New Goodyear Wranglers grab off-road wins from Baja to Wisconsin
When the new Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar was introduced earlier this year, company officials emphasized the rugged toughness and enhanced sidewall puncture resistance of the tire. While the product is primarily intended for off-road enthusiasts who enjoy weekend four-wheeling in mud, sand, rocks and dirt, it also is proving its worth as a race tire.
In the June 20, 2009, Mole Lake Casino & Lodge Stock Truck Silver Cup Race at legendary Crandon International Off-Road Raceway in Crandon, Wis., Mitch Dorr drove his Ford F150 to victory on a set of the new Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar tires. With the win, Dorr was crowned the first "Sportsman King of Off-Road Racing," in honor of the 40th anniversary of short course off-road racing in Crandon.
Crandon Raceway is considered the fastest and most punishing off-road race course in the U.S. The course provides a challenge to racers with its rutted track and loose rocks, and Dorr credited his Goodyear tires with carrying him through to the key victory.
In a post-race interview, Dorr said, "It was my first race on the new Goodyear Wranglers with Kevlar. The race was grueling and fast-paced, but the tires looked brand-new at this finish line. The new Goodyear tire delivered me to the checkered flag, and I have tremendous confidence in the brand."
Elsewhere, Goodyear also helped deliver another off-road racer to an important victory in a legendary race.
The reliability of Goodyear Wrangler tires was a key factor in off-road racer Harley Letner's ability to defeat all 266 challengers and capture the overall victory in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 race held in June in Ensenada, Mexico.
Letner won the Class 1 Unlimited crown during a hard-fought race through the legendary Baja desert in his Goodyear-equipped Chevrolet. Of 267 competitors, 195 finished the 433-mile race, and Letner's winning time was 9 hours, 5 minutes and 47 seconds. He was aided by co-driver Kory Halopoff.
According to Letner, the Goodyear Wranglers gave the team dependability that was vital. "No flats. We really just did a rear tire change when we changed drivers; that was about it," he explained.
Brake trouble on the vehicle did present some anxious moments. The drivers lost brakes at about mile 70, but decided to avoid the time necessary to change the brakes. Instead, they "figured out how to drive it," and dealt with the brake issue for the remainder of the race.
"As the off-road racing season progresses, the Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar will see more competition time. It is the same tire consumers can purchase at Goodyear retailers, and is being used in races because teams are requesting it over other available products due to its aggressive traction and rugged toughness," said Jonathan Lee, Goodyear product manager, light-truck tires.
The Goodyear brand marketing team also has promoted the Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar in Best in the Desert (BITD) racing; at the 2009 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah; and at an extensive introduction event held in February in Johnson Valley, Calif.
The new tire is available in 30 sizes. Find more information about the Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar at www.goodyeartires.com.