RENO, NV MAY 23, 2011 Torchmate Racing Rusty Bray finished first in last weekends Rausch Creek Qualifier for the 2012 King of the Hammers, securing a win in the Ultra4 series and a spot in the 2012 Griffin King of the Hammers. “The track just kept getting more and more brutal and we started loosing parts and oil pressure,” remembers Rusty Bray. “As we got closer and saw the leaders Levi (Shirley) and Lucas (Murphy) I asked my co-driver Mike “Fish” Hulfish if he wanted to go for the finish or for the win…and he said for the win!” The second place finisher was just over 4 minutes behind.
When Bray arrived on Thursday, the rain was so dense that pre-running would have been out of the question. They covered the car and prepared for a long and muddy day on Friday. Qualifying on Friday started the run of luck. He waited towards the end of the pack to qualify and with the rain still not a factor he ended up qualifying in the 4th position. “It’s right where we wanted to be, just back from the leader,” said Bray.
Pre-Running on Friday was cut short and the dense afternoon rain wasn’t the only factor. He limped back into the pits with a broken Front Control Arm and had to work to fix it. It took over 4 hours to remove the arm, grind it down, weld it with support and put it back together again. “We would really like to thank John Sweet and his team who were there helping us during the whole repair,” said Bray. “We did the best trailer repair we could, knowing it could cost us our race the next day.”
“The first couple of laps we are just looking for survival,” said Bray at the start line. “Once we get to lap 3.5 to 5 we will push to catch the leader or if we are in the lead, stay in it…it’s gonna be brutal!” Rusty Bray, with co-driver Mike “Fish” Hulfish, started solid and ran a good and clean race up the coal mud mountains and across the slippery wet rocks. The rain had subsided for the first time in weeks at the Rausch Creek Off Road Park in Pennsylvania, but that certainly didn’t mean that anything was dry and that the crevices were lacking big puddles. The Hill Climbs turned into mud climbs where tires played a very important role. “We didn’t have one flat Maxxis tire all day, which I know played a huge role in our win today,” said Bray. “I cringed every time the mud and water hit the car, I kept thinking it is going to overheat or something is going to happen.”
Bray decided to pit on every lap to clear out the radiator and the oil cooler, with his only assistance in the pits from Randy Rodd and Jonathan Dawes. He took multiple parts out to competitors and dropped them off as he passed them on the lap. He left for the fifth and final lap with no brakes after loosing a brake line when he broke off the sway bar; he didn’t have time to fix it if he wanted the win. The final and potentially terminal problem happened in Outter Limits just three miles from the finish when they broke the oil filter, but luckily made it to the finish line with no oil pressure!
Rusty Bray’s name is now added to the qualified list of 2012 Griffin King of the Hammers racers. Torchmate Racing currently has four qualified drivers: JT Taylor, Jesse Haines, Roger Lovell and Rusty Bray.
Rusty Bray Video at Rausch Creek Qualifier: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajAvmhOdg74