Monday, April 30, 2012

Julia Landauer: Determined To Live Her Dream

(Credit goes to Julia Landauer.)
Julia Landauer was born on November 12th, 1992 in New York, New York. She attended a specialized public high school for math and science in New York City called Stuyvesant High school. Julia said,"I missed about 130 days of high school over four years which made it very difficult to balance. However I loved being at the track and at school so I made it work. I was disciplined, worked hard, and wanted to do a lot. Naturally I missed a lot of high school events, but  I was 100% ok with that. If I wanted to do school stuff more than I wouldn’t have pursued racing as aggressively as I did." Julia is currently a sophomore at Stanford University in California."I am majoring in an Interdisciplinary major called Science, Technology, and Society,"said Julia. Julia is a very successful college student and a race car driver. Her dream of wanting to make a career out of racing started when she was just a young girl starting out in go-karts.
Julia got involved in go-karts when she was 10 years old."It was a family sport that my younger sister, brother, and I did with my parents. I loved it from the start and by age 12 I knew I wanted to be a professional race car driver."She won many races and championships in go-karts. Julia climbed the karting ranks to the national level,where she visited the podium and won many times. At the age of 13 she  joined the Skip Barber Racing Series, were she raced in her first car race. She made history at the age of 14 as the youngest and first female champion in the Skip Barber Racing Series. She joined the Formula BMW USA Series when she was 15 years old. Julia was the youngest driver to compete in the 2007 Formula BMW USA Series. She had a best finish of 5th and she earned three top ten finishes ( 5th, 8th , 9th) in the Formula BMW Series. At the age of 16 she started racing in the USAC Ford focus Midgets with Bob East. She moved up to the NASCAR Late Model Stock Car series with Bill Mcanally racing part time when she was 17. She also ran a part time  NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Season  with Sellers racing when she was 18 and 19 years old. Julia said, "I’m planning on racing late models in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and some K@N Pro Series races for the 2012 season." Her goal for her racing career is that she wants to make a living racing cars.
I  had the privilege to communicate  with Julia via email and ask her a couple more questions. This is what Julia had to say:
  "My favorite part about racing is that it’s like solving a puzzle. A driver has to make so many factors work perfectly in order to win. The entire process, including the excruciating hard work, the team work, the speed, the passing, and so much more , making racing so magical. Finding proper funding is definitely the hardest part of racing,"said Julia.
When I asked Julia if she has a best racing memory she said,"One of my best memories is my first win in  a  car when I was 13. I led the whole race, crossed the line in first, and I knew I was the best that race. Another one is a practice day in go-karts in New castle, IN, where I was so intensely in the zone that it felt like I was gliding on the track. I didn’t have to think about it. It was truly the most amazing feeling that I will never forget."
Julia has been on many race tracks throughout her racing career. When I asked her If she had any favorite race tracks she said,"My favorite road course is Road America, and my favorite oval is South Boston Speedway."
"There is no real "off" season for me. When I’m not in the car I’m working on the business side. I am developing my Julia Landauer Racing brand, meeting with investors, strategizing for sponsorship , working out and going to school. Racing is a 24/7 job. My favorite things to do outside of racing is that I like being in school, I love being outdoors, building things, exercising, and exploring my hometown of  New York City."
Julia said,"I’m inspired by anyone who puts their heart and soul into something, racing or not. Lyn St. James is a huge inspiration and mentor, as is Carl Edwards, but there are so many inspiring people out there in the world."
When I asked Julia what are the skills required to become a good race car driver she said,"There’s no one way to be a racer, but you have to be talented, aggressive, smart,  business and media savvy to name a few things. You have to have  great endurance and physical strength to be physically prepared to be a race car driver. It gets extremely hot in the cars, and you race for hours. You have to be in great shape if you want to be a race car driver.”
The final question I asked Julia was what advice would you give to other women who want to be race car drivers? "Find people who will support you because you are a racer. Surround yourself with those people, be ruthless in asking question and learning, and never let adversity stop your  desire.”
To Julia Landauer:Thank you very much for taking the time to answer some questions so this article could happen. Good luck with college and your racing career! 
Race fans: Click on the link below and "like" Julia Landauer's facebook fan page!

