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John Stewart

Team General Tire, BITD, and Twitter

Follow Team General Tire on Twitter and get Daily Updates On the BITD Vegas to Reno Race at Generaltire.com

FORT MILL, SC – (August 17, 2009) – Desert off-road racing fans can track the progress of their favorite Team General Tire drivers on Twitter and get tracking and daily updates and photos during this weekend’s epic Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno run August 19-21.

Beginning with the start of the event, race fans and followers can log onto www.twitter.com/teamgt for up-to-the-minute progress reports for all of the Team GT drivers.

“This year’s Vegas to Reno run is the ultimate long desert challenge, and Twitter is the ultimate application for conveying real-time results to our fans,” said Dana Zamalloa, manager of PR and communications, General Tire.  “It’s a great way to keep everyone updated on our drivers’ progress during the race, right down to the finish.”

Fans will also be able to get driver tracking at www.generaltire.com provided by IRC and daily updates and photos from the race.  The intenseness of the Vegas to Reno race this year should provide a lot of exciting daily news.

Drivers representing Team GT include:
Trick Truck
Rick Johnson – Team 71 – 2008 Vegas to Reno Champion
BJ Baldwin – Baldwin Motorsports
Bobby Baldwin – Baldwin Motorsports
Jason and Richard Voss – Voss Motorsports

Class 8000
Ted Hunnicutt – Synergy Motorsports

Class 8100
Kent Kroeker – KORE

Class 7200
Marc Burnett – MB Motorsports
Sean Backus

General Tire is again ‘unleashing the fury’ in off-road performance for 2009, in the second year campaigning its Grabber competition tire.  Designed with a tough, three-ply Duragen™-reinforced body construction to stand up to the rigors of off-road conditions, the Grabber also features a newly-developed competition-specific tread compound. In addition, the Grabber name and General Tire logo are prominently featured on the sidewall in red and white letters.  The Grabber competition tires are designed in size 37x12.50R17 for class 8 and trophy truck/trick truck and 35x12.50R17 for class 1, 6, 7, 7 S, stock mini and Protruck.

General Tire also has a complete line of Grabber tires for the passenger and light truck market, including the new Grabber DOT-approved off-road tire (to be released later this year); the Grabber HTS, which delivers the perfect synergy of comfort, durability and performance; the Grabber UHP, which sets a whole new standard in performance and ride quality for SUVs, light trucks and crossover vehicles; and Grabber AT2, designed for aggressive all-terrain traction in all weather conditions.

General Tire is part of Continental Tire North America, Inc. (www.generaltire.com). 

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John Stewart

New Class of Cars to Debute at BITD

Vegas to Reno the long way, the brainchild of BITD’s Casey Folks, is the longest off-road point-to-point race in the United States, and this year he made it tougher.  Not wanting to miss a once in a lifetime adventure, Hammerking Productions approached Folks about the addition of King of the Hammers-style Rock crawlers, now branded Ultra4 cars.  “Our type of racing is all about the harsh environment and brutal terrain, and we felt this would continue that test of man and machine,” said Hammerking Productions Dave Cole.  Cole will pilot a Brian Kirby purpose-built, cross breed of desert car that is also capable of climbing vertical walls and accelerating through the deep silt-beds found in the Nevada desert.  “This is my dream car!” exclaimed Cole.

To sweeten the deal and attract a class of racers, Hammerking Productions attached the event to its widely popular Griffin King of the Hammers series of regional qualifiers.  “Our approach this year has been to force our teams out of their comfort zone and introduce them to multiple forms of off-road genres,” says Knoll.  He then went on to say that “the partnership between Hammerking and Best In The Desert has been working out great so far with more than a dozen Ultra4 teams signing up for this epic adventure.”

