BFGoodrich® Performance Team
It takes a rare kind of man to be a professional driver, and an even rarer man to be a championship-winning driver. So what do we call a man who’s won the North American Rally Cup championship, numerous other road rallies, medaled at the X Games, raced in the Baja 1000 multiple times, has competitively tasted wine, and has five university degrees? Well, here, we call him ACP. Comrie-Picard left a successful career as an entertainment lawyer in New York City to drive professionally, and has since tallied a bevy of accolades on wheels—all fitted with BFGoodrich tires.
Growing up in the backwoods of Colorado has its benefits. After all, when you spend your formative years camping and off-roading, you might just end up like Brad Lovell—an off-road champion in multiple disciplines including rock crawling, short course, Ultra 4, and rock racing. In fact, Brad’s proven himself to be among the most versatile off-road drivers in the world. Naturally, Brad hasn’t done it all alone. His brother Roger has been an indispensable part of this success, and the brothers race together as the Lovell Rock Racing team.http://www.lovellrockracing.com http://facebook.com http://twitter.com/RacingLovells http://www.youtube.com/user/LovellRacing
When Roger helped Brad found Lovell Rock Racing in 2004, it was just a natural extension of his love of off-roading. From the Rocky Mountains, to Moab’s red rocks, to Baja’s desert beauty, Roger has seen it all and raced it all. He’s put in time behind the wheel, but is arguably even more gifted at being a spotter, with a unique knack for seeing the lines through obstacles. Roger also brings his background as structural engineer to bear by helping design, fabricate, and test the team’s vehicles.http://www.bciitv.com/ http://www.facebook.com/
In 1986, as a teenager flush with cash from a U.S. Navy signing bonus, Brian Finch went and put the most powerful crate engine he could find into his 1980 Mustang SVO. Without any other upgrades, it was inevitable that Finch’s Mustang would wind up in a ditch—and it did. Since then, Finch’s path has taken him in lots of directions—a sailor in the Navy, a Ford technician, an I.T. project manager for Dell—but he’s wound up back where he started: building hot rods—albeit better rounded than his SVO. he owner of Hot Rod Transformations and a formidable autocross driver in his own right, Finch proves that what doesn’t kill you makes you smarter.
You’ve seen plenty of Bud Brutsman’s handiwork — you just might not know it. The producer and entrepreneur is CEO of Brentwood Communications International, Inc., an entertainment company responsible for much of the automotive television landscape we have today. Brutsman’s filmography includes shows like Hot Rod TV, Car Crazy, R U Faster Than a Redneck, Overhaulin’, and Rides. He’s also teamed up with BFGoodrich to run the SCORE Baja 1000, as well as producing the documentary Chasing Baja.http://www.bciitv.com/ http://www.facebook.com/
Charlene Bower got her start changing tires in a motorcycle dealership, but has since carved out a unique space in the world of motorsports. While she’s an avid off-roader herself, she leaves the professional competition to others. Instead, the owner of Bower Motorsports Media is a PR professional who works with drivers and sponsors to make sure they take advantage of their successes even when they’re not behind the wheel. Even so, you’re more likely to find Bower at off-road events than behind a desk crafting releases.
The saying, “Those who can’t do, teach” doesn’t apply to Dan McKeever. The man can do, and he teaches. Now the general manager of the Ford Performance Racing School, McKeever is an accomplished road racer (2010 NASA Spec Miata National Champion, for example) who still finds time to get in the passenger seat as an instructor. With the Ford Performance Racing School, McKeever helps teach drivers techniques in control, cornering, downshift braking, and more, with the help of race-spec Mustangs.
It only stands to reason that if you’re going to go off-road, you should care about where you’re off-roading. However, Del Albright doesn’t just care—he’s leading the pack when it comes to land use and conservation. The former fire chief and soldier is now a photojournalist and founder of Friends of the Rubicon and the Rubicon Trail Foundation, two organizations that strive to preserve the storied Rubicon Trail.
James Lin is a builder. The proof is in his 1996 BMW 3-series (E36) and multiple award-winning, SEMA-built Scion tuners. But Lin does more than build cars. The founder and president of Team Hybrid, Lin has built an enduring culture of excellence, creativity, and originality. Over 21 years, Lin has overseen Team Hybrid’s unprecedented run of award-winning appearances in races, industry shows, and magazines—not to mention growth across the country into multiple chapters. When it comes to tuning, Lin and Team Hybrid are the standard.
You’re doing something right if you’ve got “monster trucker racing” on your resume. With 15 years behind the wheels of some comically, unrepentantly absurd trucks, Jason Childress has lived out the childhood dreams of many. Now, with his brother Lonnie, Childress gets to live out another dream job. The co-owner of Gateway Classic Mustang spends his time upgrading and tuning Ford Mustangs.
No, not that John Williams. Our John Williams—although he’s not an Oscar-winning composer—is a maestro on the trail and in the garage. Between rock-crawling, Baja 1000 runs, and running in the Lucas Oil Regional Series, Williams has years of competitive experience, which translates into a sixth sense when it comes to setting up off-road vehicles. He’s not shy about sharing his wisdom either. You can find him working as an instructor and product tester at the Miller Motorsports Park.
