Rewind with Buddy Antunez

Rewind with Buddy Antunez

July 4, 2012 1:00pm
As bad as we all wanted to use the 4th of July as an excuse to take off early and trade in our laptops for a morning at the track followed up by an afternoon in the pool, the bosses here at Racer X Online just weren’t having it. But just because we’re slaving hard at work doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun, which is why we gave our friend Buddy Antunez a call. Antunez has been involved in professional racing for many years, and has a plethora of entertaining stories from our sport’s past. So, kick back, grab your beverage of choice, and soak up “Bud Man’s” words of wisdom. Happy 4th!

On New Boots
Almost all of my race stories that have to do with blocking, and that kind of stuff usually involves Jeff Emig, that’s kind of a standard. I think we were at Steel City in 1990, and Jeff had gotten a good start and was out front. Me, Denny Stephenson and I think it was Mike LaRocco were coming through the pack and we all caught up to Jeff, but we just could not pass him. He was using the whole track, swerving, cross jumping, just using everything in the bag to keep us behind him. Jeff built his career around doing that, until he finally got fast enough to keep you behind him.

After the race, all three of us were so pissed, because the cross jumping was just dangerous and so forth, and we all got in Jeff’s face. Jeff was this little scrawny dude, and he looked at all of us and said, “Guys, I had new boots on, I couldn’t feel anything!” From that point on, when anyone was cross jumping or doing anything like that, we started saying that they must be wearing new boots. Who in their right mind puts on new boots and goes racing? It was Jeff’s way of justifying what he was doing. At the end of the day I think we all wanted him to just fess up and say, ‘I did what it took to keep you behind me guys.’ [laughs] Instead he came up with the new boot story, it was great.

Today, Bud Man is the color commentator for Speed's coverage of the Arenacross Series.
Cudby photo

On Rental Cars
A lot of fun things happened in my rookie year in 1990 when I was getting my feet wet in the series. I was teammates that year with Denny Stephenson and Ronnie Tichenor and after one race we decided to take Ronnie’s rental car out while he was at the hotel. We had to find a jump, obviously, and Denny was driving. He goes down in the history books as the worst rental car driver ever. If he tries to pull the e-brake, he’s going to tag a curb with the rear wheel. He can’t hit his marks, and he just destroys rental cars. He can drive a go kart like a madman, but rental cars, not so much.

Anyway, we find this jump and we’re launching it and launching it until all of a sudden we feel something go wrong with the car. So we lit that sucker back to the hotel, slipped it in park, and left the keys under the mat for Ronnie and didn’t say a word. The next day Ronnie tried to take the car back to the rental car place, and the guy is looking at stuff hanging off the car in the back and Ronnie was just like, ‘I don’t know man, it must have just happened.’ The rental car guy looked right at Ronnie and said, ‘I saw you guys jumping that thing last night!’ We caused $3500 worth of damage to that car, which Denny ended up paying. Ronnie tried to put it off on the rental place, and any other person probably could have slid it by, but the guy just happened to be watching us jump it!

On Sand Dunes
One time we were on our way out to the dunes to film an SMP video. Denny Stephenson had never been to the sand dunes, and he was really stressing on how big the jumps were. He was like, ‘I don’t know man, I think I’m just going to carve some nice turns, I’m not going to worry about the jumps. I’m just going to carve some nice turns.’ He was really stressing over how big the jumps were going to be. Anyway, once we got out there Denny took to the jumps like we knew he would; big jumps in the dunes are no big deal. He started busting all the big jumps, and during a break I looked at him and said, ‘Denny, aren’t you going to carve some turns?’ He said, ‘Oh yeah! I’m going to go carve some turns!’ So he goes to the top of this big dune, carves a left, then a right, loses the front, goes over the bars and knocks himself out carving turns! We were dying laughing.

On Arenacross
One year we were in Jacksonville, Fla. Back then, sometimes there would be scuffles on the track. Anyway, I think it was me and Jeromy Buehl, with Jeff Willoh out front. Buehl and I broke away from Willoh and were battling for the win, and all of a sudden we came over the catapult, and some riders had started to fight, and some mechanics had gotten into it also! Buehl and I kept racing around the whole track, and lap after lap the fight kept on going. They let us keep racing the whole time, and meanwhile this has turned into a full on brawl! Every time I’d go by I’d be trying to look over at these guys fighting, there had to be six or seven guys going at it. It was the most bizarre race I’ve ever been in. Maybe all the officials were busy trying to break up the fight, I don’t know, but we kept racing.


Bud Man scored himself a Racer X cover story in his arenacross days--but his stories off the track were probably even better!

On Drinking Games
After my championship in 1999 I think it was, we were in Utah, and after the race we decided we were going to take a shot of beer every minute for an hour. The only way you could leave the table was to puke. Me and Stephenson had it figured out, we ate a big fat meal before. The foam hits you after about twenty minutes, and you’re out. But there were some people that took this game very seriously, and one of them was the girlfriend of one of our wakeboarding friends that was with us. She decided she was going to take shots of wine instead of beer. Well, she let loose all over our condo, it was everywhere. And this was the first night, so our condo was funkified for the rest of the trip. We couldn’t believe she even tried it at all with wine. Who does that with wine? Can you imagine the hangover the next day?

The funny thing is that there was all of us boys sitting around the table, and there was one other girl, and she beat everybody. She was a college girl, and she took all of us motocrossers down!

Bud Man in the early days of the Pro Circuit team.
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