Conversations with Big Rich

Family-man, Levi Shirley shares life in Dodge City and on the racecourse in Episode 139

December 01, 2022 Guest Levi Shirley Season 3 Episode 139
Conversations with Big Rich
Family-man, Levi Shirley shares life in Dodge City and on the racecourse in Episode 139
Show Notes Transcript

Want to know about the women in Levi’s life? He tells all about Lently, Layla, and Loretta in this conversation with Big Rich. Watching this kid grow up in racing has been a pleasure, from XRRA to Dirt Riot to racing internationally and KOH, Levi is a good egg – listen in on your favorite podcast app.

4:10 – chances are if you’ve ever had a steak, it’s from my area

9:01 – the effort you put in is what you are going to get in results

13:11 – I love motors for good reason, because I didn’t have to wake up every morning and feed them 

22:41 – that car was a pivotal moment for me, I had to put my heart and soul into this

28:06 – I learned the brakes on the left and not to let that right foot do everything

35:55 – we opened up a baby naming book and counted down 81 names, the number was Layla, that’s how we named the car

40:00 – …and I’m like, Shannon Campbell just told me to drive his car!

49:39 – my favorite race track would be Glen Helen

We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.

Support the show

[00:00:06.310] - Big Rich Klein

Welcome to conversations with Big Rich. This is an interview style podcast. Those interviews are all involved in the offroad industry. Being involved, like all of my guests are, is a lifestyle not just to job. I talked to competitive teams, racers, rock crawlers, business owners, employees, media and private park owners, men and women who have found their way into this exciting and addictive lifestyle. We discuss their personal history, struggles, successes and reboots. We dive into what drives them to stay active and offroad. We all hope to shed some light on how to find a path into this world we live and love and call off road.



Whether you're crawling the red rocks of Moab or hauling your toys to the trail, Maxxis has the tires you can trust for performance and durability. Four wheels or two, Maxxis tires are the choice of champions because they know that whether for work or play, for fun or competition, Maxxis tires deliver choose Maxxis Tread victoriously.



Have you seen 4low magazine yet? 4low magazine is a high quality, well written, four wheel drive focused magazine for the enthusiast market. If you still love the idea of a printed magazine, something to save and read at any time, 4low is the magazine for you. 4low cannot be found in stores, but you can have it delivered to your home or place of business. to order your subscription. Today


[00:01:47.090] - Big Rich Klein

on today's episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Levi Shirley. Levi is a young man, still a young man in my eyes. Got started in rock racing with XRRA and MoRoc. Never did any of the extreme rock crawling, at least with us with WE Rock, but may have done something at Hannibal or something, but we'll get into all that now. He races Ultra4. He's a family man with kids, a great wife, and resides, I think, still in Dodge City, Kansas. So, Levi, thank you so much for coming on board and sharing your life and history with us.


[00:02:30.890] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. So happy that you asked me to be here. Happy to tell a little bit of my story here and I'll try not to forget about to talk about too much and yeah, Rich, thank you so much for having me on.


[00:02:48.160] - Big Rich Klein

Well, remember, you can never talk too much because I do have this thing called the edit button. And if you start to wander on in conversations, don't worry about it because it's all interesting. So let's get started. And the first question I'm going to ask you, and I think I know the answer to this, but where were you born and raised?


[00:03:10.940] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, so I was born in Dodge City, Kansas and still live here. Active resident here, went to kindergarten, high school and even college right here in Dodge City, Kansas. So kind of a not fitting place for somebody that loves rock sports to live. But yeah, it's a great community to be in, great place to live and raise a family.


[00:03:48.360] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, I've been out to your old house and to your parents place and we really love it there, especially when the wind is blowing in the right direction. Anybody that doesn't know Dodge City is really they have meat packing houses there or processing and lots of cattleyards.


[00:04:10.790] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, there's some figure like that. Within about a 50 miles radius of Dodge City, Kansas, we supply something like 75 or 80% of the beef to the world. So, to put that in perspective, just in Dodge City, Kansas, there are two packing houses that kill about 6000 head of cattle a day a piece. So just in Dodge City, Kansas, there's 12,000 head that get processed per day. And then there's two more packing plants about 40 to 50 miles to the west of us that do the same numbers. So chances are, if you've had a steak, it's from my area we're pretty proud of and our whole industry and all of our majority of our lives revolve around something to do with cattle.


[00:05:12.320] - Big Rich Klein

Right. What amazed me is how clean the community is. We travel quite a bit and we're in a lot of different towns and cities and driving through and we see cities that just look like they're just wind blown and the world is passed them by. At one time they may have been thriving, but Dodge City is still thriving.


[00:05:36.590] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, absolutely it is. We do a good job, the community stays relatively clean. Of course, no matter where you're at, you're going to have riffraff and a lot of stuff behind closed doors, but for the most part, it's an amazing place. We have a very large Hispanic culture here that not a lot of people realize that. My graduating class was about 75% Hispanic, and as far as the community itself is anywhere from 75% to 80% Hispanic as well, out of about 30,000 people that reside in Dodge City, Kansas. So definitely unique and man, I would not have it any other way.


[00:06:26.410] - Big Rich Klein

That's awesome. So let's talk about those early years in school. What was school like for you?


[00:06:35.910] - Levi Shirley

School was tough. It was filled full of me just interested in what my dad was doing in the shop and not so much what was going on in the books or necessarily like with school sports. So school was pretty tough for me to get through, honestly. I'd like to say I was a CB student. I was not a 4.0 GPA kind of guy. It just kind of struck me as one of those things I had to get through in order to do what I needed to do, or wanted to do, I should say.


[00:07:21.590] - Big Rich Klein



[00:07:23.390] - Levi Shirley

So, yeah, I was not a real heavy into academics by any means. Grew up, again, just wanting to do everything my dad was doing, which was including Racing Circle Track or in the Rock sports as well. And that's all I was interested in, ride my dirt bike. I never grew up with any sort of video games, never had a video game console. I was outside or in the shop or just trying to do whatever my dad was doing, which was a very cool kind of childhood, if you will, school sports. Grew up trying to kind of fit in. Once I got to kind of the middle school puberty kind of age, realizing kind of what the girls liked. Tried playing football, which I played seven, 8th grade year, which is my first experience with that growing up because I was not a big kid. I'm still not a big guy by any means. I remember my 8th grade year signing up for football, having our weigh in, and I weighed £99 my 8th grade year and they fudged it to the triple digits, to the hundred mark just to make the roster look a little bit better.


[00:09:01.190] - Levi Shirley

So I played that until my sophomore year and was just didn't really get along with the coach by any means and discovered wrestling as a sport sophomore, junior year. And man, that's a sport that I wish I would have continued in or not continued in, but would have started earlier because I learned from an early age with racing, something that I related to wrestling was that the effort that you put in is what you are going to get in results, essentially. So I saw it more as an individual base sport, not one that had politics in it and it directly related to racing. So I took off with that and I wasn't the best by with that, but I sure enjoyed it. I wish I would have started earlier with it. And that kind of sums up my sporting stuff.


