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Aaron Kaufman, Richard Rawlings’ bearded sidekick, driving off on his own

Jason Elias/Discovery Channel

Big news from the Dallas empire of Richard Rawlings, the man behind the automotive TV series Fast N Loud on Discovery and the repair shop Gas Monkey Garage as well as the Gas Monkey Bar & Grill eateries and the Gas Monkey Live concert venue. His heavily bearded other half, mechanic Aaron Kaufman, is going to be driving down a different road.

Rawlings posted on his Gas Monkey Garage site Wednesday that “the Bearded Wonder has decided to leave Gas Monkey Garage. I want you all to know that it was not my decision and came completely out of left field. Aaron has been part of Gas Monkey Garage since day one, and it will be a painstaking process moving forward without his talents.”

Rawlings was effusive about Kaufman’s talents in his memoir that came out last year, Fast N’ Loud: Blood, Sweat and Beers. “What I really needed was a fabricator, a guy with some vision, a guy who could help me build a reputation for building great cars, fast cars, loud cars that would grab attention wherever they went. Aaron Kaufman was the guy I needed.”

But Rawlings says that the enterprise will continue without Kaufman. “It is a big hit to GMG, but please note that it would be an insult to everyone here at Gas Monkey who has been putting in the work these past few years to say that we can’t do it without him,” he posted on his web site.

The charismatic car guy and TV star has started the Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill and Gas Monkey garage in Dallas, written a book and recently launched a new season of Fast N' Loud on Discovery channel.

He offers no clue as to what Kaufman. who’s originally from Crowley, has decided to do or how he will be replaced.

As we found out when chatting with Rawlings and Kaufman for a story on the whole Gas Monkey phenomenon last year, he certainly has been an integral part of the enterprise from the beginning. But something Kaufman said then might offer a clue as to what he might do now. He said at some point he might like to do a spin-off show which he said would be more of an adventure series where boats might be raced in one episode or cars might be raced across the Bonneville Salt Flats on another.

“The show would be around challenging ourselves,” he said.

The new season of Fast N’ Loud, which will deal with Kaufman’s exit, begins 8 p.m. on Jan. 16 on Discovery.

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