Events/CompetitionsPress Release

Joe Bacal Survives First-Corner Hit to Win Laughlin Desert Challenge

Bacal and Lexus Take a Beating but Never Falter in Fast-Paced Race

LAUGHLIN, Nevada, January 18, 2009 – In a heart-stopping beginning to his second year in off-road racing, Joe Bacal put his Lexus LX 570 ahead of his closest class rival as they raced flat out to the first corner at the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge 2010 season opener on Saturday, only to feel the full force of competition slam into him as he headed for the apex.  Rival competitor Justin Matney left a major wound in Bacal’s Lexus as he pushed his way through, but the adrenaline-fired Bacal re-passed Matney shortly after and was never headed again en route to another Stock Full-class victory this past weekend.

This is not to say Bacal never looked back.  “This is one of the most difficult races I’ve done,” said Bacal.  “The longer races like Baja require a more conservative approach to make sure you finish.  But this was a sprint race and pretty much flat out—I didn’t even have time to wipe my visor.  It was crazy but the Lexus is a rocket ship.”

And like Bacal, apparently hard to break.  Despite considerable damage sustained in the crash, Bacal, co-driver Bob Ditner and the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Lexus continued unabated after the first-corner dust-up—important because the other competitors weren’t letting up.  After their Saturday triumph, Bacal and Ditner duplicated the feat on Sunday in the second and final round of the Laughlin event.

The two-race format gives competitors a chance to race on Saturday and repair/refresh their vehicles for the second round on Sunday.  The event is the first on the 2010 SCORE calendar and Bacal’s back-to-back victories give him a large lead in the Stock Full class championship after just one race weekend.  “It’s the best possible way to begin the new season,” noted Bacal.  “I have to thank Bob (Ditner) and my team for such a great start.”

Significantly, Bacal and his BF Goodrich-shod Lexus also extended their perfect finishing record.  This was their fourth event since the JTGrey team began its off-road racing campaign with a surprise win at the Baja 500 last year.  The LX 570 has been severely thrashed on the tough desert courses but has finished every time, remarkably with zero flat tires in over 1500 miles of hard desert racing.  Bacal has driven every mile.

Joe Bacal and his JTGrey team race next at the Mastercraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250, March 12-14.

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For more information and updates on Joe Bacal, visit

Bacal and the JTGrey Racing team acknowledge the following companies for their outstanding products, services and support:

  • Cancer Treatment Centers of America (primary sponsor)
  • Lexus (LX 570, original parts)
  • BF Goodrich (tires)
  • Toyota Racing Development (wheels, performance parts)
  • King Shocks (suspension components)
  • KC HiLiTES (lighting)
  • Head First Design (graphics and marketing support)
  • ARB and Old Man Emu (off road accessories)
  • Débaufré Swiss Watches
  • Sparco (seats, safety equipment)
  • Mechanix Wear
  • Geiser Brothers Racing (vehicle build and prep)
  • Powertank (CO2)
  • Tomo Therapy (Joe’s radiation treatment)

About JTGrey:

JTGrey Performance Driving, LLC was created in 2007 by Joe and Teresa Bacal to provide expert high-performance driving services (on and off-road) to the auto industry and related companies such as parts suppliers, print advertising and marketing agencies and the commercial and feature film industries, among  others.  The company is based in Phoenix, Arizona.

JTGrey Racing was created by Joe and Teresa Bacal in 2008 to support Joe’s off-road racing efforts and is also based in Phoenix.

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