Azunia Tequila CEO, Jim Riley, is passionate about racing and that passion led him to the deserts of the Western United States and Mexico to pursue his dream. The owner/driver finished first in class 7-2 at the renowned Baja 1000 in 2010, in addition to winning the BITD Vegas to Reno and Henderson 240 races. He also celebrated a class championship that same year. In 2011, Riley posted wins at the first three BITD races (Parker, General Tire Mint 400 and Silver State), and celebrated victory at the historic NORRA Mexican 1000. Look for Riley and the Azunia Tequila team to be a championship contender in 2016.
DRIVER Q & A
Top three people to follow on social media:
General Tire, KMC and Sunny Garcia
Ford F 250 with General Grabbers and KMC Rims
Favorite Race and Why?
The Mint 400. It’s Vegas and there are so many fans that come out because there are so many spectator areas. They are constantly improving it and making it better. Adding more features on the race course for spectators to watch. The Fremont Street experience is awesome. Driving the race truck down Las Vegas Boulevard, it captures everything from spectator to racer to team.
What other adventure activities do you do outside racing?
I am willing to try anything once just for the adventure. I have been surfing my entire life. I love snowboarding and wakeboarding when there is time for an epic trip. I have also climbed several mountains in North America such as Mt Whitney (14,495ft) and Rainier in Washington.
Do you have a pre-race routine you go through before heading out into the desert?
I typically start hydrating a week out whether it’s winter or summer. I try to trim down what I’m eating and get lots of rest. Right before the race I don’t drink, I go to bed early, spend time with my family and the team. Because there’s so much time in between races I always spend time getting reacquainted with the truck, sitting in it and remembering where everything is at. Going through the drills of changing tires, mechanical fixes, just so when we’re in the field we can fix it.
What other adventurous activities do you do outside racing
With the family we’ve been RVing quite a bit. Trips to Texas, the campgrounds. I like to go boating and fishing with the family. It’s a new adventure now because we have a daughter so it’s a family adventure.
Best place to go off-roading for a weekend?
I always say it, Black Rock Desert. Because it’s so remote and beautiful and there’s a lot of history there. There’s a lot of history between the Indians and the Cavalry and the off-roading is just awesome. You’ve got a good combination of dry lake beds, sand dunes, roads, canyons and at the end of the day there’s hot springs out there where you can relax.
If you were going to do a weekend off-road trip, what five essential things would you bring with you?
Family, RV, Azunia margaritas, Food and Something to go off-road in.
If you could go to dinner with five other people (dead or alive), who would you pick and why?
Richard Branson – fascinating business man, Johnny Cash – great musician, good country music, Rick Rubin – worked with some amazing artists, Ronald Reagan – because he’s awesome, and My wife – she’d have to be there to capture it all.
Top three road trip songs in your opinion?
Jamey Johnson, “Up All Night” – John Pardi, and “Lost” – Chris Young
Best road trip you’ve ever taken:
I went on it last year. I went to Austin, Texas with Sam (his wife) and the baby in the RV. We stopped along the way in Arizona, Midland, we went to the Stockyards. We camped in a popular RV spot in Austin where Matthew McConaughey stays all the time. We travel in a 40 foot, obnoxiously sponsored RV that’s bright blue and everywhere we stop people ask us what’s up. We had the baby and we’re stopping at all these bars for the Azunia brand, but we had the RV so we could have the baby with us. It was fun. We even had a breakdown in Amarillo and we made all these friends at the bars while we were promoting the Azunia brand. Longest road trip I’ve ever taken, seven to 10 days.
Bonus question: If you could go anywhere on your Grabbers, where would you go?
I would go race the Dakar. It’s one of the ultimate races out there and it’s exciting and I’d like to go there and represent the United States.