OG Rockcrawler turned desert racer, Mike Shaffer, on Episode 32


OG rockcrawler turned desert racer, Mike Shaffer, joins us for Episode 32.  There’s some great stories in here!  From stuffing the back of a trophy truck at 70+ miles an hour to driving through Ensenada with only three wheels.  Catch up with one of the originals.

Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to Conversations with Big Rich on your favorite Podcast Player


4:18 – “If it doesn’t have a motor, it’s not a sport.”

6:26 –  New kid on the Rubicon breaking Birfields

11:11 – the little black Zuki is born, along with the comp scene

16:32– that’s not a bad payday

20:54 – the building of the Diablo chassis

27:19 – sponsors matter, how Toyo stopped Mike’s rockcrawling career

34:14 – stuffing the class 10 into the back of a Trophy Truck, you gotta hear this one!

41;11 – “I miss the rains down in Ba.Ja” says no one ever

51:40 – some good dudes have worked at Shaffers Off-Road

1:10:54 –  Racing a 4 wheel drive, and the dream team crew was in Baja in 2010 – good times!


[00:01:20.070] – Big Rich Klein

On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Mike Shaffer. Mike Shaffer is one of the original OG ARCA rock crawling competitors.


In fact, national championship at ARCA in the old Zukie. And then Mike competed at the first Cal Rocks event that I put on, which was put up or shut up in 2001. And I believe he actually won that event. So we’ll talk to Mike about the early days of rock crawling, being a fabricator, a racecar builder racing in Baja and a national competitor in rockcrawling. So let’s get started and talk to Mike. Mike, thank you for coming on board.

So how have you been? How’s the family? Good, good.

[00:02:00.790] – Mike Shaffer

Everybody’s doing good, even though we’re in the what seems like the middle of this pandemic. But yeah, but everybody’s been really good and business has been good, so. Yeah. No complaints.

[00:02:13.650] – Big Rich Klein

Great. Well, so when where did you get started. Where did life start for Mike Shaffer. What state. What city and what were some of the influences as you were growing up.

[00:02:24.810] – Mike Shaffer

So I was born and raised in Livermore, California, in the Bay Area.

My mom actually worked for a company doing composite work, fiberglass carbon fiber honeycomb work. So on that company did a lot of road race cars and they built fiberglass bodies and parts and whatnot. And then for a while she worked for a company doing boats. And then she ended up getting a job with Al Unser, Senior on their Indy team. Wow.

And actually did composite work for a little over a year, I think it was on the Indy program. And then she moved back to California and then went back to work for the original company, CDP Products. And they made a lot of this is where the Off-Road influence came from. They made a lot of fiberglass parts for John Dietz’s old race Jeep. And then John Dietz got sponsored by Nissan and they made parts for the his Nissan program. And growing up, being around, that was super, super intrigued by it.

And I don’t know why, but I never really I never fell in love with the road race scene going to Sear’s Point, Laguna Seca a lot as a kid, but I just wasn’t super in love with it. But the first time I got around.

Anything to do with dirt? I was I was I was hooked on it,

[00:03:56.970] – Big Rich Klein

I think that a lot of us that are in this industry have come from that same kind of influence. You grew up in Livermore, California. For people who don’t know, that’s the East Bay across from San Francisco, south of Oakland, in high school, participate in any sports or what was your thing there?

[00:04:18.840] – Mike Shaffer

So I was I was kind of raised that if I didn’t have a motor, it wasn’t a sport.  READ MORE


Follow Big Rich

SHare this article

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.