BFGoodrich® Performance Team
It takes a rare kind of man to be a professional driver, and an even rarer kind 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, competitively tasted wine, and has five university degrees? Around here, we call him ACP. Comrie-Picard left a career as an entertainment lawyer in New York City to drive professionally, and has since tallied a bevy of accolades. Lately, he’s pivoted away from competition towards entertainment, with stunt and producing credits on shows like Netflix’s Hyperdrive and Fastest Car, to Hollywood hits like Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde, and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
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 desert racing. Naturally, Brad hasn’t done it all alone. Together, he and his brother Roger are Lovell Racing, and their homegrown team is always looking for a new challenge. The latest one on their plate? Putting together a winning spec trophy truck program for the desert.http://www.lovellrockracing.com http://facebook.com http://twitter.com/RacingLovells http://www.youtube.com/user/LovellRacing
When Roger helped Brad found Lovell Racing in 2004, it was just a natural extension of his love of off-roading. The brothers had just witnessed a rock crawling competition, and they decided it wasn’t anything different than what they did in the Rocky Mountains they called their backyard. They bought a set of BFGoodrich® Krawler T/A KX tires, and set off on an off-road racing career that’s spanned multiple genres. From the Rockies, to Moab’s slick rock trail, to Baja’s desert beauty, Roger has seen it all and raced it all, and holds multiple wins in the Every Man Challenge at King of the Hammers.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 does, and he teaches what he does. McKeever grew up in a racing family that owned a driving school, and before he was even able to drive, he’d already spent hours on watching other drivers and learning in classrooms from driving instructors. After some time as an accomplished road racer (2010 NASA Spec Miata National Champion, for example), McKeever went back to his roots as an instructor. And now, as the president of the Ford Performance Racing School, McKeever revels in the experience of sharing his love of driving, and showing other drivers how to get it done on the track.
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.
From dirt ovals in the Midwest to the General Motors R&D labs in Detroit, Kyle Tucker has always been a driver’s engineer. A youth spent racing transitioned into a career with General Motors as a vehicle dynamics engineer, where he worked on the C5 Corvette program. He parlayed that experience into Detroit Speed and Engineering, an all-in-one design, engineering, and fabrication outfit that got its start in creating updated suspension parts for classic muscle cars, bringing modern performance to iconic looking vehicles. On top of DSE’s parts and manufacturing, Tucker’s shop is known for churning out some of the cleanest, most meticulously built client cars. Tucker and his team are also no slouch in competition, and they notch plenty of wins on autocross courses across the country.
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.
When Larry McRae took over ailing off-road brand Poison Spyder Customs, it was purely because he was already designing and fabricating parts for his own Jeep, and he saw an opportunity to cater to other hardcore Jeepers. His love for all things off-road came from childhood, where he went on trips with his father into the Southwestern wilderness in a Ford Bronco. From there, McRae found his way to competitive rock crawling, earning his share of championships along the way, all the while building Poison Spyder into a respected industry leader. After selling Poison Spyder and retiring to Utah, McRae discovered he needed to stay busy, and so now the revered rock crawler is back in the community as the owner of Zion Jeep Tours.
When you’ve driven monster trucks for a living, pretty much any other career path is going to be a letdown. However, after spending years in the driver’s seat of Bigfoot®, Lonny managed to one-up his car-crushing, truck-driving past. As co-owner of Gateway Classic Mustang, Lonny now spends his time restoring, building, and modifying Mustangs with his brother Jason. The Childress brothers have also built out a business designing and manufacturing parts for others to update and continue to enjoy classic Mustangs. Between the two brothers, Gateway Classic Mustang has pioneered more than a few mods, including a Coyote 5.0 engine swap kit.
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
Technically, Mike is a Junior, but he’s not the Junior Johnson of NASCAR fame. Instead, our Junior is an 11-time SCCA national champion, and his venue of choice is an autocross course, not an oval. With over a quarter-century of experience in performance driving, and as the owner of the Evolution Performance Driving School, Johnson has plenty of knowledge to drop. And because he’s an easy talker, he’s happy to share that knowledge with anyone who asks.
RJ Anderson is what the next generation of off-road racing looks like. His 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, plus Internet notoriety as the talent driving Polaris RZRs in the XP1K series of videos. In addition to UTVs, Anderson competes in LOORRS’ Pro2 and Pro4 classes, with more than a few podium finishes and championships to his name. Anderson traces his off-road ancestry to his father, who was crew chief for Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame driver Walker Evans, and now calls his little brother Ronnie a peer and fellow competitor.
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 car control. 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 Endurance Championship.