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Team AMSOIL Takes on 2024 King of the Hammers

Team AMSOIL Takes on 2024 King of the Hammers

Brad Lovell crushes the King of Hammers in his Bronco race truck.

_by Lindsay Tousignant|January 26, 2024

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.

Be sure to follow AMSOIL for daily updates and behind-the-scenes action from the lakebed, and don’t forget to tune in to the livestream on race day.

We’ll see you in Hammertown!


Bryce Menzies Conquers the Baja 1000

Bryce Menzies Conquers the Baja 1000

_by Lindsay Tousignant | December 6, 2023

Bryce Menzies has conquered the Baja 1000 peninsula in multiple race lengths of 250, 400 and 500 miles. Winning these races has already cemented his name if the off-road world, but most notably missing from that list is the longest race, both distance and ongoing, the Baja 1000.

Running the full length of the peninsula for the 25th time in the race’s 56-year history, this year’s 1000 started in in La Paz, Baja California. For the first time in the race’s history, the course ran from south to north, ending in Ensenada. Encompassing 1,311 miles, this race was also the second longest in the history of the event.

The course embodied all that desert racing typically offers, straight dirt passes, coastline stretches, rocky climbs and washes, some of which had seen a radical transitioned since Hurricane Norma rocked the southern end of the peninsula earlier this year. Even though this marked the second longest 1000 in the race’s history, the times seen were relatively fast given the smoother terrain.

Check out Bryce, Andy and Tavo pre-running the course:


Teamed up with drivers Andy McMillin and Gustavo “Tavo” Vildosola, Menzies took the the first 525 miles of the race. He then handed off the Mason AWD Ford Raptor Trophy truck over to Red Bull teammate McMillin for the next 400 miles. McMillin then handed the reigns off to hometown hero Vildosola, who drove the remaining 385 miles to the finish in Ensenada.

The trio finished the SCORE Baja 1000 in 22 hours, 35 minutes and 33 seconds, taking the checkered flag. Menzies earned the official win as the registered race entrant and is only the 10th racer to earn a SCORE Baja Triple Crown, having won the San Felipe 250, Baja 500 and Baja 1000. Menzies also took home the SCORE season championship.

“It took me over 10 years to win the SCORE Baja 1000. To win the second-longest SCORE race in history feels pretty special.”
– Bryce Menzies

Menzies uses AMSOIL products to ensure his race trucks can handle extremely harsh desert racing conditions.

Next up, Menzies is setting his sights on Hammertown and gearing up for the Can-Am UTV Hammers Championship during King of the Hammers, Jan. 25 through Feb. 3, 2024.




Kyle Chaney the Short-Course King

Kyle Chaney the Short-Course King

_by Lindsay Tousignant|September 29, 2023

Kyle Chaney is most known for his dominance in the desert. Chaney has used his precision in the rocks and speed in the flats to crush expectations and take the King of the Hammers UTV crown three times in a row.

We met up with the King last year in Hammertown and got a rundown of on his 4400 Pro UTV Hammer car. Check it out!



Shortened, closed tracks give way to more carnage and destruction, requiring a different mindset from the open desert passes and rocky climbs encountered in the desert. Transitioning to the world of short-course racing puts you up against the likes of CJ Greaves and Rodney VanEperen who have mastered the tight turns, triples and tabletop landings. Chaney adjusted his driving style accordingly, finishing the 2022 AMSOIL Championship Off-Road season four points shy of first place. He knew a championship was within his grasp.

Entering the 2023 season looking to earn that top spot, the Can-Am* driver took podiums in Antigo, Crandon, Elk River, Dirt City, Bark River and Oklahoma. The races were heavily contested and often came down to the final laps. The points battle remained tight all season long, right up to the final two rounds.

After his wins in Crandon, Dirt City, and Bark River, Chaney took the season when the final round was rained out in Oklahoma. He amassed three wins and eight podiums on his journey to becoming the 2023 Pro Turbo SxS champion and cemented his dominance in short-course racing.


