CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA – Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. announced today that Pro2 Unlimited class driver Rodrigo Ampudia, has joined Team Toyo Off-Road for the 2012 race season.  Competing in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Ampudia will pilot his 900-horsepower #36 Papas and Beer / Lucas Oil / Toyo Tires® Ford Raptor on Toyo Open Country M/T-R tires. The high-energy Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series draws huge crowds and is broadcast on television through major networks and cable.

Ampudia, now a resident of San Diego, California; has many accomplishments to his name.  During his 2006 rookie season in short course off-road racing, Ampudia was the first international driver to win a Championship Off-Road Racing (CORR) series race.  He also won the CORR World Championship race in Crandon, Wisconsin during that same year.  Ampudia then capped it off by winning the 2006 CORR Series Pro-Lite™ class championship.  When he made the transition to Pro 2 class trucks, he qualified first in his rookie year.

CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA – Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. announced today Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg and Jeremy McGrath will both compete in the Pro2 Unlimited class of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series on Toyo Open Country M/T-R tires.   This action-packed short-course off-road racing series features large fields of entrants in high-horsepower machines, all fighting for the top spot on the podium.  Both drivers are members of the powerful Stronghold Motorsports off-road racing team.

Last year seven-time AMA Supercross Champion, Jeremy McGrath, captured his first win in Pro 2 Unlimited in front of a packed stadium at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  He also captured six podium finishes, one being third overall in the big money finale, the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup, Pro 2 vs. Pro 4.  With his 2011 successes, look for McGrath to be a strong contender for the Pro 2 Unlimited championship in 2012 with his 900-horsepower #2 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Ford F-150.

Joining McGrath and Team Toyo Off-Road is Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg with his Toyo Tires / Stronghold Motorsports Ford F-150.  The hard-charging Stenberg is a 10-time X-Games medalist in Freestyle Moto-X and won the 2010 SuperLite truck class championship in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.

“I’m pumped to be joining my teammate Jeremy McGrath on Team Toyo.  Toyo Tires has established itself as a leader in short course off road racing with the Open Country M/T race tire,” said Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg.  “My Stronghold Motorsports Pro2 is dialed in and with my Toyo Tires putting that horsepower to the ground we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

“We are excited to have both Jeremy ‘Twitch’ Stenberg and Jeremy McGrath as members of Team Toyo Off-Road in 2012,” said Amy Coleman, senior director of marketing, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.  “Both are highly competitive and have a huge base of fans.  They will both be great representatives of our Toyo Tires philosophy… Driven to Perform.”

The 16-race Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series begins March 31, 2012 at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Arizona.  Races will be broadcast on CBS Sports, NBC Sports Network, SPEED Channel and MavTV.  Log on to www.lucasoiloffroad.com for both race and programming schedules.

PARKER, ARIZONA – Robby Gordon returned to the U.S. after a fifth overall finish in the Dakar to win his first U.S. off-road race of 2012, the Best In The Desert series Bluewater Resort & Casino Parker 425 in Parker, Arizona.  Gordon switched gears from piloting his trophy truck for this race, instead driving the SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires open wheel Class 1500 buggy owned by Clyde Stacey of RPM Offroad.  Gordon relied on 39×13.50R17 Toyo Open Country M/T-R tires for the overall victory.

During Friday qualifying, both Team Toyo Off-Road desert aces, BJ Baldwin and Robby Gordon, secured the second and third overall qualifying spots out of a massive field of 277 entries (34 entrants in Trick Truck and 54 in Class 1500.)  Baldwin also competed on 39×13.50R17 Open Country M/T-R tires with his Monster Energy/Toyo Tires Chevy Silverado in the Trick Truck class.  He took the lead in the Parker race after the front-running truck broke an engine.  Gordon ultimately passed Baldwin to capture the lead and the overall win.

