Author Archive

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.

View Rides Article in PDF Format

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.

Brian Olatunji Given Kettering University Entrepreneurial Achievement Award

September 9th, 2011 in Published Ink by

Brian Olatunji ’05, president and CEO of Leadfoot Motorsports LLC, and Leadfoot Media, will receive the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award recognizing a specific contribution in organizing, managing and assuming the risk of business or enterprise.

Olatunji is pursuing his dream of becoming a world-class championship contending professional race car driver in the NHRA Nitro Funny Car Division through Leadfoot Motorsports, LLC, that he founded at the age of 19. He has since established Leadfoot Media as a marketing firm and subsidiary of Leadfoot Motorsports, LLC. The Leadfoot Media team have procured notable global powerhouse partners; Pepsi, U.S. Army and Lucas Oil.

Prior to Leadfoot Motoersports LLC, Olatunji worked for General Motors, and Faurecia Automotive, Inc.

He is currently vice president of the 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit and also the chairman of the Leadfoot Foundation, Inc, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to empower youth through mentorship and education initiatives. In 2011 the Leadfoot Foundation will host its sixth annual school supplies drive, which provides back to school essentials for Detroit area youth.

Previously Olatunji has been recognized by the Michigan Front Page as one of its top thirty professionals under the age of 40.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University in 1999. A native of Detroit, Olatunji enjoys adrenaline induced activities, traveling, reading, enjoying a great bottle of red wine and is currently learning the bass guitar.


New Brian O Racing Press Packet

September 1st, 2011 in Updates by

Brian Olatuji’s Press Packet PDF download has been completally revamped. Updated information including a new racing history time line, brand new graphics on every page and tons of high quality never before seen pictures. Download it now at the link below!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Taking Flight: Brian O Jumps with U.S. Army Golden Knights!

August 10th, 2011 in News by

On a clear Detroit morning, just one day after the U.S. Army’s 236th birthday, Brian Olatunji took flight with the Golden Knights. It was a long wait for Brian O, who was previously scheduled to jump with the U.S. Army’s Parachute Team last fall until the worst Midwest storm cell in over 30 years kept the plane and Brian O’s skydiving ambitions grounded.

The Golden Knights is the U.S. Army’s official aerial demonstration team. Made up of real Soldiers the team travels around the United States performing demonstrations at major events connecting the Army with the American people. Taking Brian O on his wild ride were members of Team Tandem, who have jumped from a plane with everyone from former president George H. W. Bush to sports stars and actors such as Tiger Woods and Chuck Norris. Ensuring Brian’s enjoyment and safety on his aerial adventure were Airborne Rangers SSG Aaron Figel and SSG Reese Pendleton. After taking off from Selfridge Air Force Base, SSG Figel freefell with Brian O while SSG Pendleton caught all the action on camera. With Lake St. Claire as a backdrop Brian O and the Golden Knights free feel thousands of feet towards Michigan below.

Brian O was thrilled at the opportunity, “Exhilarating is the only way to describe the experience! Certainly something I would do again in a heartbeat! The Golden Knights are the best in the world and their professionalism is second to none. After all, SSG Pendleton hung outside of the aircraft like passenger 57 and was able to capture my enthusiasm and experience while free falling from 14,000 feet above the earth. Awesomeness!!!”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Website & Other Updates

August 1st, 2011 in Updates by

Welcome to the new official website for Brian Olatunji! We’ve added extra browser support for mobile devices, so those of you without Flash will no longer have a problem seeing our site while you’re on the go. We’ve also added an improved blog with an RSS 2.0 Feed so you can get updates immediately if you subscribe. While 99% of the site is up and running, there are few pages that are still being tweaked on, so give us a little time. Those coming soon messages will be gone shortly.

Also be on the lookout for a brand new Brian O Racing press packet which will feature tons of new information and graphics. We’re a couple new pages away from that being up and ready. Brian O and the team will be headed to Milan Dragway this Thursday in preparation for our first race of the year which will be at the largest single day drag race in the world, the Night Under Fire in Norwalk, OH. Keep checking back and we’ll keep you up to date! Better yet, come say hello at one of our events!

Be sure to like Brian O Racing on our new Facebook page! You can follow Brian O on Twitter @BrianORacing.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Michigan Newspapper Articles, Fall 2011

November 21st, 2010 in Published Ink by

Ambassador Magazine Article

November 21st, 2010 in Published Ink by
Click to read PDF


Original article by Marcus Amick

To say that Brian Olatunji lives for speed is an understatement. When a lot of people are crowding around TVs on the weekend watching ball games, you’ll find Olatunji on the track in his 1100 horsepower 1978 Chevrolet Malibu race car topping speeds of 175 mph.