Chaney is currently preparing for the 2024 King of the Hammers in January. Last year Chaney competed in three desert events throughout the week, with a strong showing in the Hammers race and a win in the UTV race. The three-time king continues to push the limits and lap times, no matter where he lines up.

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Scott Birdsall joins Team AMSOIL

Scott Birdsall joins Team AMSOIL

Scott Birdsall, holder of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and half-mile diesel records, joins Team AMSOIL.

I never seen a team with such the interesting variation of vehicles.

Birdsall Guy

Birdsall Guy

_by Brad Nelson|June 16, 2023

“It’s about finding that last tenth.” That’s how Scott Birdsall sees competition — and clearly, he knows where to go looking for it. Birdsall, the newest member of Team AMSOIL, is the visionary builder and driver of Old Smokey – a 1949 Ford F1 pickup equipped with a 12-valve, 6.7L twin-turbo Freedom Racing Engines* Cummins* – that holds the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb diesel record with a time of 11:24.065. Birdsall and Old Smokey also hold the half-mile diesel land-speed record at 167 mph. Those accomplishments are even more incredible considering that Birdsall simultaneously operates two award-winning fabrication shops, Chuckles Garage and Resolute Motorsports in Santa Rosa, Calif. But instead of slowing down, Birdsall is just getting started. When the milestone 100th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb runs on June 26, 2022, he will be back with a new car intent on resetting his own record. And AMSOIL will be there to help.

Scott Birdsall and Old Smokey charge up Pikes Peak on his record-setting run.

Old Smokey

“I bought Old Smokey off craigs list for $225,” said Birdsall.
I was just going to flip it, but it started to grow on me. I decided to make it into a shop truck to run around in and grab parts and stuff with, so we put a 12-valve Cummins diesel in it and some standard stuff.

“But I don’t have any personal restraint,” he continued. “So, one turbo turned into two, and two turned into two really big ones – and then it turned into needing big breaks. It turned into a 1200-hp street truck. Before I knew it, it was a full-blown race truck with a license plate on it.”

Old Smokey debuted at the 2016 SEMA with a lot of buzz, going viral on social media and making Car and Driver’s Top 10 of SEMA 2016. But Birdsall decided to take the truck to yet another level.

Old Smokey driven by Scott Birdsall up Pikes Peak.
Scott Birdsall drives Old Smokey to the new Pikes Peak diesel record.

Old Smokey went through another rebuild with “literally everything” upgraded with $400,000-plus of premium components. He says you can think of Smokey as a World Challenge Cup GT race car hiding under a ’49 Ford F1. It has a computer designed aerodynamics package that creates tons of downforce. The Freedom Racing Engines* Cummins* runs on NexDiesel,* a renewable fuel that burns clean and efficient. FASS Fuel Systems* pumps and Dynamite Diesel* injectors deliver the fuel, creating a staggering 1,463 hp and 2,100 lb-ft of torque. Birdsall says that Smokey is a beast to drive at 4,400 nose-heavy pounds and no driving aids like traction control or ABS.

“Smokey is like sitting on a silverback gorilla and giving it the taser,” joked Birdsall. “It’s a purely analog machine with no driver aids at all. The only drivers aid is your fear of mortality.”


Race to the Clouds

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, also known as “The Race to the Clouds,” is a race to the summit of Pikes Peak in Manitou, Colo. The route stretches uphill 12.42 miles with 156 turns and 4,725 feet of elevation gain.

“There’s always been this mystique,” said Birdsall about Pikes Peak. “It’s one of the most legendary races in the world. I grew up watching it on TV with my dad, so I always held these drivers up on a huge pedestal. They’re professional racing drivers but they’re also doing this crazy race up this half-dirt, half-paved road.”

Birdsall has always been a gear head with a love for speed. He grew up racing dirt bikes and go-karts through club racing and then some World Challenge racing. But he walked away from the track for a while to focus on snowboarding.

Resolute Motorworks Porsche
Resolute Motorworks builds Overland Cayennes and Overland 911s from the SC and Carrera 3.2 generation of 911 Porsches.

