Randy Slawson Wins 2021 Optima Batteries King of the Hammers

Last year, Randy Slawson’s bid to score another King of the Hammers win fell heartbreakingly short when a mechanical failure on the final lap contributed to one of 12 lead changes on the day. This year, Slawson would make up for that lost opportunity, scoring his first victory since 2015 from 29th on the starting grid, completing three laps of the grueling race in just over seven hours.

“We brought this car brand new last year, and we passed everybody in it and then the rear end broke,” said Slawson, who had failed to finish the previous four KOH events. “It was heartbreaking, but I knew that this car was so fast. I wanted to bring it back and show everybody just what this thing is capable of. And we had an absolutely flawless day. Everything on this car just dialed. We’ve been backed up by the best in the business and it’s really been a pleasure working with people over the years.”

“Yesterday we were sitting right here. And the last Bomber, turnkey race car Bomber car that I built last year, a 19-year-old kid (Chayse Caprara) won the EMC in. And I was like, man, the last time I had one of my customers win the Every Man Challenge I won the next day. I was like, just taking it as an omen. And right then Jason Scherer rolled by, and he waved me over to his car, and he gave me a fist bump. He said, you’re gonna win it this year.”

KOH Qualifying Redline Projects

Brothers JP and Raul Gomez completed the podium from first and ninth place in the starting order, respectively, while Bailey Cole and Vaughn Gittin Jr. completed the top five. Every previous KOH winner except for JP Reynolds was on this year’s grid; of that list, top finishers included Erik Miller in seventh, Jason Scherer in 11th, Loren Healy in 14th, and Shannon Campbell in 15th.

After 44 drivers finished last year’s event, for a 37% finish rate, the 2021 edition of the course was redesigned to use harder trails and remove one pit. In the end, the drivers brought their A-game to meet the increased challenge; with a smaller entry list due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 37 racers took the checkered flag to actually increase the finisher rate.

KOH Qualifying @p casper photo

Full results of the 2021 Optima Batteries King of the Hammers were as follows:

14448 RANDY SLAWSON3/7:01:17.378$65,000
282 JP GOMEZ3/7:10:18.268$25,000
383 RAUL GOMEZ3/7:35:34.018$10,000
413 BAILEY COLE3/8:05:29.389$5,500
525 VAUGHN GITTIN JR3/8:16:53.935$4,500
646 RUSTY BLYLER3/8:19:42.700$4,000
721 ERIK MILLER3/8:29:44.888$3,500
881 LEVI SHIRLEY3/8:38:39.275$3,000
9966 JASON BLANTON3/8:40:01.986$2,500
1035 BAILEY CAMPBELL3/8:41:46.588$2,000
1176 JASON SCHERER3/8:44:16.386
12191 KYLE CHANEY3/8:48:45.959
13190 HUNTER MILLER3/8:49:27.320
1467 LOREN HEALY3/8:51:14.677
155 SHANNON CAMPBELL3/9:01:16.178
1641 JOSH BLYLER3/9:25:43.198
1727 JON CAGLIERO3/9:29:24.202
18210 GREG ADLER3/9:36:32.745
1954 RON PRINDLE3/9:51:38.029
204 CHIP MACLAUGHLIN3/9:58:35.001
21906 TAD DOWKER3/10:14:30.849
22221 CODY MILLER3/10:31:21.756
2398 JORDAN PELLEGRINO3/10:39:17.090
24999 KEVIN WILLIAMS3/11:04:57.166
2553 JEFF WAGGONER3/11:41:28.856
264215 ERIC MIRAMON3/12:07:49.182
274468 JOHN WEBB3/12:11:17.247
28308 JAMES MAHONEY3/12:16:27.056
2972 HUNTER SPARROW3/12:20:31.410
301982 TOM GILPIN3/12:27:56.215
314434 KEVIN YODER3/12:28:18.769
3259 ERIC WICKS3/12:48:56.203
334472 DUSTIN ISENHOUR3/12:52:02.764
34792 KRIS WICKS3/12:57:47.767
3549 MATT BURKETT3/13:01:11.501
3624 ZANDY WILEMS3/13:09:56.052
3797 JEREMY HAMMER3/14:47:04.371$1

2021 is shaping up to be a big year for Hammerking Productions, which will promote Great American Short Course, a replacement for the defunct Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, alongside the Ultra4 National Championship. Further details on both championships have not yet been announced.

Chris Leone

A veteran of the motorsports industry (both physical and digital), Chris Leone contributes coverage of race events of all types to Off-Road Racer. Elsewhere, he is the marketing/communications manager at iRacing, media director of Jim Beaver's Down & Dirty Show, and a frequent contributor to UTV Underground.