RTF features drivers with backgrounds in professional racing, automotive media, and other forms of vehicular enthusiasm. Here are some of our principal competitors and crew members.
Charley Baruth is a pilot and financial services professional who bounced back from a near-fatal auto accident in January of 2014 to become a successful autocrosser and licensed racer. She has been featured in Road&Track and Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom magazine. A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Charley can boast class wins in SCCA Targa and AER. Her other hobbies include riding her Yamaha R3 and reading the works of John Fowles.
Matt Farah is the world-famous host of The Smoking Tire and is familiar to viewers of television shows including Drive NBC and The Car Show with Adam Carolla. An automotive connoisseur who has traveled the world to bring his fans first-hand experience with hundreds of different exotic and custom cars, Matt makes his home in Venice, CA.
As one half of the Boost Brothers on YouTube, Bozi Tatarevic has built a fan base who avidly follow his contributions to multiple automotive websites including Jalopnik and The Truth About Cars. As a child, he escaped war-torn Serbia in the back of a Mercedes G-Wagen; as an adult, he has become well-known for his ability to perform difficult engine transplants and for his methodical, tireless approach to automotive engineering issues. Bozi lives in High Point, NC.
Often called “the Peter Egan of his generation,” Sam Smith has written for the New York Times as well as for Roundel, Automobile, Road&Track, Esquire, and several other major-media outlets. An experienced SCCA and BMWCCA club racer, Sam has also run in the MX-5 Pro Cup. One little-known fact about Sam: before he became famous in the auto-journo game, he earned his living as a BMW wrench in an independent shop.
Without Josh Howard (in the blue suit) this team probably wouldn’t exist — at the very least, we couldn’t win races. A tireless and inventive crew chief, Josh can “drift stitch” a front bumper with a surgeon’s precision or lift the back end of the car all by himself if necessary. He’s also designed some of the most popular radio-controlled cars on your local toy store’s shelf. A devout and committed Christian, Josh lives with his wife Jennifer and his almost-completed 300ZX restoration project in Detroit, MI.
Jack Baruth is a former professional BMX racer with wins in eight different auto-racing sanctions and podiums from Laguna Seca to New Jersey to Sepang. A contributing editor for Road&Track, Jack lives in Powell, Ohio.
Bojan Tatarevic handles fuel stops and logistics planning for the team. The “other” Boost Brother, Bojan has a lifetime’s worth of expertise in automotive detailing and restoration. He’s also probably the most popular member of the team among the sub-30 female demographic due to his winning charm and quick wit.
After accidentally acquiring nationwide fame due to a starring role in a Pepsi commercial with Jeff Gordon, Travis Okulski spent the next year of his life being vaguely recognized in airports. At the track, however, the former kart racer is better-known for his smooth, consistent stints behind the wheel. A multiple AER race winner, Travis works for Road&Track magazine in New York and lives with a remarkably well-groomed Golden Doodle named “Wingnut”.
Larry Webster is the Editor-In-Chief of Hagerty Magazine. In addition to his distinguished career with Car and Driver and Road&Track, Larry has raced in multiple professional and amateur sanctions across the country. It is generally acknowledged that he is the team’s most handsome member, which is probably why he gets to be on television.
Few professional racers have a resume to match that of Jesse Lazare. Even fewer can say they’ve done it all before turning twenty-three. Lazare is a Daytona winner and multiple Porsche GT3 series champion with a deep background in karting and open-wheel competition. Adding him to the RTF roster in 2017 immediately resulted in a class win and we’re expecting a lot more from this quiet — and quietly effective — young man.
W. Christian “Mental” Ward is a decorated Air Force officer and experienced endurance racer who has written for a variety of automotive outlets. Well-known for his ripped physique and can-do attitude, Mental boasts an army — or should that be an air force? — of devoted fans both inside and outside the United States armed forces. In addition to his day job as a ROTC instructor, Mental is busy working on his eternal project of a Porsche 996 track car.
The only person to have won an SCCA Targa class in two successive years, Mark Baruth is a blues and jazz musician who has appeared on dozens of recordings and performed to massive crowds both here and in Europe. With a deep background of success in SCCA National Solo, Mark has successfully made the jump to endurance racing and automotive time trial. His “Ask Bark” advice column is one of the most popular features on The Truth About Cars.