“Before I was a sponsored racer, I was a sponsored snowboarder,” said Birdsall. “I rode for Burton* and Analog.* It’s crazy because my first big sponsor in the automotive world was Airaid,* and their GM at the time was a bigwig at Burton.* We met at SEMA and it just clicked. My snowboard sponsor became my first auto sponsor.”

In 2017, Birdsall set his sights on Pikes Peak. “I just got the idea, I wanted to go run the Peak,” he said. But things didn’t go his way initially.

“I threw it off the mountain in 2018 on my first try,” said Birdsall. “I crashed in tire testing, herniated two discs in my neck and broke my tailbone.” Old Smokey was also banged up. Birdsall and his crew fixed the truck in eight days and came back to qualify, but engine damage caused Birdsall to withdraw from the race.

He returned in 2019 and managed to start the race. But halfway through his run, rain and hail moved in and the race was called off for safety reasons.

But tenacity paid off in 2020. Birdsall and Old Smokey pulled down the Pikes Peak diesel record set in 2015 by an AWD Mercedes-Benz* C 250 d 4MATIC driven by factory rally driver Uwe Nittel. He succeeded despite Old Smokey overheating at 12,800 feet, putting it into limp mode to the finish. But Birdsall takes it in stride.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s just like my whole life, things just happen. There’s no plan, it just flows into its own organic monster. Same thing with my Porsche business, I never intended to have one. I just built one and it just became popular.”

Scott Birdsall’s personal passions are 90s Porches* and Japanese cars.

Chuckles Garage

In the early 2000s, Birdsall was working as a regional manager for a big-box retailer, but it wasn’t his thing.

“I got sick of corporate America, so I had to leave for my own health reasons,” he said. “It’s not worth it, burning eight hours of your life for something you’re not passionate about. You’re just burning your life to fuel someone else’s dreams.”

In 2005, Birdsall opened Chuckles Garage. The shop specializes in custom builds with Birdsall as lead designer. The shop has gained an international reputation for their work, with projects featured in magazines like Hotrod, Car Craft, TRC, Diesel World, Diesel Power and numerous TV shows.

Let’s tune in to see Chuckles in action..


“My personal passions are Porches* and vintage Japanese cars,” said Birdsall. “By vintage I mean the 90s, things like that. For example, I have a ’93 Selica World Rally Car GT 4 and a ’98 Supra Twin Turbo that’s basically a crazy streetcar with 13-hundred horsepower.”

As Chuckles Garage took off, the ever-restless Birdsall co-founded a second shop, Resolute Motorworks, to focus on fabricating Porsches.* Resolute builds cars from the SC and Carrera 3.2 generation of 911 Porsches, ideally 3.2-Liter cars produced from 1983 to 1989, and remake them into serious on-/off-road cars with re-engineered components that are tested on desert, gravel, snow and pavement.

“Chuckles does pretty much anything I deem fun. Resolute does Overland 911s and Overland Cayennes,” Birdsall said.

Scott Birdsall’s built a new Le Mans-style diesel race car to reset his own Pikes Peak record.

Return to Pikes Peak

Birdsall is returning to Pikes Peak in June. He hopes to reset his own record somewhere in the nine-minute mark. He also intends to push his half-mile diesel land-speed record to 180 mph. To run down those goals, he’s building a new car.

“I want to take my Pikes Peak diesel record and put it up where it’s really hard to get,” said Birdsall. “The new car that I built to be Smokey’s successor is a full-on Le Mans prototype, like a car you’d see running the 24-hours of Le Mans. So that’s a different kind of diesel. The new chassis will weigh less than 3,000 pounds with tons of downforce. Everything is super racecar on it and thoroughly modern. I’ve basically taken it and blown it down to its basic elements and made it into its own chassis. We call it the ‘CG Superlight LMP1.’”

The CG Superlight will be powered by a VM Motori* 24-valve diesel V6 built by Freedom Racing Engines.* It’s equipped with compound Garrett Motion* turbos to produce an output of 600 hp and 900 lb-ft of torque that’s mated to a 6XD 6-speed sequential transaxle.

Birdsall will be driving the CG Superlight, but he won’t be kicking Old Smokey to the curb. The fan-favorite will also return to the mountain, this time with Aaron Kaufman behind the wheel.