[00:10:03.310] - Big Rich Klein

Right. I understand the whole individual as opposed to team. I think team sports are absolutely fantastic for kids just because of the socialization and learning to work within a hierarchy, you might say. But I always excelled at individual sports, whether it was swimming or skiing, water skiing, snow skiing. It became just me. I didn't have to rely on the person next to me to do something. And I think that knowing that I had to rely on myself made a big difference.


[00:10:43.940] - Levi Shirley

Absolutely. There's zero politics involved. It doesn't matter if you have a, you know, you can keep referencing football, it doesn't matter if one team member is weaker than you, it's literally how much you put in is what you get out. And I think that directly correlates to just life. And if anybody was out there listening that had young kids, I would highly suggest them to start their kids in wrestling if racing isn't something that they might not have the means or even want to get into. Man, those individual sports are key.


[00:11:29.600] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, I agree. That also related to probably like you said, that being more of a CB student. So classes went pretty much just standard education did your school system have shop classes?


[00:11:49.640] - Levi Shirley

You know, I went to a private Catholic school when I was kindergarten to 8th grade. Freshman year was my first year in public schooling. We got to take classes like computer aided design and so forth, but for the most part, it was just your standard stuff. The high school really lacked a lot of big shop classes. I never got to take mechanics. I took welding, which I loved. This first opportunity that I got, I took welding, and I want to say I actually got, like, a B in welding, so it wasn't even one that wasn't even an A student at welding. So, yeah, I love lifting weights, but I just really, really liked the shop side of things. But Dodge City did not offer a lot of those.


[00:12:52.760] - Big Rich Klein

Okay. And your dad did some rodeo, like team roping or cutting horses or something like that? I think it was team roping was.


[00:13:03.740] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, dad did team roping growing up.


[00:13:09.470] - Big Rich Klein

Did you ever get into that?


[00:13:11.540] - Levi Shirley

No, I never did. I just never really took a lot of I just didn't really like it too much, to be honest with you. They didn't push me towards it. My grandpa also did a lot of team roping, and my dad still does team roping today, but it wasn't something that I was ever really interested in, to be honest. It's rich. I love motors for good reason, I guess, because I didn't have to wake up every morning and feed them.


[00:13:42.740] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, I know your mom's doing that. She's raising cattle.


[00:13:45.830] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, which I'm still I'm pretty heavily involved in as well. But we call ourselves recreational ranchers because it's not something that we absolutely have to do to put food on stable by any means. It's more of a hobby. But every year it gets a little bigger and bigger.


[00:14:08.910] - Big Rich Klein

So then with spending a lot of time with your dad, you spend a lot of time at the shop. And was it like after school head right to the shop type thing?


[00:14:22.640] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, literally. School got out at 03:00, 315, 330 at the shop, either doing homework down there or diving into helping with whatever my dad put me on, which, you know, come to realize that a lot of times they're just busy tasks. He might have made it seem like this had to get done or whatever, but in all actuality, they were just busy tasks, which I can see now that I am a father myself, that those busy tasks are important because build character.


[00:15:04.150] - Big Rich Klein

True. How you got involved with off road was, of course, because of your dad. What was the earliest thing that he was doing? Besides was it circle track?


[00:15:30.060] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, he did a lot of stock car racing locally and yeah, just something he kind of goofed around with. He didn't really take it too awfully serious. I mean, we were there every weekend having fun with it. I always ask, he by any means was not a front runner when it comes to circle track stuff. He didn't work that hard at it because of course he had a life. He had to take care of the business, he had to take care of the kids. And it was kind of probably a blow off steam and something for him to kind of relate to with his buddies and stuff. So he was not a front runner by any means at all.


[00:16:21.950] - Big Rich Klein



[00:16:26.610] - Levi Shirley

I always ask dad, why don't you spend more money? Or why aren't you the front guy? He said, I don't want to get into that. He said, Those guys have to work on their stuff all the time. And I was like he's like, literally, I'm like, no hindsight it's. All I do is work on racecars. It seems like I'm like, man, circle track would seem like a walk in the park compared to the stuff that I'm doing now. Really?


[00:16:54.170] - Big Rich Klein

That's true. I can see that. So then your dad must have been into off road, and that's what got you there when you were growing up. Was it bicycles, motorcycles, ATVs? What was your first?


[00:17:17.090] - Levi Shirley

All of the above. My dad came home one day with a 1987 I want to say maybe a six ATC 70.


[00:17:31.000] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, nice.


[00:17:32.060] - Levi Shirley

Three wheeler. And I remember pushing that thing more than actually getting to ride it because it would break down down the road and I'd have to push it home, figure it out, which transferred into dirt bikes at a young age. And I rode dirt bikes. That was my jam, that was my thing for a lot of years. On 1010 of ten, I went over the handlebars at a hair Scramble race racing motorcycle. And I realized that at a young age that there's an old saying out there called with age comes a cage, and got into side by sides from there.


[00:18:15.660] - Big Rich Klein

Okay, well, it's good that they had side by sides available.


[00:18:21.210] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, exactly. We're very lucky to have those.


[00:18:27.510] - Big Rich Klein

There was no such thing as that when I was growing up. It was motorcycles or bicycles.


[00:18:35.610] - Levi Shirley

The things that did have cages, such as a Honda Odyssey as well, I'm sure they didn't have suspension, so your head might have been okay, but your back was screwed.


[00:18:48.210] - Big Rich Klein

Very true. So then really kind of social. There lots of friends, local friends and everything.


[00:19:00.360] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, lots of local friends here. All of my friends still. I wasn't overly social in high school as far as connecting with class or anything like that. Classmates but I kind of went from town to town and us kids that were all kind of into similar things motorsports or whatever. We kind of all stuck together from all different ages and grades and yeah still have a bunch of friends that still reside here and a lot of friends that move away that are still really good friends that just went to bigger parts of the world to do other stuff.


[00:19:44.910] - Big Rich Klein

Cool. And after the ATC and motorcycles, you said you got into side by sides and was at the beginning, truly, of the offroad four wheel odyssey that you are in.


[00:20:05.610] - Levi Shirley

No, before the side by side, I did XRA for about two years, two or three years, which was extreme Rock racing association, which was my start, per se. I obviously took to my dad and what he was doing. He started codriving for a guy by the name of Mike McClure, which we all know. He raced a sidebyside, he was doing XRRA. And I think dad was to the point where he wanted the control and not so much to be in the right seat, which is understandable, especially with Mike driving. Especially with Mike driving. I remember Mike.


[00:20:56.300] - Big Rich Klein

Hey, Mike, if you listen to this one, mike, we love you.


