Radar Tires enters its sophomore season of short course off-road racing by expanding the program into two series – The Off-Road Championship (TORC) and Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Championship (LOORRS).
Red Bull athlete Luke Johnson, the 2013 TORC Pro Buggy Champion and driver/owner of the No. 14 Project648 Motorsports Dodge Dakota, will campaign the full TORC season and a partial LOORRS season on Radar Tires. Fresh of his first Pro Buggy championship, Johnson returns to the Pro Light class for the first time since 2012.
“We are thrilled to have Luke Johnson representing Radar Tires in 2014 and anticipate a great relationship with Luke both on and off the track.” said GS Sareen, President and Founder of Omni United. “To have a driver of his pedigree and accomplishments campaign on Radar tires is a testimony to our products and what has been accomplished in our short tenure in motorsports. We made huge gains during our rookie season and we’re looking to build on that program with Luke and the Project648 team in 2014. Welcome to the Radar Tires and Omni United family, Luke.”
Johnson will use size LT265/75R16 and 32X11.50R15 Radar Renegade R5 tires in both TORC and LOORRS series this season.
The 21-year old, Orange County, Calif., resident has made his mark on both short and long course off-road racing. Johnson won his first championship title in 2007 in the Super-Stock UTV class of Championship Off-Road Racing (CORR). That same year, he competed in his first Baja 1000. In 2009, Johnson was named TORC Sportsman Rookie of the Year and then in 2012 was recognized as the TORC Most Improved Driver of the Year.
In his 2013 championship season, Johnson won eight out of the 12 TORC Pro Buggy races and capped his season off with a Class 8 win at SCORE International’s Baja 1000 in November.
Q & A with Luke Johnson
Q: TALK ABOUT JOINING THE RADAR TIRES SHORT COURSE PROGRAM FOR 2014.
Johnson: “I am very excited to be joining the Radar Tires team for 2014. Omni United is a very aggressive, young company that has already grabbed some big wins in the desert and I hope to earn Radar’s first short course win.
“Another reason I was drawn to Radar Tires and Omni United is its support of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). For every Radar tire sold, Omni United donates money to the BCRF and that’s amazing. This commitment is near and dear to my heart because I lost my grandma to breast cancer when she was only 52, after beating it once before in her life.”
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE 2014 SEASON?
Johnson: “The 2014 season brings me back into the Pro Light truck and I’m ready to be back in the class. In 2012, I was named TORC’s Most Improved Driver of the Year and was in contention for the championship all year. After earning the most improved driver recognition, and then my first off-road championship in Pro Buggy, I expect nothing less than a championship in 2014. I approach this season pumped as ever to take off where I left off. I can’t wait to hit the dirt with those Radar tires.”
Q: TALK ABOUT MAKING THE TRANSITION TO RADAR TIRES. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE RADAR TIRES PROGRAM THAT WILL HELP YOU FOR THE 2014 SEASON?
Johnson: “Joining the Radar Tires team will benefit me both on and off the track. Radar Tires proved last season in both LOORRS and SCORE that they can handle anything the track and competition throws at them. Plus the legendary tire guru Gary Blalock is heading their racing program and has already brought them great success in their rookie season.
“Radar Tires is very active with its press and social media, which I think is very powerful in today’s society. Between my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and Radar's aggressive marketing, the combo of the two is a recipe for success growing both our brands and names in motorsports and the mainstream market.”
Q: WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2014?
Johnson: “I’m thrilled to be back in a Pro Light truck. I had a lot of fun in Pro Buggy, but there is nothing like rubbing doors in Pro Light. I found out real quick at Crandon that you can’t rub in a buggy. Racing is what I live for, it is my life, and I get cranky when I'm away from it for too long. The season can’t start soon enough.”
Q: TALK ABOUT THE TRANSITION FROM BUGGY TO PRO LIGHT. HOW WILL YOUR CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON IN BUGGY HELP YOU IN PRO LIGHT?
Johnson: “A lot of people were surprised to see me in a Pro Buggy in 2013, and to be honest, I was too. Pro Buggy wasn't something I had really thought of racing, but I am glad I did. When faced with having to sit out a year from racing, the Pro Buggy program was an affordable way to keep racing professionally and to start my own team.
“Making the move to open wheel racing and a manual transmission was all new to me. I learned a lot about momentum, setting up passes, and certain things about how to run a successful racing program. Taking that experience back to Pro Light after being away for a year, I feel I am bringing a lot more to the table than I had in previous seasons.”
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.