Restyling & Truck Accessories - April '15

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Page 18 of 63 April 2015 | Restyling & tRuck AccessoRies 17 "It was a struggle for sure, but people pull for an underdog," Matney says. "And I was really fortunate that people gave me a chance to prove what I could do. Once I earned their respect through my work, it didn't matter how young I was." Matney's early love of dirt bikes quickly turned into a love of Jeeps. That passion grew into grander designs on making an impact in the world of offroad racing. "I've always had a passion for offroad and racing," he says. "It has just snowballed into a full shop and one of the largest desert racing teams in the industry." The combination of the two activities— acting as a shop and as a racing team—gives Matney and his crew a critical competitive advantage in both arenas, he says. "[Our involvement in the desert racing circuit] lets us not just sell products but be able to tell our customers that we have used these in some of the harshest condi- tions on earth and they work," Matney says. "It lends a credibility to our name and the products that we choose. One of the most important things we do is take innovative things from various forms of racing and apply them in other forms of racing and apply them in our shop business." Of course, that approach works when you not only use the products in harsh conditions, but when you use them to astounding affect, as Team RPM Offroad has for years. Team RPM Offroad has a combined total of 20 class champion- ships in everything from Stock Full, which is where young teams start in desert racing, all the way up to the unlimited Score Class 1, according to Matney. "Years of experience racing in the desert and building race trucks and chase trucks gives us a knowledge of what truly works out there and what doesn't," he adds, noting that the team's trophy truck and class 1 truggy was awarded the Toyota Milestone Award as one of the few teams to complete every mile of every SCORE race last season. "The Toyota Milestone award is only one step down from a championship in our eyes," Matney says. "Being able to complete an entire season of desert racing without a DNF (did not finish) is a huge accom- plishment. This actually makes our eighth Milestone Award in eight years of racing." Bringing It Home How does an East Coast shop compete at such a high level against West Coast shops that literally have a desert in their backyard? To start, RPM Offroad brought a little piece of the desert home to Bristol. Just behind one of the company's two main facilities, RPM Offroad turned an 80-acre parcel of land into a half-mile long dirt rally track that the company uses not only to train for racing conditions but also to field-test new products on sale in the shop. "Being able to take a product out and test it on the rally track provides a distinct advantage," Matney says. "This gives us immediate feedback that you just can't get bolting something on and driving it down the road and back. "[As a race team] the track also gives us a chance to log more wheel time," he adds. "The more time you spend driving the better you are going to be. Our track doubles as a short-course track and rally track so we practice with our Pro Lite and Pro 2 truck." Along with RPM Offroad's years of racing success and built-to-suit testing track, the company also boasts another critical com-

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