[00:21:01.410] - Levi Shirley

That's right. Yeah, Mike. And by the way, thank you for bringing me diesel the other day when I ran out on the side of the road. Mike really appreciate you, but, yeah, he decided he wanted to have more control. And so that was 20 06 20 07 dad bought his very first car, which was from and it was the third car that they had ever made. And who knows what they're into now, probably in the couple hundred serial leopard cars that they've produced. Dad was the third car. And so dad got heavily into racing. He got the Bug and got the Bug big time when he was traveling all over the country with it. And I was right there by side going to every single race, if not begging to go to every single race, missing school to do it, of course, and also some organized sports. And they obviously saw my passion and that they saw how family oriented that the racing, the rock racing community was and still is. And they decided to get me involved in it. And I remember 2008, I would have been a sophomore in high school. They bought me my very first rock racing car, which at that time, it was a rock crawler.


[00:22:32.760] - Levi Shirley

It was a single seat Diablo chassis from Shafers yup.


[00:22:39.670] - Big Rich Klein

Mike Shaefers. Yup.


[00:22:41.020] - Levi Shirley

Mike Shafers. That had been a bunch of the Weirock stuff. And so I'm sure you have personally seen and touched that car that I started racing. I remember distinctly remember my parents asked me about this car and like, hey, what do you think of this car? I like it. Well, they want $12,000 for it, and it was located in Washington. I want to say they found on fire floor before, like, oh, dude, that's dad mom. I appreciate that's. Too much money. Okay. And then a couple of weeks later, it showed up on a transport truck. And I remember them saying they spent, I think, between taxes and transport and all that, it was around $13,000 for this vehicle. And I remember at that point, going like, this is a huge responsibility. Now I have $13,000 on a vehicle. Are you kidding me? I now have to put my heart and soul into this. Succeed. Because that's a lot of money. It's a lot of money for my parents. And I remember talking to my mom about this a few years ago, and she was like, that was one of the most nerve wracking things, spending that money, that $13,000 on a car, not knowing if you are going to succeed or fail with it or even continue to like it.


[00:24:16.430] - Levi Shirley

Yes, continue to like it and stuff. And she said, Your dad and I got a lot of arguments about it. And end of the day, we decided to go for it. And it's funny to look back at that now and thinking that was a very pivotal point in what I'm doing today. And I'm very thankful for that because, yeah, man, I don't know if I'd have the guts to spend that money on my kid. And it's funny also to look back at that $13,000 going, you bought a whole car for that much money? Yeah.


[00:24:50.350] - Big Rich Klein

Now you can't even buy a front end, an axle.


[00:24:53.770] - Levi Shirley

No, you can't even buy a motor or anything nowadays.


[00:25:03.520] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, man, you got the car. I know that your parents required, basically, or at least you felt you had to work for it. And I know you put a lot of time in at the shop.


[00:25:17.460] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, a whole lot of time with it. Funny story about that car's. First race in my first race as a driver, it was in Gray Rock, Alabama, outside of Birmingham. Outside Birmingham. We're at an off road park there, and I can't remember who I lined up to next to that day. Because XRRA Racing, they changed over the years, but in that time, it was one car per lane, two lanes racing side by side. You'd race one lane and then flop over on the next lane, but you never were tire to tire contact. And that was that way for a long time until they later changed it to where one lane duke it out, which was very cool. It was kind of the start of rock racing, essentially. It was the start of rock racing back in those days. Anyways. I don't remember who I lined up to for next to my very first race, but I remember carrying a lot of speed, too much speed going downhill. The car went airborne, caught the first lift going downhill, and it broke the upper panhard bar going to the chassis. And when you lose one link on a three links suspension setup, your axle is no longer going to stay in place.


[00:26:50.110] - Levi Shirley

And I remember driving clear over my axle and rolling down the hill and my very first run, my very first race ever, and crawling out of the car about 50ft from the start line, looking up. My axle was about 20ft up ahead of me, and my car was right there with me, of course, going, oh, my gosh, that was my very first race ever and I just destroyed the car. I'm not going to ever do this again. This is terrible. My parents are going to hate me for this and just having the worst feel in the world. And it was embarrassing. It was embarrassing. It was embarrassing. I felt for my parents, I felt for everybody involved. Luckily, at that point, I really didn't have sponsors. And I remember going back to the trailer and literally, man, it gets me emotional now talking about seeing my dad crying because he knows that I have the potential and that I just did that it might have persuaded me to go different direction, but yeah. So that was definitely one of those core memories that stick with you forever.


[00:28:04.660] - Big Rich Klein

But you learned something, didn't you?


[00:28:06.830] - Levi Shirley

I absolutely learned that the brakes on the left and not to let that right foot do everything, but no, all seriousness, we went back to the shop, I fixed it myself. We ended up four linking the rear and putting our eyes on it and making it that much more competitive. So in the long run of things, we made a more competitive race car out of it. But, yeah, it definitely pivotal point.


[00:28:37.270] - Big Rich Klein

And then after that car, how long did you have that car for?


[00:28:42.890] - Levi Shirley

I want to say I had the car for two years. After that car, I started racing that Jimmy's car. That was my dad's first car, and he got into a car called Sniper Fab. They were at Oklahoma at that time racing those. I was raising the Cadillac that we called it for a year. And then from there we transferred into building another car with Sniper Fab. That was actually a car that we raffled off for charity. At that time, I had a company approach me about, they obviously saw as young, enthusiastic, and they said, hey, we'll buy this car. We'll pay for this car for you if you let us own it. And then at the end of the year, you're going to sell raffle tickets for this car all year long. And at the end of the year, it's going to go to somebody if somebody else is going to win this car, but all the proceeds are going to Leukemia lymphoma society. And so I raced that car for a year, raffle it off at the end of the year, and raised a bunch of money for the leukemia and Lymphoma society.


[00:30:03.360] - Levi Shirley

And, yeah, that was kind of my first dual shock, real, kind of almost king of the hammers, dirt riot car, if you will, that I had ever officially built.


[00:30:16.640] - Big Rich Klein

Right, and that was a two seater. Correct.


[00:30:18.850] - Levi Shirley

And that was a two seater car with a Liberty front clip on it.


[00:30:23.800] - Big Rich Klein

Okay, and did you have somebody navigating for you at that point at XRRA or was it all just you in the car by yourself?


[00:30:34.560] - Levi Shirley

It was always in the car by self. I'm sorry. And I forgot. A very pivotal car that I raced after that. After the Shafers diablos, I had a moon buggy that was built by Rick Deremo that I raced for about three years.


[00:30:54.680] - Big Rich Klein



[00:30:56.310] - Levi Shirley

XRRA. And then when it came down to the distance stuff, the distance stuff was when I raced the Cadillac, the jimmy's car. So shortcourse. Yeah.


[00:31:07.340] - Big Rich Klein

He built the chassis. Or was that a Campbell chassis that he built?


[00:31:12.890] - Levi Shirley

That was a Campbell chassis that he built. Apparently, Campbell's had built it, left it up in the rafters of their shop. And he walked in one day down there, Gilbert, and said, what are you doing with that chassis? Don't know. I'd like to buy it. Bought it, took it home and built a rock racer with it out of that.


[00:31:35.390] - Big Rich Klein

Okay. And that wasn't the independent car, because the independent car, that was one that he did with Randy.


[00:31:47.690] - Levi Shirley

One of the first independent cars ever between him and Shannon. But, yeah, that was one of his first cars.