The UNITE team partners drivers who regularly participate in multiple motor sports and fabricators from six states and three countries who could be considered royalty in their own racing category.  Drivers have experience ranging from the X Games, SCORE/BITD Desert Racing, Gumball 3000 Rally, Drag Racing, and Professional Rock-Sport Racing.  Personalities include Adam Woodlee, Wyatt Pemberton, Dan Barcroft, Brian Kirby, Ken Mercer, RJ Brown, Matt Sisson, Dave Camp, Wayne Israelsen, Randy Slawson, Ben Napier, JR VanOrtwick, Dave Schneider, Chris Ridgway, and Chris Pook, who will join forces with Dave Cole and Jeff Knoll of Hammerking Productions and will be lead by the efforts of crew chief JC Andrews the Mojave Desert Racing 2008 overall points champion.  “JC is the type of driver who puts together solid, consistent wins.  We will all learn from him out in the Nevada desert,” said 2007 SCORE Baja 1000 winner Dave Schnieder and owner of the 4471 car piloted by Jeff Knoll for this event. “Half the fun is just going to be working with these guys!” added Knoll.

Signing on to support the effort of the UNITE team has been a number of the leaders in the off-road motor sports arena, including Griffin Thermal Products, BFGoodrich Tires, Raceline Wheels, Vision X Lights, and Ready Welder.  Greg Mulkey, race director for Raceline Wheel, expressed his company’s position: “Raceline Wheels is proud to be associated with Hammerking Productions and we hope to carry over our success in rock-sports to this exciting new class of desert racing.  We believe our wheels are perfectly suited for the demands of this type of endurance racing."  Mulkey will join the UNITE team for Vegas to Reno and utilize the opportunity to see first-hand testing of their line of racing wheels.  Darick Schmitt, distributor for VisionX lighting systems, added, “We see King of the Hammers as the fastest-growing off-road racing series in North America.  The commitment by Jeff Knoll and Dave Cole to create a race and build a series that combines so many different off-road disciplines has created a following by top racers which, in turn, brings fan support never seen before in this type of [rock-sports] racing.”

To learn more about the UNITE off-road racing team, get race week live updates and coverage, and King of the Hammers, please visit: www.KingOfTheHammers.com  

Sponsors:
www.GriffinRad.com 
www.BFGoodrichTires.com
www.RacelineWheels.com
www.VisionXUSA.com
www.ReadyWelder.com  

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John Stewart

General Tire Team Notches SNORE Win

Mike Childress/Robert Pickering Win Class 7 in 2009 SNORE KC Highlights Midnight Special

RIDGECREST, CA – (August 10, 2009) -- Mike Childress and Robert Pickering prevailed through a punishing, rocky 43-mile lap course to take the Class 7 win at the 2009 SNORE KC HiLiTES Midnight Special on August 8. 

“Mikey and Robert put on a great show for the fans representing General Tires,” said Tony Talbert, LT Truck Product Manager, General Tire.  “They lapped the whole class and finished 10th overall in a really awesome showing. We are very proud of their effort in this event.”

He added that Childress drove first three laps before turning it over to Pickering, the vehicle owner, with 50 minute lead.

General Tire is again ‘unleashing the fury’ in off-road performance for 2009, in the second year campaigning its Grabber competition tire.  Designed with a tough, three-ply Duragen™-reinforced body construction to stand up to the rigors of off-road conditions, the Grabber also features a newly-developed competition-specific tread compound. In addition, the Grabber name and General Tire logo are prominently featured on the sidewall in red and white letters.  The Grabber competition tires are designed in size 37x12.50R17 for class 8 and trophy truck/trick truck and 35x12.50R17 for class 1, 6, 7, 7 S, stock mini and Protruck.

General Tire also has a complete line of Grabber tires for the passenger and light truck market, including the new Grabber DOT-approved off-road tire (to be released later this year); the Grabber HTS, which delivers the perfect synergy of comfort, durability and performance; the Grabber UHP, which sets a whole new standard in performance and ride quality for SUVs, light trucks and crossover vehicles; and Grabber AT2, designed for aggressive all-terrain traction in all weather conditions.

General Tire is part of Continental Tire North America, Inc. (www.generaltire.com).

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John Stewart

OV Rocksports Prepares for Best in The Desert

OV Rocksports teams with HASA Pool Products for Vegas to Reno Race Rock Zombie Travis Carpenter competes in 1,000 mile desert race in car 4405

HASA Pool Products joins with OV Rocksports as a title sponsor for the TSCO “Vegas to Reno the long way” desert race in the 4400 Ultra 4 class. Rock Zombie 4x4 club member Travis Carpenter and spotter Dan Trout of (FishMouth Fabworks) will compete in the 4405 “land-use” buggy in an attempt to qualify for the 2010 King of the Hammers race.

