Surely there are plenty of Fast N' Loud fans that think they know everything about Gas Monkey patriarch Richard Rawlings. But if you're banking on his Wikipedia page, well, you're missing all the good parts.
In Rawlings' new book, Fast N' Loud: Blood, Sweat and Beers, out May 12, the Fort Worth native shares a more personal narrative, from his days chucking newspapers into front lawns with his dad to being flat broke after winning a $97,000 lawsuit. I mean, can you picture the deliberately groomed dude on TV with a ponytail? He only cut it off the day before filming the first episode of Fast N' Loud.
The autobiography fills in some context for the Richard Rawlings you see on the show, too. For example, if you thought Rawlings was simply a spokesperson for Miller Lite, consider the fact his first job out of high school was as one of the company's delivery truck drivers.
Rawlings may be king of the car world now, but he experienced some serious ups, downs and what-the-hells on the way there. Here are three of the craziest stories from his new book.
Rawlings holds the world record for the Cannonball Run
The Cannonball Run is more than just a movie and Richard Rawlings holds the world record to prove it. The unsanctioned race runs a specific route from Midtown Manhattan to Redondo Beach, California, and since its founding in the 1970s, no one had ever beat the original time. That is, until 2007 when Rawlings and his pal Dennis stocked up on beef jerky and energy drinks, and headed west in 1999 Ferrari 550 Maranello. They spanned the entire U.S., coast to coast, in 31 hours and 59 minutes, and even wound up with a spot on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Off duty policeman gets shot at a burger joint
The fact that Rawlings served as a policeman for several years in his 20s is the least shocking bit of this story. After a few beers on an off-duty night, Rawlings decided he "really, really wanted a burger and some fries." As he tells it, a couple shady characters were just waiting for an opportunity to steal someone's car and his gold 1965 Mustang fastback seemed like a tempting offer. Rawlings was shot in the arm with a .38 caliber gun.
"My Mustang didn't suffer any bullet holes. Just me," he writes.
Who would dare attempt to rebuild a Ferrari?
Seriously, even Ferrari thinks it's a bad idea. That's why when Rawlings got his hands on a wrecked F40, he had to be discreet about ordering new parts from the manufacturer. See, Ferrari had already deemed the car totaled and when word spread that Gas Monkey was trying to rebuild it, the company shut down all related parts shipments to the U.S. for three weeks. After it was finished, Rawlings put his Ferrari up against two factory models.
"We took them on head-to-head in terms of speed, acceleration, breaking," he writes, "and out rebuilt Ferrari blew those cars away."