Southern Nevada automobile executive Steve Olliges has been competing in the sport of off-road racing for 30 years. He is the president of Team Ford Lincoln in the northwest Las Vegas Valley and is quick to add that his dealership sells countless vehicles to off-road racers.
"We sell as many as 20 vehicles a month to off-road racers," said Olliges . "In fact, we're the No. 1 selling Raptor dealership in the world."
When Olliges isn't busy spearheading the dealership, he's driving a 2012 Ford Raptor on the streets. He was instrumental in testing the Raptor and was the lead driver in the 2008 Baja 1000 for Ford's Team Raptor.
"Every racer needs a truck to tow their race car or motorcycle ... my philosophy is that it might as well be a Ford truck," said Olliges, a 2007 Trophy Truck Best of the Desert champion who also will be competing in the Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts' Battle at Primm today through Sunday.
"There is a definite tie between selling cars and the sport of off-road racing. We have fun in off-road racing and we also prosper thanks to the camaraderie of the sport. It's definitely a win-win for all of us. I won the Battle of Primm last year and we're happy to be back."
Olliges is such a believer in networking with off-road racing that Team Ford is sponsoring the 1450 Class of the Battle at Primm, which is scheduled to be the biggest truck class in the event.
"I like helping SNORE out," he said. "I relax when I run with SNORE. It's a great group and I have a lot of fun. I'm going to run my truck in the 1450 class. I'm doing it for two reasons. The 1450 racers are the blue collar type of racers with a lot of talent and a lot of skill. I really admire these guys, who are the future of our sport. I'm very fortunate that my hobby also has ties with my business ."
Trophy trucks can cost more than $700,000 to build .
"They are unbelievable," Olliges said. "The Raptor is the real hot one now. They are absolutely amazing.
"To me, marketing your product in off-road racing is smart. If a vehicle can survive the challenges of off-road racing, it can survive the streets at the same time."
Proof that marketing through off-road racing works came one recent Tuesday afternoon when Olliges took a call from noted off-road racer Gus Vildosola. The resident of San Diego, Calif., and 2010 Baja 1000 winner called to make sure Olliges had a 400-horsepower Raptor to sell him.
"We sell a lot of trucks to racers every month and the phone is ringing constantly. I would have to say that out-of-state buyers account for more than 10 percent of the total sales at the dealership," Olliges said.
Team Ford is the top-selling Ford dealership in Nevada and has been the state's top-selling store of its kind for four straight years.
Situated at U.S. Highway 95 and Ann Road in the northwest valley, more information can be found by visiting www.teamford.com or by calling 395-5100.