[00:31:58.550] - Big Rich Klein



[00:31:59.480] - Levi Shirley

And I still own it today. Really? Yeah.


[00:32:02.900] - Big Rich Klein



[00:32:03.340] - Levi Shirley

I still own that Campbell car today. It's tough. It has a three gallon fuel cell, and it doesn't have a lot of cooling, and it's just tough. And it's not really a rock crawler. It was built primarily for rock racing. And so, yeah, there's not really a big market out there for it. So it has sat in my garage for the past 15 years.


[00:32:30.290] - Big Rich Klein

Something to get one of your boys into, if he has the interest.


[00:32:35.610] - Levi Shirley

Absolutely. He's already claimed it, so I don't think I'll have much choice.


[00:32:39.920] - Big Rich Klein

There you go. Okay. So then you're racing the sniper car. You get that one, gets donated, raffled off. I remember buying raffle tickets for that. And then which car was next?


[00:32:58.860] - Levi Shirley

After that was a car named Layla, and that was another sniper fab car. Decided to go bigger shocks on it, bigger motor, but very similar to the car we raffled off. And this one had, like, a jeep JK front end on it. Raced king of the hammers and a lot of your series, the dirt rice series, with that next car race that car for, I want to say, three years, pretty hard. And, yeah, still actually, I would say I own that car, but I actually just sold that car here a couple of weeks ago, converted it to a legends car backing up a little bit. Converted it to a legends car and raced the everyman challenge race at king of hammers for three years with it, and just recently sold it here a couple of weeks ago to a guy in Montana. So it's going to Montana to race king the hammers here next year. So that car is still around and still kicking, but unfortunately, I'm losing it. But it is going to a good home.


[00:34:09.400] - Big Rich Klein

Good. And who was your first navigator?


[00:34:15.210] - Levi Shirley

My very first navigator was a guy named Kelly Halling out of Dodge City here. He was going to all the XRRA races. He was actually spotting for my dad and I at the X races before we even had two seat cars. And so it's kind of a natural transition to have him in the car with me and to have somebody that would kind of keep me, you know, tamed.


[00:34:43.490] - Big Rich Klein

Using the left pedal, too.


[00:34:45.410] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, using the left pedal as well, and keep me under wraps. My very first co driver was Kelly hauling.


[00:34:52.710] - Big Rich Klein

Okay, and how long was Kelly your navigator?


[00:34:57.060] - Levi Shirley

He was my navigator. He did the XRRA stuff for three or four years, and then the navigator role for about another two. And then after that, a guy by the name of Terry Madden, which I'm sure everybody knows, co-drove with me for a few years after that. And then after that after that sniper fab car, we decided in 2013 to go back to a single theater, and I was back by myself.


[00:35:31.040] - Big Rich Klein

Right. And the single seater was the I s and the Campbell car.


[00:35:39.430] - Levi Shirley

Correct, correct. That was the Campbell car. Loretta, I have to name all my cars. They all start with an L. So if you hear me referencing my cars by name, I'm sorry. Just the way my mind works.


[00:35:54.800] - Big Rich Klein

That's okay.


[00:35:55.730] - Levi Shirley

Why else my name starts penel. I don't know. The very first car that I win car, we named it Lintley off of our slogan for that whole program called Relentlessly Driven. So in Relentless, we came up with Lintley. And as a matter of fact, Terry and I were sitting at the shop loading to go to one of your races, and we're like, we just finished the car, and we're like, we have to name this. Well, might as well start the L. So we opened up a baby naming book and counted down 81 names. And on the 81st name, 81 being my number was Layla. And that stuck with that. And so from there, it's just always been L name. I don't know why.


[00:36:52.410] - Big Rich Klein

Interesting. That's cool. A little history there. So the car that got raffled off, that ended up didn't Terry end up buying that?


[00:37:05.010] - Levi Shirley

So basically what had happened to it is there was somebody online that bought a raffle ticket for $5.01, $5 ticket, called him up, said, hey, you won the car. Congrats. And actually, it wasn't even call. It was an email saying, hey, you won the car. Congrats. And he replied with, awesome, this is amazing. But I don't know what I'm going to do with it, because I'm currently actively deployed. So from there, there was a cash option to buy it from him. Yeah. So basically, Terry somehow purchased the car from him and wound up with it and raced for a little bit, and then it sold and actually went up to topeka. Kansas now, and that's the last runs I've ever had with it, knowing that it's back in Topeka, Kansas.


[00:38:06.340] - Big Rich Klein

Okay, interesting. And what was it like that first season running XRRA and being the young kid out there against all these adults?


[00:38:22.940] - Levi Shirley

It was definitely interesting. I obviously really didn't have a big fear, per se. It's not something that I really thought about was being a young kid. There was obviously a lot of media attention kind of gravitating towards me because of my age. So that was a little weird to kind of get used to when it was the media side of things. But literally, everybody there, I looked at them like they were my idols. I would study what they're doing. I'd look at their cars, and everybody was more than welcoming and inviting as far as that goes. But, yeah, I would like to say, other than my dad, one of my biggest heroes of the day that we were racing with that, I just like, you know, what was 100% about was Shannon Campbell, and that was everybody's hero, but that's somebody that I've really gravitated towards was Shannon style. Shannon. Shannon's Quinnist. As far as the way he did cars, how he manufactured stuff. So just everything about Shannon I was about. Kind of a cool story from that is one day at an Xrays in Colorado Springs, my dad Shannon, were sitting there talking, and waylon Campbell, which is, I want to say he's two or three years younger than I am.


[00:40:00.230] - Levi Shirley

We're all sitting around there, and I had brought my shaffer's diablo car there, and I asked Waylon, like, hey, do you want to drive my car? He's like, yeah, absolutely. He would have been ten or eleven years old at that time. And so he hopped in the driver's seat, and Shannon said, go drive my car. Told me that as a 14 year old kid, go drive my car. And I'm like, Shannon Campbell just told me to drive his car. Yeah, the race is already over. Everybody's hanging around, hanging out. And I went and drove the car and was hitting the track pretty hard. And Shannon said, I want you to hit this big gap jump. At this time, there was a big gap jump that a lot of people wrecked on. That was just kind of a cool deal there. At ram off road park, at Ray Mandel’s park, he said, go jump that jump. Oh, no way. No, sir, no way. I'm not going to go jump this jump. And he might have used some profanity and said, go hit that jump. Yeah. And anyways, so I went and did the jump, and he said, dude, that's awesome.


[00:41:09.950] - Levi Shirley

Tried doing this. And he kind of started to coach me a little bit more and more with driving that car. At the end of that, he said, when's your next race? I said, well, it's in Hannibal, Missouri, during whatever, in two weeks. He said, Take my car home. What do you mean, Shannon? He said, take it home. I'm like, I want you to erase my car at the next race. Take it home. Prep it. Just make sure it's prep for me at the next race. So after you get done racing, you prep it and make sure everything is good and give it back to me in Cortez. Oh, yes, sir. I'm not going to turn that down like that. Are you sure that's okay? He said, yeah, that's fine. And so I actually took that car, raced it, and had my very first win ever, which was a big deal as a 1415 year old kid. They're in Hannibal, Missouri, winning my very first XRA race, which obviously gained a lot of attention, a lot of momentum for my racing career from there. So to have your idol give you a car and said, Go drive it, especially at that young of a kid, is pretty amazing.


