amsoil off road

The Inside Line: Bruce Fraley

amsoil off road

The Inside Line: Bruce Fraley

When the 1600 Buggy group is on the track, it’s hard not to mention Bruce Fraley. While he may not be behind the wheel himself, he is undeniably the guiding force behind some of Short-Course’s fastest air-cooled buggy racers. In 2024, his team secured the first and second spots in the 1600 Buggy championship, as Mike Seefeldt narrowly beat his teammate John Fitzgerald for the title.
Since the creation of Championship Off-Road, Bruce Fraley’s buggies have consistently raced in the lead pack race after race. In the past four years, the Fraley team and customer cars have consistently finished among the leaders in the Championship chase.

Bruce Fraley’s journey to becoming a prominent off-road racing fabricator in North America is a testament to his passion and dedication. As a teenager growing up in southern California, Fraley was captivated by his first off-road race, the SCORE Riverside World Championships. This sparked a desire to build his own Baja Bug racer. He began his career at a small VW shop, honing his skills and gaining valuable experience building and prepping off-road bugs.
Looking for a new opportunity, he found a position at Walker Evans Racing. This eventually resulted in a 10-year stint, during which he played a significant role in the team’s Desert, Mickey Thompson, and Short-Course programs. During his journey, he got to co-drive with Walker Evans and later with Rob MacCachern during the team’s successful runs in SCORE and HDRA.

After his time with Walker Evans Racing, other top names in off-road racing continued to search for his talents. These included Michael and Brendan Gaughan and later Steve and Bryce Menzies, creating a move to Las Vegas.

bruce fraley

Bruce continued to race his 1600 Buggy at select West Coast Short-Course races. However, he had always wanted to compete in the Midwest. After a few attempts, he realized he needed to improve his game. The following year, he returned for two events and succeeded, winning at Red Bud and performing well at Crandon. Over the next few years, he competed with the best in the country and finally won his first 1600 Buggy Championship in 2017.

After the 2019 race season, Fraley could not continue racing due to a medical issue. He then asked his fellow competitor and class champion, John Fitzgerald, to run his car. For the next four years, Fitzgerald consistently placed among the frontrunners, finishing as the championship runner-up three times and eventually winning the 2022 title. Mike Seefeldt joined Fraley’s team in 2022, driving a second car. As mentioned, Seefeldt beat out his teammate and won the 2023 1600 Buggy Championship.

bruce fraley

Bruce Fraley comments, “I’ve been blessed to have so many friends all over the country thanks to off-road racing. The support from my wife is incredible; without Dawn, none of this would be possible. Then the support and friendship from Larry and Gloria Hammond back in the Midwest keeps me racing.”

When asked why it was so important to race in the Midwest, “Years ago, I always heard about how competitive all the racing was at Crandon, Bark River, or any of the other tracks in the series. I always ran well out West, but other guys kept telling me how tough the competition was back East. When I first went to the Midwest, I realized I had to step up my game. It took some time to run up front, but I got there. The other thing was the camaraderie. We were battling wheel to wheel during the day, but if you needed an extra hand or a part, somebody was always willing to help. I’ve never forgotten that. There are many stories about how the toughest guys on the track always had each other’s back to ensure we were ready to battle again the next day. It’s like we’re one big family.”

bruce fraley

The 2024 Champ Off-Road season will again see Bruce Fraley field two race cars in the 1600 Buggy class as John Fitzgerald and Mike Seefeldt seek another class championship.

AMSOIL Championship Off-Road is North America’s premier short-course racing series. Champ Off-Road competition features high-powered PRO4 and PRO2 trucks along with the best Side-by-Side and Sportsman racers in the sport. AMSOIL Championship Off-Road will be streamed on FloSports with television programming on FOX Sports.

About ISOC: AMSOIL Championship Off-Road and AMSOIL Championship Snocross are owned and operated by the International Series of Champions (ISOC) out of Albertville, Minn. The 2024 Champ Off Road season will air on Fox Sports and live-streamed on floracing.com. For more information on its events and schedules, visit www.champoffroad.com or www.snocross.com.

bruce fraley