Archive for November, 2011

Brian Olatunji Featured in Rides Magazine

November 21st, 2011 in Published Ink by

View Rides Brian Olatunji Article in PDF Format

Heart of a Lion – Detroit drag racer Brian Olatunji is gunning for the top spot and has the courage to prove it.

Original Article by Marcus Amick

After seeing his lifelong dream of becoming a professional drag racer come true two years ago, 28-year-old Brian Olatunji now has his eyes set on snagging an NHRA U.S. National Championship. RIDES recently caught up with Olatunji in between one of his 175 mph track runs to learn what drives a kid—who grew up in the inner city of Detroit—to chase one of motorsport’s most coveted titles.

What inspired you to become a drag racer? My grandfather, John Broaden, was the first African- American manager of a major NHRA drag strip. I decided to take the road less traveled: racing. When did you first start racing? When I was 15. My folks knew the people who ran Milan Dragway in Michigan. I had an ’89 Chevy Beretta and would take it out on the racetrack.

What was the biggest challenge you faced turning pro? Balancing the demands of the business, working with corporate sponsors like Pepsi, Lucas Oil and the U.S. Army, while staying competitive on the track.

So what does a typical practice day consist of? Wake up, hit the gym and work out. At the track, it’s typically testing different parts to make sure everything is working in perfect harmony.

How do you mentally prepare for a race? Focusing on the perfect run—you have to have a mental picture of it.

You think it’ll be tough to win an NHRA national title? It’s the most prestigious race in drag racing, so the stakes are high. But it’s something that I do expect to win in my career.

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New Pittsburg Courier Brian Olatunji Feature

November 10th, 2011 in Published Ink by

BRIAN OLATUNJI says racing legends like William Durant, founder of the Chevrolet, have been an inspiration for him in the sport.

Detroit Drag Racer Talks Passion for Racing (VIEW ORIGINAL ARTICLE)

(REAL TIMES NEWS SERVICE) — Detroiter Brian Olatunji has a connection to Chevrolet that’s probably a lot different than most.

Since the age of 15, the 29- year-old Olatunji has been racing Chevys and now spends most of his time running an 1100 horsepower ’78 Chevrolet Monte Carlo as a professional dragster at speeds up to 175 mph.

Some of Olatunji’s first runs on the racetrack were in a ’89 Chevy Beretta at Milan Dragway.

“I’ve always raced Chevys,” said Olatunji, whose grandfather, John Broaden, was the first African-American manager of a major NHRA drags strip. ”There’s a legacy with racing that’s always attracted me to the brand that goes back to the foundation of Chevrolet with Billy Durant proving himself on the racetrack as a winner.”

Olatunji, who graduated from Kettering University (previously General Motors Institute) before turning professional three years ago as a NHRA drag racer, said Chevy has aided in his development as a racer on a number of fronts.

“The technical background that I have is a direct result of Chevy,” he said. “Since I was a kid I’ve always had a fascination with the products and ingenuity of the brand. I think it’s helped to make me a strong competitor on and off the racetrack. And given the fact that I’m from Detroit, I’ve always got a chance to see all of the new products first.

“The availability and knowledge of parts and technical expertise you get with Chevrolet are second to none.”

No surprise that some of Olatunji’s all-time favorite Chevrolets are representative of the brand’s legacy with high performance including the ’70 Chevelle SS, ‚68 Camaro Rally Sport, the current Camaro SS, a 70.5 Split Bumper Camaro and the first and most recent generation Corvette C6.

The dragster’s ties to Chevy also extends in the area of sponsorship with the support of Metro Detroit dealership Rodgers Chevrolet in Woodhaven along with Olatunji’s national sponsors that include Pepsi, the U.S. Army, Drive Train Specialists and Lucas Oil.

“Our association with Rodgers Chevrolet further cements what the brand has meant to our team and their commitment to help propel us to winning,” said Olatunji. “Chevy is synonymous with winners and it lets folks know that I have been affiliated with a winning brand.”

Olatunji’s success racing Chevrolets has inspired a lot of his efforts to give back off the track as well as be a board member for the 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit and an ambassador to the Urban Youth Racing School.