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Spotlight on Richie Carter

If there is one team that competes in the King of the Hammers that proves that the race is an every mans race it would be the Race Prep Hobbies team.  The husband and wife duo of Richie and Kristen Carter are the perfect story of what the King of the Hammers and Ultra 4 racing is all about.

Both having a passion for off-road is what kicked off their desire to get involved!  You could regularly find them wheeling their GenRight Off-Road modified Jeep TJ at the hammers tackling the same trails as the pros do!  Having a good feeling for what a capable rig was, what it would take to make it last at the hammers, and a great relationship with Tony Pellegrino from GenRight Richie agreed to co-drive for Tony at the 2010 King of the Hammers.  The Duo finished a respectable 14th place in their first race together.  From that point on Richie was hook.  No longer would the right seat work, he needed to get behind the wheel.

The husband and wife team started to do their homework and found a very capable car that had already competed successfully in the King of the Hammers.  They gobbled it up and were officially in the game.  Getting it with plenty of time to prep for the 2011 season they began to make it their own.  Having to qualify through the LCQ they set their goals very simple. Qualify for the race!  They built their plan and qualified for the big show and got to race on Friday!  Come race day the team executed their next plan finish the race!  The husband and wife were nothing but smiles come race day when they crossed the finish line.  The duo continued the 2011 season and earned their spot into the 2012 King of the Hammers race by qualifying at the Best in the Desert Silver State 300 this year.

This year they have added new sponsors to the team and are carrying great momentum.  Look for them to do well at this years race!

How long have you been competing in Ultra 4 Racing?
I started at KOH in 2010 as the co-driver for the GenRight 805 car.  Tony and I started 92nd and finished 14th.  That same year I co-drove for Kevin Sacalas at the Lands End Hill Climb in Colorado.  My wife and I decided this was something we wanted to do on our own and we bought Wayne’s car and raced Stampede in 2010 in the hopes we could qualify for the 2011 KOH, but we weren’t able to do so.  We did however qualify in the LCQ in 2011 and go on to not only finish KOH but also the Ultra4 Championship Series, finishing the season in 11th place.

How long have you been racing?
I have no racing history outside of Ultra4.

Tell us about your past experiences in the King of the Hammers and where you have finished?
The co-driver year was a bit surreal.  So many hours went in to getting the GenRight car ready for that race that when we finally got to the lakebed, we were exhausted.  Tony and I have been friends for a long time and I think we did pretty well considering where we started the race (92nd).  In 2011, my wife and I had small goals.  We practiced for LCQ endlessly: in JV, at home, everywhere.  We knew we were winching backdoor and we knew how fast we could finish the loop.  So when we accomplished those things, one goal was met.  Then to qualify in 17th place, another goal met.  And to finish the race in 35th place meant another goal accomplished.  We may not have won King of the Hammers, but we won our race.  The entire week was awesome.

What’s the attraction to racing of King of the Hammers for you?
Johnson Valley is one of my favorite places on earth.  I know how hard those trails can be on a car and to conquer them at race pace is an amazing feeling.  The whole experience is crazy.  You really have to be there.

What’s your favorite part of the King of the Hammers?
The campfire after and stories for day.

How do you physically and mentally prepare for this type of racing?
As a privateer with my own business to run and a family to care for, I don’t have a lot of extra time for formal weight training or special diets.  I increase my stamina by lifting the countless tires in the storage unit, mounting and remounting beadlock rings, and completing general vehicle maintenance and repairs.  I will say, though, that the act of driving the race car has created a set of muscles I never had before.  Maybe my best preparation is pre-running.

Teamwork is a big part of KOH, Tell us about your team for the King of the Hammers?
Most of our team has been with us since our first race in Reno.  The guys are hard working and dedicated and I couldn’t race without them.

How much does strategy play a part in KOH?
Race Management plays a huge part in success at KOH.  Is that a strategy?  I guess so.  None of these cars can go the distance if they are being pushed at or above 100% of their ability.  The team who pushes just hard enough to keep the car together will be successful.  You certainly can’t go in to KOH without a race plan.