It explains his motto: “live fast, drive hard.”

“If I could, I would race every day,” says the native Detroiter. It’s a passion Olatunji picked up from hanging around the now defunct Detroit Dragway in Brownstown Township and the Motor City Dragway located in New Baltimore that his grandparents managed.

“My grandfather was the first African American manager of a major NHRA drag strip,” says Olatunji, who grew up on Detroit’s eastside near Mack Ave. and Conner St. “I decided to take the road less traveled: racing.”

His passion for racing is fueled by his competitive nature. “I love trying to control something that really is out of control,” he says. “There’s something about having that car on the edge and then not going over the edge.” Before turning professional two years ago, Olatunji attended Kettering University (previously General Motors Institute) located in Flint, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2005. “I knew I could not go to school for racing, so I went for mechanical engineering,” he explains.

He’s been racing for 14 years. “I started racing before I had a license,” he explains. “My folks knew the people that ran Milan Dragway. I had a car when I was 15 years old and I would sneak it out on the racetrack.”

Olatunji, whose major sponsors are Pepsi, Lucas Oil, and the U.S. Army, has been racing professionally for two years. The Metro Detroit dealership, Rodgers Chevrolet, is also one of Olatunji’s sponsors.

Olatunji’s everyday vehicles are a black 2008 Cadillac CTS Sedan and black ’89 GMC pick-up truck. “All of my cars are jet black. Even the primary color of my race car is black,” Olatunji explains. “I like the way black cars look — it’s bolder, looks more presidential.”

His first car was a 1989 Chevy Beretta. “I wanted a Beretta for a long time, since my childhood,” he said. “When I found one, it happened to be a stick, and I had never driven a stick. But I taught myself how to drive the car.“ When not racing, Olatanji spends a lot of time mentoring youth in hopes of helping them achieve their dreams.

He serves as chairman of his personal charity, the Leadfoot Foundation, the nonprof t arm of his marketing company, which is focused on empowering underprivileged youth by providing support in the form of educational programs and mentoring.

Olatunji is also the youngest Board Member ever in the 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit and an ambassador to the Urban Youth Racing School. “I try to show youth that the world is bigger than they think it is,” he says. “If I can do what I’m doing growing up as a kid in the inner city of Detroit, so can they.”

Olatunji’s dream vehicle? A silver 1956 Mercedes-Benz Gullwing with a red interior. “At the time it was their fastest production car,” he says. “It’s also a car you can take from Wall Street to Main Street.” Olatunji’s primary goal, however, is to capture titles in NHRA Top Fuel, NHRA Funny Car, NASCAR, IndyCar and Road Course racing.

Then again, what else would you expect from somebody who has spent almost every weekend of his life at a racetrack.

DRIVER: Brian Olatunji
MOST MEMORABLE DRIVE: “Getting behind the wheel of a NHRA Top Alcohol Funny car in 2004 and going 230 miles per hour. The sheer speed is unimaginable.”

Brian Olatunji Ends Season with Momentum

October 6th, 2010 in Race Report by

The first night in October proved to be a fast one as tons of fans flooded Milan Dragway. Fresh off of a new Martin Technology car setup, Brian Olatunji continued the momentum brought on by several days of testing in preparation for the night’s festivities. “It is always great to end the season on a high note. It really speaks to the hard work the crew has put in all season,” said Olatunji. Last race season Brian O’s fastest pass in his Pepsi Hot Rod was a 10.60, and during the final race of the 2010 season he improved to a 9.82 second elapsed time in a losing effort during All Motor class eliminations.

All of Brian’s runs would have been good enough to compete for the win in the Open Comp category, which Brian O was participating in at the beginning of the night. Unfortunately Brian O and his Pepsi Hot Rod are too fast off the starting line for the Open Comp class. The christmas tree runs at a slower pace in the category, and Brian O being the fastest leaver on the grounds was tripping the red light during Open Comp qualifying before eventually switching back to All Motor. Before the night was done the Leadfoot driver was thinking about next year, “We are already in preparation for next season and look to have an even more sizable impact. The championship is all we’re focused on over the winter.”

Brian O and the team continued Leadfoot’s tradition of going above and beyond for it’s marketing partners. As Brian O explained, “The hot rod ran well and we accomplished our marketing objectives. What more can I say!” As always, Pepsi and U.S. Army prizes were tossed into the packed grandstands and Brian addressed the crowd over the dragway’s PA system. To listen to Brian O’s short discussion for the fans click here!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,