2011 Racing Season. Credit goes to Julia Landauer.

Friday, April 6, 2012

February Race Fan Of The Month Winner: Bernard Rucker

Some race fans watch more than one racing series ( NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA, etc). Every race fan is different and some race fans only watch one racing series. Every race fan has different opinions about what is going on in the racing series that they watch. I talked to February “race fan of the month” winner Bernard Rucker via email. I had the opportunity to ask him questions and to see how much of an extreme race fan he really is.
Bernard Rucker is originally from Michigan but for the last sixteen years he has made Tempe, Arizona his hometown. Bernard is engaged to Deanna Craig and she is a race fan too. Bernard’s father was a mechanic, so engines were a major topic around his boyhood home. He got interested in NASCAR shortly after they started to broadcast the races on the radio. When “ABC Wide World Of Sports” took to the air with the Daytona 500, he remembers watching Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison bumping each other, then they spun each other out on the final lap and continued to pound on each other outside of there race cars.“ I watched as NASCAR race cars went from no sponsors, to one sponsor, to multiple sponsors throughout the years,” said Bernard. Bernard really got hooked on NASCAR when he went to his first NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway when he was just a little boy. Bernard said,” The first thing that got my attention was the loud sound of those engines and the smell of raw fuel. We took our seats, sixteen rows up from the track and proceeded to watch as the cars came by behind the pace car and my heart began to race. The green flag waved in the air for the start of the race and the drivers sped by so fast that I couldn’t tell which driver was which! When they came out of turn four and raced by us at a 180 miles per hour three things came in my mind: These guys are going unbelievably fast, I was hooked on racing, and the speed of those cars made me chilly! That was when I came to realization that I loved this sport!”
Bernard does not really have a favorite race car driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He has watched Jeff Gordon’s racing career very closely. “ I watched Jeff Gordon’s racing career on ESPN’S Saturday Night Thunder program which aired late on Saturday night’s." Bernard would like to see Mark Martin and Jeff Burton win the Daytona 500 soon. Bernard said,"I am a fan of Jennifer Jo Cobb and Morgan Shepherd in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Morgan is 70 years old and still making races, what a racer!" In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Bernard is a fan of Ron Hornaday Jr, Matt Crafton, Timothy Peters, and Johnny Sauter. His favorite ARCA Series race car driver is Bobby Gerhardt. In the IZOD Indy Car Series, Bernard’s favorite race car drivers are, Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti, and Marco Andretti."In the Formula one series I really don’t have a favorite since they’ve started allowing the 12- valve engines and the leader of the race is so far out in front that it has taken the thrill out of the race. I still watch a Formula One race every once in awhile though.” Bernard watches the NHRA Series too. He is a fan of 15 time Champion John Force! He also watches the Rolex Series. He is a fan of Max Angelelli. “ He will win a championship soon."
I would classify Bernard as an extreme race fan because of four things I learned about him. The first thing is that he truly loves racing and he has strong opinions about the rules in NASCAR. “ The idea of locking in the top 35 in points: If you don’t have the speed to make the show than you are just a moving hazard out there all afternoon. You should have to make your way to be there regardless of who you are,who you drive for,or who your sponsor is! The race for the Championship: Five races should decide the NASCAR Championship. A Super speedway, an intermediate track, a mile track, a Bristol or Martinsville race and yes of course a road course. When I asked Bernard if he goes to any races he said,” I go to the fall NASCAR races at Phoenix when I can. I’m a down to earth man, my bills get paid before I have fun. When I have fun, I just don’t get tickets for one race, I get tickets for the whole weekend at Phoenix! That’s my idea of going to the races! One race is not enough!”
The third thing that I learned about him  is that he has a dream of wanting to give the commands at a race. Bernard said," As far as doing something in a race I’d like to be the one to tell the guys to start their engines! I would like to say Alright racers , It’s time to start the fires and light the tires! Instead of the traditional , Gentleman start your engines, or I’d like to drive the pace car!" The last thing that I learned about him is that Bernard wrote a prayer before the Daytona 500 and he said” This prayer should be an official prayer for each race car driver.”
Lord As I prepare to take the track;
I pray for you to bring me back.

Not wrecked or bruised, or hurting face;
But hopefully in first place.

Give us the guidance for clear vision;
And to make the right decisions.

Guide all of us in our cars;
No matter in which turn we are.

Should we finish this grueling race;
Give me at least a top ten space.

Keep our equipment in tip top shape;
And without a single scrape.
Tell us in advance when we should hit the gas;
And stop us before we say or do something crass.

As the end begins to unfold;
Keep our cars up on the road.

Yes lord on this particular day;
Help us and guide us on the way.

Keep all of us safe and sound;
As our cars go round and round.

Watch out for all of my competitors, and friends;
As we compete to the very end.

This prayer is not for just me;
But all my brothers and sisters across the sea.

And now as we prepare to take our starting spot;
Guide us and protect us no matter what.
To Bernard Rucker: Thank you very much for taking the time to answer some questions so this article could happen! I really enjoyed writing this article about you. Congratulations on being Up To Speed With Amanda Reisinger’s February “ race fan of the month” winner. You are truly an extreme race fan. I hope you enjoy the 2012 racing season.

(Bernard Rucker. Credit goes to Bernard