CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA – Following a highly successful 2009 racing season, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. announces the company has renewed contracts with key Team Toyo drivers and added new members for 2010. In 2009, Team Toyo drivers won championships in SCORE, TORC, SCCA® Solo and ProSolo, NHRA® Sportsman and in Redline Time Attack!
Robby Gordon claimed the first-ever Overall SCORE Championship and SCORE Trophy Truck Championship for Toyo Tires during the 2009 season. Gordon continues to be a force for Toyo Tires as he races in events such as Dakar®, off-road and short course. Ron Whitton of G&R Racing won two races last year in SNORE (Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts), and was the first driver to win on the newly released 39-inch Open Country M/T-R tires. Whitton’s G&R team will compete in a variety of desert events hosted by SNORE and SCORE.
Returning for the 2010 season in short course off-road racing are Team LeDuc; father Curt, and sons Todd and Kyle with their highly successful short course Ford F-150 pro truck racing program. Racing on Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires, Team LeDuc won 12 short course races last year in both the TORC and Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series. Kyle LeDuc won the 2009 BorgWarner Cup and finished second overall in the Pro 4X4 class. Todd LeDuc won the BorgWarner World Championship for Pro 2WD trucks, while finishing third overall in the Pro 2WD class championship.
Also returning for off-road action is Rick Deremo of Team Extreme Motorsports. Last year, Deremo finished second overall at the XRRA™ (Xtreme Rock Racing Association) finals on Toyo Open Country M/T-R tires. He was also the historic first-ever driver to win in rock racing using an independent front suspension design car.
In the sport of drag racing, 2009 NHRA® Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Top Sportsman class champion (Pacific Division) Gary Forkner returns for another year with his 2006 Pontiac GTO. Running on Toyo Proxes® Drag Slicks, Forkner and Team Toyo’s Thomas Bayer delivered a one-two punch in 2009 with Bayer winning the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Super Comp title in the Pacific Division. Look for both drivers to be in full force at NHRA drag races.
In the world of Formula DRIFT® Team Toyo will be represented by long-time Team Toyo racer Ken Gushi, in his Scion tC, and Rhys Millen, driving his RMR Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
Autocross racers returning this year include Ken Motonishi and Tim Smith, both racing Honda CRX Si’s equipped with Toyo Proxes R1R extreme performance tires in the ST class in SCCA Solo and ProSolo. Smith has won championships on Toyo tires in both categories of racing. In 2009, Ken Motonishi won every race he competed in throughout the western U.S. A past champion himself, Motonishi is a force to be reckoned with in both Solo and ProSolo competition.
New to Team Toyo in Solo competition are Matthew Glagola from Atlanta, Georgia, and Robert and Michelle Seelig from Edmond, Oklahoma. Glagola won the 2009 STS Championship at the Solo Nationals while competing as an independent driver on Toyo Proxes R1R tires. This year, he will be running in the new STR class driving a 2006 Honda S2000 in both the Solo National Tour and the ProSolo tour. The Seeligs are both past champions in SCCA Solo/ProSolo, and have made the switch to the Proxes R1R this year. They bring an abundance of talent to the Toyo Tires brand and will be highly visible in SCCA Solo competition.
“We are excited to have our returning champions and to add new members to Team Toyo for 2010,” said Stan Chen, manager of events and motorsports, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. “The 2010 season should be another fantastic year, highlighting the performance of our tires ranging from the Open Country M/T-R to Proxes Drag Slicks and our Proxes extreme performance tires.”
To learn more about the full line of products from Toyo Tires®, the brand voted #1 overall by independent tire dealers across North America*, log on to toyotires.com. Toyo Tires manufactures and distributes a complete line of replacement tires for high performance cars, luxury vehicles, light trucks and SUVs as well as tires for commercial trucks, buses and off-road and construction applications.
* Tire Review magazine, 2009 Annual Brand Study