Lucky Dog Racing got its start in 2007, when Brian Shirley formed a team to support his passion for racing. His son Levi started racing short course in 2008, and together the Shirley boys built a race program with the help of family, friends, and the support of some great sponsors. When they ventured into the wild world of Ultra4 Racing they began looking for lighting sponsors to join the Lucky Dog Racing team. They began working with Lazer Star Lights and got to know the Scott family, and their relationship grew as the program began to pick up speed.
At that time the team ran a set of Dominator HIDs on the front to help light the way, and as LED fixtures grew more popular the Shirleys adopted a set of Lazer Star LX LED light bars for their 4400 class cars. These days Levi runs a 40” Discovery 10-watt LED light bar on the roof and a 12” LED bar on the grill. “We run the grill light bar pretty much all the time,” Levi says. “It really cuts through the dust and dirt and helps a lot with visibility, especially when rolling into the pits. When it gets dark you need lights that can keep up with your speed. Sometimes we’re running up to 100mph at night, and we’re able to do that because we are confident in our Lazer Star Lights.”
The 2014 Ultra4 Racing season has been very kind to Levi Shirley and Lucky Dog Racing, but their success has not come without adversity. Levi’s front end blew up 10 miles from the King of the Hammers finish line. Brian had to tow him across the line, finishing 20th and 21st. Levi bounced back in subsequent races though and solid finishes in recent rounds have put him in 3rd place in the combined championship standings.
Lucky Dog Racing also took their talents across the Atlantic to compete in the Ultra4 Europe series. Partnering with a UK company Off Road Armoury, the Shirleys built a brand new car with a lot of the parts supplied by their U.S. sponsors. The combination worked wonders as Levi went on to win the King of the Mountain race in Italy and the King of the Valley in Wales. A solid finish at the series finale King of Portugal race should put Levi in the top 5 in class standings at season’s end.
Levi attributes part of his success on the track to the team’s hands-on approach to prepping the cars. “In order to succeed you have to know the car 100%,” Levi says. “We know these cars inside and out, every single component. No matter what I’m doing in a race I know exactly what kind of stress I’m putting on different components, and that confidence allows me to push the car to its absolute limit.” The Shirley boys do all of the work on their cars with just a few exceptions: they only perform minor maintenance on the transmissions and motors, and the chassis work is done by Campbell Racing in Phoenix.
The Shirley family lives and breathes off-road. Back at home in Dodge City, Kansas stands the brand new 12,000 square foot Lucky Dog Racing shop. Levi rides dirt bikes and a Polaris RZR on local trails in his free time, and the family makes frequent trips to their Colorado cabin to go Jeeping. When they’re not busy traveling the world for off-road races, the family is hard at work running their trailer shop, where they also retail Lazer Star Lights.
The focus right now for Lucky Dog Racing is the Ultra4 championship. Levi is within striking distance of the title, and with just a few races left it’s time to buckle down and focus on the task at hand. “It’s a growing sport,” says Levi. “We’re getting more racers, more sponsors, bigger crowds. It’s like a big Ultra4 family and we’re proud to be a part of it all.”