General Tire Announces 2013 Off-Road Lineup
General Tire debuted its 2013 Team GT driver lineup for the Best In The Desert (BITD) series in Parker, AZ at the “Parker 425”. Leading the team are four top-contending 1500 buggies with four young drivers behind the wheel that are all racing in championship form. Off-road whiz and NASCAR standout, Justin Lofton, joins Vegas to Reno winner, Garrick Freitas, along with CJ Hutchins and newcomers Ray Griffith and Harley Letner. Lofton is poised as a veteran of the group as he prepares to run the entire 2013 BITD schedule.
“It’s pretty cool to go from being the young one in the group to being the veteran,” said Justin Lofton, Team GT member. “I’m looking forward to going out and racing against all my Team GT team members.
“As for this year, the plan is to race the full 2013 BITD season and hopefully a few other off-road races.” Lofton continued, “I’m going to mix it up and scale back the NASCAR Truck program a little bit and see what other opportunities become available.”
Griffith, an up-and-comer, moves to General tires for the first time in 2013. After just a short amount of time he’s found his groove in his new shoes and is happy to be a part of the team.
“So far it’s been great,” said Griffith. “The tires, so far, are better than anything I’ve ran on. Braking, and in and out of turns, is excellent. It’s a whole other ballgame. I’d definitely say it’s a step in the right direction.”
In addition to the 1500 Class, Team GT will sponsor two entries in the 6100 Class with Camburg Racing and Azunia Racing. Jim Riley and Rick L. Johnson will once again be behind the wheel of the Azunia machine while Camburg’s Jerry Whelchel is joined by desert expert, Mike Childress.
“This opens up a whole other opportunity in my racing career and I’m looking forward to it,” said Childress. “I get to drive with Jerry Whelchel and he’s pretty much the off-road racing icon so I get to learn some things. I’m going to be like a sponge and absorb it all.”
As for being a veteran member of Team GT, Childress said, “I drove on the very first tires that came off the back of the Penske truck in Las Vegas when we were testing.” Childress continued, “I’m going to continue to drive on Generals until I’m old and fat and can’t drive anymore.”
General Tire also added to their KC Hi-Lites-sponsored contingency of vehicles as Steve Alexander joins Macrae Glass and Randy Merritt in Class 5000, 8000, and 7200 respectively. Sean and Brett Backus emerge as new members to Team GT in Class 7200 to join Steve La Roza and his Ford EcoBoost machine in the same class.
As if this lineup wasn’t stout enough, Team GT also adds Banning Motorsports to their distinguished list of sponsored teams. General will also continue to sponsor Jeep Speed and TrophyLite. Overall, a diverse group of drivers who are bound to roll into victory lane many times before the 2013 season comes to a close. It’s a team that General Tire’s director of marketing believes in.
“This year’s Team GT lineup is strong,” said Travis Roffler, director of marketing for General Tire. “We have a lot of depth in this year’s team and their experience ranges from literally decades, to just a few short years. I think our Team GT lineup has a lot of history in the making and we’re proud to be represented by each and every one of our drivers and teams.”