(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.