[00:42:32.270] - Levi Shirley

So I'm still very thankful to Shannon for that, and I will forever be grateful for that opportunity.


[00:42:38.840] - Big Rich Klein

That's pretty cool. You know, that doesn't happen very often, especially to take it home, go race it, and then bring it back.


[00:42:49.710] - Levi Shirley

If you can imagine, I was nervous. I was beyond nervous as a kid. Like, oh, like, this car is perfect, and don't screw it up. And I want to say it was the car that he won King of the Hammers with for the very first time. It was that solid axle moon buggy that I remember the big story about him starting at the back of the pack and worked his way through the entire field and ended up winning the race like a 2007 or eight, right? Yeah. That very iconic car. So didn't want to screw that one up. It luckily did not.


[00:43:28.110] - Big Rich Klein

That's a pretty good story. That's awesome. I remember you coming out to the Dirt Riot. Our format is very similar to what they are on now at Ultra Four, but it's that multiple lap type thing, and we did that for a certain reason, and it was to hopefully train drivers to learn terrain and how to get faster going over the same terrain. Did you think that helped you at all?


[00:44:04.040] - Levi Shirley

100%. Without a doubt. It was thanks to your association. It also taught endurance, of course, not only going faster than the same terrain, but lap after lap after lap. It was, hey, you guys, keep the car alive for those 3 hours. And I will largely attribute any success that I have had thanks to the Dirt Riot series, because it taught me endurance. And I don't care if you're the best whatever racer in the world, it's all about seat time. A lot of people depend on their cars too much to get them that win or whatever, or even a finish. But it's all about seat time. And that's what that series really, really it was so good for me because it got me seat time to where when I showed up and raised the other races, I could be successful. Because I had that seat time and I put the work in.


[00:45:09.470] - Big Rich Klein

Excellent, excellent. Glad we were able to provide that. That's what we wanted to do was to create a training ground for people to be successful at races like Koh where you had one shot at it. And at that time, the races were 100 and some odd miles to 200 miles. Now they've gotten to be a lot longer than that, but of course, cars have gotten faster and better and you drivers have gotten better. But it was to give everybody a chance when they went out there to go farther than 2 miles. That's one of the things we saw is that people would spend 25, $30,000 to go race Koh one race a year and then have no success whatsoever. I mean, lucky if they made the first pit. And it got to be where our drivers, the guys that raced at dirt, right, started to get to where we were getting a lot of good results at Koh. So we were always counting those and, you know, putting it against the total numbers of vehicles out there and, you know, that kind of thing, just to pat ourselves on the back, I guess. But it just meant that we were hopefully doing something right, so I'm glad to hear that.


[00:46:34.160] - Big Rich Klein

I can remember, I think we were the Oklahoma, it was Buzzard Canyon, and I think it was the one where we had all the heavy rains the night before and the river was flooded and we had to change the course. We couldn't put the pits where we wanted them, and we had to change the start finish line. And Lauren showed up, and he wasn't going to show up at first, and he was worried about the rain in the mud. Him and Clay Gilstrap and Lauren were complaining about racing, wanting to race. And I told him, go put your pink panties on and get your fire suits on, we're racing. And at the end of that race afterwards, lauren came to me and said, you know what, I can't outrun that kid anymore. And he was talking about you.


[00:47:31.640] - Levi Shirley

I distinctly remember that as well because he was showing up pretty hot and heavy chasing the dirt riot stuff as well. And I remember passing Loren at some of those races and yeah, I mean, he's obviously somebody that he's one of my peers and I still look up to him today and what he does. So to have that comment from that guy pretty cool.


[00:48:00.470] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah. And you were racing back then against guys that were pretty damn competitive, even if they hadn't won a Koh yet. Guys like Derek West and Clay Gilstrap, there was guys out there that were really, really fast. Hell, your dad, your dad was fast on, at least at our courses.


[00:48:20.810] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, he was always fast at those. He is one of the guys that would get everything and then send out of those courses. He still is today. He just got tired of working on him on the cars that he wanted.


[00:48:36.530] - Big Rich Klein

To retire and fly more.


[00:48:38.460] - Levi Shirley

Yeah. Airplanes are a lot less work, I think. I'm not really sure.


[00:48:42.340] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah. But when they break, it's easier just to pull off the side of the road.


[00:48:49.640] - Levi Shirley

Yeah. And I'd be lying if we didn't have some close encounters with that because his flying has gotten a little bit more involved of going from airport to airport to landing on sand bars and camping and landing planes that there's never even been vehicles on kind of scenarios. So he's trying to figure out a way to combine offroading and camping and overlanding, I call it over landing for airplanes.


[00:49:16.760] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah. That STOL stuff that short take off of landing. So then what would you consider was your favorite race course outside of Koh? What was the favorite place for you to go race that you enjoyed the most? Whether it was because of the track or the people or whatever.


[00:49:39.810] - Levi Shirley

I would probably say my very favorite race and race track would be Glenn Helen. I loved racing Glen Helen as far as outside of King of Hammers because it took my motorcycle riding skill set and applied it to, you know, the racing, the cars, knowing how to enter the corners, how to keep stuff alive. And so I definitely have to say Glenn Helen back in the day was one of my favorite race tracks. And, oh, my gosh, was it hard on stuff.


[00:50:20.300] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah. I was going to say I have never heard a racer say that they enjoyed or loved Glenn Helen for that simple fact.


[00:50:32.540] - Levi Shirley

I remember my dad and I showed up to Glenn Helen after driving all day, all night, because it's about a 20 hours trip for us and saying, this track was made for you. It kind of gave me that little bit of confidence to say because he saw my driving style and he saw, obviously, where I succeeded. And we went out there and I want to say very first time, it was one of the deals we were doing really good till we weren't. But from then on, it was just every year we'd go back to Glenn Helen, it would just be like, I'd get a little bit better, get a little bit better. And, yeah, that was probably my favorite track outside of team the Hammers. After that, my favorite track would probably be probably the Copper Mines Alphas, Oklahoma. It was such a cool track and it's really kind of where I cut my teeth, I'd say, more than anything, learning how to do endurance racing because we had a bunch of races there and it was close to us and it was just a really, really cool race track. Very grateful for Raymond moody and his wife and that whole facility right.


[00:51:53.260] - Big Rich Klein

There was nothing like the parties after the races at the Red Dog Saloon.


[00:52:00.740] - Levi Shirley

That's right. I may or may not at one time put a pit bike on top of the bar and did a burnout after a party. But that's all right.


