Hey Vernal! Here Comes Goodyear!
27 June 2000Hey Vernal! Here Comes Goodyear!
AKRON, Ohio, June 27 The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced today that its Goodyear Extreme Rock Crawling Championship Series will move to Vernal, Utah, on July 21 and 22. More than 60 highly modified vehicles are expected to compete in the four- wheeling event sanctioned by the American Rock Crawlers Association (ARCA). After three events, four of the top five drivers vying for the series championship are competing on Goodyear tires. Jeff "Rookie" Waggoner, an off- roader from Kearney, Neb., continues to lead the series with 342 points. Waggoner credits Goodyear's new Wrangler MT/R off-road tire, with its Durawall puncture-resistance sidewall technology, with helping him to maintain his series lead from the first Farmington, N.M., event. Chris Durham, of Travelers' Rest, S.C., won the last event in Cedar City, Utah, and is second in championship points with 332 points. Shannon Campbell, the Gilbert, Ariz., off-road racer who won the first event in Farmington, is third with 318. Ron Wells, marketing manager for Goodyear light truck tires, said, "We had the opportunity to be the marquee sponsor for the series, and we grabbed it. The series features the best-of-the-best in the sport, and it has helped our Wrangler MT/R to take the off-road market by storm. "The top competitors set the trend for the entire off-road industry, so being there with the new tire on the top vehicles really is critical to being a 'player' in the market. The series also provides a great venue to show equipment manufacturers and consumers that the Wrangler MT/R is for real," Wells said. In 1998, retail sales of off-road specialty equipment were $657 million, according to Specialty Equipment Market Association, an industry trade organization representing aftermarket automotive companies. "Goodyear has invested significantly in this market by developing a differentiated new product that takes performance by this growing segment of enthusiasts to unprecedented levels," Wells said. This year, the company set out on a strategy that links rock crawling, grassroots word of mouth, magazine advertising and Jeep Jamborees to its new Wrangler MT/R off-road tire, with reinforced puncture-resistant sidewalls. Off-road enthusiasts are concerned about the durability and quality of the products they buy, according to SEMA research. Three of the top four factors that determine the brand they purchase involves reputation, previous use and guarantee. Although the company is focused on the needs of the off-road enthusiast, Wells said, "We are finding the tire has visual appeal to the consumer who just wants an aggressive looking tire that fills the wheelwells." SEMA said only 40 percent of the vehicles fitted with off-road equipment are four-wheel-drive. To the uninitiated, extreme rock crawling is an unusual sport. To Mark Smith, the father of modern four-wheeling, rock crawling is the art of negotiating extremely rugged terrain. In Smith's Guide to Safe, Common Sense Off-Road Driving handbook, the off- roader highly recommends the new Wrangler MT/R. "It is a great multi-purpose tire with three-ply sidewalls and a tread to match any terrain. It has been tested and proven on the Rubicon Trail." Goodyear's extreme tire was introduced last year on California's legendary Rubicon Trail. Note: Goodyear news releases and high-resolution photographs now can be found at http://www.GoodyearNewsRoom.com .