Since the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Pro Lite division began in 2009, there may not have been such dominance seen by a tire manufacturer as there currently is today.
For the last two-and-a-half years, one tire manufacturer has been far superior to any other in Pro Lite competition. General Tire won consecutive championships in 2016 and 2017 behind the strength of driver Jerett Brooks. Through five events this season, General Tire is undefeated thanks to drivers Ryan Beat and Christopher Polvoorde.
“The GRABBER X3 has been a true testament to not only a great product, but also to the great people behind the product,” said Beat. “They’ve had a passion for building amazing tires for years now and they’ve really perfected the X3 to the point where it’s not only winning races week after week in off road, which is the hardest terrain possible that a tire can endure, but on the street as well. You see them left and right, they fly off the store shelves. It’s really a winning combination for everyone.”
Tires used in Pro Lite, per the rule book, “must be available to the general public through standard dealers or normal internet retail stores. All tires must be listed in dealer communication as available prior to use and must be listed on company web site in the same size and model of tires. Internet only or one store only tires are NOT acceptable. Tires must be able to be purchased by the general public and or LOORRS officials before being allowed to be used in any race.”
You read that right. The tires that Beat and Polvoorde are using to dominate the Pro Lite Series are the same that are available for purchase at your favorite retailer for use on your truck or SUV.
Polvoorde earned his first-career victories in a weekend sweep at Estero Beach Resort in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico in May. While most drivers competed on mud terrain tires, Polvoorde opted for the all-new General GRABBER A/T X tire, a decision that paid dividends.
“I’ve had the A/T X on my daily-driver pickup truck for the past few months, and I’ve really liked it,” said Polvoorde. “When we were looking at heading to Mexico, we knew it was a tough track and that we’d need an edge on everyone else. I was talking with my crew chief Jimmy Davidson and he asked, ‘well, why don’t we try the A/T X? You run it every day and it seems to be working well for you.’ So I looked into it a little bit more and knowing what a good, reliable tire it was we went ahead and ordered a few.
“The A/T X just worked really well in practice,” Polvoorde said. “It’s a lighter tire that stayed on top of the sand. It went forward and you really didn’t have to worry about it too much. The team and I were really happy that we made the change. It came down to just trying something different. The big thing with off road is that people just don’t try different things. If it doesn’t work, well that’s a bummer. But it was a risk we were willing to take, and it paid off for us in the end.”
While Polvoorde has been willing to experiment to earn his victories this season, Beat has thus far remained on the GRABBER X3. It’s not to say that he’s not willing to try something different in the future, it’s just that he hasn’t – yet.
“For me, the proven reliability of the X3 has really kept me true to that tire,” said Beat. “The core of the tire comes from off-road racing, where you’re dealing with holes and ruts in the terrain of the tracks that we race on. For me, the X3 has always just ate up and swallowed the ruts that we go through on the track. It takes the abuse that we put it through while giving us the traction that we need to win races. So for me, the GRABBER X3 is what keeps me going and helps me to keep winning races.”
What are the odds that the General Tire teammates can claim each of the remaining races this season? Statistically speaking, not great. But as long as Beat and Polvoorde continue their winning ways, General Tire will likely claim a third-straight Pro Lite championship in 2018.
For as talented as drivers are, and as much as they are tested in each event, they’re only as good as their equipment. Fortunately for the General Tire drivers, they’ve got reliable, championship-winning options at their disposal.