“Thanks to RPM Offroad and Clyde Stacy for lending me their car.  It was a great day for SPEED Energy and Toyo Tires.  It feels good to be back on the podium after a successful Dakar Rally and to come here and run trouble free,” said Gordon.  “I lost a little time while finishing the first lap, but we passed BJ after his pit stop and never let up.  It was good for us that Rob MacCachren broke and the road was open for us to take the lead.  I can’t say enough about the tires as they proved again that they can run on any vehicle and once again sit on top of the podium.  I look forward to carrying this momentum into the rest of the off-road season.”

“Robby Gordon drove an amazing race and proved once again that he can win while at the controls of any vehicle,” said Stan Chen, manager of events and motorsports, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.  “With their success supported by their Toyo Open Country M/T-R tires, both Robby and BJ have demonstrated they are driven to dominate in off-road in 2012.”

Robby Gordon’s next race is this coming Friday and Saturday in the King of the Hammers located in the deserts of Southern California in Johnson Valley.  Gordon will compete for the first time in this prestigious event, which is a combination of rock crawling and desert racing.  His tire of choice is the Toyo 39X13.50R17 Open Country M/T-R.  Check out our event calendar at http://toyotires.com/motorsports/event-calendar for a complete list of upcoming races for Robby Gordon, BJ Baldwin and the rest of the Team Toyo drivers.

CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA – Robby Gordon and navigator Johnny Campbell finished the 2012 Dakar on a high note by winning the 29km timed special of Stage 14, the last in this year’s off-road marathon rally.  The overall route travelled 254km from Pisco to Lima, Peru, marking the completion of a 14-day Pan American odyssey which began on the Atlantic coast in Argentina, crossed through the Andes, and then turned north to Peru along the Pacific coast.

Gordon’s #303 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER won the brief 29km (18-mile) final stage with a large 21-second margin over the second place finisher.  He finished fifth overall in the 2012 Dakar, capturing three stage wins and a total of seven podiums along the way.  In addition, Gordon’s HUMMER was the only two-wheel-drive vehicle finishing in the top ten.

Gordon began Stage 14 from the 10th spot due to challenges he faced during Stage 13, which included lost time due to a rollover.  He managed to hold second overall for much of the rally, even while sacrificing a Stage 1 win to assist his teammate, Nasser Al-Attiyah who had a mechanical problem near the end of the stage.  Al-Attiyah ultimately retired during Stage 9.  Prior to his retirement, Al-Attiyah, driver of the Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R equipped #300 Qatar HUMMER, won Stages 2 and 7, and finished third in Stage 3.

In addition to the normal challenges facing competitors in the Dakar, one of the two Team SPEED support trucks was delayed in customs in Argentina prior to the start of the race. It was not released until Stage 6, drivers taking shifts behind the wheel to race across Argentina into Chile to catch up with the day’s bivouac.  Without the presence of that support vehicle during the first portion of Dakar, the team was faced with a shortage of tools, spare parts and fresh sets of tires.  In fact, tires were rotated, rather than replaced at times when other competitors had fresh replacements.

CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA – Robby Gordon has proven once again why he is a true motorsports champion, not just by winning, but dominating Stage 12 of the Dakar™.  After a long delay set him back during Stage 11 due to mechanical problems, the American driver attacked Stage 12 with a vengeance.  He piloted his #303 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER from a 22nd starting position to first overall – beating the second place finisher by 15 minutes, 18 seconds!  To further prove a point, he accomplished that feat by crossing the perilously soft coastal dunes toward Nazca, Peru — streaking past stuck competitors with his two-wheel drive HUMMER equipped with Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires.

The 245km Stage 12 travelled north along the Peruvian coast from Arequipa to Nazca.  This marks Gordon’s second stage win in the 2012 Dakar, having also won Stage 9.  Gordon now has six podium finishes in the 2012 version of this Pan American marathon rally.  It also shows his determination to finish on the podium in Lima, Peru.

Gordon’s teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah was forced to retire during Stage 9 due to mechanical problems.  Prior to his retirement, Al-Attiyah and his Toyo Tires equipped #300 Qatar HUMMER won Stages 2 and 7, and finished third in Stage 3.  So far in the 2012 Dakar, Toyo Tires has logged four stage wins and captured a total of nine podium finishes.

CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA – Excitement is building in anticipation of crowning the overall winner for the 2012 Dakar™ this coming Monday. Robby Gordon is focused on capturing that glory, winning today’s Stage 9 by 1-minute 38-seconds over race-leader, Stephane Peterhansel. Gordon’s charge has reduced Peterhansel’s lead to less than six minutes with four days left of competition.

Today’s 556km stage ran from the coastal cities of Antofagasta to Iquique, northward along the Pacific Ocean coast of Chile. Competitors were faced with a variety of terrain including canyons, hills and perilous silt-beds known as “fesh fesh.”  Throughout the rally, Gordon has relied on Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires to help keep his two-wheel drive #303 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER on a searing pace.  As of today’s Stage 9 of the 2012 Dakar, Toyo Tires® has recorded eight podium finishes with Team SPEED, three of those being stage wins.

Gordon’s teammate, Nasser Al-Attiyah was chasing Gordon in second place after Checkpoint 2 in today’s stage.  Misfortune then struck the hard-charging Al-Attiyah’s #300 Qatar HUMMER as he was sidelined with a mechanical problem.  Al-Attiyah won Stages 2 and 7, while also finishing third in Stage 3 in this year’s race.

CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA – Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. announced today they will continue to support off-road racer, Kyle LeDuc in the Pro 4 Unlimited class of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.  His 900-horsepower #99 Ford F-150 race truck relies on Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires to deliver wins.  In 2011, LeDuc finished second overall in the Pro 4 Unlimited class championship, winning six races and capturing eight top qualifying spots.

Kyle LeDuc has a long history racing with Toyo Tires, beginning his association with the brand in 2005.  He has scored numerous race wins throughout the years, including winning the prestigious Borg Warner Cup in 2009.  The three-year extension takes LeDuc and Toyo Tires through the 2014 season.

“I have built a solid past and now a future with Toyo Tires,” said Kyle LeDuc.  “It is huge to be with a sponsor in this sport for so long.  They have a great program and want to win the Pro 4 Unlimited championship as much as I do.”

“Kyle LeDuc is a great ambassador for the Toyo Tires brand,” said Stan Chen, manager of events and motorsports, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.  “He has the drive it takes to win races and championships, and we are certain we will see both Kyle and the Toyo Tires name on the winner’s podium for many races to come.”

To learn more about Kyle LeDuc and the Open Country® line of light truck tires, log onto www.toyotires.com.  Toyo Tires manufactures and distributes a complete line of premium replacement tires for nearly every make and model including high performance cars, luxury vehicles, light trucks and SUVs as well as tires for commercial trucks.  Connect with the community at www.facebook.com/toyotires and www.twitter.com/toyotires.

CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA – Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. announces “Ballistic” BJ Baldwin is the newest member of Team Toyo® Off-Road.  Considered one of the fiercest competitors in the sport of off-road racing, Baldwin will ride on championship-proven Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires through 2014.  His 800-horsepower Chevy Silverado trophy truck known as “Fedor” will carry the Toyo Tires® name during major SCORE International and Best In The Desert off-road races.

BJ Baldwin is a 15-year veteran of off-road racing and is a former 2006 and 2008 SCORE-International Trophy Truck Champion.  He also won the Best In The Desert Trophy Truck Championship back-to-back in 2010 and 2011.  In addition to representing Toyo Tires® during races, Baldwin will also promote the Toyo Tires brand through appearances and additional marketing efforts.

“We needed a tire company that can meet our needs as a race team and withstand my abuse as a driver. After weeks of testing the Trophy Truck with several different off road tires I came to the conclusion that the Toyo Open Country M/T-R had the competitive advantage,” said BJ Baldwin.  “The Open Country M/T-R simply performed better in all areas. I am very excited about my new relationship with Toyo Tires and look forward to celebrating many victories together. ”

“Toyo Tires is excited to welcome BJ Baldwin to Team Toyo.  BJ is an accomplished off-road racer and we are confident our tires will bring him even more success” said Amy Coleman, senior director of marketing, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.  “For 2012, Toyo Tires is now represented by two of the most prolific drivers in off-road racing, Robby Gordon and BJ Baldwin.  Our expectations are higher than ever for Team Toyo to score big wins in desert racing.”

