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Business Profile

Hazzard Fab Worx

“What’s most exciting about this kind of racing?” Luke Shuman repeats the question, and pauses, looking around for a moment before choosing his answer.

Shuman is a nationally known authority on the topic of off-road racing and as he thinks, he surveys his busy and expansive shop, Hazzard Fab Worx on East Trent in Spokane, a veritable candy store for off-road enthusiasts. Today, some relatively normal Jeeps and trucks are in the process of getting new suspensions or systems to meet specific off-road needs. Some cars are undergoing engine conversions and integrations for performance. Then there’s the 550-horsepower tube-chassis racing trucks that look like they are made for astronauts to rove around on the moon, but tougher. They are being fabricated from scratch for Ultra4 Racing events like “King of the Hammers”—a grueling trek through the Southern California desert with a foreboding tagline: many will start, few will finish.

Shuman has a hard time narrowing it down, so he just spells it all out.

“It’s all exciting. You work 20 hours a day for 3 months getting a car ready for the most demanding conditions. It has to be a mix between a trophy truck and a rock crawler, because you’ll go up massive dry rock waterfalls full of boulders, and if you make it through that, you hope it’s not too damaged because you’re about to race it 130 miles per hour through the desert.” It’s a test of a truck’s capabilities, but also the driver’s. “You roll it or even cartwheel it through the sand at high speeds, and then you have to be able to fix it in the middle of the desert,” Shuman says, “because you and everyone around you has spent all your energy and every penny you have putting this vehicle together for this purpose.”

But beyond all of that, Shuman says, “really, the best part is the camaraderie with the whole racing community—even when you’re in direct competition. In those conditions, you share tools and supplies; you help people out and you stop and make sure someone’s okay when their truck is rolled over. And they’d do it for you. That’s unique in the world of auto racing.”

Back home, customers are responding to this real-world knowledge, and Hazzard Fab Worx has grown tremendously. Shuman began the company working out of his personal garage. He has since hired a full staff and, recently, worked in partnership with INB to purchase a 25,000 square-foot facility on Trent. “I knew Heidi, my branch manager, and she put me in touch with Mike Wilson,” Luke recalls. “He came and saw what I did, believed in me, and worked with us from there. Since we’ve been in this building we’ve doubled sales, and we’re busy. It’s been great working with INB to make it all happen.”

The goal with all this space is for Hazzard to serve as educators for the off-road community. “We have a knowledge-based showroom and parts store on site, where we determine a customer’s needs, and not just sell parts because they’re in a catalog, but share our experiences and teach people what the part does, how it works, and why this particular part is needed for whatever the customer wants to do, from recreational use up in the hills to world-class racing.”