Bullrun 2014: Team Wheelz Up Putting the Pedal Down!
Driver: Mike Baumann
Navigator: Jeb Lopez
Car: 2010 Audi R8 V8 4.2 with 6 Speed Manual
Rally History: Team Wheelz Up first began their Bullrun adventure in 2013, driving a black Nissan GT-R. The team comprises of Jeb Lopez and Mike Baumann. Together, Jeb and Mike make up one of the strongest teams on the event. Using their combined knowledge from previous rallies, this team knows it all. They have their team dynamic down to a science and are extremely competitive. Though 2013 was Mike’s first Bullrun rally, he actively followed our yearly adventures while helping teams on the rally from his home in New York. Jeb has been rallying with us since 2007 and every year has been developing stronger navigational prowess. Though Team Wheelz Up isn’t in it for the competition, they drive hard and party harder! For them, it’s about the people they meet and the friends they make!
Here’s the inside scoop on Team Wheelz Up:
1. Who makes up Team Wheelz Up, and what roles will each team member play?
Jeb Lopez (Navigator – because he seems to attract too many speeding tickets as a driver) and Mike Baumann (Driver – because he can smooth talk his way out of a ticket with his fake New York accent).
2. Which car will you be driving? Please describe any modifications you’ve done.
2010 Audi R8 V8 4.2 6 Speed manual. All stock OEM. Every year Jeb buys a rally car, so stock is good! Electronics include a V1 Radar Detector, Passport Max, Police Scanner, Laser shifters and that good ol’ gut feeling that tells you where the ‘blues’ are.
3. What makes it your best choice for Bullrun 2014?
Our Wheelz Up GT-R was retired after last year’s Bullrun, and the next reliable rally car was the Audi R8. With all the creature comforts, All Wheel Drive technology, enough power and exotic looks, we figure it’s another good and proven long distance touring car. Unfortunately, Mike’s pristine Orange NSX that only has 10k miles wasn’t an option!
4. What is Team Wheelz Up’s Bullrun 2014 strategy?
Follow Ben Taylor and Jan Cillers all the way at every stop because their team seems to always fly under the radar. Next, we stay close to Ricky Chancey and Billy Blatty –sometimes, we think they planned the whole rally! If they’re delayed, we convoy the Demas Twins because they hardly ever get a ticket – most likely because they have honorary police badges and get out scott free! If all else fails, we place a GPS magnet on the Bullrun Trailer and track them all the way!
5. Going off last year, tell me about the in-car dynamic
We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so we never have a dull moment: we talk, listen to good tunes, talk smack, strategize, (for Jeb – he sleeps often times!) Mike does all the driving and Jeb does the navigating, research, and social media updates. You can watch us – the dynamic duo because a Live stream in-car feed will be working in the car so friends and fans can follow us real time like they did last year.
View this link for one of our exciting Bullrun Checkpoints leaving Tennessee: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/33971287
6. What is your top Bullrun moment?
There are numerous top Bullrun moments since 2007: winning the first ever Ticket to Drive contest, bringing the youngest Bullrunner, Gianna (2 years old,) who shared 200 hot pink cupcakes for her birthday with everyone in Miami, to last year when we were placing first on the leg to Staunton, VA, and were held at gunpoint with semi automatic long barrel machine guns by the West Virginia state troopers only for them to sign our bumper and let all of us take a group pic, Getting Flashed in NOLA and when we dared Phil and Drake to run the length of the autotrain for record time from VA to Florida, plus other memorable Bullrun moments!
7. What is your favourite city or checkpoint Bullrun has visited?
Staunton, VA = because the whole town closed and welcomed us like Rockstars! The Mud run last year and ziplining with Ice-T and Vanilla Ice in Las Vegas to get the route card.
8. List three items that Team Wheelz Up can not rally without.
1 – Extra keys for the car – in case one of us forgets the key in the car or loses one
2- $5k cash in Bail Money (yes, you will need this if you speed!)
3 – Our ipad with Live Google Maps = to reroute during major traffic delays and to research the next checkpoint!
Ok there’s a 4th…a goodie bag with tricks to punk rookie Bullrunners to continue the spirit of The Wu’s, Phil Ayache and Drake Kemper!
9. With Bullrun being so competitive, how will Team Wheelz Up try to stay one step ahead of the other teams?
We don’t do it for the competition, we do it for the camaraderie. We also team up with sponsors for good social causes like http://www.auravapes.com/, www.wheelzupnow.com, The Wounded Warrior project, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – it all makes us better people and for good karma!
10. If you could give your team one Bullrun award (fictional or real,) what would it be and why?
The “good guys” award.