Nitto Tire Sponsors King of the Hammers Off-Road Challenge and Six Teams Vying for 4x4 Championship


CYPRESS, Calif., Feb. 5, 2013 --  Nitto Tire returns again this year as Presenting Sponsor and sponsor of six topnotch off-road racing teams for the grueling seventh running of the Griffin King of the Hammers Presented by Nitto Tire on Fri., Feb. 8, 2013.  The tough 4x4 race will be the culmination of this year's week-long event billed as the most impressive to date with an expanded vendor show, additional entertainment and improved spectator areas.

"The Ultimate Desert Race" set in California's rugged Johnson Valley northeast of Los Angeles pits expert drivers and finely tuned vehicles against the area's sand, hard-packed rock trails, near-vertical rock walls and treacherous ledges in breathtaking, all-out, high-speed runs. There is nothing like the excitement of off-road action at this level that takes its toll every year with less than half of the participants typically finishing the race. The event has evolved from 12 teams racing for bragging rights and a case of beer to more than 150 teams competing before thousands of fans both live and online.

Nitto has made an equally aggressive commitment to this signature Ultra 4 racing event as the Presenting Sponsor and sponsor of six racing teams. That impressive roster includes 2012 Ultra 4 series champion Nick Nelson, 2010 King of the Hammers Champion Loren Healy, 2009 KOH Champion Jason Scherer, as well as Cottin Rodd, the groundbreaking first female Ultra 4 competitor. The Nitto sponsorship also includes the striking championship rings for the winning driver and co-driver.

Nitto-sponsored teams, running on Nitto Trail Grappler K-Spec tires, for this year's King of the Hammers competition include:

  • Nick Nelson , Nick Nelson Motorsports, Las Vegas, NV; 2012 Ultra 4 series champion; 1st 2012 Ultra 4 Glen Helen, San Bernardino, CA; 1st  2012 Mint 400, Las Vegas, NV; 1st Vegas to Reno, Reno, NV
  • Cottin Rodd, Jimmy's 4x4, Cortez, CO; only female driver in Ultra 4; co-owner of Jimmy's 4x4, top car fabricator in Ultra 4 racing
  • Loren Healy , Healy Racing, Farmington, NM; 3rd 2012 Ultra 4 overall champion; 5th 2012 King of the Hammers; 3rd Ultra 4 American Rock Sports Challenge, Toole, UT; 2nd Ultra 4 Cinco De Baja, Albuquerque, NM; 2010 King of the Hammers champion
  • Derek West , Crush Motorsports, Springfield, MO; 3rd  2013 Ultra 4 Badlands Offroad, Attica, IN
  • Jason Scherer , PSC Motorsports, Berkeley, CA; 1st Ultra 4 Championships, Blackwell, TX; 2009 King of the Hammers champion
  • Mel Wade , Off Road Evolution, Long Beach, CA; only stock body vehicle to race in KOH

In addition to the avid crowd of spectators on the scene, King of the Hammers week activities and racing action will be streamed for live viewing online at

Visit to check out 2012 King of the Hammers highlights including championship footage with Champion Nick Nelson, 2013 pre-race trailers and Nitto tire technology.

For complete details on Ultra 4 Racing and the King of the Hammers event, visit

Information on Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc. and its products can be found on the web at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at @NittoTire.

Johnson Valley is a varied landscape for off-highway enthusiasts punctuated by steep red-rock mountains, rolling hills, open valleys, dry lake beds and sandy washes. Elevations range from 4,600 feet (Hartwell Hills) to 2,300 feet (Melville Dry Lake). Vegetation includes creosote scrub, annual grasses, wild flowers and Joshua trees. The 188,000-acre OHV area is open during King of the Hammers week to visitors from across the world.

About Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc.

Nitto Tire ( develops performance tires for all uses, including racing, off-road and street.  Using state-of-the-art manufacturing and testing facilities in Japan and the United States, Nitto provides innovative and high-quality performance tires for the most demanding automotive enthusiasts. For more information, visit the company's website or contact the company directly.  Nitto is a registered trademark of Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc., 5665 Plaza Drive, Ste. 250, Cypress, Calif., 90630.

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