Justin “Bean” Smith
LRowan Atkinson’s Mr. Bean doesn’t exactly match the image of a rogueish, gritty off-roader, but if you’re Justin Smith, it doesn’t matter. Nicknamed “Bean” for his youthful resemblance to the buffoonish comedy character, Smith has turned the moniker into shorthand for racing excellence. Since becoming the Lucas Oil Limited Buggy champion in 2010, Smith has been a consistent force in the Limited Buggy and Pro Lite classes. He’s also a fixture on the SCORE circuit, with multiple wins in the Baja 500 and Baja 1000.
As good as classic muscle cars look, it’s no secret that, in stock form, they’re just beautiful cars with decades-old technology. That’s where Kyle Tucker and Detroit Speed and Engineering come in. A former suspension engineer for General Motors, Kyle and his wife Stacy (also a GM engineer) moved to North Carolina to open Detroit Speed and Engineering, an all-in-one design, engineering, and fabrication shop. Together, they oversee an operation committed to mating world-class, modern engineering with vintage road-going beauties.
It’d be a disservice to call Lance Clifford’s off-roading habit a “hobby.” Although he’s a realtor by day, Clifford also happens to have started Pirate 4x4.com, a site and forum that has grown into one of the largest resources for off-roading enthusiasts. Clifford has also made appearances in the Baja 1000, King of the Hammers, and various rock crawling events.
Poison Spyder Customs has long been the manufacturer of choice for hardcore Jeepers, and that reputation has a lot to do with the efforts of Larry McRae. The president of Poison Spyder, McRae has been a life-long off-roader, going all the way back to his childhood trips with his father into the Southwest’s wilderness—in a Ford Bronco, of course. Since then, McRae’s passion for all things dirt only grew. McRae has scored multiple class wins in the Baja 1000, as well as numerous rock crawling championships.
When you’ve driven monster trucks for a living, pretty much any other career path is going to be a letdown. However, Lonnie Childress managed to one-up his car-crushing, truck-driving past. As co-owner of Gateway Classic Mustang, Lonnie now spends his time restoring and building Mustangs with his brother Jason. Noted for his superior craftsmanship, it’s no surprise that Lonnie’s work has been featured in numerous muscle car publications.
Chances are, if you’ve seen Miami Vice, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Transporter 2, or any number of other movies and TV shows, you’re familiar with Rich Minga’s body of work. This talented wheelman has been a Hollywood stuntman and stunt driver since 1995, but before that, he was driving across the desert wastes of Baja California. As an 18-year-old, Minga built and raced a Class 1 buggy to 6th place in the Baja 1000, and has since turned in class-winning finishes in three other Baja 1000s.
Mike “Junior” Johnson
Mike Johnson is an easy-going guy who’s just a little goofy and has a little mischievous streak in him. He also happens to be a 10-time SCCA national champion driver, and if you let him, he’ll tell you anything you want to know about how to go fast. With over a quarter-century of experience in performance driving, and as the owner and chief instructor at the Evolution Performance Driving School, Junior has plenty of knowledge to drop.
RJ Anderson can’t rent a car yet—he’s only 23—but that’s probably for the best. After all, if given the chance, this LOORRS driver certainly could drive the wheels off of anything with wheels. Anderson traces his off-road ancestry to his father, who was crew chief for Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame driver Walker Evans. His own career got off to a hot start with a championship in the Unlimited UTV class in 2011, followed by a Pro Lite Unlimited championship in 2012.
There are legends, and then there are icons. Rod Hall is the latter. What else do you call a man who has raced in every Baja 1000 in a four-wheeled vehicle? One of off-road racing’s earliest pioneers, Hall won the inaugural race that became the Baja 1000, and he has a record-setting 21 Baja 1000 class victories. He also owns the record for consecutive race wins with 35 straight victories in the 1980s. The Off-road Motorsports Hall of Famer continues to race with his sons, as well as providing one-of-a-kind high performance off-road driving instruction at his school, Rod Hall DRIVE.
It’s not easy growing up in the shadow of a racing icon like Frank Arciero. However, grandson Ryan has parlayed his family’s pedigree and a 60-year legacy into a unique perspective on what it takes to successfully own, operate, and compete in motorsports. From multiple podium finishes and wins in the SCORE Baja series, to owning a NASCAR team, to a victory at the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb, to racing trophy trucks, Ryan has about as diverse a motorsports resume as you can imagine.
The feeling of coming in first clearly doesn't get old for Rob MacCachren. Over his four-decade-long career, MacCachren has won over 200 off-road races including a LOORRS Pro 2 championship, a SCORE Overall Championship, 5 Baja 1000s, and 5 Baja 500s. The man clearly knows what he’s doing behind the wheel, so it’s only fair that this legend was inducted into the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2011.
It helps to have a calming presence in the passenger seat when you’re spinning out. Even better if that presence has a sense of humor. That’s Terry Earwood in a nutshell: an incredibly skilled and experienced driving instructor who manages to get the best out of his students—as well as a few laughs—while breaking down the intricacies of vehicle dynamics and racing lines. An instructor at the Skip Barber Driving School since 1984, Earwood has taught everyone from teens to budding racers to police officers and is himself an accomplished racer. Earwood is a drag racing Hall of Famer, as well as the winningest driver of the IMSA Firehawk Endurance Championship.