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Off-Road Hall Of Fame Inductees
Richard (Dick) Landfield Year Inducted: 2007

Dick Landfield is an inductee in the Competition: Off-Road Racing category.

Dick Landfield became enamored of off-road racing in 1969 when a friend, Irv Hanks, invited him to race the very first NORRA Baja 500. Their race was long, difficult, and beset by mechanical problems. Landfield had to leave Hanks parked on one of the notorious “Three Sisters”, south of San Felipe, while he hitched a ride to Mexicali for replacement parts and another vehicle. This graphic demonstration of just how difficult it was for an independent racer, (as opposed to one associated with a factory team) to get to the finish, inspired Landfield to create the very first pitting organization for off-road racers.

Called the First Association of Independent Racers (FAIR), Landfield’s group at first was set up to service only Ford racers. Dick raised the money to buy generators and tools.He had the group set up and functioning in time for the Baja 1000 of the same year. FAIR is still in existence today, and after 38 years still helps to make it possible for an independent racer to compete successfully. Hundreds of racers, some of whom went on to become highly successful and affiliated with big teams, started their racing careers with help from the FAIR pit support team.

From that time on, Landfield was at the forefront of off-road history through his involvement in the sport. In 1974 he was a part of the introduction of the first mini-truck, a Ford Courier, to the off-road racing scene. He then identified and developed the market for “prerunner” trucks that looked like those of well known racers. He built Walker Evans style trucks and sold enough of them to make it possible for Evans to build himself a new race truck.

Landfield raced in the Mickey Thompson stadium series for a while, and fielded a team of luminaries including John Swift, Albert Arciero, Dave Ashley, Henry Arras, Al Unser, Al Unser, Jr., and Josele Garza, (who’d been the Rookie of the Year at Indianapolis). This brought the focus of the public’s eye on the sport. When he retired from racing because of health problems related to dust, he continued as a team owner, fielding the first Ford Ranger to race off-road, with Dave Ashley as his driver.

In 1991 he added a second truck and brought in Dan Smith as his second driver, creating a highly skilled and successful team. That same year he recognized that Ford, which had six active teams racing off-road, could multiply their impact on the public by creating a united front. Landfield brought his vision to Ford. Ford embraced the idea and brought it to reality. The result was the Ford Rough Riders Team program. By painting all their race vehicles in the same Ford colors the six teams, Enduro Racing (Landfield’s), Bill Stroppe, Simon and Simon, Spirit Racing, Swift Motorsports, and Jim Venable Racing, became a huge entity in the public eye. In addition to a consistent paint scheme on all the vehicles, Landfield had the drivers wear matching drivers’ suits and dressed the pit crews in identical crew uniforms. The impact was unprecedented.

Dick always worked at improving communications with his race team, and pioneered the use of Satellite telephone communications between the pits and the race vehicle, as well as utilizing GPS tracking for team logistics. In 2000 the team’s skilled use of this sophisticated communications equipment helped them win first overall at the very difficult SCORE Baja 2000, the longest Baja race in history.

Landfield was been instrumental in helping promoters when he saw the need. Early on he was involved in procuring Ford Truck sponsorship for the Best In The Desert Racing Association series, and he also helped get Ford Trucks for SCORE International to use at their events.

Dick is proud of his race team’s relationship with Ford Trucks. Ford used the Enduro Racing vehicles to test and develop truck transmissions, and because of what they learned made many changes in their design that improved durability. Through the years, Landfield has been a man of action, with his finger in many pies. He has stayed deeply involved in the sport since 1968, often as the behind the scenes part of the development of many facets of the sport and its attendant industry. Still, he feels that the formation of the pitting organization, FAIR, “was the pinnacle of anything I achieved in off-road.”

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