Catching up to Justin Matney is a feat in itself. Always in motion, he is as busy off track as he is off road. Driven to win, he is equally as focused in running RPM Off-Road, his Bristol, Tennessee race shop and retail location. Rigid Industries recently had a chance to sit down with Matney, and hear what gives him an edge, in motorsports and business.
“Rigid: When and how did you start your racing career? Have you always had an interest in off-roading, or did you envision getting into another form of motorsports?
Justin Matney (JM): I grew up riding ATVs and dirt bikes in the mountains of Virginia. I raced motocross for a few years while I was in high school. When I was younger, I envisioned racing motocross, and competing in the Camel Trophy.
Rigid: You opened one of the nicest off-road shops in the country, where you can build or fabricate anything. Did you have a fab shop previously separate from the retail store, or did you just decide to go all in when you opened RPM?
JM: From the time I was 6 years old, I have been working on anything with a motor. When I was in school, my friends and I would work on our vehicles in a barn. After awhile, we started getting a reputation for good work and in customizing vehicles. Those same friends helped make RPM OFFROAD what it is today.
- Jereme Miller: Manager, and co-driver in Baja with me for several years.
- Michael Powell: Lead Technician, and co-driver in Baja with Clyde Stacy for years.
- Charlie Holbrook: Race Ops, and co-driver for Lalo Laguna and Robby Gordon.
Rigid: How long has RPM OFFROAD been in existence? One of the things most people must ask is how a relatively young guy like you was able to put it all together.
JM: I started RPM OFFROAD in 2006 with a drive and desire to be the best in the business. We were very fortunate to have Clyde Stacy as a partner on the racing side to get our start in the desert. The desert racing helped us establish ourselves by selling products that we race with.
Rigid: When did you win your first off-road race? Was it an amateur event, or did you enter a professional race series right from the start?
Rigid: You have a choice of many different brands of lights to sell in your store, online and to use on your race and support vehicles. Why Rigid Industries, and how did it come about to endorse Rigid LED lights?
JM: We have the business plan of race on Sunday, sell on Monday. What I mean by that is, if we trust a product to be used in the toughest racing conditions in the world, then you should too. Rigid Industries has been a leader in the LED lighting world for quite some time now, and we are proud to be a part of the Torture Team. We trust in Rigid lights on our chase trucks, pre-runners, and race vehicles and have never had a failure. We enjoy being a part of a company that is never satisfied, and always striving to engineer the next best thing.
Rigid: When most enthusiasts who follow off-roading or off-road racing think of RPM OFFROAD, they think of your race vehicles. To what extent do race vehicles comprise your business – 20%, 40% or more? You have plenty of space and lifts to work on customer vehicles, but do you build many Jeeps, trucks or SUVs that are everyday drivers?
JM: We do sell plenty of race parts all over the world for different types of racing. But most of our business is daily driver vehicles ranging from trucks, Jeeps and SUVs to cars. We’re booked solid for weeks, and there aren’t many jobs we turn down.
Rigid: To you, what would be the ultimate in off-road racing – winning both Baja races, winning the 1000 and the Mint 400 in a single season, winning the championship in Robby Gordon’s short course truck series, or something else?
JM: I think the ultimate goal for me is to win the Baja 1000 overall in Trophy Truck.
Rigid: How do you go about training and preparing for the off-road racing season? Is there anything you do (cardio, weights, special diet) that you feel makes you a better driver?
JM: Desert racing is extremely hard on your body and mind. Racing in a vehicle for 12 hours at a time through rain, heat, dust, night, silt and booby traps is something you have to train for mentally and physically. I drive practice rally cars every week at our testing facility to stay sharp. I am in the gym 4-5 days a week doing weights and cardio.
Justin also mentioned later that he had an opportunity to do a rally race, and at the last moment the funding fell through. What never falls short is his desire to do it all, to exceed his own expectations and those of his growing legion of fans, and to push his team, their equipment and himself to the limit.”
Be sure to follow Rigid Industries Torture Team member Justin Matney on all his social sites.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/justinmatney85
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