Cancer Survivor to Challenge Baja 500 with Lexus SUV

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New Off-Road Racing Team Relishes Test after Personal

PHOENIX, May 7, 2009 Joe Bacal is no stranger to difficult challenges.  He has successfully
driven the notorious Rubicon Trail without incident, for one.  Surviving
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer was a much larger test.  Now he is taking
on the more interesting challenge of racing a Lexus LX 570 in the Tecate SCORE
Baja 500 this June 5-7.  He wants to win this one, too.

Backed by the company that helped
him regain his health, the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA),
Bacal’s newly-formed JTGrey Racing team began preparing a new Lexus LX
570 for racing duty in February, with plans to contest several additional Best
in the Desert series races in 2009 and 2010.  The LX will compete in the
Stock Full/4100 class and is expected to be the first Lexus SUV to be raced off

It may seem unusual to race
a large luxury SUV in the desert, but I’ve worked quite a bit with Lexus
vehicles and frankly, I think I’ll have an advantage, said Bacal,
owner of JTGrey Racing.  Lexus SUVs are capable and extremely
durable both key factors in successful off-road racing.

Although the chance to compete in
the Baja 500 in his own vehicle is the realization of a dream, Bacal has prepared
well for the task ahead.  In 2007 he raced a Toyota Tacoma in the Baja
1000 as part of the Long Beach Racers team.  Though they were not able to
make it to the finish in the grueling race, the experience was valuable and
made him hungry for more.  

An important part of Bacal’s
preparation has been his day job, in which he provides pro
driving services to clients around the country as owner of JTGrey Performance
Driving, LLC.  It’s an outgrowth of years spent working as a test
and development driver for carmakers such as GM, Nissan and Toyota, where he
honed his driving and technical skills over a 17-year period.  During this
time, Bacal trained with renowned off-road racer Ivan Stewart.  Taking
inspiration from the legendary driver, Bacal plans to drive all of his races
solo as well.

The concept for Bacal’s
business and the dream of racing really crystallized during his ordeal with
cancer.  Confronted with his own mortality, he became focused on achieving
important goals now rather than later, and with a new resolve.

The excellent treatment and
positive support he received from the CTCA was an inspiration as well, and not
long after starting JTGrey, Bacal took the idea of sponsoring the race team to
them for mutual benefit.  With the new partnership established, Bacal
assembled an experienced team of successful off-road racers to support his
efforts for the season ahead.  The team is currently working flat out to
prepare the new Lexus for its first desert test later this month. 

In addition to the Baja 500, the
team plans a limited schedule for 2009 as shown below:

Vegas to Reno
1000:       Best in the Desert series, August 19-23

Bilek Silver
State:             Best
in the Desert series, September 25-27

Henderson Fabtech:
      Best in the Desert series, December 4-6

JTGrey Racing and the CTCA Lexus LX 570 will make their competition debut
on June 6 in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500.  The race begins in Ensenada at
6:00 a.m. PDT.

# #

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. 

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


Courtesy: BN Communications
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