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Spotlight on Jason Blanton

Pictures provided by Jason Blanton.

Jason Blanton is not afraid of the KOH Last Chance Qualifier, he has conquered it twice and he laughs at Backdoor trail which he is well versed in climbing on a single attempt, something even the biggest names seem to have a bit of trouble with, but the title of KOH finisher has eluded him twice.

This year however Jason will look to qualifying times as a measure of his ability against the rest of the KOH field free from the burden of worry about getting in the main event after qualifying at the Torchmate Stampede in Reno earlier this year. Jason is happy to give you a ride up backdoor if you need a few pointers and you can jump in for a virtual our of the 2011 LCQ by watching the embedded video below.

How long have you been competing in Ultra 4 Racing?

First Ultra 4 race was 2010 KOH 

How long have you been racing?

Been racing since 2009

Tell us about your past experiences in the King of the Hammers and where you have finished?

My first year I did not know what to expect. I barely got my buggy done in time. I placed in the low 20’s in the LCQ securing a spot in the main race. Made is 10 miles then my radiator fan ripped off. Took my tranny cooler fan off and mounted it to my radiator. Poured water on the tranny cooler and overheated a bunch of times. Made it back to main pit got a new fan and was off. Drove up to Ken Mercer’s buggy on fire right after it happened, made sure everyone was ok and took off. Made it to BFG pit with 5 min to it closing. Was stopped a few check points later cause coarse was closed. Drove the track back to main pit.

 

2011 KOH. I was in LCQ. Qualified 5th and made it to the main race. Was doing really well till we got to outer limits, got stuck behind someone who was stuck tried a line that I have never done before. Rolled. Burned up my battery trying to recover. Watch 30 buggies pass while I was waiting for a jump. Kirby racing let me borrow their battery to get going. Got going. Was in 3o something place by the second lap. Made it up back door without winching then on the second small ledge tore my upper link mount off my front axle. Game over.

What’s the attraction to racing of King of the Hammers for you?

I love the challenge of the race. It makes each check point matter because you know how much of a challenge it was getting there.

 What’s your favorite part of the King of the Hammers?

Being out with my friends for a week. But mainly the race

How do you physically and mentally prepare for this type of racing?

This year doing some cardio training. Not much mental training, I learned a lot from competing in WE rock. How to stay calm.

 Teamwork is a big part of KOH, Tell us about your team for the King of the Hammers?

My team is a bunch of my friends that are happy to help me out at the race. I’m lucky. All race prep is done by my dad and I.

How much does strategy play a part in KOH?

In previous years strategy did not play much into our race. Just try to make it to the finish and never give up until you have to. This year I know I can finish so strategy will definitely come into play.

What will it take to win the King of the Hammers in 2012?

Lots of patience, driving skill, race prep and luck

How much does a car vs. a drivers ability play into winning the King of the Hammers?

The car helps a lot. If you know your parts can take the abuse you can push it to the limits. Its all about knowing your car and how far you can push it

If you had the opportunity to participate in any race in the world, what would it be and why?

Baja 1000, or Dakar. Seems like they would very difficult to finish

Who is your racing idol and why?

Shannon Cambell. He builds his buggies, pushes them to limits and is humble about it. I don’t like big talkers and show boaters

If you had an unlimited budget what would you build to compete in the King of the Hammers?

A 2 seat straight axle car. Front engine, light weight, 500hp and low.

Do you have any advise to give someone who is aspiring to race the King of the Hammers?

Know your rig. Do lots of prerunning and push it hard at home before you get to the hammers. Find out all the bugs and get them worked out. I’m constantly changing things to make them work proper or better. Do a lot of tear downs before the race, inspect everything, the smallest thing can take you out of a race. Have a good co driver who is calm and is constantly feeding you info. The more info you have the less mistakes you will make.

Can you tell us about the sponsors and people that have made it possible for you to do this?

Yukon- has been a huge help this year.

Goodyear- Helped us out huge at the Reno Stampede. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to race and qualify for the 2012 KOH

FOA- has always helped me out when they can. I appreciate Chris willing to help out the little guys

TAJ Collision- My friends body shop who is always willing to help out and is excited to help.

The Facts

Driver name: Jason Blanton                      Co-Driver Name: Nick Desimone

Team Name: Blanton Racing                                             Car #966

Age:   29                                                              Hometown: Kirkland, WA

Chassis Builder: BNS Fab (Keith Northrup & I in a 2 car garage)         Engine: GM 5.3L

Transmission: Ford C4                                                    T-case: Atlas II

Axles F/R: Pro Rock 60 center with Spidertrax knuckles. Rear: Pro Rock 60   Lockers F/R: Yukon Grizzly

Seats: Mastercraft                                    Shocks: FOA Shocks

Tires:  Goodyear  MTR                                                   Wheels: Trail Ready

 

About the Author

Jeff Knoll is the former Event Director for the King of the Hammers event. He has raced various classes in SCORE, BITD, MORE, and MDR. Following the California 200, Knoll travelled to Washington, DC to meet with BLM officials regarding the Special Recreation Permit policies of the BLM. Knoll serves on the BLM’s Desert Advisory Sub-Committee regarding Special Recreation Permits. Knoll also drafted language for Nevada’s Senate Bill 156 in 2011 regarding action sports safety.

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