If you ask a group of car racing enthusiasts who Justin Shearer is, only a handful would know him, but ask them who Big Chief is and they are all guaranteed to not only know Chief, but know his favorite car and his ranking on “The List”, as Big Chief is one of the most popular names on the American street racing circuit. For years, Chief ran the Oklahoma City street racing scene, and brought the action to fans across the country who couldn’t witness the crazy scenes in person. through his show “Street Outlaws” and its spin-offs on the Discovery Channel. Fans who had grown accustomed to seeing him and his partners trash-talking as they worked on vintage cars, organized street races, and brought enthusiasts together to race for the coveted positions on the list of the fastest street racers, were gutted when Chief was conspicuously absent for a season of the show.

Sad but hopeful, they waited to see him in the next season, but he was absent front that too, as well as in the spin-offs in which he was a regular. As they came to terms with his absence, Big Chief posted a video exposing the truth behind his absence, and sharing his aspirations for his future. Here’s the truth about Big Chief’s departure from “Street Outlaws” and what he’s doing now.

Turning L’s into W’s

Chief’s passion for cars started back in his childhood. His father owned an automotive shop,  and as a boy, Chief would follow him around, picking up knowledge that would turn him into the king of street racing in under two decades. Chief’s father came from a generation that inherited vehicles were passed down through the generations. As Chief grew up, he noticed that his father’s generation was not as keen to take care of and pass down vintage vehicles to its children. Rather, the generation bought new and mass-produced vehicles for itself and its children. To date, Chief is saddened by the modern vehicles he sees every time he drives past a school, which he considers a disservice to his and younger generations.

Eventually, Chief became tired of sitting around passively, watching the joy of restoring or boosting older family vehicles fade away. As a racing enthusiast himself, he knew a few more peers who shared his passion for working on cars and racing them. He saw a gap in the declining number of auto repair shops that focused on maintaining and improving the performance of old vehicles in the automotive industry, and decided to fill it. He purposed to restore the glory, taking care of and improving vintage vehicles alive by starting a street racing circuit, and encouraging enthusiasts to participate.

Chief was driven by the noble cause of reclaiming the olden glory of driving cool cars that were passed down through generations, but it was a stinging and humiliating loss that jolted him into action. One day, Chief was racing a fellow street racer when he lost, not unusual in his field, but this time he lost to a Chevy Beretta. , and. He started his business of transforming vehicles and boosting their performance, and has been in the business ever since, successfully turning his loss to a Chevy Beretta into a successful business, while keeping the street racing culture alive.

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From the Streets to the Screens

What started as a way of restoring the culture of modifying vehicles and bringing back cool vintage cars to Oklahoma, turned into an inter-city circuit when Chief and his crew started traveling to nearby towns to meet with other street racers. Before long, the crew had built a community of street racers, and a videographer was invited to film the events and post the videos on the internet. Soon, television producers and network executives came calling, and offered the Chief and the crew an opportunity to feature their work on the Discovery Channel. They named their show “Street Outlaws” to capture its authentic essence.

Initially, the show was supposed to run for one season, but it attracted large audiences and received positive feedback from viewers, prompting the Discovery Channel to renew it for more seasons. Chief and the rest of the crew’s authentic representation of street racers set “Street Outlaws” apart from similarly-themed shows on other networks. Besides the regular banter with the rest of the crew, and the unfiltered glimpse into the process of boosting the performance of vehicles to get them ready for races, Chief kept the racing community on its toes using a list of the fastest street racers, which was updated after every race. His ingenuity was rewarded with a spin-off dubbed “America’s List”, and a second one, “No Pred Kings.”

Keeping it Real

With three shows, Chief was a regular on television until 2021, when he suddenly disappeared from our screens. Initially, fans weren’t worried since he had missed a few episodes in past seasons, to spend time with his family. When he didn’t return for the subsequent seasons of each show, fans were concerned, particularly after some rumors about the cause of his absence started floating around, one claiming that Big Chief had fallen out with a fellow cast member. Since neither Chief nor the network released statements confirming his departure, or explaining his absence, the rumor ran for a year before Chief came out to refute it and explain his status vis-à-vis “Street Outlaws,” “America’s List,” and “No Prep Kings.”

In March 2022, Big Chief posted a video on YouTube, in which he shared the truth about why he’d disappeared from our screens. According to the street racing legend, network executives and the producers of the shows had succumbed to the pressure of dramatizing events to raise ratings. Chief felt that adding drama would rob the shows of their authenticity, essentially removing the “street” from the three shows. Since he was committed to keeping the street racing experience as street as possible, he was uncomfortable with the production’s new direction, and elected to walk away, despite being one of the main cast members, and helping build the show’s reputation and audience for over a decade.

In subsequent interviews, Chief has dimmed all the hopes that fans had of his return to any of the three shows. Earlier this year, he announced that he’s loving his time away from television and doesn’t miss it at all. He gets to enjoy the thrill of participating in the process of restoring vehicles by doing their heating and air, which he couldn’t do on television, as he took on the role of race master. He doesn’t intend to return to the three shows and is glad that his former castmate Shawn has stepped into his shoes. Besides, Chief admits that after working with Shawn, or Murder Nova as he’s referred to in the circuit, Shawn’s personality makes him a better race master.

Midwest Street Cars

Chief may have walked away from the shows he helped establish, but he’s remained a prominent character in street racing. He’s back at the business that started it all; the Midwest Street Cars Automotive. Long before he started planning races on television, he was restoring cars at a shop in Oklahoma City. From its modest exterior and location in a dilapidated building next to an untended parking lot, the shop shows little promise. However, its inside reveals busy crews restoring vintage vehicles and getting them ready for races, while engaging in their usual banter.

Chief is back doing what he loves, spending most of his time at Midwest Street Cars working with his crew to prepare his clients’ vehicles for races. He’s maintained his role as an organizer within the street racing community and continues to plan events for racing enthusiasts to show off their builds, and make their way up the list of fastest racers in the country. When he’s not working on his clients’ vehicles, Chief is working on his own project car, which he plans to unleash on a quest to climb up the list.

After long days at the auto shop, Chief goes home to his family, with whom he travels whenever he takes time off work as well. For now, Chief’s current and future priorities are Midwest Street Cars, racing, and spending more time with family. You can catch up with Big Chief and his latest projects on YouTube.

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