Jami Pellegrino: King of the Hammers Recap

Jami Pellegrino coming towards the finnish flag at KOH

As you may know, 2017 marks my second King of the Hammers in the UTV Class. My first year of racing KOH in 2016, I fell just short of the finish line by about 15 miles (after a very avoidable, yet un-experienced mechanical mishap). At that point I knew it was doable, and that I had what it took, but I needed more seat time, experience, and knowledge of the vehicle to make it happen.

This year, I did just that. I put in countless miles of seat time in the rocks and the desert, countless hours into improvements to the car, and an abundant amount of research and development into dialing the RZR in.

Qualifying was offered for the first time as an option for UTV’s this year, and after seeing the qualifying courses in years past, my co-driver (Matt Lasher) and I decided to opt out for the sake of saving the car. In hindsight, we probably would have run qualifying, considering the loop was mostly short course and scattered rocks.

None the less, we ended up drawing a starting position of 50th, 7 spots behind the last qualifier. This put us off the line at about 8:13AM in a field of 75 cars.

As always, the first lap is mayhem, and to add to the mayhem this year, the first 10 miles of the course were literally “make it or break it”, just rough, tattered, rutted course. Our goal was to drive fast and smooth, and we did just that. No flats, no breaks, just passes. At the end of lap 1, all we had to do was refuel, and prepare ourselves for the brutal rock trails that lap 2 held for us.

After 20 more miles of desert, we were coming into Aftershock, the first rock trail of lap 2. This is where the fun began; Cars were littered everywhere, winches, stacking rocks, you name it. Matt and I just drove smooth and worked our way through. Aftershock, Mt. Fisher, Sledgehammer, Chocolate Thunder, Upper Big Johnson, Resolution, and down Backdoor. We just drove our race, didn’t have to winch, didn’t get a single flat, or go through a single belt. 

After starting 50th, we passed 37 cars to finish a physical and overall 13th place. I’m pretty happy with the finish marking my second King of the Hammers, but I can’t wait to continue to develop my skills as a driver and a builder and improve on that finish this year.

Jamie Pellegrino takes his RZR down the rocks at King of the Hammers

I couldn’t do it with out the support of GenRight Off Road, SXS Performance, my Family, my co-driver Matt Lasher, the entire GenRight Crew, and the rest of my Sponsors…

GenRight, SXS Performance, KMC Wheels, GBC Motorsports, WARN, RCV Performance, Vision X Lighting, KN Filters, Currie Enterprises, PRP Seats, Rugged Radios, Fuzion Racing, FuelSafe, LiquiMoly USA, Factor55, BigGun Exhaust, and Rockstar Garage

Zack