I had the pleasure of interviewing veteran off-road driver, Justin Peck, who exposed some of his technical “secrets” from BTS of his 26 years of experience. “As long as it’s fast,” said Justin. A true purveyor of speed, you can see him jumping trucks at maximum speeds and monster heights, while everyone else is grinding their teeth in suspense for the “who’s next” to crash and burn on the track.
Peck began riding dirt bike with his dad. Although they didn’t have a lot of money growing up, they used hand-me-down helmets, uniforms and equipment to pursue the sport. When he got married, he finally saved up enough money to own his own bike and never looked back from that day. He knew his need for speed was going to be an expensive hobby, turned career and the dollar signs were only going to go up.
Diagnosed with class one bipolar disorder at the age of 26, Peck believes this was a gift given to him to fearlessly attack the sport that runs passion through his veins. Since he doesn’t asses risk, its pure advantage in his eyes. Unafraid of anything, “If it’s a you or me situation, LET’s GO! The day I worry about the financial aspect of racing or the tireless possibilities of getting hurt… is the day I need to stop racing,” stated Peck.
The financial estimated cost is well over 750 – 1/2 a million dollars. So when you crash, it’s brutal. Most racers rely upon sponsors to carry the burden of the bills. Peck is fortunate to own Race Pro Tech race team since 2009 and participate as a driver, along with his 13 year old son, Dylan and class 1 driver Ray Griffith. “Most team owners don’t drive, so it’s a pretty rad feeling being the black sheep,” said Peck. Race Pro Teach racing team qualified 6 out of 83 trucks last year leading the race at mile 150 with 20 miles left DNF.
Sitting with Justin and listening to him talk about his die hard passion for racing, I couldn’t help put get lost in both the dialogue and the tattoo story forever imprinted up and down his arms. At the age of 40 and the first time ever to hit the tattoo shop, Justin spent 12 hours in the chair. The design on his forearms represents living with bipolar disorder and it’s two faces — his life motto “adapt” (left arm) and “overcome” (right arm). As for more work, I don’t really have anything planned to date. When asked about future plans for more, Justin said “It took me 40 years to decide on my first one. That ended up giving me two full sleeves and my entire back all in about a years worth of time…we’ll see when I have that much time to sit still next. My racing schedule for 2019 has me spinning.”
Peck’s racing legend favorites include Rufus Parnell “Parnelli” Jones and Ivan “Ironman” Stewart — the guys who literally just jumped in a car, said ‘let’s go” and later created the Mint 400 in Las Vegas, NV. When asked if he’s as fast off the track as he is on, Peck laughed stating” the fastest street racing I’ve done so far was in an Audi at 270+ and that’s to be continued.” One of Peck’s favorite, off-road desert tracks is Best in the Desert in Parker, AZ and with the new racing series for 2019 Peck couldn’t be more excited to experience new turf.
As a Mental Health America ambassador, Peck is proud to take the driver’s seat with his story of strength and survival, providing a message of inspiration versus despair for the world to hear. His “Bulletproof” memoir tells the true story of how he found light through the darkness of demons. Peck saved himself and has used both his village and vice of racing, to help drive him through the mania and depressive states of bipolar disorder. Bulletproof is available on Amazon .
After sitting down and talking to Peck, one can’t help to walk away to believing his motto of “anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” The “stigma” is his superpower and nothing is going to take him down.
Stay connected to Justin Peck and his journey through racing and mental health movement @JustinPeck49 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. All photos courtesy Jade Umbrella, Justin Peck Racing and Partyby5