What will it take to win the King of the Hammers in 2012?
It’s a game of thirds: car, driver and luck.  The team who puts all three of those together on race day will win.  The list of possible winners will have the right vehicle and the right driver in place on race day.  The actual winner will get the luck 1/3 right as well.  No one wins this race without all three.

How much does a car vs. a drivers ability play into winning the King of the Hammers?
It’s definitely 50/50.  Your car has to be put together right and have enough miles on it to know it’s right, but not so many that it’s wearing out.  The Driver is an extension of that car.  He (or she) has to know it inside and out, its strengths and weaknesses.  A driver has to know how to race… driving is easy, but put on a firesuit, helmet, neck restraints and the pressure of 100 guys who want the same thing; the guy who knows how to race will win.

If you had the opportunity to participate in any race in the world, what would it be and why?
Dakar, It’s the ultimate in endurance racing.

Who is your racing idol and why?
I don’t have an idol.  Racing is a very personal thing to me.  Sure, there are lots of people I respect but no one I would call an Idol.

If you had an unlimited budget what would you build to compete in the King of the Hammers?
Doesn’t matter, Dave would still figure out how to F*ck it up.  It’s not all about budget  Too  much money could mean a car that is overly complicated with too many gadgets and gismos to break.  My perfect car is probably an IFS two seater built with really good components, but nothing too non-traditional or exotic.


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

Anyone who wheels recreationally can put together a KOH car.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.  KOH is not a race only for big dollars and sponsored racers.  KOH will always have room for the garage built, hard working guy too.  And don’t forget to ask other racers for their opinions and for help.  I know of very few who aren’t willing to share their experiences.  Your only race should be with yourself.  If you can beat your own goals, you’ve won.

Can you tell us about the sponsors and people that have made it possible for you to do this?
Race Prep Racing spent the majority of our rookie year as a privateer team.  We have paid retail for tires, completed the vehicle preparation in our garage, and asked for discounts as parts broke.  Even in the early days, people were always willing to help.  As we started to consistently finish races, we were able to secure three sponsors to build us a new race motor: Coast Motor Supply, West Coast Cylinder Heads and SW Airflow Services.  Going into 2012 we are fortunate to have an amazing title sponsor, Falken Tires, on board.  Their support will allow us to race another full year.  We also inked a deal with GenRight Off Road for the year which we are really excited about.  Between Falken’s extensive racing experience and fan base, and GenRight’s amazing work ethic, talent and passion for the sport, we are surrounded by amazing partners.  Additionally, we need to recognize: Race Prep Hobbies, FunRCBoats, VinylFun, Viking Winchlines, Raceline Wheels, and Alltech Motorsports.  We also always race with our niece Gwen in mind.  Her foundation has adopted a new logo and tagline which we will proudly display in 2012.  Look for the “Never Give Up” logo coming soon!

Driver name:   Richie Carter                      Co-Driver Name:  Kristen Carter

Team Name:   Race Prep Racing               Car # 4474

Age:  39                                                         Hometown:  Simi Valley, CA

Chassis Builder:   Wayne Israelsen            Engine:  6.0L LS1

Transmission:   700R4                                  T-case:  Atlas

Axles F/R:    Dana 60                                     Lockers F/R:  Detroit/ARB

Seats:  PRP                                                     Shocks:  Fox

Tires:   Falken                                                 Wheels:  Raceline

About the Author

Mike Lasher is a true Off Road enthusiast down to the core, Growing up in the back seat of a jeep exploring the deserts of Arizona and Nevada, as a kid, as so many of us did. Today Mike spends his free time on the trails with his family and friends in his Kawasaki Teryx or Jeep Wrangler. He also regularly competes in the Best in the Desert series and was second in points in 2009. For more information on mike you can visit www.lashermotorsports.com.

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