Bragging rights and a case of beer
Each year, tens of thousands of hardcore spectators and nearly 1,000 competitors flood Johnson Valley to create the city affectionately known as “Hammertown.” Its off-grid location emulates “Mad Max,” setting the stage for what seems like pure chaos, with some racing sprinkled in.
King of the Hammers includes racing throughout an entire week, with the mack daddy of them all, the Nitto Race of Kings, taking place Saturday, Feb. 3. A race known for its carnage and chaos, only about 15% of racers who take the start finish the race.
The event was conceived by a pair of racers in search of bragging rights and a case of beer. It combines desert racing and rock crawling throughout 200 miles of grueling trails. It’s no wonder almost 80,000 people flood this otherwise deserted valley to witness the havoc.
Win and earn the title of King. Lose and the walk of shame could be your vehicle lifted out of the desert by helicopter (trust us).
Let’s take a look at where Team AMSOIL is competing this year.
A force to be reckoned with
Kyle Chaney has been called a “surgeon” when it comes to navigating the rocks. The three-time King of the Hammers UTV champ took the lead early in last year’s race and finished at a ferocious pace, crushing all lap time expectations — in a stock UTV. This year he seeks his fourth crown aboard Can-Am’s new Maverick R, a recently released model that generated a lot of buzz this past fall.
Chaney gave us a breakdown of the custom 4400 Can-Am that he raced in last year’s Race of Kings. He worked his way into the top ten before losing his transmission at Chocolate Thunder.
Runs in the family
Brad Lovell looks to keep his legendary streak alive by competing in the Every Man Challenge. Having already won the Every Man crown a total of three times, and the 4800 class 4 times, this will be Lovell’s 19th trip to the lakebed.
Historically, Brad had his brother Roger co-driving, but for this year’s Every Man Challenge, Brad’s son Adam will co-pilot for his first King of the Hammers race in their newly wrapped Bronco. The duo will also take to the start line of the Desert Challenge. Trading places, Adam will take the wheel and Brad will navigate.
Last year, Brad and his brother Roger showed us their 4600 Ford Bronco. The brothers finished second in their class last season, and fifth overall.
King of the Hammers 2024 Event Schedule
Here’s a breakdown of where you can find Team AMSOIL next week:
- Saturday, Jan.27 & Sunday, Jan. 28 is opening weekend, with the Toyo Desert Challenge presented by Monster. Adam Lovell will get his first taste of what it’s like to race at King of the Hammers, with his dad by his side as his co-driver.
- Thursday, Feb. 1 Bryce Menzies will also be competing alongside Chaney in the UTV Championship. Menzies led lap one of last year’s race before Chaney took the lead.
- Friday, Feb. 2 is the Every Man Challenge with Brad and Adam Lovell aboard their newly wrapped Ford Bonco.
- Saturday, Feb. 3 is the big race — Nitto Race of Kings. Two-time champ Erik Miller and three-time champ Shannon Campbell will line up with Chaney at the start.