By Tyler Hooks
Future Stars of RC is a regular column on LiveRC where aspiring RC journalist 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, girls.
There's no denying the popularity of 17.5-stock racing, especially in the buggy class, and it's not rare to find an adolescent racer near the top of the charts in many areas of the country. AJ Marasco is one of the fastest stock tacers on the east coast, and I had a chance to catch up with him after some solid finishes at this year's ROAR Nationals.
Name: AJ Marasco
Age: 20 Years Old
Sponsors: Team Associated, Team Trinity, Hobbywing, JConcepts, Team Xtreme, MIP, and EZ Customs
TH: When did you first begin racing?
AM: I began racing back in 2012 toward the end of the year, and I started out with a Team Associated RC8E.
TH: What is your biggest racing accomplishment?
AM: My biggest racing accomplishment would have to be the Scotty Ernst showdown at beachline. I was able to Top Qualify 17.5 stadium truck and 17.5 buggy and take the win in both from tone to tone, with super consistent driving all weekend and very minimal mistakes. This made me feel like I was improving from weekend to weekend, and I was making the right decisions.
TH: What is your worst racing failure?
AM: My worst racing failure had to be using the wrong setup at an outdoor track and doing donuts at every corner. #notdialed
TH: Where do you attend school, and what is your goal for a future occupation?
AM: I finished high school, but I currently work part time at JConcepts. My goal for a future occupation is to be more involved in this hobby and design products.
TH: What is your favorite class?
AM: Definitely 17.5 2WD buggy; it teaches you the importance of driving and being smooth on the wheel and throttle.
TH: Do you have a girlfriend?
AM: Not yet!
TH: What do you think of the old saying “girls just get in the way of racing?”
AM: I can't really say anything; haven't got that far.
TH: What is your real dream car?
AM: My dream car is a Ferrari 488GTB
TH: Huge Whips, driving absolutely flat out or more calculated driving, smoother on the throttle?
AM: More calculated driving, smoother on throttle with maybe a few gnarly whips.
TH: Action sports or conventional sports, what do you follow in your free time?
AM: Action sports. In my free time, depending on how I feel, I usually choose between wrenching on the cars or playing PS4.
TH: Who did you look up to when you were an even younger racer? Who has been the biggest help to you as a driver?
AM: The person who has given me the biggest help to get me to where I am today would be Paul Wynn.
TH: What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to a new, up-and-coming racer?
AM: The biggest pieces of advice I would give to an up-and-coming racer would be to learn your car, always help other people and be respectful.