[00:52:10.510] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah. I couldn't believe that we could get 9 miles of racetrack out there. Yeah. Because there was a big lake area out there that you just couldn't really go around, or it took up a lot of the property, those two lakes, and then the compound area down in the middle. But we created that horseshoe shape that we were able to get 9 miles of racetrack out of with variations.


[00:52:40.190] - Levi Shirley

It was incredible. It was a lot. I mean, I remember, I mean, they had hills, they had little kind of rock ravines, big, long streets next to fence lines. But I'll tell you what, that's one place you never wanted to get a quarter inch of rain, because then it turned into an absolute nightmare. Yes.


[00:53:02.760] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, yeah. The rain race we had there with I think it was the first time that Bill Baird came out, but a bunch of guys ended up with able to finish the race because of the mud in their eyes. It was pretty gnarly. So let's talk about your family life. And you're married, you got two kids. Talk about your wife.


[00:53:31.110] - Levi Shirley

Yeah. So my lovely wife Miranda and I have been together for, let's see this. We've been together eleven years, married for six. Don't kick my butt if I get that wrong. Miranda, I think six or seven, I don't know. We have two beautiful little boys. We have Dawson, which is the oldest, and he'll turn four on Saturday here.


[00:54:10.600] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, nice.


[00:54:11.770] - Levi Shirley

And we have Auto, which is our newest. He's fresh, he just turned three months old.


[00:54:24.890] - Big Rich Klein

I have to ask because somebody made mention of it. My son, little Rich, was here for the last couple of days at my parents'house with his kids and Brandy, and we'd mentioned that you had another son and the name was Auto, and we were all wondering, where did the name Auto come from? Because it's not something that's real common nowadays.


[00:54:56.160] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, so I wish I had a really cool story about that, but I don't. I think we just stumbled across the name Auto, and we just we really took to it and it stuck. Obviously, we already had the name picked out before he was even born, so it wasn't one of those, like, spur of the moment things. But yeah, it's not an old family name. It's not a real common name, like you were saying. But we like the way Auto Shirley sounded and easy to spell and yeah, just a really cool name. And I tell people that it wasn't a family name, but it is now.


[00:55:40.960] - Big Rich Klein

Right. That's good. When I was growing up, my parents insurance agent and who was my first insurance agent for car insurance was a state farm guy and his name was Autograph.


[00:55:56.240] - Levi Shirley

That's cool.


[00:55:57.050] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, I'll never forget that. Autograph.


[00:56:04.560] - Levi Shirley

We have came up with a million nicknames for Auto since obviously happening there is automatic that we call them. His name is called Otto.


[00:56:22.820] - Big Rich Klein



[00:56:23.170] - Levi Shirley

Not a uto. So I don't want to clear up any confusion that I made my kid a Uto head and we call him just a million different nicknames. It's kind of fun.


[00:56:36.370] - Big Rich Klein

Cool. And you're into a new house. I know that you had the house on the corner. Is it you in the same property or you farther away now?


[00:56:49.110] - Levi Shirley

Yeah. We went into town whenever we were pregnant. My wife was pregnant with Auto. Our little farmhouse just wasn't going to cut the mustard anymore. We had to go and find a new home relatively quick. We've been talking about building house for the past year or two before Auto was even in the picture. And we went as far as getting plans drawn and meeting with the contractors to kind of start the ball rolling so I could stay on my parents property, essentially. And with all these covet prices, there was just no way I was ever going to afford to build at this point in time. So we decided to kind of let's go out there and see what's already built. And we came across the house in town and fell in love with it. And it's where we are today. We've been here since August and love it. It is a little bit of a transition moving from out of town into town neighbors and all that stuff, but luckily we love our neighbors. We love where we're at. We love the fact that our kids are going to have neighbor kids to run around the block with versus being a farm kid where you kind of got to create your own fun and there's nothing wrong with that.


[00:58:16.580] - Levi Shirley

And it's how I grew up. Playing basketball on a gravel driveway by yourself, that was my childhood versus actually having neighbor kids to ride around with. So I wanted to give that to my kids. And so we often really decided that it was the better choice to hold on building and find something in town. Man, it's been awesome.


[00:58:40.360] - Big Rich Klein

And did you guys go to school together?


[00:58:44.990] - Levi Shirley

No, we never did.


[00:58:47.740] - Big Rich Klein



[00:58:48.620] - Levi Shirley

She went to Cimarron High School and I went to Dodge City High School. Met her at a friend's house after I had already graduated from high school. She was still a junior going into her senior year, and we started dating and I dated her the rest of the time and she went off to college and I didn't. But we still stayed together and yeah, I should say I stayed here locally for college. She decided to go get a four year degree at Kansas State. So I tell people I got the four year experience without ever having to pay for the four year experience.


[00:59:29.530] - Big Rich Klein

There you go. Did you make a lot of trips to take k then?


[00:59:35.720] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, absolutely. My truck pretty much knew the way friday night after school or work from the trailer shop, it was headed east up to manhattan, Kansas. And, yeah, I racked up a lot of miles to that.


[00:59:53.610] - Big Rich Klein

I have to say, your wedding was beautiful, and your party, the reception afterwards was one to remember there in the hangar and shop area, and we kind of snuck in. Miranda knew we were coming. Nobody else did. Your dad actually saw a photo that I had posted on the way up, and he's like, because we came from Texas. And he was like, I think they're coming. And so we showed up, and the look on your face was priceless. But what a great time with all the racers that were there, and we had our own little section of the hangar there, hanging out with all the racers. And I remember your dad kept wandering over, and your mom would, like, drag him back over with everybody else. And finally, when all the rest of the family left and everything, you came over and said, oh, my god, now I get to have get to spend some time with my friends. It was awesome.


[01:01:11.390] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, I was so happy you guys showed up and along with all my other racing families at that point, because, I mean, it's safe to say I've spent more time with you guys or my other racing, the actual other racers than I have at home, really, with all my other friends and family at home. So you guys definitely are a critical part of my friend group and family, and I really appreciated you being there. And to give people an idea of how important racing is to my family and I my race car was actually in the middle or off the side, but it was in the building for the reception, which is pretty special to me to actually have your race car, and it's very special for that. My wife actually allowed it, but she knows the drill.


[01:02:15.360] - Big Rich Klein

She knows that's a passion for you is having that race life.


[01:02:22.860] - Levi Shirley

Absolutely. And we always talk whenever we buy a car. It is a car that is essentially, as I have stated on this podcast already, with keeping that old campbell moon buggy and actually just selling layla the legends car. Pretty much whenever I buy a car, it's for life, and it's a lifetime commitment.


[01:02:49.040] - Big Rich Klein

They're built kind of like being married.


[01:02:53.540] - Levi Shirley

Kind of like being married. Those cars become family pretty quick, especially.


[01:03:02.230] - Big Rich Klein

When you name them.


[01:03:03.740] - Levi Shirley

Especially when you name them. It's kind of like name it a cow before it goes to the slaughterhouse, unfortunately. You know what you're about to do to them.


[01:03:16.410] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, I don't know if I could name cows if I had cattle, because, you know that it's going to end up on your plate someday. You go, wow, Joey, we sure tasty or whatever.


