Justin “Big Chief” Shearer is an American street racer who ‘s been part of the reality TV car show “Street Outlaws” since its inception in 2013. He was a fan favorite, so it was a shock that he left the show in the fourth season, to focus on his family. Thankfully, Big Chief returned and regained prominence, making many appearances until the seventh season, aired in 2016, and was credited as the primary cast member until 2019. Big Chief mostly drove for Team 405, a street racing team representing Oklahoma City. However, he was notably missing from the eponymous show that follows the “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings” racing competition, which started in February 2018. Instead, he took a break before briefly returning for another spin-off, “Street: Outlaws: America’s List,” in seasons one and two in 2021 and 2022, his last official appearance in the franchise.
The show’s fans could ignore Big Chief’s absence for a while, primarily because there was plenty of content to occupy their attention. Moreover, he’s returned in the past, but an online discussion about a faulty car suggested that he wouldn’t be racing for several months.
Sadly, it quickly became evident that Big Chief would need a strong incentive to return, especially after he feuded with another racer, Precious Cooper, in early 2022, and involved his girlfriend, Jackie Braasch, making the matter more personal. Thankfully, he didn’t want people to speculate and make accusations without proof. Big Chief wanted to say his peace and provide behind-the-scenes information, so he uploaded a 57-minute-long video, “THE FUTURE OF BIG CHIEF ON STREET OUTLAWS…” to his Midwest Street Cars YouTube channel. We explained what had happened and if he planned to return.
Disagreeing with rules caused his exit
In his YouTube video, Big Chief explained that one of the catalysts for his exit was a faulty car during the Team 405 competition for the “Street Outlaws: America’s List” race in Chicago in May 2021. He stated that the production told him that he would have to stay there for an extra filming day to do a final shoot-out. That race would determine who gets to compete in the race in January 2022, broadcast during the second season of the eponymous TV show. It would have 15 events and cash prizees of almost $900,000.
Big Chief knew that his car had been worn out, that the engine was struggling to keep up, and that it kept spitting oil. He expected that, but planned on repairing the car in-between those two races, which the new production schedule prevented. Big Chief was still determined to win, and wanted to interview others at the “America’s List” driver’s meeting to discuss some rules, as he had written down weird rules that he and his fans felt should change. He was dissatisfied with the producers’ responses, and felt that the show didn’t resemble the one that he debuted in and helped develop, so he resigned as a reality TV star. However, Big Chief continued racing outside the TV show, and still runs his car business, Midwest Street Cars.
Big Chief wanted things to change
Big Chief said that he was initially prepared to film more in 2022, but slowly grew to dislike the production schedule and inconsistent competition. He ‘continuously urged the producers to feature real streets, spots, and street racers,’ and for a long time, accepted compromises because of the show’s budget, potential legal issues, and format. At one point, Big Chief had enough of watching himself on TV and going to work every day, and felt racing in “Street Outlaws” was no longer his life’s work.
He was particularly disappointed that the race master, a role that he frequently took on, could no longer make the rules, and would have to uphold the producers’ directions even if they and all the racers disagreed. Therefore, Big Chief’s decision to leave the show came down to his values; he didn’t want to give up on everything that made him who he was as a street racer. He also realized that there was no point in staying if he had to shift blame to the production team for every rule that he or the racers complained about.
He was unafraid of the competition
Big Chief refuted all claims that he wasn’t good enough, or didn’t make it to the placement for the yet-unannounced season three of “America’s List.” He recounted that he was born in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, fell in love with street racing at age nine, and would ride his bike to see the races on Old US Route 66 highway. Big Chief settled in Oklahoma State in 1992, and promised himself that he would do something else when he felt that he wasn’t competitive enough. He pointed out that he beat nearly everyone during the second season of “America’s List,” ending runner-up to Daddy Dave, and was the only Team 405 member in the top three.
Additionally, because he needed to race nearly every night, the production team would bring Big Chief even if he had a catastrophic car failure, for his previous achievements. Therefore, he didn’t even have to ‘race his way in,’ although he would gladly do it if needed. That meant that he was invited for the potential third season of the show, and could race in “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings” and get some money based on his reputation for quite some time.
