King of the Hammers Lady Driver Bio for Kim Sparrow
How do you know your Driver? Hunter is my husband, we got married in October in a small ceremony at my dads house. We had to squeeze it in between horse shows, races and KOH prep! Our buggy has earned the name #wasabi because of the paint job. Someone started it as a joke, and the name stuck!
How many times have you raced King of the Hammers? This will be my very first KOH and I am so excited!!!
How did you get into Ultra4 Racing? I got into Ultra4 racing when I met my husband. He has raced since 2012, and I immediately joined the fun after we met! Prior to racing I grew up rock crawling in Moab, South Dakota, California and here in Colorado. I own my own FJ-40 that is sprung over on 35's is locked front and rear, has an SM465 transmission a chevy V8, with Holly fuel injection, and other aftermarket additions that I did myself. I also own a stock '14 Rubicon X that we have plans of doing some work on one of these days, for now we just wheel it stock here in Colorado and in Moab.
What has been your most exciting achievement in Ultra4 Racing? I think it would be qualifying for KOH at the Arkansas Hot Springs race. That had been the most challenging race we had done for sure, but my absolute favorite. Our buggy went through three tires that race, and we had to change them on course each time. I think I was lifting those tires by sheer will at the end. Surviving the heat, humidity and stress of that race was an achievement I was happy with by itself! We found out we had officially qualified sitting in the hotel that night, eating our Dominos and going through the results. We already had a plan to hit some other races to try to qualify but seeing that asterisk by our number was surreal! We made it in our first try that season! I think that moment will stick with me for a while.
What does race prep look like in your world? Race prep is intense, but for KOH admittedly it becomes all consuming:)Hunter is amazing about making sure we go through everything before each race. For Hammers we have stripped the car all the way down and cleaned, checked, and fixed anything that needed it. We are busy with events like Tough Mudder, running races, and horse events all season so we try really hard to stay in shape year round. I have stepped up my running and some serious weight lifting. I really try to lift heavy a few days a week so working on the car isn't so hard. I know as a woman co-driver I have a disadvantage with upper body strength so I really try to focus on being able to get tires up, and grip strength. Hunter is my workout partner and it has really solidified our team work. We try to eat clean and meal prep most of the time but we do like pizza and mac n' cheese! Pre running is more important this year. My secret skill as a co-driver is I can visually memorize a course but it takes me three runs. That isn't a possibility in KOH but, I don't want to have to rely on GPS the entire race so we will do our best to run the course and mark things. We have been organizing our pit crews and have managed to gather about 14 people to come and helps us. Now my job will be figuring out our fuel stops and what to tell each pit to have. Many of our pit crew have never been in a pit, especially for a race like this, so I have to be as organized as possible for them! Telling our people what to expect is going to be our best tool. Most of our paperwork is done, but I am a huge list writer, I literally have pages and pages of notes and lists. Shopping lists, people lists, parts lists, clothing lists, meal lists, list lists..... We are also in touch with our current sponsors, and I have my eyes on some new sponsors. I am trying get our media releases organized and ready to go as well. Some of our sponsors aren't involved directly in Ultra4 so keeping them up to date and informed is a little more difficult. I am not really sure what we will do with all of our free time after Hammers is over!
What are you looking forward to at this year's King of the Hammers? I am really excited for the entire experience of Hammertown, and King of The Hammers. I want to attend Hammer University and learn as much as I can. I want to be the best Co-driver I can be, it is so important to me that I am good at what I do. I take my position very seriously and look forward to earning more co-driver credits in the desert. I really can't wait to see the rock bouncers in person, I have never seen one live! My plan is to absorb as much as possible and just soak up all of KOH week!
What are your goals for this year's King of the Hammers? I want to finish so bad, I would love to see the finish line in daylight! I would like to get us a really solid qualifying run, and sit at that starting line confident and ready to go. I also want to prove that I am the real deal as a competitor, and that I am not just sitting in my seat looking around. I work really hard to keep us on track and KOH is my ultimate challenge, I want to navigate us successfully!
What excites you about racing? On any given day anyone has a chance. Even the most expensive cars, are just cars, and can break or struggle, its not over until it is absolutely over. A great driver and team will always be competitive. I show horses as well as race, which is heavily based on someones opinion of your look or presentation, so it is very fun for me to come to racing which is left mostly up to time and survival. I love that we can be in the car, and just fighting to the finish and nothing else matters, you either finish or not. Even our horses have been exposed to the race car, and one of our horses is infatuated with it. Every time he hears it he comes running to visit. He isn't allowed near my FJ-40 after he tried to eat my fender! This has become such a family thing, I love updating my dad on all of our race details. Racing is combination of everything we love, competition, mud, camaraderie, hard work, and fun!
What is a piece of advice that you have been given? "Don't quit when you are tired, quit when you are done." And I always think of my family telling me to be safe!
Tell us about the Team that Supports you. We are such a small team that we do a lot of work ourselves. We do need all the help and support we get from our families. Most races we go with one or two other vehicles and help each other. A lot of times we travel with fellow racers from Rock Addicts Racing. This year our KOH team is becoming a huge community effort. Hunter does a lot of the work himself, and I help as much as I can. I am still learning the ins and outs of the race car so its mostly me asking a lot of questions. My dad has given us full use of his heated garage this year which has given us the ability to work at all hours and temperatures! We have neighbors that have not only started helping in the garage, but have signed on to travel all the way to California and pit for us. Another race team that isn't in KOH has also kindly decided to travel with us. We have several friends from the Denver area that have drag racers, that have also signed up for the journey again. We have also added some friends from California that I know from my days in the Toyota Land Cruiser Association that are going to help us fuel and support. My sister-in-law is coming from Seattle and will help me manage all of our social media, my cousin is traveling from North Carolina to help, and my dad and father-in-law will be helping with anything else. A personal trainer at our gym is helping us by watching all of our horses that will be staying home. This has literally become a community effort with a huge group supporting us, both in person and long distance! As a group the Rock Addicts Race team is getting help from Crawlertech 4x4 and Hooligan as well.
• Dutchman Axles @dutchamnaxles #dutchmanmotorsports
• Rugged Radios @ruggedradios #ruggedradios
• Raceline Wheels @racelinewheels #teamraceline
• King Shocks @kingshocks #kingshocks
• BeCool Radiators @becoolinc
• Outer Limit Supply @outerlimitsupply #outerlimitsupply
• Crawlertech 4x4 @crawlertch4x4
• Hooligan Offroad @hooligan.offroad.3
• American Intense Racing @Americanintenseracing
• Barnes 4wheel drive @barnes4wd
• DC Race engines
Author: Kim Sparrow