Given the audacity of his goals, Birdsall sought out a lubricant partner with a history of winning races and resetting limits.

“AMSOIL provides us with a reliability bump,” said Birdsall. “It’s definitely cool that I’m with a sponsor that has already conquered the peak – and basically puts my name in the hat with the Unsers. That’s cool, they are royalty out there. And I really like AMSOIL’s overall spread of motorsports. They really are into everything.”

When Birdsall leaves the line to reset his Pikes Peak diesel record on June 26, AMSOIL will be there too, helping him find that last tenth.


Keep up with Scott Birdsall’s adventures. Follow him on your favorite social media channel at @chucklesgarage.

*All trademarked names and images are the property of their respective owners and may be registered marks in some countries. No affiliation or endorsement, claim, express or implied, is made by their use.

2022-2023 AMSOIL Championship Snocross Season Gears Up

2022-2023 AMSOIL Championship Snocross Season Gears Up

Scheuring Speed Sports driver Hunter Patenaude enters this season with his eyes on the title. We preview his path.

_by Lindsay Tousignant|December 12, 2022

Hey race fans, last March we took a trip up to the Klim Compound to catch up with Scheuring Speed Sports between AMSOIL Championship Snocross races.

At that point, Hunter Patenaude found himself just 37 points out of first place. The next weekend he went on to secure his first Pro win at ERX and sealed his second place in the season overall.

With those results in his pocket, Patenaude enters the new season with his eyes on the title. Let’s breakdown his path to clinching it.


Early start

Santa’s coming early this year. In sled form that is.

AMSOIL Championship Snocross kicks off next weekend in Fargo, N.D. Notoriously one of the coldest weekends on the circuit, the Fargo opener will also play host to the elusive AMSOIL Dominator. But more on that below.

As we head into the new year, the series returns to the Daytona of Snocross, the Pirtek Snocross National in Shakopee, Minn.

The first month of the year closes out with a fan-favorite, the U.S. Air Force Snocross National in the “wild west” of Deadwood, S.D. Then the series heads east. We spend Valentine’s Day weekend at the U.S. Air Force National in Salamanca, N.Y.

March kicks off in Sioux Falls, S.D. for the Sioux Falls Snocross National. Then the circuit rolls to ERX Motorpark for the AMSOIL Snocross National in Elk River, Minn.

The season concludes with two ski-slope events, the Cannonsburg Snocross National in Grand Rapids, Mich. and Theisen’s National in Dubuque, Iowa.


Dominator goes back to OG status

The AMSOIL Dominator first entered the scene as a head-to-head, bracket-style race on opening weekend for members of the Pro class.

However, in 2021 the AMSOIL Dominator switched to a cup-style format and was expanded to include Sport, Pro Lite and Pro classes. The 10-minute-plus-two-minute format lined up Pro Lite and Sport riders on the front row with Pros in the back. Opening the door for pure carnage, this format was favored by fans, but racers yearned for the old style. After discussion in the off-season, the Dominator will return to its head-to-head format and kick off the season in Fargo.

Setting the stage is a track that gained a lot of attention last season, a design by former snocross champion (and member of Team AMSOIL) Robbie Malinoski.


In 2022, Elias Ishoel captured his fourth straight Pro championship. Coming into this season tied with Ross Martin for career wins at 34, the “Viking Rocket” will look to take that record as he runs for his fifth title.

Though the true Dominator, Ishoel was contested by Pro sophomore, Scheuring Speed Sports Hunter Patenaude. Patenaude is hungry to capture a championship after his first career Pro win last season.

Hot on their tails will be a slew of returning riders including Petter Narsa, Aki Philaja, Francis Pelletier, Patenaude’s Scheruing Speed Sports teammate Logan Christian and others, making this season one of the most competitive in years.


Be sure to catch all of the season’s action by subscribing to FloSports. Tape-delayed programming of all 16 rounds will be re-aired on CBS Sports network.

Racing kicks off Friday, Dec. 16 with the AMSOIL Dominator in Fargo. Follow our social channels for more information and behind-the-scenes action.

We’ll see you at the races!