TALK IT UP TUESDAY: Nick Wautlet
Tuesday, Aug 18, 2015 03:46pm
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!
If you're active on Instagram, chances are you've seen posts from Nick Wautlet - he even included a warning in his profile that he posts a lot, from funny photos to motivational posters and shots of him whipping his B5M over sweet jumps. In addition to modeling new apparel for Team Associated press releases, Nick answers phone calls as a customer service representative during the day, builds kits for customers under his growing "Wallie Builds" business at night, and still finds time to club race - as well as hang out with friends outside the track. Like many involved in the RC world, the story of how Nick was introduced to the hobby is an interesting one - and nearly twenty years later, he's having more fun than ever.
Aaron Waldron: How did you get started in radio control, and how long have you been racing?
Nick Wautlet: I got started in the hobby when I was about 5 years old. My grandfather introduced me into RC boat racing and I did that for a while. I won the gas world championship in Vegas in 2006.
After that I looked into RC cars on my own. I had some friends that were racing at SoCal Raceway and they told me to come check it out. From then on, we would hit the track every Friday and Sunday for racing. At that point it was just a hobby I did with friends.
AW: When did you decide to start taking racing more seriously?
NW: I started taking racing a bit more seriously when I landed a job at OCRC Raceway after SoCal closed its doors. There was always good competition there and it helped me get pretty decent at racing.
AW: How did you find a job working at Team Associated? What are your daily duties?
NW: While I was working at OCRC, Brent Thielke approached me and asked if I'd like to be on the race team. That step kind of put me in the right place because a few years later Chris Jarosz was moving and asked if I wanted to interview for his spot. I went in for the interview I got a call a few weeks later asking when I could start.
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you probably think that all I do is wrench on my cars! I mostly do customer service while getting situated in the world of being a sales rep. I also do a lot of events such as the Lucas Oil Off-road Racing Series, RCX and other shows out throughout the year.
AW: What are some of the coolest things you’ve been able to do because of your job?
NW: Meeting cool people and getting them hooked on RC is something I really enjoy doing. I've met a lot a motocross people that I wouldn't have met without working here. I have also made some pretty awesome friends as well. I’ve enjoyed traveling and racing on different surfaces, and going to Formula Drift events with Scion.
AW: How do you explain to non-RC friends what you do?
NW: A lot of my friends know about what I do and they all think it's rad. The funny times are when I start talking to a girl or, if I get past that, telling her parents what I do. Usually it goes one of two ways: 1) oh that's really cool, doing something you love is awesome! or 2) you play with toy cars? Haha!
AW: Do you have any particular career goals?
NW: I want to have my foot in just about everything: trading in the stock market, running little side businesses and a steady day job. I really don't have a set plan, but I'm determined to be successful.
AW: What is your favorite track? What about your favorite racing class?
NW: My favorite track is OCRC Raceway. Nick and Robert (Black, the owners of OCRC) are like family to me and you can't beat the atmosphere there. It’s highly competitive, but fun and enjoyable at the same time.
I have a a lot of classes I enjoy running but my absolute favorite is 2WD Modified Buggy. It’s easily one of the most challenging classes to drive.
AW: What’s the biggest bummer about working in the RC industry?
NW: Honestly, there is nothing that bums me out about the hobby, I really enjoy all aspects of it. Whether it's promoting sponsors, racing and making friends, or wrenching and learning new things each day. This hobby is fun!
AW: When you’re not at the racetrack, what are some of your favorite hobbies?
NW: When am I not at the track? Usually I like to kick it by the pool and hang out with friends - super laid back Sundays are my favorite. I enjoy going on drives through the canyons and laying down hot laps at K1 speed, usually destroying my friends Josh Numan, Chris Moore and Nate Moreno.
AW: How do you feel about racing off-road cars on carpet and astroturf?
NW: I'm not super into the idea - I even think slicks on clay is a bit too far. At the Nats that Pudge (Ryan Cavalieri) swept last weekend, his buggy looked like an F1 car. I think there should be dirt and there should be tread at the very minimum.
AW: Can you tell me more about your side project, “Wallie Builds?”
NW: Wallie Builds is something I came up with after a few people asked if I could wire their cars for them. I started brainstorming some ideas and had some good companies behind me so I decided to give it a shot. People liked the way my cars looked from the Instagram page and wanted theirs to look the same. Now I have a pretty smooth flow of cars coming in and out, whether it's for a complete build, rebuild or wiring job.
AW: Thank you for the interview? Is there anything else you’d like to add?
NW: Thank you Aaron for the opportunity! I'd just like to give a shoutout to my sponsors Team Associated, Reedy Power, Jconcepts, Schelle Racing Innovations, Upgrade-RC, Sticky-Kicks, Sharkbait Designworks, Airtronics! See you guys on the track!