Team Toyo’s 2012 super-team of off-road champions, Robby Gordon and BJ Baldwin, marks Toyo Tires most powerful assault ever on the sport of desert racing.  Past victories with Robby Gordon include winning the 2006 Baja 1000 followed by the 2009 SCORE International Overall Point Championship and 2009 SCORE Trophy-Truck Championship.

To learn more about the newest Team Toyo athlete “Ballistic” BJ Baldwin, and the Open Country® line of light truck tires, log onto www.toyotires.com.  Toyo Tires manufactures and distributes a complete line of premium replacement tires for nearly every make and model including high performance cars, luxury vehicles, light trucks and SUVs as well as tires for commercial trucks.  Connect with the community at www.facebook.com/toyotires and www.twitter.com/toyotires.

CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA – Toyo Tires is in the history books capturing the win and a third place finish in Stage 2 of the 2012 Dakar rally.  Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator, Lucas Cruz, piloted their #300 Qatar HUMMER to the Stage 2 win.  Al-Attiyah made a remarkable charge from the 38th starting position for his well-earned victory in the 290km Special Stage from Santa Rosa de la Pampa to San Rafael, Argentina.  Robby Gordon and navigator, Johnny Campbell, finished in third in their #303 SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HUMMER — Gordon now second overall in the Dakar.  Both of the two-wheel-drive vehicles rely on Toyo Open Country M/T-R tires to deliver their podium finishes.

Gordon led the 57km Stage 1 of the rally from Mal Del Plata to Santa Rosa de La Pampa.  Only 2km from the end of the stage, he came across teammate Al-Attiyah who was sidelined due to a loss of power.  Gordon provided a tow to the finish of the stage, sacrificing a Stage 1 victory, but ensuring both vehicles would compete for the overall victory in the 14-stage, 9,000 kilometers (5,592 miles) Pan American race.

“This is a brilliant come-from-behind victory for Al-Attiyah and Toyo Tires in Stage 2 of Dakar,” said Amy Coleman, senior director of marketing, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.  “And with Robby Gordon standing in second overall, we couldn’t be more pleased with how we are starting this world class event.”

Stage 3 heads toward the rugged Andes mountain range, where vehicles are faced with punishing rocks and bumps.  This is the perfect environment for showing the prowess of Robby Gordon’s HUMMER race vehicles and their Open Country M/T-R tires.

Be sure to follow the daily action on the Dakar Rally Blog located at www.toyotires.com/dakar-rally-blog.  To learn more about Robby Gordon and the Open Country® line of light truck tires, log onto www.toyotires.com.  Toyo Tires manufactures and distributes a complete line of premium replacement tires for nearly every make and model including high performance cars, luxury vehicles, light trucks and SUVs as well as tires for commercial trucks.  Connect with the community at www.facebook.com/toyotires and www.twitter.com/toyotires.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – Team Toyo Off-Road drivers, Kyle LeDuc and Jeremy McGrath (right), both scored victories this past weekend during Round 13 of the Lucas Oil Off-Road Series race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  Both drivers relied on Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires to help them win the top spot in their class, Pro 4 Unlimited and Pro 2 Unlimited respectively.

During Friday’s qualifying session, Kyle LeDuc once again showed his remarkable speed by qualifying in the number one spot with his #99 Rockstar / Makita / Toyo Tires Ford F-150 in the Pro 4 Unlimited class.  He immediately jumped into his #99 Rockstar / Makita / Toyo Tires Ford Ranger equipped with off-the-shelf Toyo Open Country M/T® tires to qualify second fastest in the Pro Lite Unlimited class.

Pro 4 Unlimited was the first pro main event during Saturday’s Round 13.  Kyle LeDuc defeated 10 trucks on the 1.1-mile dirt course for the race win.  On Sunday in Round 14, Kyle finished second while his brother, Todd LeDuc, placed third with his #4 Rockstar / Makita / Toyo Tires Ford F-150.