Teamgravy Racing was started in a garage in North Austin in the winter of 2009.

Truly it started long ago in my mind, as a boy drawing dune buggies on the edges of my school work.  I am Daryl Hiers and I am living my dream to be a race car driver.  I am forty years old, and just started this less than 2 years ago.  As a little kid, I was more into outdoors, riding and jumping my bike than watching TV. Once in a while an ABC sports special would come on with Evel Knievel jumping something that would catch my interest.

But one show stuck with me throughout my years, the Baja 1000.  The idea of a race, over unforgiving terrain in vehicles that were unlike any others intrigued me.


Growing up I learned quickly how to work on cars out of necessity.  Learning how to maintain and repair vehicles was just part of life (thanks Dad).  If I wanted a car, I paid for it and had to make it run.  Most of the work was tiring and long but taught me the basics of engines and general mechanics, invaluable knowledge to a driver that preps his own car.

From that long ago dream, and with the encouragement of my wife and family, we decided it was time to go racing.  Also reigniting the desire was the documentary Dust to Glory, where ML@S‘ own Greg Tracy is part of the storyline.  Although this was my dream.  I was also lucky enough to have my wife Susan fully support me and she has been by my side through it all, from navigating to scheduling the family adventures around racing, to comforting me when all has gone wrong on race day.  Teamgravy Racing is a family and we wouldn’t have it any other way.  The team consists of friends and other family who assume the role of co-drivers, navigators, mechanics and pit crew.

After researching options, we jumped in full force buying a race car that had blown its motor while racing in the Mint 400 the year before.  The car was in pretty sad shape, needing some fabrication, lots of prep and a new engine.

Driving to Vegas and back to Austin in a weekend we had our car.

Over the next few months we spent many long days and nights rushing to get a new motor built.  The anticipation of driving my own race car was pushing me to get the engine finished quickly which caused me to make a few mistakes. ** More on how I exceeded my engine building skills in another story.** After a month, I fired up the motor for the very first time and climbed in for my first run.  Eyes wide, grin wider I drove my first real race car!  A lap or two around the block after engine break-in and we were off to the trails.  A few short months later, we signed up for our first race.

The first race for Teamgravy was slow but we managed to finish all 225 miles just minutes before the 7-hour time limit.  This was my first time driving the car for any length of time outside of short test runs.  The sight of my daughter waving the checkered flag as we approached the finish line made me choke up.  I had lived a lifelong dream and to have the family there to support and encourage, made finishing our first race even sweeter.


I had found and prepped a car, built an engine and raced in an off road race all in under 5 months.  A 9th place overall and 4th in our class was sweet but the journey getting there, with friends and family was the biggest reward.  We were a team, a rag tag one that managed to pull off a finish in a race series where usually more than half the racers don’t get to see that checkered flag wave for them.  Teamgravy Racing was born, next step, order tee shirts!

Our car runs in a class called Class 12 or Score-lite.  Class 12 cars are limited to a VW design front suspension and motor, with unlimited rear suspension design. The Teamgravy car is a 2-seat car, to allow for a co-driver to assist with navigation of the course and keep you company when you break in the middle of the desert. T he VW air-cooled motor will push the car to a top speed of just under 90 mph, while the Fox shocks and coil over suspension provide the cushion we need, to fly off the big jumps and smooth out the rough stuff.

Being based in Texas, Teamgravy Racing encounters some challenges.  Much of the off road industry is out west in Nevada, Arizona, California and Baja Mexico.  Manufacturers, fabricators, knowledgeable experts are rare in Texas so we rely on ingenuity and determination to keep our car racing.  Teams often help each other out, most races are against the terrain not the other cars.  Teams will pit for each other, fix and lend parts or tools to help a competitor stay in the race.  We couldn’t do it without this mutual support.  At one race we put a competitor in our car to drive a lap with his daughter after their car broke.  They had helped us a lot in past races with pitting, parts, knowledge and skills.  She was joining the military and I wanted to give them the opportunity to share one more memory racing, before her departure to defend our country.


Off Road racing in Texas is not new, but seeing a rebirth from the 70’s and 80’s.  Two organizations have emerged to host events in Texas, providing hundreds of miles of terrain to test the men and machines.  Texas racing is growing with larger groups of west coast racers, heading east to the lone star state for some new challenges. Once they get a taste I hope they keep coming back for more, I know we are going to be out there making dust.

I have experienced highs from winning our first race, to lows where everything was failing and thinking I was ready to quit.  Through it all, one constant is always there to support and encourage, my wife.  Susan navigates for me both in life and in the race car.  She is the reason I have made it this far and without her unconditional support, I would have thrown in the towel.  She is the reason my dreams have come true in life in general, including racing.

I have thought about why I race, why I needed to notch a belt and check off some list having to do with buckets.  I often ponder the time missed watching TV, hanging with friends, playing with my daughter or spending time being a husband to my wife, but racing is part of me.  It took a long time to get here but I realize something; racing makes me happy.  Being happy makes me a better dad, husband and friend.  The shared experience of just finishing a 6+ hour race is contagious and will live on in stories, pictures, videos and the memories for my family and friends.  When my daughter is older, I hope she can find something that gives her as much joy as I get from racing.


Thank to all of my new friends at My Life at Speed.  It was great to get acquainted with an entire group of people who understand why our entire family’s dream, started in a garage.  Thanks for making me feel welcome. – Daryl Hiers.

Keep up with the nuts and bolts of Teamgravy racing on our Facebook fan page….

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