John Michael McGinty III and his father have been regulars in the Southeast racing scene for the better part of a decade, which is why it’s difficult to believe that the North Carolina native is just 21 years old. McGinty joined the Mugen Seiki squad at a young age and raced for them for several seasons before switching to HB Racing for 2017 and, despite not having any tracks nearby to practice, scored a career-best finish at the ROAR Nationals when he qualified for the semifinals. Learn more about McGinty, his racing career, his hobbies away from the track and more in this week’s Talk It Up Tuesday.
Aaron Waldron: How old are you, and where are you from?
John Michael McGinty: I am 21 years old, from Morehead City, NC.
AW: How did you get into RC, and how long have you been racing?
JMM: My dad had started to race RC again and eventually asked if I wanted to try it out. Overall, I’ve been racing for about 9 years, 7 of them being more competitive racing.
AW: What do you do for work? Does your job make it difficult to attend racing events?
JMM: Right now, I am working at a restaurant on the waterfront as a server. Thankfully, my boss is really understanding when I ask for time off to go racing.
AW: What made you decide to start attending big races and trying to attract sponsors?
JMM: After I had been racing for about 3 years, my dad and I started traveling a lot more to bigger events like the ROAR Nationals, PNB and Nitro Challenge a year or so later. My first ROAR Nationals was in 2012 at LCRC. I really enjoy going to bigger events, even though you don’t always make the A-main, because I feel it makes you a better driver.
AW: What’s your favorite track? Favorite big event? What different classes have you raced - and which is your favorite?
JMM: Thats a hard one to answer. I would have to say Thunder Alley is my most favorite on the west coast. I love the elevation changes they have out there. My favorite track on the east coast would have to be the Badlands in Myrtle Beach, SC! My favorite event is the Fall Brawl at the Badlands! Right now I am racing nitro buggy, nitro truggy and e-buggy. I am working on getting the HB 1/10-scale cars. Nitro buggy is for sure my most favorite of all to drive. Nothing can beat the sound and smell of nitro!
AW: Having traveled around the country to different events, how does the racing scene in your area vary from other places you’ve visited?
JMM: Well, in my area there are no tracks, so I have to drive 3 hours to go anywhere decent. My home track is the Badlands in Myrtle Beach, SC. The racing around home is very laid back, but we always have some of the fastest drivers on the east coast at club races.
AW: What are your proudest RC moments?
JMM: Winning the Sportsman classes at PNB when I first started traveling, my performance at the 2014 Nationals, as well as this years Nationals qualifying straight into the semifinals!
AW: Do you have any goals for your RC career?
JMM: I would like to take my racing to the next level from where I am now, but right now it is just a hobby I do. I really enjoy racing and helping other people at the track. I also get to travel with my dad a lot, which is cool because I feel like a lot of people can’t say they do that.
AW: When you’re not at the racetrack, what are some of your favorite hobbies?
JMM: I enjoy going to the pool, going out on the boat, fishing, watch movies, hanging with friends and taking care of my lizards!
AW: What’s the best part of RC racing? What about RC racing annoys or bothers you?
JMM: The best part about racing is when you put all the work into rebuilding your cars for the next race and you have good results. It is always a very rewarding feeling and the worst feeling when you don’t do how you wanted to. I also love how the RC community is one big family. You meet some great people traveling to the races. The most annoying thing about RC is the waiting around at big events. Dirty driving isn’t always fun either. I don’t mind rubbing while driving but when you get cleaned out and hit from the side and knocked off the track it is pretty disappointing, especially if it happens when you are doing well in a race.
AW: Who are some of the people that have helped you the most?
JMM: I couldn’t be where I am today without my dad. He does just about everything. He takes care of all the organizing and spare parts and I just rebuild the cars for the next race. Also, Eric Hanna, Kevin Bullock, and Monty Reeder have been a big help. Most of you know by now that I switched to HB Racing earlier this year, and everyone at HB has been so helpful to get my cars how I like them. Chad Philips, Victor Guerrero, Cody King and Eddie Laret have all been so helpful in this big transition and I really appreciate them a lot!
AW: Thanks for the interview! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
JMM: I’d like to thank all of my sponsors for the support: HB Racing, JConcepts, Tekin, Absolute Hobbyz, MKS, O.S. Engines, NitroPro Fuel, Stickit1, FDJ, CR Graphics! Thank you LiveRC for the interview!