Progressive 2023 King of the Hammers presented by Optima Battery


Each year we get asked the same question, “What’s the toughest race you’ve attended or seen?”. The simple answer to that every time is “King of the Hammers”! This race is so unlike any other race in the world and has so many unique features that can’t be matched. King of the Hammers is located in Johnson Valley, CA and is the largest off road race in the world. With well over 100,000 people in attendance, showing up to this race will guarantee you a great time. Each year we head out there to play around in a few of our own rigs, but also support our partnering brands with anything they may need. Arriving on Saturday a week before race day gives us plenty of time for everything we need to get done. We woke up Sunday after arriving and took our latest build “ROKBUGY” out on its maiden voyage into “Turkey Claw”. The bug did great for its first time out and the rear steer will be a game changer. We’re excited to get this build out more to play around. Joining us this day, we had Alex Baciu driving GRDLOC around in the rocks(he enjoyed having 8 cylinders instead of 6). As Monday morning rolled around, we met up with team Yukon Gear and Axle for their big team photo/video shoot. We parked them before sunrise and waited for the lighting to be perfect. After a few stills, we let the racers play around on a quick route we had planned for media. One of them(Chucky) even volunteered to throw some sand around in a fresh dune area to make things more fun. Thank you team Yukon and everyone who was there to be part of this! The following day, is a big day for the EMC racers. Tuesday is qualifying day and this year they moved all qualifying to “Chocolate Thunder”. This new hill choice made for some interesting runs! On Wednesday the big dawgs get to come and qualify. The 4400 class is a full unlimited class where anything goes!! After a wild day, the 4400 had their set order for race day and all classes were ready to go. With a couple days until racing begins, we did some pre-running out in the desert to make sure we knew which directions to head while chasing the race with media crews. Friday morning always comes quick and early! EMC race day is an early morning and a long day for almost everybody on the lakebed. These racers line up early and prepare to began their journey to the finish line. This year was an excellent year for teams Mickey Thompson Tires and Yukon Gear and Axle. Driving for both companies, Jeremy Jones and co driver Dan Young took home the EMC First Place Award!! Congrats to the whole team there on such a great victory! We also would like to congratulate Duane Garretson(driving for Yukon Gear and Axle) on taking home first place in the EMC 4500 class, Troy Digby(Mickey Thompson/Yukon Gear and Axle) for second place in the EMC 4500 class, Peter Dolan(Mickey Thompson) for taking home third place in the EMC 4500 class. As Friday came to an end and the race timed out, the 4400 class prepared for their big morning coming up next. The air was cold, the sun came out, and drivers lined up in their starting positions to begin the toughest race in the world on Saturday morning. After the start, we spent the day chasing down as many of our drivers as we could find. Some made it to the finish and others weren’t so fortunate. Finishing in the top 35 were Mickey Thompson drivers Jordan Pellegrino in 33rd place and Jared Palant coming in 25th place. Yukon Gear and Axle team member Bailey Cole also finished well coming in 12th place overall. This year was a great year for our supporting teams. Thank you to everyone who helped us out with pre-running, utilities, parts runs, and more. Couldn’t do it without you guys and girls! Now that we’ve kicked off 2023, its time to hit the road and began the “Great American Crawl” events! Check that out along with all our partners to see what keeps our rigs moving along the trails. Thanks again to KOH staff and all the volunteers! See everyone next year!

Great American Crawl Brand Partners