every lap. It must come from his background as an Alaskan heli-ski guide. However, that pushing usually comes at a price with mechanical failures when he’s in the lead or close to it. This year, it was Spooners who got him even as he felt that he wasn’t even close to beating on the car.
Tom Wayes puts it all on the line every lap.
“I got into that notch, and broke the rear driveline — spit the rear yoke right out,” said Wayes. “That was the demise of it all. I couldn’t winch forward, and then when I tried to change the driveline, it turned into a traffic jam.” While it was lead-ending, it wasn’t race-ending as Wayes finished 22nd out of 50 entries that finished. There were a total of 122 entries for the KOH.
The Campbell boys, though, were the ones to talk about. After Wayes broke, it was between them and Jason Scherer. Only three minutes separated Scherer from Shannon all the way to the finish, but it was the race between father and son for the overall with only 28 seconds between them on time, but less than that on track.
Wayland would end up finishing physically ahead of Shannon, but in time, Shannon Campbell would become your first-ever three-time King of the Hammers. We believe this is also the first-ever father-son one-two at the big race. However, they did pull off another one-two earlier with the King of the UTVs race with Shannon coming in first in that race as well.
“It was probably the best time I had racing
in my whole life.” — Shannon Campbell
“It was fun,” Shannon said. “It was probably the best time I had racing in my whole life. We were just going at it, tearing our stuff up, and neither one of us was giving up. I guess it was better for the crowd than it was for us, but I had a blast.”
The most important part? “What meant the most to me was that he didn’t give up. That’s what I had been trying to teach him forever: don’t give an inch. Make them other guys work for it, and that’s exactly what he did.”
This has been, quite honestly, the best King of the Hammers we’ve ever been to. One of the closest finishes, a first-ever three-time king, a first-ever father-son one-two, six places that went to Nitto Tires, and the top-three were all IFS cars. There’s still the rest of the Ultra4 season to go, with the Trail Gear Western Regional coming in April in Sierra Blanca, TX, and the 4WD Hardware Eastern Regional in May at Davis, OK. However, it won’t be long until the National Championships at Reno, Nevada. It will feel like less time when we’re back at Johnson Valley for the 2018 Nitto King of the Hammers powered by OPTIMA.
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