Richard Rawlings is not a quiet guy. Not so long ago, the American entrepreneur from Texas was a NASCAR gameand pretty much everywhere else it seemed.
Famous for its brand slogan “Get some,” Rawlings has amassed an automotive kingdom that includes “Gas Monkey Garage,” a car repair and customization shop, as well as restaurants, a bar, and even an energy drink. He is best known for his starring role in the hit reality show “fast and strongaired on the cable network Discovery Channel.
Rawlings has spent a lot of time in the NASCAR world: he drove a pace car before the NASCAR races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and in Daytona. He also has in partnership with some NASCAR drivers for the constructions of cars presented on fast and strongand even sponsored pilot Corey LaJoie.
However, everything seemed to change when Covid shut down the world in 2020: “Fast N’ Loud” ended its run, and as the world shut down, including NASCAR, Rawlings seemed to fade from view.
Now that sports, including NASCAR, are returning to full capacity, old NASCAR sponsors are returning and new ones are joining.
Richard Rawlings and Gas Monkey Garage are not among them. At least not in NASCAR. Instead, Rawlings is now focusing its sponsor dollars on other motorsports, the main one being an annual motorcycle race on the Isle of Man, a small country between England and Ireland. The island closes its public roads once a year to hold the Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) race. It’s an event that’s been running since 1907. Rawlings through Gas Monkey Garage will sponsor FHO Racing along with BMW driver Peter Hickman, a five-time Isle of Man winner at this year’s event.
“We were trying to do that as early as 2015,” Rawlings said. “We just couldn’t really make it happen…I was signed up for 20 and 21 and it didn’t happen. And now we’re just filling a concert for about seven years.
Over the years, Rawlings has sponsored everything from Super Cross teams, Monster Trucks and even a snowmobile team, as well as sponsorships in the NHRA and NASCAR.
Rawlings said that for him motorsport sponsors allow him to be part of the race.
“Unfortunately, because I’ve spent so much of my life working, working, working, I haven’t had the opportunity to have the seat time that I would like to have to be a driver or a pilot or whatever. whatever,” he said. “So the sponsorships allow me to be a part of that, to be in the mix and let the guys who are really, really good at what they do, do what they do.”
With the deal for the Isle of Man TT finally done, the question becomes, why?
“It’s just a natural extension,” Rawlings said. “Because this is one of the oldest motorsport events in the world and one of the most watched motorsport events in the world, I’m just super excited to be a part of it and to be part of it at the level that I am with FHO Racing and Peter Hickman and BMW.
“You know, a Gas Monkey doesn’t do anything on a small scale,” he added. “We just walk into the summit, kick down the doors and go ‘we’re there’.”
When it comes to motorsport sponsors, Rawlings said he’s not looking for any type of return on investment.
“Well, I don’t call that Return on Investment. OK. It’s Return on Investment. something like that is a pain in the back. But you know, they were all great; it shows that we are there.
Spreading these sponsorships across various motorsport disciplines is not something that is in Rawlings’ business plan. According to him, this has always been the way Gas Monkey works.
“Gas Monkey is one of those rare things that doesn’t get cataloged,” he said as he strolled through his busy Dallas store. “I’m not a Camaro guy or a Mustang guy, you know we really do do nothing. I mean, we’re building a fucking ’87 Chevy bus right now, we don’t even know why. You know, it allows us to really have the leeway to play in all areas.
And he doesn’t see much difference between car racing and motorcycle racing.
“Realistically enough, we’re just motorheads,” he said. “We like what we like and we’re comfortable with what we feel comfortable with. Fortunately, I can be both.
The sponsorship is one of the first for Rawlings since the end of the Covid restrictions. He said Discovery’s departure and the end of the show at the end of 2020 and the Covid lockdown in most of the world actually helped his business.
“Now we live in the world of social media and all of these platforms,” he said. “We found that the amount of work and the amount of chaos it took to make the TV show wasn’t as necessary, and we actually grew.”
And he expects that growth to continue.
“We’re getting to grips with the metaverse, so to speak, and we’re working on launching NFTs and launching quite a few new initiatives and everything,” he said. So by getting rid of Discovery, we were able to pursue some of our dreams, so to speak, and worlds are in oyster right now. We are very well placed.
However, it does not reject the legacy of the series.
“You know I wouldn’t be here without the show and Discovery,” he said. “At the same time, we couldn’t be happier with our current situation. It’s a great place to be.
This sweet spot applies not just to the company, but to Richard Rawlings himself.
“I just found the love of my life, so things are going really well there,” he said. “It makes a lot of difference; if you are happy at home, you come to work happy. And, at the end of the day, I get paid to drink beer and play with cars. I mean come on. I would be the greatest, a hole in the world to say that my life is not going well.
For the immediate future, Gas Monkey Garage’s sponsorship efforts will focus on the Isle of Man which takes place in late May and early June. However, as Richard Rawlings and the Gas Monkey Garage brand have shown in the past, they can appear anywhere and anytime. No one should be surprised if a NASCAR sponsorship runs around a track and Richard Rawlings walks around telling people to “get you” some, real soon.
“Sir,” said Rawlings is a rare serious tone. “What we do as Gas Monkey as a company and as a brand, and hopefully as myself, over the next 24 to 36 months is going to make the last 10 years look like child’s play.”