Justin “Bean” Smith takes the next step in Off-Road racing by becoming a team owner and driver of record for the first time ever in 2009.

Justin “Bean” Smith takes the next step in Off-Road racing by becoming a team owner and driver of record for the first time ever in 2009.

Many of you know “Bean” as recent partner to Sigal Greenberg in the BITD series where the two won the 1100 title for semi limited buggies in 2008, he is also well known as an early and main member of the Desert Assassins off road race team. Bean cut his teeth as a navigator and prep person with the DA and along the way became a third driver with Cameron Steele and Clyde Stout who are both now contesting the SCORE Trophy Truck class. Justin has also driven with “King” Dave Hendrickson who rounds out a solid group of tutors and driving partners that also includes Heidi Steele who Justin teamed with in 2005 to win the Baja 1000 and Sportsman buggy class championship.

Over the five the years that Justin has been involved in Off-Road, 12 Baja 1000 class championships are represented by those that have helped to shape Justin into the driver and person he is today. Along the way Justin earned his way to the final ballot for 2007 SCORE Mechanic of the year and this year he hopes to see his name on the SCORE Rookie of the Year award.

Justin is now an owner of a much-heralded Fraley 1600 car and will for the first time ever be a full time driver of record in SCORE, SNORE and PRO 1600 events in 2009. Justin has provided quality driving and contributed to many class wins and podiums while collecting accolades like fast laps while still bringing a whole car to the finish line, a balance few have found in desert racing.

Justin grew up riding dirt bikes with fellow San Clemente residents Todd Potter and Jeff “OX” Kargola who have both won X Games medals. There was a time when Justin made a name for himself competing in X Games events but made the choice to race cars and gave up the glamour of FMX for the desert early on. It was in his hometown of San Clemente where the nickname Bean came to be when a schoolteacher of his commented on his similar look to actor Rowan Atkinson a.k.a. Mr. Bean.

For 2009 Justin will represent the factory-supported effort of the Yokohama Tire Company and have support from industry icon Jeff Quinn and his BTR Wheel Company. He will also have support from Joe Giffen at JG Transworks, FOX Racing Shox and Kenny Major and Andy Devercelly at Major Performance who have won SCORE Engine Builder of the Year the last three years.

“I am so proud to call Justin my protégé” said Cameron Steele, who continued “Justin is entering the toughest class in desert racing when legend Rob Mac returns for the first time in years and I am picking “Bean” to take the title.”

This weekend will be first effort from Smith on his own in the big leagues and it also happens to be his 25th birthday weekend, time to delivery on his own B-Day wishes.