Richard Rawlings is one of TV’s biggest gearheads. As the star of Discovery’s reality series Fast ‘N’ Loud, he’s sharing his love of automobiles with a national audience. And with his Gas Monkey Garage, he’s still working on cars in addition to expanding the company’s brand into a bar, a music venure and a recent IndyCar sponsorship. LA Fan Cultures Examiner spoke to Richard recently to discuss the latest developments for the Gas Monkey brand.
“We keep getting better and better and keep pushing the envelope,” he said of Fast ‘N’ Loud, which is now in its seventh season. “Not only are we not doing the same old thing every time, but we’re expanding our horizons. So you’re going to see anything from Porsches with big giant Chevrolet motors in them to race cars to just every time we build a car, we get a little bit better and we keep pushing that envelope each time.”
Did he think he’d still be doing television seven seasons later? “I hope this thing goes on forever,” he told us, but he knows that the series’ appeal comes from the fact that it’s not regular reality TV.
“We’re a real shop. We’re not a cast of characters in a garage that someone’s trying to film and make a show out of,” he told us. “Those guys work for Gas Monkey and it really is our risk and our reward if we sell [a car] for big money. We’re a real working business and everyone has to pitch in from the guys building the cars, to me finding the cars, to the girls working in the office. It’s a team effort all the way across the board.”
“We film every single day. We don’t jump for a couple months and then take a couple off like a lot of shows,” Richard continued. “Because they’re filming my actual business, they’re following us every day. We take a week in the summer and a week in the winter so the crew’s always there. Whatever’s happening is happening.”
He’s also much more than a TV personality. Richard has expanded the Gas Monkey brand into the Gas Monkey Bar & Grill and Gas Monkey Live venues in Dallas, and Gas Monkey Racing, which will be the primary sponsor for Sage Karam when the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver attempts this May’s Indianapolis 500. How did he get into IndyCar?
“We formed Gas Monkey Racing about a year and a half ago,” he told us, “and we’re in the NHRA with our Top Fuel car and we’re also in the Monster Jam series with our monster truck. From there we rolled into the IMSA series for endurance racing with our GT3R program with Viper Exchange.
“Now we’re launching a Gas Monkey energy drink, and in doing so we decided the best way to make a big splash on that was to have Gas Monkey Energy all over our Indy 500 car.”
That’s just one part of what Richard and his team have planned for what is, predictably, a very busy 2016. “We’ve got Gas Monkey Garage going full steam,” he said. “We’re upping our game. Gas Monkey Racing is doing great, Gas Monkey Tequila is killing it, Gas Monkey Energy drink is launching. The bar and grills are doing great; we’re opening four more this year.
“As far as the other shows that I’m involved in,” he continued. “Demolition Theater‘s doing real good and we’ll be coming on strong in the spring and then we’ve got a new show starting, Garage Rehab, that is going to be myself and one other kind of going around and inspecting other shops and seeing what’s going on and try to help them step up their game.”
But for all the ventures that he’s involved in and all the various experiences he’s gotten to have, Richard’s focus is ultimately on something very down to earth. “I really think one of the things I’m most proud of with Fast ‘N’ Loud is that it’s popular with families,” he reflected. “When I was trying to get this done, there were a lot of shows on and gearheads like myself watched them, but there wasn’t a lot of families [watching]. It was real important to me that Mom, the kids, the grandparents, everybody watches it.
“It’s really cool to see five-year-old kids and 90-year-old grandmas with Gas Monkey shirts on and telling us how much they love the show and how they watch it with their family,” he continued. “That’s the thing I’m most proud of. We’re good wholesome family entertainment, no kicking boxes and cussing and acting like we’re tough guys. We’re all just doing what we love to do, and we’ve all got families and we’re trying to put a steak on the plate for them.”
“I get to get up everyday and get to do what I love to do,” he concluded. “So at the end of the day, everything we do is awesome. I think the whole thing combined is just a really crazy awesome experience and we’re really blessed to be where we’re at.”
For more on Gas Monkey Garage, visit their official website.