CHANDLER, ARIZONA –Kyle LeDuc and Toyo Tires swept the Pro 4 Unlimited class this weekend during the Lucas Oil® Off Road Racing Series 2012 season-opener at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Arizona.  Driving his #99 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Ford F-150, LeDuc’s domination began when he was the fastest qualifier on Friday.  He then won both Saturday and Sunday’s big races in a field of 12 competitors.  His 900+ horsepower truck relied on Toyo Open Country M/T®-R tires to help deliver the early season wins.

“Toyos don’t just win races, they eliminate any competitor,” said LeDuc.  “Team Monster Energy Drink Toyo Tires is in a league of our own and will continue to deliver more than ever expected.”

Scoring a win in the Pro Lite Unlimited class during Saturday’s Round 1 was Austin Kimbrell, driving his #88 Toyo Tires / Kimbrell Electric Ford Ranger.  Kimbrell, a resident of Phoenix, Arizona, fought his way to the front of the huge 26-truck field while riding on street legal Open Country M/T tires.  During Sunday’s Round 2, Kimbrell led the field until being spun out by another competitor.  He fought his way back into a solid fourth place finish for a great start to the season.

JEAN, NEVADA – Robby Gordon proved dominant once again in the 2012 Best In The Desert racing series, winning his second consecutive race this past weekend, the Mint 400.  Gordon piloted the SPEED Energy/ RPM Offroad / Toyo Tires® open wheel Class 1500 buggy to a margin of victory of more than three minutes over the second place finisher, finishing the course in a time of 6:05:54.  Gordon relied on 39×13.50R17 Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires for the overall victory.

The Mint 400 consisted of four grueling laps in the Nevada deserts, with terrain varying from dry lakes with high speeds, to dust-choking silt beds to jagged rocks.

“I can’t say enough about how good my tires were this weekend at the Mint 400,” said Gordon.  “We qualified second.  I knew there were a couple of areas where we had to be careful because there were some big rocks that could have damaged a tire, but we didn’t… we qualified second and that basically set the stage to put us in a position to win the race itself.”
“With regards to the race itself, I basically paced Rob MacCachren most of the race.  When they were pulled over changing a flat tire, we drove on by,” continued Gordon.  “This win is another testament to how good Toyo tires are and how strong the RPM Offroad team is.  It’s a pleasure to be driving both on Toyos and for RPM.”

“Robby Gordon is a true desert racing champion, and we are glad Toyo Tires was a part of his overall win of the Mint 400 off-road race,” said Stan Chen, manager of events and motorsports, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.  “We congratulate Robby and the entire RPM Offroad race team for their great victory this weekend.”

CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA — Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. announces their new Get Lucky with Toyo Tires® Sweepstakes is running now through March 17, 2012 at facebook.com/toyotires.  Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, fans of the company’s Facebook page have the chance to enter and win fun prizes.

One lucky Grand Prize winner will receive a Robby Gordon TRAXXAS “SLASH” series R/C truck.  This bright orange 1/10th scale replica of Gordon’s short course off-road race truck features SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires graphics. It is supplied Ready-To-Race® and can reach speeds in excess of 30-mph.

Two First Place winners will each receive their own copy of the new UFC® Undisputed® 3 video game.  Five winners will receive Anthony “Showtime” Pettis t-shirts by FORM Athletics and 10 winners will each receive a set of Toyo Tires beverage ‘koozies’ to wrap around their favorite drink.

For sweepstakes details and contest rules, log onto www.facebook.com/toyotires.

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.

LAUGHLIN, NEVADA – Team Toyo Off-Road’s newest member, “Ballistic” BJ Baldwin, won Saturday’s Round 1 of the 2012 SCORE Desert Series during the 18th Annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge in Laughlin, Nevada.  Baldwin, from Las Vegas, Nevada, finished an impressive first overall and first in class with a one minute, six second margin of victory over the next finisher, Juan Carlos Lopez.

Driving his #97 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Chevy Silverado trophy truck; Baldwin beat 98 other vehicles entered in the eight lap race with a time of 53 minutes, 45 seconds.  This was Baldwin’s first-ever SCORE off-road race competing on Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires.

Baldwin was the number one qualifier for Saturday’s race, posting the fastest time of six minutes, 23.99 seconds during a single 6.25-mile lap sprint on Friday.  During Sunday’s Round 2, Baldwin experienced a mechanical problem during lap two, sidelining his truck before the finish of the race.

“It’s 2012 and the end is near… for the competition!  Our race season is already starting to blossom thanks to Toyo,” said Baldwin.  “We qualified first by a mile and then easily won round one.  Round 2 was going to be victorious as well if not for engine trouble.  This year is going to be awesome for us now that we are running on the best off road tire. The Toyo Open Country M/T-R’s simply perform better!”

“We congratulate BJ Baldwin on his win during Round 1 of the 2012 SCORE Desert Series,” said Stan Chen, manager of events and motorsports, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.  “This was his first time competing as a member of Team Toyo Off-Road, and he won immediately on our Open Country M/T-R tires.  We are looking forward to an exciting desert racing season with BJ.”

To learn more about “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 – 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 – International fans were treated to American V8 thunder as Robby Gordon launched an all-out attack on today’s Stage 8 of the Dakar™ rally.  The determined Gordon surged forward with his #303 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER to finish second place in the stage, moving him to second overall in the 14-stage rally.  The route traveled 477km northward from Copiapó, Chile to the town of Antofagasta on the Pacific Ocean.  Gordon is now easily within striking distance of the overall lead of the Dakar.

Teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah, drove his #300 Qatar HUMMER to a fifth place finish in the stage and sixth overall.  Both HUMMERS are equipped with Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires.

During Saturday’s Stage 7, the HUMMERS delivered a 1-2 punch by finishing in first and second place.  Nasser Al-Attiyah scored a victory in the 419km Copiapó Stage in the Atacama Region.  Robby Gordon finished in second place for a historic first-ever 1-2 finish for the U.S.-based Team SPEED and for Toyo Tires