Yokohama's Steele wins Best in the Desert title

Dec. 9, 2008
Yokohama Tire Corp.-sponsored Heidi Steele became the first woman driver to win a Best in the Desert (BITD) off-road racing truck championship by placing third at the Fabtech Desert Classic in Henderson, Nev., on Saturday, Dec. 6.

Steele also became the first woman truck champion in SCORE (Class 7SX mid-size truck) after taking a second-place class finish in November's Baja 1000 in Ensenada, Mexico. Steele's Ford Ranger, which ran every race mile of the 2008 SCORE season on off-the-shelf Yokohama Geolandar M/T+ tires, survived more than 1,600 miles of mountain passes, boulders, sand washes, dry lake beds and cattle crossings. For completing every race mile in the SCORE series, Heidi received a 2008 Toyota True Grit Award -- the first female recipient of this honor.

"Our year-long focus was on winning these championships," said Steele, who, when not racing, serves as the vice president of human resources for Orange County-based AccentCare. "I'd like to thank our volunteers and family of sponsors, especially Yokohama, whose Geolandars are what keep us grounded as we fly through the desert.

"I also couldn't have done this without help from Cameron," said Steele, about her husband, a former Baja 1000 champion and two-time SCORE person of the year, who races a Yokohama-sponsored truck in SCORE's premier Trophy Truck class. "Cameron’s helped guide me from first riding mini-bikes to winning the SCORE buggy championship in 2005 and now these mid-size truck championships."

In 2008, Heidi raced in 10 SCORE and BITD events, which included three wins and two seconds.

"We're proud of Heidi's accomplishments this season in the desert and, even more so, due to the fact her truck runs street-stock Geolandar M/T+ tires," said Robert Dole, Yokohama product promotions manager. "There's no doubt about the toughness of our tires, and what we learn at extreme races like the Desert Classic and Baja 1000 has a direct benefit to our customers."

Cameron Steele also competed during 2008, including a 12th place finish at the Baja 1000 (22nd overall out of 347 starters). His Trophy Truck's 37-inch Geolandar A/T-S R tires, which were specially developed and tuned for the rigors of racing an 800-horsepower truck in brutal desert conditions, are an outgrowth of the A/T-S street tire.

Yokohama-sponsored vehicles also won three other SCORE class championships, including Adam Pfankuch in the 1/2-1600 class, Rick St. John in the SCORE Lites class and Marcos Nunez in the 5-1600 class. Pfankuch joined Heidi Steele in winning a Toyota Award, as well as the VW award for being the top finishing Volkswagen in SCORE.

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