[01:03:30.210] - Levi Shirley

We do have our special cows that are named and yes, they have wound up on our plate before. So we just try not to think about that.


[01:03:39.580] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, try not to think about it. So what's coming up in the future?


[01:03:47.760] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, so just more racing. Obviously. My family is of most importance to my everyday life. What I'm paying the most attention to, what is I'm ultimately setting them up for success and really digging down deep to do that. I love racing. It's never going to stop racing. Never ever going to stop. If anything, just get a little bit busier, I don't know. But my goal for the years going forward is to kind of be cherry picking races, not just in say, the Ultra four King, the Hammers venues is. I like to go to other places and race and try different stuff and that's where I feel like my sponsors and my marketing partners get the most out of is when I go try new stuff. I've been having a lot of fun doing that and that is I'm going for the quality and not the quantity races side of things from here going forward. So I love my racing. I've been very heavily involved with Ford Motor Company up in Detroit doing a bunch of their driver training as well as far as the income side of things. And so I go to Detroit a lot.


[01:05:22.810] - Levi Shirley

I go up to Southern California a lot, trained their engineers and signing off on their engineers to be able to drive Ford Motor company's property. And yeah, that's been a new chapter in my life is doing more of that stuff. Cool. Hopefully at the end of the day, that's what puts food on the table.


[01:05:47.240] - Big Rich Klein

And do you find that where the racing is such a large part of what you're doing day to day is the marketing partnership side of that time consuming?


[01:06:08.160] - Levi Shirley

It is. And to be honest with you, Rich, I don't spend as much time with it as I should. I should be a little bit more invested in that. But at the end of the day, there's only so much time in the day to do that. It is challenging for sure to sit down at the end day and send out emails or at the beginning of the day and send out emails and to work that side of things. But it's something that has to be done and if I don't do it, I can't race, then everything's coming out of my own pocket and I can't do that. So definitely time to me and I should get better at it. But man, I love my current marketing partners. I had a pretty major switch over to Yokohamatayer about three years ago prior to COVID And it's been one of the best things I've ever done is switching over to the Oklahoma tire and dealing with those people marketing wise, they have quickly became family and excited for many years of the Okama tire.


[01:07:22.430] - Big Rich Klein

Excellent. And Yokohama does a lot of stuff in Baja. Is that ever going to be in the plans?


[01:07:31.340] - Levi Shirley

You know, maybe. Yokoham tire is very involved in all forms of racing. They're one of the largest sole tire manufacturers in the world. Like you have your brickstone or your goodyear, but they produce other things other than tires. Yokohama only produces tires, so it sure opened the doors for me to go race a little bit of everything. They're very involved with the Travis Pastrana series. The Nitro Rally cross. They're involved with Pikes Peak, which I actually got to go run an ultraport car up, my definite Campbell car up this year, which was an absolute blast.


[01:08:16.630] - Big Rich Klein



[01:08:19.710] - Levi Shirley

As far as Baja goes, I've always been very reserved about going down to Baja. It's one of those things that's hard, but it is more work from somebody from Kansas to travel 20 hours, graphical order to do that. And of course, you kind of feel like there's maybe some hidden dangers that comes with it. So I've always been very reserved here. Last year, it would have been over a year ago, year and a half ago now. I had a life changing wreck there that ended up in ultimately a fatality on the track. And that has definitely affected me and affected my family and how my overall racing, for sure, and how I look at it. But I definitely try not to dwell on that side of things so much, because at the end of the day, I was doing nothing wrong at the time of the accident or any time whatsoever, and I was where I was supposed to be doing what I was supposed to be doing at that point in time. And it was just a very unfortunate, unfortunate accident that happened. So don't I know, Rich, that I'll ever go back? I'd like to someday, but it's definitely something that's hard to watch is the Baja racing.


[01:10:07.690] - Levi Shirley

Knowing what happens to me down there, that happens.


[01:10:14.310] - Big Rich Klein

It happens a lot down there. A lot of it nobody ever hears about, or it's very, you know, it doesn't get back over the border, you might say, with the advertising or however you want to put it. But those races can be out of country. Like that can be extremely dangerous because there is no control over huge distances like that of where the spectators can go and what they do. My first time down in Baja was in 2003 when they were filming Dust to Glory, and it was evening, and we were expecting the trophy trucks in any time. And we saw all these lights come through this canyon, and we've got the BFG pickup set up out there and the end of this canyon. And I'm like, everybody's like, oh, here comes the trophy trucks, and all of a sudden this pickup truck comes by with a bunch of lights on it and like ten people standing in the bed of the truck. Not 2 minutes later, 3 minutes later, the first trophy truck comes through and I'm thinking, I sure hope those guys got off that course. There's nothing you can do about it.


[01:11:39.660] - Levi Shirley

And that's a very similar situation. What happened with my accident, there was literally nothing I could do. They were there. So it is very unfortunate. And I think there needs to be maybe more education with that type of racing down there. Mexico is amazing place, but I just don't know if there's a future for me down there. And I like to stick with races that especially here in the States. I raised in Europe for three years, which was a very pivotal point of my racing career as well. So I understand the racing out of country, but I learned a lot by racing out of country, and especially with marketing as well, with how hard it is to market out of country. Because most of the time there's different divisions within companies that they don't cross the lines of. Say the US market is different than the UK market, which is different to the Spain market. So I like to stick here to racing kind of more or less in the States because it is a lot easier to market with because at the end of the day, my company that sponsor me, that's what they're interested in is the US market because that's where they sell.


[01:13:11.120] - Levi Shirley

So I've learned a lot with marketing and doing the overseas racing. But yeah, so going forward, I'm not against racing overseas. I love it. I've met a ton of good people that are family now, and I want to change that for the world. I have some different goals nowadays, especially with having a wife and kiddos that involve racing here in the US. And trying to do everything with taking as much as a calculated risk as possible.


[01:13:47.540] - Big Rich Klein



[01:13:48.160] - Levi Shirley

Because in the day, they got to come home to correct.


[01:13:51.190] - Big Rich Klein

Now, your new car is a UK built car, correct?


[01:13:57.510] - Levi Shirley

Yes. It was built by a company over in the UK called Off Road armory. I started racing overseas. I was at Glen Helen of all places, and Dave Cole was looking for somebody to deal race overseas, willing to ship their car. But the downside to it, you are going to lose racing the rest of the year out in the states. I looked at my buddy and said, dude, we should totally go do that. Let's try to be different, let's expand, let's try to be different and ultimately end up shifting my car over. Rob Butler from Offroad Armory ended up taking me under his wing, and I'll forever be grateful for that. And we end up racing two races over there and I shipped the car back home. We end up building the car in. 2014 to raise the entire European Ultra Europe Championship. And I ended up winning three out of the four races over there, winning the championship course with that and ended up the next year racing it over again and selling the car anyways. Established a really good relationship with Rob Butler at Offered Armory and we ended up starting on this car in 2020 and have been building ever since.