With Travis’s father Stan Carpenter as crew chief, land-use activist Kurt Schneider as manager/promoter, and strong pit support by his Rock Zombie club members, Travis has formed a team of committed individuals. While Dan Trout has experience in the desert scene, Travis Carpenter brings only his experience in trail riding and competitive rock crawling which he has been involved in for many years.

According to Travis, “I may be the underdog in this race, but we are in it to win it. Qualifying for the King of the Hammers is just a secondary goal. I am really excited to be racing in this new class against such veteran drivers.”

The 2009 TSCO “Vegas to Reno” The long way race, is a 1,000 mile, three-day, staged off road desert race hosted by the “Best in the Desert” New for this year is the introduction of the 4400 class in which Travis Carpenter is running the 4405 car.

Travis’s 4405 buggy has been masterfully built by Dan Trout of Fishmouth Fabworks. Already featured prominently at various competitions, events, trail work parties, trail rides and even parades, the vehicle turns heads and has gained much attention due to its outstanding craftsmanship.

As part of the team’s commitment to land-use issues, the vehicle will also be running various land-use decals to help educate OHV users on proper use and to keep our public lands open to the public. According to manager Kurt Schneider, “This rig is more than just a race buggy, we are using it as an educational tool to illustrate to the general public that responsible OHV use does little to no damage to the actual environment. We are also currently working to run the rig on all bio-degradable fluids including gear oil, motor oil and bio-degradable ATF”

In addition to title sponsor HASA Inc., car 4405 is also sponsored by Powertank, Yukon, Infinite Graphx, MFS, Marco Muffler and Solid Axle.

OV Rocksports is the competition division of the Nor Cal Rock Zombies 4x4 Club from Orangevale, CA.  Primarily a rock crawling team, OV Rocksports ran in the Last Chance Qualifier in the 2009 King of the Hammers.

HASA Inc. has been keeping your water safe and clean for over 40 years, with its production, sale and distribution of sodium hypochlorite and related products to the industrial, water treatment and swimming pool markets. HASA is a family owned and operated business that has been long dedicated to the needs of its customers and the impeccable standards of its products.

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John Stewart

Jeff Mello Celebrates His 100th Competition Win

Dave Cole and Jeff Mello Win Reno Rocks

DANVILLE, CA - JULY 10, 2009:   Jeff Mello celebrated his 100th competition win at the Reno Rocks WERock event June 19th and 20th at the Sands Regency Casino. After the team of Jeff Mello and spotter Dave Cole completed their final course in the Formula Toyota class and clinched the event win, Mello jumped on the roof of a vehicle he didn’t even own and claimed the victory.  

"I'm so happy my 100th win could come at such a fantastic event. Having Dave Cole as my spotter, the King of the Hammers preview, Pirate4x4.com coverage, and having my family here was the icing on the cake. The irony of having 99 wins all in Jeep brand vehicles and then the 100th in a Toyota is fine with me. Who would have thought," said Mello. The remarkable success of the Mello and Cole team shows they are winners no matter what they drive.  This particular Formula Toyota vehicle was new to both of them, so new that they had never even met the owner.

Mello's career has spanned over three decades and nine different disciplines of off-road racing. Starting in BMX and local mud racing, Mello evolved as a privateer into national events such as the Clear Channel Pro Arena/ Stadium series, eight rock crawling championships, King of the Hammers, and XRRA rock racing. He's earned wins on the international level both as UROC World Supercrawl Champion in 2003 and as a hired shoe for the Pirate4x4/ Shaffer's winning Jeepspeed in the 2007 SCORE Baja 1000. Other honorable mention wins include the 2002 Pro Rock Series with four back-to-back event wins, and the Stock Modified Championship. Mello is recognized as a driver who can get the vehicle onto the podium and claims his "race any thing" attitude toward seat time to be a keystone in his success.  He is always looking for the next ride and the next big challenge.

Jeff Mello runs a budget team that has had to find ingenious ways to get and maintain the vehicles to competition standards, and successfully does so weekend after weekend.  “We make winning financially smart, it’s part of the challenge for me,” says Mello.  “That’s just good business, and our sponsors and fans alike respect that about us.”  

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