Who is Justin Peck?
Justin Peck put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, but it didn’t go off. The rush he got in that moment is what probably saved his life. That’s the day he knew he was bulletproof. Like all of us, Justin Peck was born normal. But he didn’t allow himself to stay that way. He chose to become a racer, a champion, a survivor. A few, like Justin, break out of the pack and become great, even extraordinary. What is it that allows these people to not accept the everyday, basic, run of the mill? What makes them become outliers? Justin didn’t know he was out of the ordinary — and even today, he’ll tell you he’s just a regular guy who started from nothing. Being normal was going to be a stretch. As a child, he was the little guy, the one bullied, isolated and left without a voice among his peers. In that world grew the resilience, the focus and the heart of a champion. By his teens, Justin found himself fearless and addicted to an adrenaline rush. He began referring to himself as “bulletproof,” a nickname his mother didn’t love, but he felt was innately fitting. The moment he knew he would be a racer came when he was 17 at the track with his father. In the cacophony of the fans and the roar of the cars, he told his father, “That’s going to be me one day.” He became a father at 18. He rode in his first race at 20. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 26, a condition he’s had since he was 13. The constant force was that he was unstoppable — he was bulletproof.
How does a man go from normal to a champion?
He is fearless. When normal people hit rock bottom, they often accept it or question the outside world. When Justin pulled the trigger and attempted to put a bullet into his head, the gun refused to fire. He was left with two choices; stay defeated or rise to the top. He chose to rise in the unlikeliest of ways…by continuing to put himself in the face of death as a racer. “I can be in a manic or depressive state, in the middle of the worst part of the disorder, but the second I slip my helmet over my face, the world stops. All the shit and chaos that makes my brain spin shuts off for the 30 minutes or the 12 hours I’m in a race car,” he says. “That’s what racing brings to me. It’s balance to my chaos. And it’s funny because people think you put on a helmet and the chaos starts, but it’s completely the opposite for me. The helmet is the catalyst for the balance and the racing is the drug that slows life down.”
He lives by pure instinct. You might think it’s ironic that a man with a mental disorder would be at the top level of a motorsport where the mental component is 60% of being fast. “Race car drivers live in tenths of seconds,” he says. “The human eye doesn’t even blink in a tenth of a second, so you can’t afford to lose focus for a moment.” He relies on his brain, the part of his body you’d think he’d mistrust. Instead, he’s figured out a way to work with it. “I’ve competed for so long, that my race craft is more muscle memory than anything,” he explains. “I can read the dirt. I know if the dirt is a certain color or if the shadows hit the dirt in a certain spot, exactly how my truck will react if I hit it.”
He outworks everyone around him. When asked about his own superheroes, he’ll quickly tell you that he doesn’t look to the outside world for inspiration or a roadmap, he turns to himself. He looks at his own true north, who he is, who he wants to be and how can he better than the day before. “Anything worth doing is worth over-doing; moderation is for those who don’t believe in their abilities,” he says. “There’s no reason to do anything half-way. I’m going to go 100 percent all the time and if I’m not willing to put in 100 percent, I’m not doing it.” That mantra has driven him to be a successful entrepreneur who’s launched brands, built businesses, trademarked innovations and created championship racing teams. “I run my companies like I drive a race car… fast and out of control.” Three years ago, he learned a new motorsport and new track surface and quickly rose to the top. Again. On any track and any given day, Justin is the first to arrive and the last to leave, whether he’s practicing or signing autographs. It’s that heart, that passion and that tenacity that allows him to use the gift of a second chance.
He thrives on doing what others can’t. Justin doesn’t have an MBA or an undergraduate degree in business. He barely graduated high school. That minor detail doesn’t stop him from launching companies regularly. In his mind, racing and business are the same in many ways. Never for a moment is it about the money. “It’s about being able to accomplish something that other people can’t do,” he says. “And to be better than the other companies trying to create the same product. Starting a business is about competition and having the desire to be the best one out there. Just like racing.”
What does a man with such heart and a full-throttle approach take on next?
He writes a book. Justin’s newest title, “author,” comes this year with the publication of his first book, Bulletproof, a memoir that reveals how a man who lives on top of the world slips down a rabbit hole and climbs back out — as a daily occurrence. It includes how he remains a champion despite a serious diagnosis and what it’s like to sidestep suicide and be faced with a new “now what?”
Justin currently races and runs several companies in Utah where he lives, along with his four children, ages 10 to 23, and one baby granddaughter.
- Back-to-back series champion in off-road motorcycles
- USRA series champion
- The Challenge of America series national winner and third overall winner
- UKC multi-time series champion
- More than 200 trophies and awards for winning races in every form of motorsports he’s competed in