October 26, 2020

The 'Hammer-Swinger'
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If you've ever heard of the strong and silent type... that's a fitting description for Steve Hastings. Hastings, an oak of a man at age 65, competed in his first Ultra4 event, as a driver, earlier in the year at King of the Hammers.
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One would think 65 years is a bit old to be driving a racecar in an event as challenging as KOH. Steve was impressive behind the wheel of the #4833, though. His performance erased all doubts of his ability.
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In his first race, Steve managed to start in absolutely last position, but finish King of the Hammers 11th in class, and 16th overall; an absolutely remarkable accomplishment.
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Every racer has a story… Steve Hastings and the #4833 are no exception; they had an interesting road to the King of the Hammers competition. On the Saturday prior to Hammertown opening, we loaded the #4833 and put it on the trailer, headed for the dyno. We were trying to figure out a nagging power issue. This was a brand new 5.7 Hemi and something didn’t quite make sense. All the guys working on the car were LS enthusiasts, and the Hemi gave them some unique challenges they’d not been ready for.
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The initial plan was to get the racecar to a tuning shop about twenty minutes away from Tri-County Gear, in Pomona, where we had gathered that morning. We drove to the shop, but it was a ghost town. Despite previous conversations, there was nobody around. We searched online for a reputable tuner, and we reached out to Joe, at Aspirated Motorsports. We didn’t any connection to this shop... but we also didn't have any time to waste. This car had to get to King of the Hammers and we couldn’t be deterred.
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Tightening Things Up 

When we arrived at Aspirated Motorsports, an entire complex of outside automotive shops converged in the parking lot; first, they took the opportunity to ‘ooh and ahhh’, and then began to help investigate the problem. Joseph, the owner, had a shop full of Corvettes to tune; throwing a monstrous racecar onto the dyno to prep it for King of the Hammers was quite the Saturday afternoon treat for he and his guys.
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With a few phone calls and a little guidance from our friend Alyssa Payson down in Georgia, Joe was quickly able to diagnose several issues on the car, and he wasted no time in running down a remedy. By Saturday night, the #4833 was working flawlessly; so, the body panels were put on the car and Steve Hastings and crew began to prepare for King of the Hammers.
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Sunday was a different story, and it presented new challenges for the #4833. Despite its optimistic glare on Saturday night, there was still a problem, and it turned out to be a timing issue. There would be two more days of work on the racecar before she was finally ready to load up and head to King of the Hammers.
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Tuesday night, Steve Hastings and the #4833 rolled into Johnson Valley and nestled into a campsite just beyond the gates of HammerTown. Most of the racers had been on the lake-bed for days, pre-running and testing the course. Not Steve Hastings: his racecar still wasn’t quite race-ready and the race was tomorrow morning. He’d had no time to get out and test the course with his new engine. After missing his opportunity to qualify, Steve and his friends devoted this final night to getting the car ready for competition.
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Wednesday morning came. This was it. The Ultra4 ‘Everyman Challenge’ at King of the Hammers. Because he hadn’t qualified and had arrived so late on Tuesday night, Steve Hastings started the race in last position. He knew that more than 120 competitors had signed up for the event; what he didn’t know was how this Hemi would perform on the course.
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Kickin' Up Dust

The #4833 was waved into the race and the day began for Steve Hastings. Later in the morning, I’d see he and his co-driver wheel the #4833 into the pits at HammerTown. Steve’s crew worked feverishly, but methodically, as he took on fuel and made a few minor adjustments on the car. I could see the confidence in Steve’s eyes as we gestured to one another in the pits. The racecar was running well!
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As the day wore on, a small community of friends, family and colleagues all kept up with the progress of Steve Hastings and the #4833, while he navigated his first race. There was some surprise, as the car held the line and picked up position after position. By the end of the day Steve had not only finished King of the Hammers… he’d only narrowly missed a top-ten finish: coming across the line 11th in class and 16th overall.
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Steve Hastings’ road to The Hammers was riddled with issues that would have dissuaded most. He was determined to cement his racing legacy by advancing the #4833 across the finish line, and he was successful. Moreover, his performance was phenomenal. At 65 years old, Hastings picked up more than 70 positions before pushing the #4833 to an epic finish in Johnson Valley.
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At camp the evening after the race, Steve was mostly quiet. When I asked him about his KOH experience, he was reserved but stated he couldn’t have made this racing dream come true without the help of his friends and sponsors. Hastings was clear about one thing… King of the Hammers wouldn’t be the last race for the #4833. Steve Hastings plans to race again!
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Steve and the #4833 team extend their thanks to the following family, friends and sponsors: 

John Kuta
CTM
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Brought to you by:


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