FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2018 (Agua Dulce, Calif.): Legendary off-road industry pioneer and chassis builder Lynn Chenowth, whose open-wheel creations were a driving force behind some of the sport’s biggest victories, and greatest drivers, has been named grand marshal for next week’s Yokohama NORRA Mexican 1000 rally by event organizer National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA).
“NORRA has enjoyed recognizing off-road racing’s history via our vintage-themed Mexican 1000 rally and by honoring its biggest stars as grand marshals,” said NORRA President Mike Pearlman, whose father Ed Pearlman promoted the world’s original desert off-road race with NORRA’s running of the first Mexican 1000 in 1967. “The entire off-road industry and the sport of off-road racing owe Lynn Chenowth and Chenowth Racing Products a great deal of appreciation – and admiration. We are proud to make this announcement and look forward to their presence at this year’s Yokohama NORRA Mexican 1000.”
(PHOTOS: Chenowth Archives, unless noted)
In the 1970s it was Chenowth who helped usher in the development of true tube frame off-road vehicles. The sport was quickly evolving, and needed to overcome the shortcomings of original fiberglass dune buggies built on Volkswagen Beetle chassis. After founding Chenowth Racing Products, he took a mass production approach to building his cars, making recreational, affordable chassis and products that took the sport to the masses. In fact, over 20,000 Chenowth-branded race, recreational and sand buggy frames were built by the company and shipped around the world, many assembled in home garages by mechanically inclined enthusiasts.
Lynn’s Chenowth “Wedge,” Chenowth 1000 and Chenowth 2000 race cars all became winners in the 1970s, pushing the envelope of speed and reliability. Although he eventually sold Chenowth Racing Products in 1980 to fellow San Diego resident Mike Thomas, Lynn continued his role in the development of Chenowth desert and short course cars, as well as the company’s ventures into Yamaha and military vehicles that were used by American Navy SEALS in Operation Desert Storm.
By 1989 he set his off-road racing days aside to establish Pulltarps Manufacturing in 1992, which built operator-friendly mechanical tarp systems for large construction trucks and trailers. Thanks to years of engineering and manufacturing experience, Lynn was able grow Pulltarps to a successful enterprise until he sold the company in early 2017. Wanting to return to the fun of off-road racing, he and a team of former factory craftsman have started to build new Chenowth racing chassis, as well as laying the foundation of a seaside Chenowth Legacy Lodge and Museum south of San Felipe, Baja, Mexico (pictured below).
Lynn Chenowth made his official return to off-road racing at the 2017 NORRA race, building a historic DR-2 chassis that is nearly identical to the company’s open-wheel buggies that dominated desert competition in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Last year, the Chenowth-backed NORRA entry included a “who’s who” list of all-star guest drivers including; Roger Mears, Johnny Johnson, Mike Lund, Bill Reams, Rudy Townsley and Bill Hrynko.
For 2018, Chenowth has entered two Chenowth DR-2s at NORRA (above); the #70 for Baja champions Ryan Thomas (son of Mike Thomas) and Mike Lund, and the #113 car for veteran racer Charlie Townsley. Both vehicles will run the iconic blue and black retro livery used by Chenowth factory-backed racecars in the past.
“Being asked by NORRA to serve as Grand Marshal for this year’s Mexican 1000 is both unexpected and humbling,” explained Chenowth, who now splits his time with wife Amy between southern California and Baja, Mexico. “My return to the sport with a Chenowth car was at last year’s event, and it was one of the best times I have ever had. I never imagined being welcomed back to desert racing with such an honor. I thank NORRA and Mike Pearlman for the wonderful invitation, and especially for creating a special place for vintage cars that rekindles our passion for what we love to do.”
Lynn has been asked by many if it bothers him that people mispronounce his name most often, his reply, "...heck NO! I'm just glad they are trying to pronounce it at all!" For the record, the name is (CHEN-ITH), O & W silent.
2018 YOKOHAMA NORRA MEXICAN 1000
Friday April 20th
(Welcome Fiesta / Pre-registration / Tech)
Saturday April 21st
(Registration / Tech / Drivers Meeting)
Sunday April 22nd
Ensenada ~ San Felipe
Monday April 23rd
San Felipe ~ Guerrero Negro (Moto)
San Felipe ~ Bahia de los Angeles (4-Wheel)
Tuesday April 24th
Guerrero Negro/Bahia de los Angeles ~ Loreto
Wednesday April 25th
Loreto ~ La Paz
Thursday April 26th
La Paz ~ San Jose del Cabo
(2018 YOKOHAMA NORRA Mexican 1000 Finish!!!)
Friday April 27th *NEW!*
La Paz ~ San Jose del Cabo
Beginning in 2010, the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA) began promoting a rebirth of the NORRA Mexican 1000 rally. The unique off-road rally was co-created by promoter Mike Pearlman to consist of special stages (unlimited speed timed stages in the dirt) linked together by controlled speed liaison / transit sections (highway). The one-of-a-kind, once-a-year, four-day rally includes vintage off-road vehicles and motorcycles, as well as modern desert Rally Raid cars, pre-runner trucks, buggies and motorcycles.
Pearlman's late father Ed and others established the first running of the NORRA Mexican 1000 off-road rally in November of 1967, which eventually became internationally recognized and evolved into the Baja 1000 in the mid-1970's.
The 2018 NORRA Mexican 1000 is supported by Yokohama, Method Race Wheels, South Point Hotel Casino, Walker Evans Racing, Bilstein Shock Absorbers, Steel-It, Multitool USA, RIGID, VP Racing Fuels, Timberline, Ensenada Proturismo, Mastercraft/Impact Safety, Cerveceria Transpeninsular, Roganto, Biltwell Inc., Schampa, Racing TraX.com, Satellite Phone Store.com, P.C.I. Race Radios, WARN, Magic Bullet, US Action Trax.com, and many more.