Butch Dean
CAR BUILDER/MENTOR

Butch Dean

Some of the winningest drivers, many of whom are in the Hall of Fame, were mentored by Butch Dean, including Rob MacCachren, BJ Baldwin, Bud Feldkamp, Jack Johnson, and generations of the Herbst and Gaughan families.

Butch Dean has been in the off-road industry for more than fifty years. In 1968 he opened a small shop in Las Vegas with Orlo Cox and Jim Dixon. Butch Dean’s Valley Speed Shop just relocated in mid-2022 from their original location.  The new shop and yard have that “Butch Dean look” -- overflowing with parts from a lifetime of building race cars.

“He was always trying to better the performance of the engines, transmissions, and suspension of his cars,” said Pat Dean of his dad, Butch. “He was willing to provide any help needed to his fellow racers and always had a trailer full of spare parts and equipment to share.”

It’s a family affair for the Dean family as well, with Butch’s sons Pat and JC spending time behind the wheel.  Pat Dean said, “Butch’s favorite drivers are his grandsons, James and Jordan Dean.”

BJ Baldwin, reflecting on the beginning of his off-road career, said, “The fundamental off-road racing skills I learned from Pat Dean, and I prepped my car out of Butch Dean’s shop known as Valley Performance. I did most of the vehicle prep myself learning from Butch Dean, Robbie and Billy Goerke. Butch rebuilt my shocks, engine, and transmission, and I did the disassembly and reassembly in the early years of racing in a very old Class 12 limited buggy. Those were some of my favorite years racing.”

“People have called it a junkyard.  People have called it all sorts of derogatory terms. And guess what? You just got your ass kicked by the junkyard” – Brendan Gaughan

“I wouldn’t be sitting here today if it wasn’t for Butch Dean. He taught me how to drive from the shop. He didn’t sit next to me; he wasn’t out on the course. You’d come back to the shop and the bumper was gone and he knew exactly what happened.” – Troy Herbst

“Driving for Butch was a major steppingstone in my career.” – Rob MacCachren

“Butch spent a lot of time in the shop, he spent a lot of time out in the desert testing.  He spent a lot of time with the drivers and the people who were working on the cars. That’s proven by the success of all these drivers who have done very well in the sport. They are all a product of Butch Dean.” – Tim Herbst

Hall of Fame inductee Lynn Chenowth said, “Butch bought more cars from us than any other dealer. No one else is even close. So many great drivers came out of his shop. The best teams always seem to develop the best drivers.”

But Tim’s true passion is the local people of Baja that allow him to enjoy and share their land. He continually goes out of his way to show gratitude and teach others to travel South of the border with the same attitude.


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