Cody Walker & Tyrese Gibson

Cody Walker and Tyrese Gibson stand onstage at a previous year’s FuelFest. Gibson is not slated to appear this year, as he is busy filming a new chapter of “The Fast and the Furious.”

Cody Walker and Tyrese Gibson were catching up at Red Lobster when the conversation turned to Cody’s late brother, Paul, of “The Fast and the Furious” franchise. 

“First, I was so offended that he had never been to Red Lobster,” Gibson said with a laugh. “Cody said, ‘I don’t know what to order, dude. What are the hits here?’”

After a little ribbing, Cody told Gibson about he and Chris Lee’s plan to host festivals surrounding all-things cars called FuelFest. 

Gibson said count me in.

For the fourth year, FuelFest is coming to Irwindale Speedway on Saturday, June 4. FuelFest blends the enthusiast’s passion for the automotive world with celebrities, live music, food, drinks and art. The show features more than 600 top custom, exotic, rare and exclusive cars and trucks. There are car and drift exhibitions and drag racing. Gibson is not slated to appear at this event, as the next chapter of “The Fast and the Furious” is filming.

“This is going to be our biggest event by far and the biggest stage we’ve ever had,” Cody said. 

“We have the biggest musical act, Joyner Lucas, as our headliner. He’s blowing up. We’re really excited about that. There’s going to be a lot of really cool, influential people from the car culture attending, the Hoonigans for some fun drift action.”

Cody said FuelFest is using Irwindale Speedway in a different manner than last year. The festival will cover the speedway, too. 

“It’s going to be awesome,” Cody said. “We’re very excited about the new layout. Last year, we had some issues with parking because demand was so high, and the venue was incapable of handling it all with general admission parking.

“We’ve tackled all that. We have a pulse on the venue and how it works. You always want to improve upon your previous event. You learn to make the experience bigger and better each time. That is what we’re doing.”

A portion of the events proceeds benefit Reach Out WorldWide, the nonprofit founded by Paul and continued by Cody, who is 15 years younger than his brother. The organization was founded in 2010 by the late actor/producer after a massive earthquake devastated Haiti and Paul was inspired to organize a relief team that responded to the disaster. ROWW’s mission is to fill the gap between the availability of skilled resources in post-disaster situations. ROWW completed four deployments in 2020 and continues to operate where needed. 

“We’re proud of Paul for creating it,” Cody said. “I know he’d be blown away by how much it’s done to date, how many people it’s reached and impacted. It’s something we want to continue for years and years to come.”

To date, FuelFest has raised more than $180,000 for the charity, Cody said.

Cody was flattered when Gibson agreed to be part of FuelFest. 

“Obviously, Tyrese and my brother go way back — all the way back to ‘2 Fast 2 Furious,’” he said. “We’ve all had a passion for cars, and our careers are surrounded by cars. I’m heavily influenced by my brother and the whole car culture. It’s what I live and breathe every day. 

“I knew Tyrese and I could put on something really special and unique for car fans and ‘The Fast and the Furious’ fans to come and experience with us together. It’s such a home run in so many ways to be able to do what you love and give back at the same time.”

Gibson echoed Cody’s sentiment. 

“My thing has always been taking the culture and the energy and the fanbase of ‘The Fast and the Furious,’ which has had this worldwide cult following for 20 years, and turning it into an event. 

“Paul Walker — everyone loves him. I miss him every day. He’s my brother, but Cody’s real brother. I want to take all of this energy and allow the fans to experience something that feels like ‘The Fast and the Furious’ without it being a movie premiere. Cody came up with this idea, and it was a no-brainer to be involved. Your background doesn’t matter — your religious or sexual preference. Cars and car culture is a universal language.” 

Gibson explained the festival is “escapism” at its finest. After all, everyone wants to be in or own a nice car with “nice-smelling leather” and that’s brightly colored with cool rims. 

“We all know guys will go broke and literally have no gas money, but they will be more committed to rims and tires and souping up their engines,” Gibson said with a laugh. 

“They want to compete and win and beat everyone in their neighborhoods. Every man has a hot rod covered up in their garage. They may be married for 40 years and have 10 grandkids, but they take the car cover off and start that engine and they’re rejuvenated.”


WHEN: 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 4

WHERE: Irwindale Raceway, 500 Speedway Drive, Irwindale

COST: Tickets start at $40