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By Tyler Hooks
Female Perspective is a periodic interview segment where Tyler Hooks catches up with some of the quickest female names in the hobby. Tune in to find out about their careers, social lives and how they feel about the RC hobby.
Jodi Eller is a North East racer with a fantastic attitude and a lot of passion and talent for the hobby. We caught up with her just after she joined the AKA Products team and unfortunately now is stuck in this time of no racing. She is definitely making the most of the time away from the track and was happy to share some time with us!
TH: Who began racing first you or your brother?
JE: TJ discovered RC cars first. After I watched his first few races, I decided it was my turn to get on the drivers stand. After he took me to my first race, I was hooked. He let me borrow his T4.2 and I raced it every weekend. In fact, I still have it in my closet. It’s a keep sake 😉. Thanks Teej.
TH: Do you feel that you had the same opportunities in the beginning as male racers, how about now?
JE: While I have had the same opportunities as male racers, I feel like I do have to work a little harder in proving my seriousness about racing. As an RC racer, I don’t want anyone to give me a free pass. I’m here to race, and I am ready to compete. As a female racer, I may look different from the other competitors, but on the inside I’m just like everyone else. I have been racing competitively for about 4 years now and I have proven that I should be taken seriously. I have felt some rough racing on the track because of my pink body, but I have always taken that as a confidence booster to push harder and show my worth. As I grow and become a better driver, the most satisfying thing for me will always be making a clean pass against these guys.
TH: What has been you biggest accomplishment in racing?
JE: My biggest accomplishment in racing happened last summer at Barnstormers in Chester, NY. It was my first year running my RC83.1. After qualifying, I placed myself in the C main of nitro buggy. Starting from the back end, I had my most consistent race ever and bought myself a bump spot into the B main. I was super happy to bump up to the next main, but the best part was starting right behind my boyfriend, Cameron Winslow, who I met at the RC track a few years ago. We reeved up our engines, the flagged dropped, and I found myself in front of Cameron for 16 laps calm and collected! Sadly, I blew a corner and he got by me. Sometimes the accomplishment isn’t about your placement, but about the experience you had and the driving you did when you felt on fire.
TH: If you could change anything about your racing career what would it be?
JE: I don’t think I would change anything about my racing career. I have been fortunate to have amazing guidance from my brother TJ, Cameron, and great friends. Sometimes I wish I started racing nitro sooner, but I’m comfortable knowing that my basic driving skills were increased by racing electric, both 1/8th scale and 1/10th scale, and now I am excelling even further racing nitro. Brapp!!!
TH: Being a female, do you feel that your treatment within the industry was overall positive and respectful?
JE: Yes! I have always felt very comfortable in the industry. I’ve gained a lot of friends and I have always been open and willing to talk to everyone in the community. I love talking about grip, set-up, and race lines. Watching my friends race and helping out is also something I enjoy about the hobby. I love pitting my team members and volunteer marshalling whenever I can. I feel like being on the track whether you’re racing or not is important to learn the race line.
TH: Would you ever consider running another brand of car, or now that TJ Eller (brother) is an engineer at Team Associated, is AE the family brand?
JE: AE for life!! No, I wouldn’t consider running another brand. AE cars are not only top international winners, but the cars push your driving style to be consistent and fast. I am proud to say I race with Team Associated and they allow me to progress. The new designs are making a big difference in the RC community. Plus, TJ being an engineer is a proud addition to the brand 😉.
TH: What do you do for work and how do you manage the work/life/racing balance?
JE: I work for a company called Hi-Tech Health. We are a software company that designs customized solutions for health insurance companies to process insurance claims. My job is to manage our clients, develop projects, and ensure that proprietary functions are met. I balance everything by working really hard during the week so I can go racing on the weekends. I have always found gratitude in having a strong work ethic. Fortunately, I have been able to find a great balance. My company supports my racing and even donated to the 2019 Race Against Cancer at LCRC in PA. My family has always been my number one fan and supporters. Living with my boyfriend, Cameron, has pushed me to try my best and win in the pits as well as on the track.
TH: Any words of wisdom for the next generation of girls and boys finding a footing in the RC community?
JE: My words of wisdom include:
Always have fun. Never be afraid to ask for help. No matter where you come from just remember, you can always do well. Try your best to learn as much as you can about the mechanics of the car because it will only help you in the end. Practice, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone has bad races, and everyone learns from those experiences. These experiences are the most valuable to your racing career. In the end, as long as you are happy with what you’re doing, that’s all that counts.
TH: Do you have any racing goals for the future, or do you just go with the flow?
JE: My racing goal for the future is to out due myself and make people question who is racing that car. My goal will never be for somebody else, but for myself to go home happy knowing I did the best I can. This year, I am racing two nitro classes and I have never felt more comfortable with my decisions. The connection you feel with a nitro car is unlike anything else. I’m ready to race with everyone and show em what I got!!
TH: Anyone you would like to thank?
JE: I’d love to thank my brother, TJ Eller, first. He has introduced me to something I will cherish forever. Without him, I wouldn’t be here writing this response. My family comes from a motocross background and racing is in our blood. That is something you can’t learn, but something you have within you. I owe a great thanks to Cameron Winslow for being so supportive and always helping me do better. Of course, Team Associated & Reedy Electronics for the amazing cars and support. Also, AKA tires for keeping me locked in on the track. I also owe a great deal to all the friendships and memories I have made at the track. See you all this season 😉
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