Cover Photo Source: UTV Sports Mag
UTVUnderground recently sat down with the founder of Desert Vets Racing, Michael Pascarella, and got the details on this outstanding organization. Desert Vets Racing will be attending and racing the 2020 UTV World Championship in Lake Havasu this October so we decided to get some more info on what they do.
1. What is DVR?
DVR is a Veteran organized (501-C3) nonprofit race team providing a unique approach and format to helping our US Military Veterans and active duty of all generations through Off-Road Racing. Our tag-line is “Off-Road Racing for Veterans by Veterans”
2. How did DVR start?
DVR started back in 2016 when our President & Founder Mike Pascarella went through cancer. He got to a low point in his life not having the support network or brotherhood that the service instills in you. Being alone, and going through one of the roughest times in your life really gets your mind wandering to places it shouldn’t. Things began to change when he was invited out to Rage at the River to help pit for a Trophy Truck team. Hanging out with the guys really showed him what Off-road racing can do for veterans. It lit a fire in him to create that same environment, so he went home and formulated a game plan. With the financial situation he was in, buying a race car was not feasible. Since he was an honorably discharged veteran he used his GI Bill to earn his degree. One of the benefits of the GI bill is a monthly payment you receive from the government, which is what he used to finance a Polaris RZR. Now that he had a car it was time to race.
He started racing the car in the Pure series to really understand what it means to run an off-road race team. With the help of family and friends he was able to race the first year. During that year he realized what he needed to do. Get his brothers and sisters out in the dirt racing and forgetting about life for the weekend. This is when Mike met Adam Carr, our current Vice President. Adam came out and was the second veteran to ever navigate, and was immediately hooked. He jumped on board with Mike and started growing the brand and the mission. Through word of mouth and the power of social media, more and more veterans answered the invitation to build the team and start racing. To this date we have been able to get well over 100 veterans out making memories and living life. We have been blessed to have veteran and civilian car owners come onboard with the DVR mission and get veterans racing. We have DVR mission oriented race cars in the following states – CA, WA, CO, AZ, NV, TN and 4 official chapters – Desert Vets Racing Headquarters, DVR Northern Nevada, DVR Southeast, DVR Colorado-New Mexico
3. What are the plans for the future for DVR?
The future of DVR is to keep doing what we are doing and grow the brand and create new opportunities to reach more veterans. With continued support from existing sponsors while actively looking for more, we are striving to add a few more cars to the DVR team so we can get veterans in both the drivers and co-drivers seats. We also have a training program where our members start in the grassroots series to learn all aspects of what it takes to be successful. Then we take the team to events such as BITD, SCORE, The Mint 400, and UTV World Championship to put the training to work! Most importantly, we teach our members life skills and business management skills.
4. How can someone get involved with DVR?
Email Desertvetsracing@gmail.com and show up. That’s it. We don’t have special requirements except an honorable DD214. A lot of wounds our veterans face are not physical. Having a program that doesn’t have the “for combat veterans” requirement is big. There are a lot of unsung heroes that walk among us that could really use our help. We have a facebook group called Desert Vets Racing Event Page. Answer the question and let us know when you can make it! THAT’S IT!
5. Who would you like to thank?
We want to thank Polaris RZR for the support in making our program possible. Without their support keeping the cars race ready would be impossible for our car owners. All our car owners for making the mission possible! Rugged Radios for being with us from day one. They have supported our program and made sure we have the best communications available. Competition LED for lighting the way! HTOWN Performance for making the 1850 car into a tank! 5150 Whips for having our back! Red Cow racing for being our title sponsor. Red Cow has changed the momentum for our program. Not only financially but also in a mentor role for our members! Last but not least our chapter presidents for all the hard work and dedication.