BULLRUN 2013: IT’S GO-TIME FOR TEAM WHEELZ UP!
Bullrun baby! Jeb Lopez returns for Bullrun 2013 for his sixth Bullrun rally and is ready to take on the road once again! Lopez, owner of a car parts delivery company in Virginia, began his Bullrun journey in 2007 when he won the ‘Ticket to Drive’ contest. He and his wife Angela put their prized Ferrari GTO on the back of a flatbed bound for Montreal and piloted their prancing horse all the way to Key West. Ever since then, they’ve been hooked on Bullrun. Now, six years later, Lopez will be rallying once more. He’s brought two souped-up Jeep SRT-8’s a GT-R Premium edition, had ridden with his friend Louis in a 2009 Challenger SRT-8 and with his cousin in a BMW M3. This year, Godzilla returns – this time a more beefy 2012 Japanese battle machine.
Ever since his first Bullrun, Jeb has been rallying with his wife Angela. The two of them made up Team JebAng! But things changed in 2009 when their daughter Gianna was born.
“Angela has always been my kick-ass driver and navigator, but she has to be home with the kids – Gianna (world’s youngest Bullrunner) and Bullruner-in-Training, Gino Massimo,” he said.
“My team-mate this year is Michael Baumann from NYC – he is a friend of past and current Bullrunners and has the best logistics and intel! We have been penpals for a while now and we decided it would be good to team up for the 10th Anniversary!”
Together, Lopez and Baumann are Bullrun logistic champions. They’ve got all the coveted information before the other teams can even lift a finger. Now that they’ve teamed up, we may not even see the black GT-R Premium Edition for long. They’ll probably be off on some side road that hasn’t been on a map since the ’60s, and we’ll see them again at the next checkpoint.
“It’s exciting to try and put on Andy and David’s thinking cap, to guess where checkpoints will be,” Lopez said. “It’s a game for me. This year Andy is making everything so top-secret, I’m at a loss! We are expecting a lot of surprises this year!”
Now we’ve all heard the stories about crazy Jeb and his wacky Bullrun attire. When we first saw him in Montreal sporting an Italian-flag inspired clown wig, we weren’t sure what to think, but now that we’ve seen Samurai Jeb and Reno 911 Jeb, we know that this guy has some very strange alter-egos. But last year we saw possibly the strangest one yet.
“It’s fun to be different characters and let loose,” Lopez said. “The fairy thing was my wife’s idea. It’s definitely not one of my ‘altered egos’. That was the first and last Bullrun Fairy coming from my team!”
This comes as much-needed relief to Baumann, who said: “Thank God, no Bullrun fairy!”
We have no idea what to expect this year, but we know Jeb is going to present to us another one of his far out characters that we wouldn’t have fathomed in our wildest dreams.
In terms of strategy, Lopez says: “You don’t plan for Bullrun. You just do it. Being spontaneous in life is what makes it more exciting! We are driving the Wheelz Up Shop GT-R – 600 HP COBB tuned Godzilla!”
For Baumann, a long-time Bullrun fan who first immersed himself in the Bullrun world at the 2010 rally start in New York City, the rally is all about staying one step ahead.
“Friends have done it and just ever since my first experience of watching the launch on the NYC pier I was hooked,” Baumann said. “I enjoy the thrill of trying to keep a step ahead of the other groups.”
Lopez and Baumann’s advice for the rally drivers this year?
“Please don’t cut off the general public because they are the ones that report erratic drivers on the road. Don’t think you are badass because us Veterans will school you,” Lopez said.
“Also, if you get sticker-bombed with a face of a lady and her finger by her mouth, that means you are respected!”
Baumann adds: “It’s not a race, it’s a rally!”
Q&A with Jeb and Mike:
1. Your foray into Bullrun began with the “Ticket to Drive” contest in 2007. How did you hear about Bullrun? Why Bullrun?
Jeb: We saw Bullrun on SpikeTV and decided to submit our Ferrari 250 GTO Clone project car and surprisingly, we won. Andy emailed us 5 days before the Rally started in Montreal, so we packed up and drove straight to the border to be on the start line! After our first year, we became addicted. It has become an annual “family reunion” for us, with the exception of 09′ when our daughter was born.
Mike: Friends have done it and just ever since my first experience of watching the launch on the NYC pier I was hooked.
