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Nitto Tire Returns for a Second Year as Presenting Sponsor of the Griffin King of the Hammers with Nine Sponsored Entries

CYPRESS, Calif., Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Nitto Tire, a leading manufacturer of high-performance street and off-road tires, returns again this year as presenting sponsor of the 2014 Griffin King of the Hammers off-road race. The company has also increased its sponsorship of drivers in the event and will back a total of nine entries in 2014, up from six in 2013.

The eighth running of the Griffin King of the Hammers Presented by Nitto Tire is set for Fri., Feb. 7, 2014 in California's rugged Johnson Valley. The tough 4x4 race will be the culmination of this year's week-long event that also features a vendor show, entertainment and spectator areas.

Considered by many as one of the toughest single-day off-road events in the world, the King of the Hammers  combines aspects of desert racing and rock crawling. The event pits highly skilled drivers and finely tuned vehicles against the area's sand, hard-packed rock trails, near-vertical rock walls and treacherous ledges in breathtaking fashion. Each year, the Hammers takes its toll on the participants, with less than half of the drivers finishing the race. The event has evolved from an invitation-only, non-spectator event with13 participants to more than 180 teams competing in front of more than 35,000 fans on-site and nearly a half-million online. At the culmination of the main race ending at 10:00 p.m. PST on Friday, Nitto will award the winning team with the customized King of the Hammers Nitto championship ring.

Nitto Tire has made an aggressive commitment to this signature Ultra4 racing event as the presenting sponsor and sponsor of nine racing teams. That impressive roster includes three former King of the Hammers champions: 2012 winner Erik Miller, 2010 winner Loren Healy and 2009 winner Jason Scherer. All Nitto-sponsored drivers will be running the Nitto Trail Grappler, a durable off-road tire that had no flats in last year's event.

Nitto welcomes two new drivers to its already impressive lineup for the 2014 season including:

Erik Miller (Cumberland, MD) – #4421 Miller Motorsports Ultra4 buggy; 2012 King of the Hammers champion

Ben Napier (Sydney, Australia) – #4461 BN Motorsports Ultra 4 buggy; 5th place finish in 2013 King of the Hammers

The remaining six drivers have returned to the Nitto Tire team for the 2014 season and include:

Loren Healy (Farmington, NM) – #67 Jimmy's 4x4 Nitto Tire Ultra4 buggy; 2013 Ultra4 Superlift race winner; 2010 King of the Hammers champion

Rick Mooneyham (Lake Havasu City, AZ) – #554 Nitto Tire Trick Toys Fabrication Ultra4 buggy; 2013 Ultra4 American Rock Sports Challenge race winner

Nick Nelson (Las Vegas, NV) – #4404 Nitto Tire Ultra4 buggy; 2013 Ultra4 Glen Helen Grand Prix race winner and 2012 Ultra4 Series champion

Cottin and Randy Rodd (Cortez, CO) - #4407 Jimmy's 4x4 Nitto Tire Ultra 4 buggy

Jason Scherer (Walnut Creek, CA) – #76 Rubicon Express Nitto Tire Ultra4 buggy; 2013 Ultra4 Stampede and Ultra4 National Championship race winner; 2009 King of the Hammers champion

Mel Wade (Long Beach, CA) – #4451 Discount Tire Off-Road Evolution Jeep; 2013 Vegas to Reno desert race winner

Derek West (Springfield, MO) – #4420 Jimmy's 4x4 Nitto Tire Ultra4 buggy; 2013 Ultra4 Rausch Creek race winner

For more information about Ultra4 racing and the Griffin King of the Hammers event, visit www.ultra4racing.com. Learn more about Nitto-sponsored drivers at www.nittoracing.com. Complete details on Nitto tires can be found at www.nittotire.com. Join Nitto Tire on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NittoTire and on Twitter at @NittoTire.

About Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc.
Nitto Tire (www.nittotire.com) 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.

SOURCE Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc.

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