[01:15:23.840] - Levi Shirley

And it just landed in July of this year here in the US. So excited to be campaigning that car for the years to come.


[01:15:32.840] - Big Rich Klein

And it's an ifs car.


[01:15:36.360] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, it's very similar to, say, Loretta, by similar, I mean as far as its layout, it is a rear engine car, independent front, salad oil, rear, two shocks per corner, the standard for kind of set up at this point. And, yeah, it's just Rob is very good at his designing and he's very good at listening as well. If there's something I would have done, wanted done on the car, it got done. And so we accumulated, built this car and it's going to be a bad enemy whenever we get everything kind of the new car blues sorted out of it. They've been waiting a long time with it, but building a car during COVID was not ideal by any means.


[01:16:32.030] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah. Not just because you couldn't travel back to help, but also getting just securing parts.


[01:16:40.710] - Levi Shirley

That was the biggest one, was securing parts lead times. I mean, it was terrible. And the traveling, we were locked down pretty much the entire time, not able to travel, so we did everything FaceTime right.


[01:16:56.870] - Big Rich Klein

That's tough.


[01:16:58.640] - Levi Shirley

It was tough. But we'll be seeing the rewards of that and all that work over the past couple of years. Hopefully this year.


[01:17:09.440] - Big Rich Klein

Great. That car will be ready for Koh then?


[01:17:13.580] - Levi Shirley

Oh, yeah, I've been working on it night and day. We had our first test session out in Johnson Valley, found a lot of stuff that we needed to change or fix on it and so brought the car back here to the shop and tore it down and starting to make some changes to it here and there, ultimately make the car more reliable and faster. So I always say a car is not a good car until the second or third season because it just takes every car. I don't care what car you buy, you can go buy a Campbell car, you can go buy a Mason Trophy truck. They're all going to have issues and bugs that you got to work through, right?


[01:18:01.190] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah. I mean, it's rare that something happens, like with Raul this year with a brand new car delivered on the lake bed and be able to go out and win in it. That was amazing.


[01:18:17.840] - Levi Shirley

That is amazing. And that is something that role, that was literally like playing the lottery that day one.


[01:18:31.190] - Big Rich Klein

So then what was your best finish at Koh?


[01:18:35.990] - Levi Shirley

My very best finish at King of hammers would be a third place finish. It was in 20, 716 17. They all run together. I raced it this year. It will be my 12th year racing King of the Hammers. So we've had some very good finishes within the top ten, but never have had that perfect day per se at King of Hammers. It is definitely a hard race to win and that's why very few people have won.


[01:19:16.960] - Big Rich Klein

It very true. Very true. So then you're going to continue racing in the States, try different things that rally cross stuff. Sounds pretty cool.


[01:19:31.190] - Levi Shirley

Yeah. So my goal is to diversify and do as much as I can and maybe try different areas of motorsports to see where I land and hopefully ultimately keep on developing my skill sets. Because I'm a firm believer in everything transfers over. You gain a little bit of see time and something. You will store that and be able to use it at some point in time. So, yeah, that nitro rally cross looks amazing and I hope I can get my shot at it in the coming years.


[01:20:08.230] - Big Rich Klein



[01:20:10.260] - Levi Shirley

Pike Peak this year was a big one for me.


[01:20:12.610] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, I was going to bring that up. You had quite the run.


[01:20:16.260] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, had quite the run. In fact, I made history. I don't know if it was necessarily in a good way or not, but.


[01:20:28.180] - Big Rich Klein

I hear in the history books it's always a good way. Hopefully.


[01:20:31.490] - Levi Shirley

Okay. Yeah, exactly. Racemile. I actually have a course map here in my office that I'm looking at. I'll probably race mile. It'd be about race mile nine, I think, if that. I slid off the course, rolled the car and rideed the car back on its wheels and tires and finish the rate.


[01:21:08.610] - Big Rich Klein

Coverage just peeled out.


[01:21:10.600] - Levi Shirley

Just peeled out and went. Rolled the car and kept on going. I was the first car ever in the history. If I speak to roll a car and finish the rate, which is a testament to ultraford drivers and off road drivers in general, that being a big deal to on road guys. I might as well have walked on water because that is unheard of, to roll a Porsche or do anything and keep on going. But to me, it really wasn't that crazy of a deal. It was like, did a quick check and kept on going. Definitely is not the first time that I've ever rolled a car laying on its wheels and kept going. It just happened to be at Pike's Peak that I did this, which was kind of a weird one to roll out in general, but the course was super slick and foggy that day and there was a corner that just, boom, came out of nowhere. Luckily, it was at lower elevation yeah. On my wheels and made it all the way to the finish line and still actually outran some people, which was a surprise. But doing stuff like that is kind of my goal going forward is to prove how diverse all score drivers are.


[01:22:30.890] - Levi Shirley

And there are cars, our cars are like Swiss Army knives, they can do a little bit of everything. So I built this new car with that in mind, to be able to go do everything. It has big shocks and considerable amount of fuel on it. And so if I want to go run the Meant 400 or Pikes Peak or Crandon or whatever, we can take our cards, my card, and we can go race it.


[01:22:54.960] - Big Rich Klein

Nice. Cool. Well, is there anything that we haven't touched on that you would like to share that you can think of?


[01:23:07.260] - Levi Shirley

No, not really. I think we pretty much covered pretty much covered everything that I would like to touch on.


[01:23:18.920] - Big Rich Klein

Great. Excellent. So, Levi, thank you so much for having been a big part of my life over the last, I'd have to say, ten or twelve years, and that we always enjoyed when you guys would come to the races because you would come over and sit at the trailer with us for hours and just talk. And we appreciated that. So thank you for being part of our life and sharing your life with our listeners.


[01:24:00.960] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, thank you for giving me a platform to be able to do so. You've given me a platform in more ways than one, to express my gratitude, whether it'd been on a racetrack for all those years to doing what we're doing today and just sitting down and being able to talk and hopefully to give people a little bit of insight on my day to day, my history and what my future looks like. So I can't express my gratitude enough to you and Shelley and everybody for always welcoming me and my family. Thank you.


[01:24:55.310] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, no worries. And give your wife a hug for us and kiss kids on the cheek and we hopefully we'll see you here in a few months somewhere.


[01:25:06.360] - Levi Shirley

Yeah, there is that big race coming up that people know about, I guess that some people know about, so, yeah, we should definitely connect there. I will. Thank you again.


[01:25:19.400] - Big Rich Klein

Thank you. All right, you have a good day. Thank you.


[01:25:22.370] - Levi Shirley

All right? You too rich. Bye.


[01:25:24.660] - Big Rich Klein

Well, that's another episode of Conversations with Big Rich. I'd like to thank you all for listening. If you could do us a favor and leave us a review on any podcast service that you happen to be listening on or send us an email or text message or Facebook message and let me know. Any ideas? That you have or if there's anybody that you have that you think would be a great guest, please forward the contact information to me so that we can try to get them on. And always remember, live life to the fullest. Enjoying life is a must. Follow your dreams and live life with all the gusto you can. Thank you.