TALK IT UP TUESDAY: Chad Phillips
Tuesday, Dec 22, 2015 06:58pm
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 met Chad Phillips when he moved to Southern California with the dreams of turning his favorite hobby - racing RC cars - into a reality. He landed a job at MnM Hobbies, the home track of Brian Kinwald and some of the fastest off-road racers in the world, and dove into the RC industry head-first. When MnM closed in 2000, he moved across the country to work for Trinity and, because I was racing for them at the time, we stayed in contact for quite a while. He joined Absolute Hobbyz as the online retail giant started blowing up, and while the job certainly keeps him busy he's still as motivated as ever to race - and win.
Aaron Waldron: How old are you, and where are you from?
Chad Phillips: Do I really have to say? Haha! I am from Quakertown, Pennsylvania.
AW: How did you get into RC, and how long have you been racing?
CP: I first saw an RC car at my high school during lunch. This kid was running a Kyosho Burns. I was hooked from that moment - I went to my local shop and the rest is history. I've been racing for 25 years.
AW: What are some of your favorite memories and biggest accomplishments from your racing career?
CP: My favorite memories have to be when I first moved to California in 1997. Racing and hanging out with Brian Kinwald, Jim Hughes, and the whole MnM Hobbies crew. Those memories are something that I will never forget and wouldn't trade the time spent there for anything. Oh, the stories I could tell. LOL
My biggest accomplishments have to be when I TQ’d and won 2WD and 4wd at the Reedy Race, 2WD Mod at the NORRCA Nats, 1/8th Pro Nitro Buggy at Motorama, 1/8th Pro Nitro Buggy at the Psycho Nitro Blast.
AW: When did you first pursue turning your hobby into a career?
CP: I didn't know what was going to happen but I knew if I wanted a career in RC racing I had to move to California. It was then I decided to move to California in 1997, during the week of the Worlds in Pomona. I had 150 dollars in my pocket and no idea what my future held.
AW: Can you describe some of the jobs you’ve had within the RC industry?
CP: First, I ran MnM Hobbies in Corona, California. Then I worked for Trinity for 10 years. Finally, I ended up at Absolute Hobbyz at the beginning of 2010.
AW: How did you become involved with Absolute Hobbyz?
CP: Trinity had moved to Florida In May 2009. I temporarily moved to Florida during that time. I was traveling home during the weekends to see my family, and it became very difficult. During that time I was the sales rep for Joe (Zatika, co-owner of Absolute Hobbyz). I was calling and begging him for a job pretty much everyday, LOL. Finally, he asked me to meet with Frank and him. The rest is history! I couldn't have found a better job with better people.
AW: What are some of your biggest goals? What accomplishments are you most proud of?
CP: I want to win the Worlds and Nationals in 1/8-scale nitro. Winning the 1998 Reedy Race was my proudest moment in racing.
AW: What’s the holiday season like for an online RC retailer? Crazy? Hectic? Fun?
CP: Very crazy! Everyone is looking for the current hot items to get for their loved ones. I love my job and the people I work for. It's fun everyday at Absolute.
AW: What are some of the most surprisingly popular items you’ve sold this year?
CP: Nothing surprises me anymore with items sold. We sell a little bit of everything. I just notice different items sell at different times of the year. Going into winter, 1/10-scale cars and parts pick up. Going into spring, it's all about 1/8-scale.
AW: Has your perspective on RC racing changed since you began working for Absolute Hobbyz?
CP: Well, having the racer mentality you think you're only going to sell race items. However, it's actually a small part of R/C. The basher and weekend warrior has a much larger market share.
AW: What’s your favorite track? Favorite big event? Favorite racing class?
CP: Wow, this is tough! There isn't one track I can pick out. My favorites are Badlands, Tiltyard, Thornhill, LCRC, and Trains n Lanes. Favorite race is the Psycho Nitro Blast and it's exactly that... psycho :) My favorite class is definitely 1/8th nitro!
AW: Do you have any particular goals for your RC career?
CP: Well as I become older, I will always put 110% in my racing program. I will not stop trying to win Nationals or Worlds in 1/8th Nitro. One particular goal is to guide my 9-year-old to becoming a racer. He is as excited as I am when race weekend comes. I can't wait to see him mature on and off the track.
AW: When you’re not at the racetrack or the office, what are some of your favorite hobbies?
CP: What? There is something other than RC? LOL I enjoy going to the gym, taking my kids to the movies, and going on vacations to Disney World.
AW: What’s the best part of the RC industry? What about it annoys or bothers you?
CP: Making new friends with people from all over the world. Our industry has unique and interesting people.
It seems that manufacturers sponsor anyone with a pulse these days. I remember you had to make the A-Main at a large event back in the 90s to get sponsored. It made you feel as if all of your hard work finally paid off.
AW: Who are some of the people that have helped you the most?
CP: Gil Losi Jr., Brian Kinwald, and of course Frank and Joe Zatika. Without these people. I do not know where I would be or what I would be doing.
AW: Thanks for the interview! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
CP: I want to thank my sponsors Absolute Hobbyz, HB, HPI Racing, Novarossi, Futaba, AKA, VP Powermaster Fuels, Lunsford, GHEA, Competition Products, Stickit1Racing, and Mel's Shells Paints.