TALK IT UP TUESDAY: Tanner Day
Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015 03:01pm
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 had seen Tanner Day's name in race reports covering events in his native Pacific Northwest, and heard Kyosho/Orion team manager Joe Pillars talk about one of the local kids he had been grooming to compete on a larger scale, but it wasn't until last weekend's ROAR Electric Off-Road Nationals that I - or much of the RC racing world, really - got to know more about him. Soft spoken, humble, and thrilled just to be there, Tanner shocked a lot of people with his driving skill and composure under pressure akin to that of a seasoned vet. In this week's Talk It Up Tuesday, the new two-time ROAR National Champion chatted about his career and what he thought of last week's race.
AW: How old are you, and where are you from?
TD: I am 17 years old, and I am from Portland, Oregon.
AW: How did you get into RC, and how long have you been racing?
TD: I got into RC when my dad and I walked into a hobby shop to check out what they had. We ended up buying a Traxxas Slash 4x4 and that's when the addiction started. I have been racing for about 5 years, going on 6 in December.
AW: How do you balance school and racing?
TD: It's hard for sure, but I am fortunate enough to be doing online school so it's a lot easer to get the work done on time without worries. I normally just try to get one class done at a time. It takes about a week or two to get all the work done for that semester, so it makes it a bit easier on me than going to public school.
AW: What do you think of the experience of traveling to bigger RC races?
TD: I think traveling to these bigger RC races has taught me so much. I have had so much fun, and I tried my best to place as far up as I could. Being able to be apart of Team Kyosho and having Joe Pillars by my side every step of the way has helped out so much. I can't thank him enough for what he has done for me.
AW: Who are some of the people that have helped you the most in RC?
TD: There are most definitely a few people who have helped me out so much I can't believe it. My mom and dad have been there for me and supported me every step of the way. Thomas Tran, Mr. 2wdmod.com, has been there since Day One of my RC racing career and there is no way I would be where I'm at without him. He has taught me so much and pushed me to do my best and be the best I can be on and off the race track.
AW: What made you decide to start attending big races and trying to attract sponsors?
TD: I decided to start trying to travel to bigger races after I finished in second place at the Northwest Invitational last year. Joe and I did a lot of practicing and club racing together and after my top three finish we decided to go and try some bigger races to see how I handled the pressure and atmosphere.
AW: What did you think of the track at the ROAR Nationals? Are you a fan of racing on slicks with clay?
TD: I thought the overall layout this last weekend was very easy and had great flow. The traction wasn’t very consistent, and the lips of the jumps changed day by day as the track crew tamped them down every night trying to make a better racing surface.
I haven't been a big fan of racing on slicks in the past because I haven’t been able to find that happy medium between the car feeling good but not to edgy, but after this past weekend I really liked the way my car felt on slicks and it was very easy to drive. So yes, I have to say I am a fan on racing on slicks for sure.
AW: How did the SRS Raceway course compare to your tracks back home? How did it compare with your expectations?
TD: My tracks back home are 2 astroturf tracks and one loose outdoor track, so I had a lot more traction than I'm used to. I liked it alot.
To be honest, I didn't know what to think of SRS before I got there. I had heard a lot of good and a lot of bad, but after this weekend I like SRS a lot. I like the track surface, and the pit set up was very clean. The only downside was that they didn't get the spec tires in for the stock classes until about 3pm Wednesday, which was our only day of practice so we only got a few packs of the tires before seeding started on Thursday.
AW: Was the competition in the 17.5 classes what you expected? What were your finishing goals before the event?
TD: The competition in the stock classes was very high this past weekend, for sure, and it is definitely what I expected. There was a lot of very fast guys there and it was not a easy road to victory at all.
My goal coming into last weekend was to just finish in the top five in the classes I ran, maybe a top 3 if I could put in solid runs.
AW: Have you ever raced on carpet? What do you think about carpet and turf off-road racing?
TD: I have raced on carpet before, but it was with slicks - it just beats your car up and it’s no fun. But I also has 2 astroturf tracks around me and I don't mind astro tracks at all. It’s a very interesting surface to run on and I like it.
AW: What is your favorite track? What’s your favorite racing class?
TD: My favorite track is Tacoma RC Raceway in Washington. It’s run by Scott Brown, and it’s a very good place with a lot of fast racers, the track is kept in very good shape, and it’s always great racing for sure.
My favorite class to race would have to be 2WD Modified Buggy. I really like to throw the car around in the air and there is always a mod buggy class at club races so it's my go-to class.
AW: When you’re not at the racetrack, what are some of your favorite hobbies?
TD: I really enjoy shooting guns with my Dad. When I can, I like going to car shows and car meets, and riding bikes with my friends.
AW: Thank you for the interview!
TD: Anytime Aaron! I'd like to thanks my sponsors: Kyosho, Team Orion, JConcepts, Airtronics, Hella Graphics, Fusion Graphics, McKune Designs, 2wdmod.com, Lunsford, 541rc, NW Hobbies, Mom, Dad, and Thomas Tran for all the help and support. I couldn't have done it without you guys!
Special thanks to Thomas Tran of 2WDMod.com for the additional images
from his coverage of the event on behalf of Team Orion.