Corona, CA (October 18, 2018) – Following in the footsteps of one's parents can often be a struggle, and endeavors like auto racing can often make for an even tougher road out from under the shadow of a parent's success. When your dad is two-time Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Mechanic of the Year Jimmy Weitzel, one might think that finding your own way into the spotlight could be very hard indeed, but for Pro Lite driver Jimmy Weitzel III (who also goes simply by Jimmy Weitzel), it's been a challenge that has proven more than fruitful. With the help and support of his skilled father, as well as his mom, sister, and girlfriend, along with a lot of his own hard work, Weitzel has already clinched this year's Pro Lite Rookie of the Year title, and is one of only two drivers to wrap up their class' rookie honors with one race to go. We sat down with Jimmy to talk racing, hard work, and family, among other things, to find out a little more about this emerging talent from a little team with big goals.
Q1: How did you get started in short course?
A1: I raced the first original Trophy Karts at five years old in the Dirt Series, then moved to motocross until I was 12. During that time, I got a Mod Kart from Brandon Arthur, and drove it in the dunes and on desert trips until I started racing the Regionals for a couple of seasons. I then moved up to Nationals in 2014, when I raced Brock Heger's championship-winning Mod Kart and finished second in the Challenge Cup race.
Q2: When did you first move into the Pro ranks?
A2: In 2015, I started doing the Regionals in a Pro Lite, and then I did a couple races in the National series last year.
Q3: When was your first Pro win?
A3: I haven't won one yet, but I was second overall in the SoCal Regionals last year, and finished second and third a bunch of times; Cory Winner was winning everything.
Q4: What are some of your significant career achievements so far?
A4: Probably doing the NASCAR demos in Texas.
Q5: How has this season gone for you so far?
A5: I'm doing really good. I've finished top 10 in every race, I'm leading the Rookie of the Year standings- I don't actually even have to race the last race (because he's actually already wrapped up that award). I've never DNF'd, and my best finish is fifth place.
Q6: What does your race schedule look like for 2019?
A6: We're planning to race Lucas again, and maybe a little desert racing here and there, but our main focus will be on Lucas.
Q7: What are your goals for 2018?
A7: To finish top five in every race, and hopefully get a podium finish. Also, to have no DNFs, and to just stay consistent, and yeah, hopefully get that podium.
Q8: What are your longer-term goals for your career?
A8: I'd say probably racing a desert truck, and possibly staying in Lucas, because that's where the money is.
Q9: Do you hope to turn racing into a career?
A9: Yes, most definitely. I'd like to take racing as a career, and also take over my dad's business and keep building trucks.
Q10: Who do you look up to in this sport?
A10: Man, honestly I'd say Rob MacCachren, now that I think about it. He works hard for it, and I feel like I relate to him, because he's smooth and patient, and works on his own stuff. He started little and made it big.
Q11: What have you sacrificed to get to where you are?
A11: A lot of personal time, and school activities I wasn't involved in because I had races; being home-schooled, and working on the truck all the time.
Q12: What's your favorite track?
A12: I'd say Missouri, because I haven't raced Crandon.
Q13: What's your favorite memory from racing?
A13: Man, I mean, I'd say me and my dad when we were racing original Trophy Karts, and just working on the kart together and having that bond.
Q14: Who's your best friend in the sport?
A14: My dad.
Q15: Why do you like short course?
A15: There's a whole bunch of reasons. It keeps me and my dad bonding. Also, every time I get better, it keeps me pushing for that top spot. I know it'll take time, but if I keep working hard, I know I can get there.
Q16: Why should fans root for you?
A16: Because I'm fun, I'm great to talk to, I'm outgoing, I work hard for what I do, I'm thankful for what I do, and every time I go out on the track, I get better and better.
Q17: What's your most embarrassing moment in racing?
A17: Spinning out on a straightaway after losing an axle- I felt pretty dumb.
Q18: If you could race anything else in the world of motorsports, what would it be?
A18: My dream is always to race a full-on Trophy Truck like BJ Baldwin.
Q19: What do you do to prepare yourself for competition?
A19: I always work on my truck so I know it personally. I also point out my own mistakes, and try to eliminate them the next time around. And I watch old race footage and see how my truck operates.
Q20: Who would you say most helped shape you into the person you are today?
A20: My mom and dad, because they both influenced me to be who I am.
About the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series:
The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is the evolution of the long-standing support of short course racing by Forrest Lucas and Lucas Oil Products. Steeped in the midwest tradition of short course off-road racing infused with a west coast influence, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing brings intense four wheel door-to-door action to challenging, fan-friendly tracks. Our events can be seen on CBS, CBS Sports Network, MAVTV, and Live all season long on LucasOilRacing.TV. Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series: This is Short Course! For more information, please visit www.LucasOilOffRoad.com, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter in our Newsletter Signup section of the home page.
Written by Scott Neth for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series