ATTENTION SPORTS, AUTOMOTIVE AND NEWS EDITORS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Popularity of Rally Car racing propels ESPN X Games Rally driver and Apex, NC native Matthew Johnson into prestigious International Competition representing a United States entry - Team USA.

July 1, 2009 - Matthew Johnson has accepted his invitation race on roads known to many on the World Rally Championship as Corona Rally Mexico. As a non-WRC year, the rally organizers have assembled national teams in a new format, Rally of Nations, and attracted rally stars from Finland, Spain, Austria, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Uruguay, Peru and, of course, the United States.

DENVER, COLORADO - Days before the Fourth of July, Matthew Johnson pours over his lists of to-dos. He's added the international Rally of Nations to his normal Rally America Championship and ESPN X Games rally calendar. While get ready to celebrate America's independence, Matthew has two cars and a service truck to watch over; a two car trailer to find, and pile of sponsorships to chase down for the X Games Rally competition just weeks after the Mexico event is over.

Johnson's crucial to Team USA, he's overseen every detail. He's found another co-driver as his normal in-car-partner is busy at another event. As co-driver, Johnson chose ESPN X Games Gold Medalist Chrissie Beavis; as a teammate, Cowboy Kenny Bartram, the winningest freestyle motocross rider - gone rally just three years ago and as American as apple pie, and his cousin and co-driver Dennis Hotson. And as crew chief, Andrew Pinker, another former X Games Rally driver, this Australian exchanges his steering wheel for the clipboard and will supervise Team USA at Rally of Nations.

"I didn't come to rally from somewhere else, I've been here the whole time - rallying my way up from the bottom," said Johnson. "Joining together to represent the United States in International competition is an honor. Racing against many of my heroes from across the globe is a dream. And, having the most popular Rally event in the US - ESPN X Games - just two weeks later is a bit of a stress, but our team is great and I am pumped to rally."

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The Event - The Corona Rally Mexico will be held in Guanajuato, Mexico on July 9, 10, 11 and 12 under an innovative format called "Rally of Nations," where a large number of rallying stars will convene for this unique competition that will take place in the same facilities and along the same route that have hosted the World Rally Championship for five years now.

The rally will consist of a three-day competition along a 250-km route that features a super special stage and, for the first time, a street stage. One of the highlights of this rally is its scoring system, whereby points are tallied for each driver individually, as well as by country. At the end of each day, the points are posted on a scoreboard, so the time difference does not matter. The scoreboard sets the opening positions for the following day and so on, until the awards ceremony on Sunday, where extraordinary prize purses will be awarded per driver and per country.

The impressive roster of drivers that have confirmed their attendance include, for Finland, Harri Rovanperä and Toni Gardemeister; Dani Sola and Xevi Pons representing Spain; for Austria, Manfred Stohl and Andreas Aigner; from France, Didier Auriol and Brice Tirabassi; representing Italy, Mario Isola and Stefano Marrini; for Germany, Hermann Gassner Jr. and Mark Wallenwein; and Canada will be represented by Patrick Richard and Antoine L'Estage.

Joining Johnson and Bartram is another Team USA entry fielded by American driver Pat Moro and guest co-driver Ole Holter. Moro and Holter are supported by Polish driver Piotr Wiktorczyk and guest co-driver Martin Brady of Ireland. "With four cars running under the red, white, and blue of the American flag, we'll be able to support each other if we need it. We're very lucky to have some of our friends from the Rally America championship with us in Mexico." said Bartram.

All drivers will be competing on fairly equal terms, as they will all drive Group N4 cars compliant with the same regulations, in an effort to reduce the advantages providing by heavy funding. Of course cars will be far from equal.

Mexico and the state of Guanajuato are ready to bid a warm welcome to all the competitors, crews, fans and media, to what will undoubtedly be an unforgettable event.

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Rally Car Racing - Considered the extreme sport of automobile racing, rally is often described simply as "real cars, real roads, real fast." This all-season motorsport sees drivers and their co-drivers take modified road cars to the limit as they achieve blistering speeds over courses that cover hundreds of miles of gravel, dirt or snow-covered roads.

Rally is the most highly viewed event in the annual ESPN X Games, the premier action sports event on the globe, featuring athletes competing for medals and prize money in sports including BMX Freestyle, Freestyle Motocross, Skateboard, and Rally. Matthew Johnson and Kenny Bartram were among the dozen invited drivers in 2008, and Matthew was granted an early invitation to return in 2009.

The Rally America national championship is a nine event nationwide series running from January to late October.

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The Drivers:
Matthew Johnson is a top competitor in the Rally America National Championship and at the ESPN X Games. As a winner of multiple rally Rally America Championships, Matthew has a strong background in rally and at a young age. Matthew also spends time coaching other rally drivers and privately teaching performance car control to owners of exotic cars. When not behind the wheel, Matthew is usually seen behind a laptop working to strengthen his rally program while enroute to Brooklyn, Denver, LA or North Carolina.

Matthew Johnson is the kid that came from rally. He's pure rally at its roots-working hard to accomplish his dreams. Since Matthew started, he's worked himself into a couple of National Championships, credibility from his peers, and great group of fans. Other top drivers came to rally with big budgets, toy franchises, movie contracts, and action sports conglomerate buyouts. Travis Pastrana came from FMX, Ken Block ran DC Shoes, but Matthew Johnson went to college in London and came back addicted to rally.

"Cowboy" Kenny Bartram is quite simply the winningest Freestyle Motocross rider in the world. His record 13 IFMA wins and 26 Main Event wins in one season still stands. He also accumulated seven World Championships and 10 medals from X Games and Gravity Games, including four goals. Since dominating Freestyle, Cowboy Kenny has switched gears, winning two back-to-back two-wheel drive Rally America Championships. Kenny is known for his cowboy hat and cowboy roots, and this year Kenny has returned to Freestyle, while continuing to rally as part of Team USA and assembling his Rally America team for 2010.

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Team USA is made possible by: FlatIrons Tuning (www.flatironstuning.com); Salta Motorsports (www.saltamotorsports.com); Rising Sun Tuning (www.risingsuntuning.com); Checkpoint Racing (www.cp-racing.com); Colorado Rally Cup (www.coloradorallycup.org); Diebold Autosport (www.dieboldautosport.com); SISU RallySports (www.sisurallysports.com); Performance Friction (www.performancefriction.com); Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil (www.joegibbsdriven.com); Exedy (www.exedyusa.com); Stickerdude Designs (www.stickerdudedesigns.com); Deacon Labs (www.deaconlabs.com)

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To follow Matthew's progress, visit: www.matthewjohnson46.tumblr.com. To arrange interviews or find out more, contact Bill Lockwood at +18025986583 or blockwood@wekickassets.com

Find us on YouTube www.youtube.com/matthewjohnson46 or Facebook www.facebook.com/matthewjohnson46

We'll try to stay in touch with America via Twitter - www.twitter.com/mjons, www.twitter.com/blockwood

For information about the event visit http://www.rallyofnations.com/
Contact: Adrian Molina adrian@rallymexico.com National Press Officer

Photos credit - Bill Lockwood

Copyright 2010