Method Race Wheels was founded on the idea that off-road racing is the catalyst for performance. By making the absolute best product to handle the brutality of off-road racing, you would create the ultimate off-road racing wheel, and by showcasing that journey, that effort that you would inevitably prove your product and your brand within the unforgiving environment of off-road warfare. Method Race Wheels did just that. Born from the fire MRW has won 6 Baja 1000’s, 6 SCORE Championships, 3 Mint 400’s, 4 King of The Hammers, 2 Ultra 4 Championships, 7 Rally America Championships, and 7 Short Course Championships proving their mettle.
Founded by off-road business veterans Kevin and Bud Fitzgerald, and Colby Groom, Method was started to be a true race wheel. “We wanted to be the brand that was from off-road racing culture. Not a wheel brand that made disco wheels and then got into racing as a marketing tool. From day one we knew we could make a better product that was lighter, stronger, faster,” stated Colby Groom. And that’s exactly what they did. They began with a small roster of racers getting direct feedback about the wheels they were making for racing and eventually expanded the team. To this day they continue to support top-level and rookie racers alike including McMillin family, Factory Subaru Motorsports, Toyota Gazoo Racing, Cameron Steele, Justin Lofton, Toby Price, Jason Voss, Phil Blurton, Branden Sims, Austin & Jesse Jones, Kristen & Wayne Matlock, Cody Bradbury, and the list goes on! All three of the founders are passionate off-road racing enthusiasts and continue to ride and race. Kevin and Bud Fitzgerald and Colby Groom annually compete in the NORRA Mexican 1000 in their vintage 1974 FORD F100.
In 1974 Kevin started what would become a career spanning three decades in the automotive wheels business at three of the major automotive wheels brands. Beginning at American Racing Kevin met Parnelli Jones, Steve Kelly, Roger Mears, and Walker Evans and immediately became a fan of off-road racing. It was an easy sell as Kevin grew up riding motorcycles as a kid in the deserts of Southern California. After American Racing, Kevin moved on to purchase and build the brand KMC Wheels which heavily supported off-road racing including teams and events. In 2006 Kevin got to jump behind the wheel of a Baja Challenge car for the 39th running of the Baja 1000. Then the following year he got to do it again splitting duties with his son and business partner Bud Fitzgerald. “Off-Road racing is like truth serum. It either will galvanize your relationships or end them. You quickly find out what people are made when you race off-road with them.” stated Kevin. “But when it’s all clicking and you get to share it with your family and business partners which are basically family as well, it’s special. I can’t wait to do it again!
Bud Fitzgerald was born into the off-road racing business and took full advantage of it, soaking up all the knowledge that his father Kevin was able to dish out. Bud grew up mainly doing traditional sports but when his father introduced him to riding the deserts of Southern California and Baja, the off-road lifestyle was undeniable. Like most other avid off-roaders Bud started on bikes which is the gateway that leads to all things off-road. Bud has raced the Baja 1000, NORRA 1000, and continues to be an avid off-roader in everything from vintage trucks to UTV’s. Bud’s career in the automotive market started at KMC Wheels doing marketing where he learned invaluable experiences about marketing one the largest wheel brands in the business. Bud is now VP of Operations at Custom Wheel House managing multiple brands.
Colbey grew up riding bikes in the deserts of Southern California. One thing led to another and soon he was riding and chasing for the Vic Bruckman 1600 car team Fudpucker series. In 1991 Colbey switched from two wheels to four wheels and began racing quads which led to the 1993 Baja 1000 winning the 250 class. In 1997 he joined Vic Bruckman’s 1600 car team and won the SCORE overall points championship. Colbey has passed his love for off-road racing to his son Ethan who has worked his way up to being one of the top competitors in youth UTV racing with plans to keep moving up the ladder system to larger and faster vehicles.
After the initial success of Method Race Wheels, the team saw the opportunity in high-quality UTV tires and launched Tensor Tire to fill the demand. UTV’s had quickly grown from utility vehicles to 85mp+ performance vehicles so they were in need of performance tires to handle the demands of higher speeds and racing. The team formed the parent company Custom Wheel House to manage the multiple brands.
To further the reach and impact of off-road racing culture the team acquired the defunct Dusty Times brand and re-launched as a high-end print magazine to capture the attention of a larger mainstream audience and draw them to the magical beauty of off-road culture. Now in their third edition, Dusty Times continues to push forward exposing off-road culture to new audiences with stunning photography and great storytelling.
Riding dunes is a big part of off-road culture, especially in Southern California so when the team sought to expand into the sand market they acquired the longstanding UTV tire and wheel brand GMZ wheels and re-focused the brand on the sand market bringing high-quality paddle tires to the UTV market.
Custom Wheel House continues to push forward expanding while supporting off-road racers and events such as The Mint 400, NORRA 1000, Best in the Desert, ARA Rally, and now even international off-road racing.