Baja 500: Yokohama Tire preview

Baja 500 Next for Yokohama Tire Corporation-Sponsored Off-Roaders Strong field features three 2008 class champions, including Heidi Steele, who is racing in two divisions FULLERTON, CA (May 27, 2009) -- Three Yokohama Tire Corporation- sponsored...

Baja 500 Next for Yokohama Tire Corporation-Sponsored Off-Roaders
Strong field features three 2008 class champions, including Heidi Steele, who is racing in two divisions

FULLERTON, CA (May 27, 2009) -- Three Yokohama Tire Corporation- sponsored off-road drivers who captured class championships in last year's SCORE Baja 500, are heading back to dusty Ensenada, Mexico, June 5-7, to compete in the storied event.

Heidi Steele, who took the Class 7SX title in '08, has moved up in class this year and will race in two divisions: Class 6 (with co-driver Ross Savage) and Class 7 (with co-driver Rene Brugger). Steele, the overall 2008 champion in Best of the Desert and the SCORE Desert Series, was recently named Dirt Sports magazine's Driver of the Year. She'll compete at Baja in both classes on off-the-shelf Yokohama Geolandar M/T+0x00ae tires on a Ford Ranger. Steele is currently in first place in Class 6 and third in Class 7.

Cameron Steele, the other half of off-road racing's "power couple," will once again battle Baja in the highly competitive Trophy Truck class. Steele, a two-time SCORE Person of the Year and TV commentator, will be driving the No. 16 Desert Assassins Chevrolet Silverado outfitted with Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S-R0x00ae tires.

Besides Heidi Steele, other returning Yokohama-sponsored racers who won the Baja 500 last year include, defending SCORE Lite class champion Rick St. John; and Adam Pfankuch, the '08 Class 1-2/1600 winner. Pfankuch is switching classes this year and will be sharing driving duties with St. John in SCORE Lite.

Yokohama will have one more driver in the Baja 500 field: rookie Justin "Bean" Smith, who will take over the reins in this year's Class 1-2/1600 race. He is currently tied for number one in the class and tied for third in the overall SCORE standings.

"We've got a talented, hungry group of drivers in this year's Baja 500," said Mark Chung, Yokohama director, corporate strategy and planning. "Many of them won last year and we think they'll be highly successful this time around, too. We know our tires are up to the challenge and can conquer the tough terrain at Baja and help bring back some championships."

After Baja, the next SCORE race for Yokohama-sponsored teams is the Primm 300, September 11-13 in Primm, Nevada.

Yokohama Tire Corporation is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., a global producer and distributor of premium tires since 1917. Servicing a network of more than 4,500 points of sale in the U.S., Yokohama Tire Corporation offers a complete line of tires, including high-performance, light truck, passenger car, commercial truck and bus, as well as off-the-road mining and construction applications. For more information on Yokohama's extensive product line, visit www.yokohamatire.com.

Yokohama is a strong supporter of the tire care and safety guidelines established by the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration. Details can be found at the "Tire Safety" section at www.yokohamatire.com.

-credit: yokohama

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Series Score
Drivers Heidi Steele , Rene Brugger