2. You’ve already done five Bullrun rallies with this being your sixth. You’ve got arguably the most experience out of any Bullrunner. Your preparations are always over the top and you’re the Bullrun logistics king. What excites you about Bullrun so much that you devote so much time into preparation?
Jeb: It’s exciting to try and put on Andy and David’s thinking cap, to guess where checkpoints will be. It’s a game for me. This year Andy is making everything so top-secret, I’m at a loss! We are expecting a lot of surprises this year.
Mike: I enjoy the thrill of trying to keep a step ahead of the other groups.
3. Tell me about the plan for this year. Do you know what you are driving this year, who’s your teammate? What’s the team name?
You don’t plan for Bullrun. You just do it. Being spontaneous in life is what makes it more exciting! We are driving the Wheelz Up Shop GT-R – 600 HP COBB tuned Godzilla!
Angela has always been my kick-ass driver and navigator (I just kick back really) but she has to be home with the kids – Gianna (youngest Bullrunner) and Bullruner-in-Training, Gino Massimo.
My team-mate this year is Michael Baumann from NYC – he is a friend of past and current Bullrunners and has the best logistics and intel! We have been penpals for a while now and we decided it would be good to team up for the 10th Anniversary!
4. We’ve seen you in some pretty outrageous costumes on the rally: Samurai Jeb, Reno 911 Jeb, etc. Last year you dressed up as the Bullrun fairy. Tell me the story behind this?
Jeb: It’s fun to be different characters and let loose! The fairy thing was my wife’s idea. It’s definitely not one of my ‘altered egos’. That was the first and last Bullrun Fairy coming from my team. Haha.
Mike: Thank God, no Bullrun Fairy!
5. What’s your most memorable Bullrun moment?
Jeb: Back in 07 where it began for us: 50 cars on the grid, paparazzi and fans all over, sound of engines and the buzz of electronics as we took off with a swarm of people greeting and waving us a bon voyage to the next destination. There is nothing like the Bullrun starting grid. Adrenaline Rush!
In 2011: when I spent a plane ride with Vanilla Ice. Being friends with a 90’s icon and knowing Rob is really a cool down-to-earth dude is a perk of Bullrun. We are all celebrities for the week on Bullrun!
Mike: following cross country and the excitement of listening to the scanners.
6. You’ve been known to have a few tricks and surprises up your sleeve. Do you have any sneaky tricks or plans for the 10th Anniversary Rally?
Jeb: Yes. Watch my twitter feeds @jebzter and Mike’s @rallyscanner – information is king – if you know how to decipher it.
Mike: None to disclose
7. What do you consider to be your team’s strongest asset this year?
1. Mike Baumann
2. Godzilla GT-R
Mike: New Blood….
8. What does your rally preparation involve for the rally?
Jeb: Doppio Espresso, a reliable supercar, understanding vague instructions coming from a Brit and not having to do pit stops.
Mike: Full complement of scanning apparatus and radar detection.
9. If you could give the Bullrun newbies some advice, what would it be?
Jeb: Please don’t cut off the General Public because they are the ones that report erratic drivers on the road and Don’t think you are bad ass because us Veterans will school you.
Also, if you get sticker bombed with a face of a lady and her finger by her mouth, that means you are respected.
Mike: “Its a Rally not a Race….”
10. With you being one of the more experienced teams on the rally, what are you doing differently to outwit the other teams?
Not get pulled over. Maximize road time.
11. What’s the thing you enjoy most about Bullrun?
Jeb: Cars and really cool people that become lifelong friends and business partners.
Mike: Bullrun Family and fun!
Team Wheelz Up would like to THANK the following sponsors for Bullrun 2013:
1. Wheelz Up Auto Parts Delivery – www.wheelzupnow.com
2. Moe Khan and Petrolwerks – www.petrolwerks.com
3. Coney Island Customs – http://www.coneyislandcustoms.com
4. TLC Detail – http://www.tlcautodetail.com
5. DT Racing Division – www.dtracingdivision.com
6. Dentless Touch – http://dentlesstouch.com
7. Baker Performance – http://www.baker-performance.com
8. Victoria’s Court PHILIPPINES – http://www.victoriacourt.biz
9. Ian King of Wreckless Inc. and Car Porn Racing
10. EZ Fire Electronic Lighters – www.electroniclite.com
12. Berry Lowman – Motorama LIVE
13. Redline Design – www.redlinedesign.tv