TALK IT UP TUESDAY: Travis Amezcua
Tuesday, Dec 2, 2014 01:57pm
By Aaron Waldron
By Aaron Waldron
Welcome to LiveRC's weekly column, "Talk-It-Up Tuesday!" Here we spend a little time talking with industry icons including racers, manufacturers, team managers, developers, promoters, and everyone in between! Sit back, relax, and go behind the scenes as we interview them all!
I first met Travis Amezcua back around the mid-90s, after my father and I had started to travel further around Southern California to attend different racetracks. By then, Travis was already among the “factory” elite - contending for titles against the biggest names in the industry. Having started racing at a young age and often accompanied by his father, Conrad, his skill caught the attention of sponsors and made him a threat to win anytime he hit the track - especially if he was “on” that weekend. First called “Peanut” by motor man Darren Westman, a nickname that has stuck ever since, Amezcua is perhaps as well-known for switching teams more often than almost any other top pro as he is winning races like the 2003 ROAR Modified 2WD Buggy National Championship.
Not only that, but you used to be able to spot Travis from a crowd due to his spiky hair - which could’ve been any of a number of different colors.
Travis and I had the same sponsors for several years, and our fathers often teamed up to help not only both of us but many of our other teammates at races the two of them attended. I pitted for Travis when he won the last NORRCA National Championship for 1/8-scale in 2003, helped Conrad in pit lane at the 2004 Worlds in Sweden, and Travis even drove my practice truck to the win in the 45-minute Expert Gas Truck main event at the 2004 Hot Rod Shootout where I finished third. He beat me with my own truck!
Over four years ago, Travis signed a deal to race for what was then the newest company to jump into off-road racing, Team Durango - and he has stuck with them ever since. While other aspects of Travis’ life have settled down over the last few years - getting married and having a daughter - his racing career hasn’t slowed down much. In fact, it may start to pick up now that he’s got a new job title and the chance to help Team Durango take on the racing world in a whole new way.
AW: Congratulations on the job with Team Durango! Can you tell us more about your new deal?
TA: Hello Aaron! Thanks for taking the time to talk about my new job with Team Durango. My new job title is North American Technical Representative.
AW: How long had you been working on furthering your involvement with the company? Did the process begin before or after the discussion of Team Durango ending their race team?
TA: Since I started racing for Team Durango four years ago I’ve always told them I wanted to do more for them, so it’s been in the works for some time. About two years ago I got more involved working with their design team. I’ve been helping with a lot of the R&D. This has been something that I’ve always enjoyed doing throughout my racing career.
AW: What will be your main responsibilities?
TA: My main focus will be connecting with customer’s trackside and via social media. Customers will be able to contact me for any technical help (like setup tips). Also, I’ll be serving as a talent scout for new up and coming drivers. In addition to working with Team Durango’s customer base, I will still work with the design team on new R&D projects.
AW: How much will Team Durango’s new focus change their representation within the racing world?
TA: I will still be racing a lot of the major events throughout the year, but I will also be attending other events around the U.S. - smaller events where more of the customers are racing. Our focus is to help them win at their local tracks, and find the next generation of fast drivers.
AW: Will any of your other sponsors be changing?
TA: As of right now I don’t think so. I do have one contract up at the end of the year, but I hope that we will be able to work out another contract to keep us together.
AW: How will the process of developing new products change from the way it used to be?
TA: I will still work closely with the design team, but now we will also be talking with our customers and local drivers more to get feedback on what they are looking for from the cars. The more info that we can gain will help us to develop better racing cars.
AW: What are you excited for most now that you’re a part of Team Durango’s full-time staff?
TA: I’m really looking forward to working more one-on-one with our local drivers and customers. I hope to be able to teach them everything I’ve learned throughout my racing career.
AW: Thanks for the interview!
TA: Thanks for having me on Talk It Up Tuesday.