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By Tyler Hooks
Future Stars of RC is a regular column on LiveRC where Tyler Hooks has a conversation with fellow up-and-coming racers across the country, covering youth-friendly topics such as school subjects, watching TV, throwing huge whips and, of course, relationships.
Had the pleasure of catching up with young Jacob Cruz on-road extraordinaire, for this week's Future Stars of RC. At 11 years old he already has podium finishes at the Reedy Race, CTS Series, and The IIC.
Name: Jacob Cruz
Age: 11 Years Old
Sponsors: Yokomo US, Dash, Power HD, 1up Racing, PROTOform, AXON, ULTI, SRG, Black Fabrica, Activ RC, RUSH, Off The Grid Designs, Serpent USA 1/8 Nitro.
TH: When did you first begin racing?
JC: I first began racing at the age of 7 years old. My first RC car was a Traxxas Slash.
TH: What is your biggest racing accomplishment?
JC: 2nd Place at the 2019 Reedy Race Open Mod TC at Steel City Raceway. TQ and Win Mod TC at the CTS-4 Race Round 2 at TQ Raceway. 5th Place finish in Mod TC at the 2019 IIC in Las Vegas at 702 Raceway.
TH: What is your worst racing failure?
JC: My worst racing failure was my first International 2019 AOC race in Shanghai, China at RCI V2. I had such a great and fun experience at that track. I struggled to find pace, but with the help and support of my teammates I was able to find some speed but it was a little too late. But I definitely learned a lot racing against top level world drivers. I want to thank Rick Wang for his hospitality and generosity he provided while I was there.
TH: What is your goal for a future occupation?
JC: My future goals is to become a professional RC Racer and also finish my studies in Engineering and Business. I would love to stay in the RC industry and help grow and continue to promote this amazing sport.
TH: Do you have a girlfriend or boyfriend?
JC: No. School and Racing first!
TH: What is your favorite class for school and racing?
JC: My favorite class for school is Social Studies, or most known as History class. My favorite class for RC racing is Modified Sedan and 1/8 scale nitro, since there both really fast and satisfying!
TH: What is your real dream car?
JC: I would love to have a big truck to fit all my RC stuff and a Porsche 911 Turbo for racing!
TH: Huge whips, driving absolutely flat out or more calculated driving, smoother on the throttle?
JC: I’m more of a calculating driver and try to be smoother on the throttle. I like planning my attack during the course of the race. I don’t like taking too many chances, I would prefer to finish rather than break my car. I think having patience during a race is very important.
TH: Action Sports or Conventional sports, what do you follow in your free time?
JC: Conventional Sports because I enjoy watching and playing basketball. My favorite NBA Team is the Los Angeles Lakers.
TH: Nitro and Electric On-Road seems to be making a little bit of a comeback with you being one of the prominent young racers. What took you in the direction of on-road versus another route?
JC: I actually started in electric Off-Road, my Dad bought me my first 2wd buggy. We would go to OCRC a few times a month but we really didn’t know anyone. My Dad’s background is Nitro On-Road. One day, we happened to find an indoor On-Road carpet track that was only minutes away from where we live. Upon arriving my Dad ran into some old RC friends and the On-Road bug started from there. Recently I was lucky enough to try a 1/8 nitro On-Road, such an amazing feeling with the sound and speed so I’m super excited to add nitro to my racing program.
TH: Who did you look up to when you were an even younger racer, or who has been the biggest help to you as a driver?
JC: I look up to my Dad since he was a good RC driver, and he is also my mechanic and mentor. There are a few special people that have helped me with my journey. First, I would like to thank my close friend Randy Caster. He believed in me from the beginning when nobody knew who I was. A lot of my success is due to his support and passion to help. Other professional racers I look up to that have helped me improve would be Nicholas Lee, JJ Wang, Ronald Volker, Alexander Hagberg, Lex Tyler and Brandon Clements.
TH: What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to a new up and coming racer?
JC: My advice is to any new and upcoming racer is to keep practicing and dedicate themselves to this sport. Always push yourself to the limit while staying humble at the same time.
TH: Anyone you would like to thank before we end this week's FSORC?
JC: I would like to end this interview by thanking Yokomo Team Manager Joe Pillars for the opportunity and support he has given me. Also, big thank you to all my sponsors for believing in me and my RC friends for always cheering me on.
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