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.
Jennifer Lathrop has been a force in the oval scene for many years. She is a national champion and multi-time series/race winner across the country. We caught up with her for 'Female Perspective' as she makes the move back into Nitro Off-Road as well as her normal oval routine.
TH: As a prominent oval racer in both full scale and rc over the years you have competed a lot at the top level, what is your favorite memory?
JL: I have so many favorite memories! But if I can only choose one, it would have to be when I won the 2012 DLMRA (Dirt Late Model Racing Association) in Ohio @ BMI Raceway. This was 1/8 scale nitro, on the largest banked oval I have ever seen! To this day, I am still the 1st and only female racer to win a National Title in dirt oval. Very proud moment!
TH: Do you feel that you had the same opportunities in the beginning as male racers, how about now?
JL: In the beginning yes, I was a rookie that everyone patted on the back, high fived with good job. Now, most places I go or have gone, I feel I have to prove myself to some to gain/earn their respect. Once I show, hey I’m here to race (and race you clean) and win. 99% will show me the same respect I show them on and off the track. I feel like I have to work that much harder because I am a woman racer, but it’s ok, just push’s me to do that much better. 😉
TH: What has been you biggest accomplishment in racing?
JL: I would say creating a positive name for myself. I meet so many new people all the time that all know me (from FaceBook: Jennifer “Sippy Cup” Lathrop or Instagram: Jennifer Lathrop), and I’ve never met them before. I have gotten a ton of positive encouragement over the years. So, my name being known by many is amazing to me.
TH: If you could change anything about your racing career what would it be?
JL: That I could race more often! I hate only being able to race once a week and on top of that I have to choose (dirt oval or nitro off-road). I would love to race 3-4 days a week, but I don’t know if my husband would be ok with that lol.
Being a female, do you feel that your treatment within the industry was overall positive and respectful?
JL: Overall yes. Most men are more than willing to help out and are respectful on and off the track.
TH: You have been a role model for quite a few female racers following in your footsteps, is that type of informal mentorship role something you enjoy?
JL: Absolutely! I never ever saw myself as a role model, but over the years I have had so many young girls and women come up to me and tell me their stories and mention how they got a rc car and started racing because of me. That made my day, and lets me know, I must be doing something right lol. 😉 I love seeing women of all ages at the track, I think its amazing and wish their were more of us out there.
TH: What do you do for work and how do you manage the work/life/racing balance?
JL: I work in Plastic Surgery. I am a Surgical Technologist which means I assist my surgeon in surgery. I start work at 5am Monday-Friday, therefore I go to bed very early during the week. My life pretty much is work and RC. I have an amazing husband that is very much into RC (almost as much as I am lol), so to me it makes everyday life very easy. The hardest part is just finding that extra time to work on all of our cars and keep up on the maintenance.
TH: Any words of wisdom for the next generation of girls and boys finding a footing in the RC community?
JL: Have fun, enjoy yourself, homework first and listen to your parents 😉. Just enjoy all the moments and the experience. Be patient with what you do and don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help.
TH: Do you have any racing goals for the future, or do you just go with the flow?
JL: I always have racing goals. I recently just got back into 1/8 nitro off-road and I have made many goals for myself. I would love to run a national event, someday win a national event (but I know I have a lot of work and preparation to do). More track time in both oval and off-road. I want to continue to improve in all that I do. Race more. I just wanna do it all lol. 😊
TH: Is there anyone you would like to thank?
JL: My sponsors (ProLine, ProTek RC, Schelle, Undercover Race Bodies, Papa Willy’s and Power Products). They have all been amazingly supportive with me running from dirt oval to
nitro off-road. My husband (Randy Lathrop), my family and my RC family for all the support. And thank you for this interview. I appreciate this opportunity!