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Chiropractor takes business partnership off-road in epic desert race

Dr. Michael Buffington (right) and his wealth strategist Michael Isom race through the Nevada desert in The Mint 400 Off-Road Race.

(ROCKWALL, TX — June 23, 2017) Rockwall chiropractor Dr. Michael Buffington’s love of racing has seen him take the wheel in many of the professional and personal relationships of his life, including with his friend and business partner Michael Isom. As his wealth strategist, Isom acts as the navigator in their professional relationship, letting Buffington know which routes to take so that he can stay on track financially.

But when the two crossed the finish line at The Mint 400 Off-Road Race in Nevada earlier this year, finishing 12th out of over 100 racers, it was Isom who was at the steering wheel, with Buffington strapped in the seat next to him doing the navigating.

“It was kind of a role reversal,” Buffington said. “Most of the time he’s navigating me around financial things and warning me of hazards and looking in the rearview mirror, and I’m the one controlling the steering wheel with my foot on or off the gas.”

Buffington, founder of Next Level Chiropractic in Rockwall (554 W. Ralph Hall Pkwy), first met Isom three years ago during a program called Freedom Fast Track. The two really hit it off professionally and ended up becoming good friends.

When Isom — who has competed in The Mint before with his son Kadin — learned of Buffington’s general love of racing, he decided to invite him to join his team in this year’s race.

Buffington had never done any off-road racing before and had never heard of The Mint, which draws hundreds of motorists from around the world each year to compete in a 300-mile race through the Nevada desert. But he didn’t hesitate to say yes.

“I actually said I was in before I even looked it up,” Buffington said.

Michael Isom (left) and Dr. Michael Buffington

In fact, Buffington had never even sat in the UTV race car Isom had built for the race until the day before the competition. Isom said the two didn’t have any practice racing the car at all before pulling up to the starting line.

The race consists of three laps (110 miles each) and can take between 8-9 hours to finish. Most racers don’t. According to Buffington, only 17 of the 100+ entries in their division ended up completing all three laps.

Isom and Buffington experienced four flat tires during the first lap alone. Add that to the fact that they only had a couple of protein bars and hoses for water to go off of for the entirety of the race, crossing the finish line in 12th – or even at all – was an extraordinary feat.

Buffington said they drew on the trust they had established between each other through their professional relationship to help them overcome the challenges and keep their focus.

“There’s a huge trust factor involved, and I don’t trust anybody more than I do Michael Isom, personally or professionally,” Buffington said.

“It’s a really emotional experience,” Isom added. “Being strapped in that car and to have not only one of your best friends but one of your clients in the car next to you, it’s an adrenaline rush.”

Buffington said that although the race has strengthened his bond with Isom, there were many lessons to be learned from this first go-around.

“There were so many life lessons along those eight hours we were there that I’ll be able to continue to pull from in the future, and really learn deeper and more valuable lessons way after the race is over,” he said.

By Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News. Photos courtesy of Jason Osmond.

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