Toyo Tires captures historic 1st and 2nd overall in the Baja 500
Toyo Tires captured a historic 1st and 2nd overall in the 45th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 this past weekend.
Robby Gordon of Charlotte, NC, driving his SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires Chevy CK1500 trophy truck, won the 501-mile race in a time of 10:04:36. Finishing second was BJ Baldwin of Las Vegas, NV, piloting his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Chevy Silverado trophy truck in a time of 10:13:51. Both drivers relied on Toyo Open Country M/T-R tires for their decisive podium finish over a field of some 275 international competitors.
For the first time, pre-race qualifying was held a few days earlier on a section of the Baja 500 race course near Ojos Negros. Robby Gordon qualified the fastest, ensuring a number one starting position. During the race, Gordon was the first trophy truck on course and was challenged by surprise obstacles throughout the loop around the Baja California peninsula. An early spin off-course nearly changed the outcome of his race, but a determined Gordon managed to return to the lead position.
“I can’t say enough about the Toyo tires and the race this weekend,” said Gordon. “To be able to win the race overall and have BJ finish second, and then on the other side, our other car Justin Matney of RPM Offroad. We got the Overall, Trophy Truck, Class 1, Spec 8, Class 8… all on Toyo Tires. It was a killer weekend. I want to thank everyone from Toyo for taking a chance on the RPM team, and stepping up and letting them join the family. We’re stoked to have another good winning partner on our hands with them… it was just a great weekend.”
“This year’s Baja 500 was so close to being a flawless victory. A bolt that held the brake pedal assembly together broke forcing us to lose valuable time limping it into the pits,” said Baldwin. “We were easily and consistently leading the race for five hours up until then. Other than that we had no issues. My Toyo's performed perfectly. We had great traction and no tire failures during the entire Baja 500.”
Toyo Open Country M/T tires were also on the winning vehicles of the SPEED Energy / RPM Offroad racing team. The Clyde Stacy-owned vehicles were prepped at Robby Gordon Off-Road and with the help of Geiser Brothers. Justin Matney of Bristol, TN, driver of the SPEED Energy / RPM Offroad buggy won decisively in Class 1 with a time of 11:16:25. Also winning the Trophy Truck Special Class was the Toyo Tires-equipped Chevy truck driven by Apdaly Lopez with a time of 13:34:40.
In Class 8, Derek Fletcher from Arlington, VA, won on Toyo tires with a time of 17:52:28 driving his Chevy truck.
"We really just cruised all day, no issues and zero flats. It is a real testament to Toyo Tires,” said Justin Matney of RPM Offroad. “Our biggest problem today was the dust. It was really dusty out there, but I am happy to be here, first with SPEED Energy, RPM and Toyo Tires. I can't thank those guys enough. I’m really looking forward to the 1000 and to see if we can't capitalize there as well."
“Toyo Tires made history this past weekend, scoring a first and second overall, while winning Classes 1, 8 and Trophy Truck Special in the legendary Baja 500,” said Amy Coleman, Senior Director of Marketing, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. “We congratulate Robby Gordon and his team for the overall win, and BJ Baldwin and his team for capturing second overall. Congratulations also go out to Justin Matney, Apdaly Lopez and Derek Fletcher at RPM Offroad for their class wins. Our dominance this past weekend just proves that the Toyo Open Country M/T-R is the tire for champions.”
Toyo Tires has won two Baja 1000 races, most recently in 2012 with BJ Baldwin, and in 2006 with Robby Gordon. Baldwin was also crowned the 2012 SCORE-International Overall Point Champion, while Robby Gordon was the 2009 SCORE-International Point Champion. Last year, Gordon was named 2012 Grand Champion in the Best In The Desert Series.