However, Big Chief said that it wasn’t who he was as a person, and joked about ‘buying a set of golf clubs, creating a Boy Scouts group, learning to whittle’ when he didn’t feel the burning passion. However, he pointed out that his desire for street racing was just as strong; he merely wanted to do it on his terms, take full responsibility for the rules, and have authority as race master.
Big Chief is staying true to his convictions
Although there was disheartenment in his voice when explaining his departure, Big Chief had a powerful message for his fans, saying ‘Production constraints have affected what we do, and some of us [street racers] believe that rule changes are our fault. At some point, you realize that money, fame, and clout aren’t worth the time you lose doing the show, and defending things that you don’t believe in to people that you love and respect.’
He said that he read fans’ comments about his audacity to leave a TV show that he started and appeared in for years, but said that he was content with leaving things behind and trying different projects.
As proof that his passion is still high, Big Chief mentioned that he purchased a Corvette in March 2022 in preparation for a new spin-off, “Street Outlaws: End Game.” – Discovery Channel promised him that they would feature in-house car rebuilding before filming car tests on a local track; Larry “Axman” Roach, Ryan Fellows, Shawn “Murder Nova” Ellington, and Kye Kelley would be his co-stars. However, despite sinking money into the project, Big Chief realized that it could be ‘a carbon copy, the same job as ever with a different title at the door, and he wanted to avoid discovering that in front of the cameras.’ He said that he would work on the Corvette at his leisure, and doesn’t regret the purchase, later nicknaming it “Lil Red Corvette.”
Only the old “Street Outlaws” format could tempt him
Big Chief said he doesn’t plan to return to any spin-off show for now. However, he has a soft spot for the original show; he didn’t want it to exist without him in it. On the other hand, he stated that he would only return if the show returned to its roots, declaring that he wouldn’t have joined if the rules were like that back in the day. He sensed that the race master was almost a puppet for the production team, with no dominion or ability to provide input nowadays.
One of the reasons for his feud with Precious Cooper in early 2022 was the lack of decision-making. Precious was fed up with some of the show’s rules, and Big Chief and his girlfriend Jackie, tried to explain that they had no say in their making. Simultaneously, there were rumors that Big Chief disliked that “Street Outlaws: America’s List” had few racers that he deemed capable. Contrastingly, they had too many cast members of “Street Outlaws: Memphis,” some of whom would return for “Street Outlaws: End Game.” If true, Big Chief was clearly agitated that Discovery Channel prioritized cast members’ relevancy, not their ranking or abilities.
He isn’t quitting street racing
Big Chief clarified that his departure from the show was the furthest thing from quitting. He said that he would monitor the show’s development but was delighted doing what he does independently. A major relief for him was that the pressure to get the newest, most discussed, or theoretically fastest combo disappeared. Big Chief said that he wasn’t that type of racer; he sticks to combos that he loves, and spends money to improve them if they need to be faster. With that in mind, he posts many pictures and videos of rebuilds, car tests, and vehicle comparisons on YouTube and Instagram.
He frequently updates his followers on custom car projects that he started years ago, for example, the two that he nicknamed CaddyJack and The Crow. He uploads longer videos of the building process on his YouTube channel, @MidwestStreetCarsAuto, which has amassed over 360,000 subscribers as of July 2023. Simultaneously, he crossed the 900,000 followers mark on his Instagram, @bigchiefokc.
Big Chief features Jackie everywhere
He regularly posts car racing content and a monthly livestream with his girlfriend, whom he started dating in early 2017, on his Patreon account, @midweststreetcars, for anyone who subscribes for $5 monthly. The couple also occasionally publishes vlogs, mentioning more private details, such as that they have a calico cat and that their sons are passionate about cars and motorcycles. Big Chief had Corbin and Corvil from his marriage with Allicia Shearer that ended in 2017.
Although he mostly appears alongside Jackie, fans must remember that he started Midwest Street Cars with Shawn “Murder Nova.” In a YouTube interview from April 2020, he explained that they grew apart as business partners and that Shawn presumably sold him his half. Big Chief said that Shawn wanted to focus on his family, so he opened a car shop called 187 Customs while he was still dead set on street racing. Regardless, the two remain close friends. Big Chief sells hats, stickers, t-shirts, beer labels, and car parts on the official website, www.midweststreetcars.com.