TALK IT UP TUESDAY: Barry Pettit discussed offseason switch to Tekno RC
Tuesday, Mar 29, 2016 02:09pm
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!
Two years ago, I interviewed Barry Pettit about his life and racing career. He explained the wonderful relationship he has with his father, Barry, on and off the track, as well as the sponsors he had been racing with for years. He had qualified for the Worlds semifinals in 2012, earned a Pro Truck podium finish at the 2013 Dirt Nitro Challenge, and made both main events at the ROAR Nationals just a month prior. The momentum continued into last season, with Pro Nitro and E-Buggy finals appearances at last year's Silver State, but that was no match for the headline news he made two weeks ago when, on the eve of the race, Tekno RC announced he had joined their quickly-growing - and rising - team.
I reached out to Barry via Facebook and got the story on why he made the decision, what other options he considered, and what the whole experience has been like.
Aaron Waldron: When we talked a couple of years ago, you were an intern at Borg Warner while working on your mechanical engineering degree at Clemson. What are you up to now?
Barry Pettit: I am still in college for engineering! I finished my internship with BorgWarner and learned so many great things that I will use in the future and that I actually use in RC like testing methods, design analysis, etc. I will graduate next year, so senior-itis is for sure starting to take shape! LOL
AW: What led to you leaving Mugen Seiki Racing after so many years with the team? Was it a difficult decision?
BP: Having worked with a company for so many years, you begin to develop relationships with your team and affiliated people. Unfortunately, I came to the conclusion it was time for a change, and thankfully we were able to separate on good terms. I am very thankful for the support they gave me in the past and hopefully they can say the same for me.
AW: How long were you sponsored by Mugen?
BP: This would have been my tenth year.
AW: Did you approach Tekno RC, or did they ask you first?
BP: I approached Ryan Lutz initially because I was curious about the car and team, and from there I began communicating with the team directly.
AW: What was it about the opportunity with Tekno RC that convinced you it was the right decision?
BP: With such a huge decision I took note of a lot of variables in an effort to make my decision more accurate and successful. I tested many cars when I was trying to make my decision, and all were tested in the same conditions, tires, day, etc. I took all the data (lap times, consistency, crashes) for each car and compared them. The Tekno car was the fastest for me by a HUGE margin. Then I analyzed the Team environment for all the possible teams, and I think everyone knows that Tekno has the best reputation for Team support and morale. So after looking at all the information, the decision was very simple for me and I am super thankful that they are giving me the opportunity to represent them!
AW: Were there any other companies you considered joining?
BP: There were other companies involved in my testing, which I shared with the Tekno team from the beginning. The other companies I considered are very good, but in the end Tekno was where I wanted to be.
AW: Why did you choose to skip this year’s Silver State? Do you worry you’ll be behind when it comes to the Worlds this year?
BP: I hated to miss SilverState. Especially since I did well there last year. My decision to miss the race was essentially me attempting to be conservative, and ensure that I had the opportunity to build my new cars correctly and break them in properly. With such a big change in my program, I wanted to be sure to not rush and learn as much as possible about the cars before attending such a large race. As far as the Worlds, I am not really sure what to think. With the debate on the surface conditions, I don't think anyone knows what the track will be like. I plan to go out a couple times before the worlds to test, and if I still have concerns I know that my Team is by far the best at communicating information and will help me with any problems I encounter.
AW: How much have you run your new vehicles?
BP: I ran my new kits for the first time last weekend. I have been running a test car for practicing and everything, but my race cars are still really new. They performed very well and I am looking forward to showing them off at the Psycho Nitro Blast in a couple weeks!
AW: You signed with Pro-Line at the beginning of last season, making it three tire companies in three years. Is it difficult to adapt to new gear like that? What was the most important thing you learned by making those changes?
BP: It is difficult to adapt to new gear, especially something as important as tires. Typically at the end of every year my dad and I review our program and decide if we want to make changes. It is always hard to leave a company, but in the end we are competitors and want to win. I learned so much from all of those companies, and I appreciate their help more than I can ever express in words. There are also more factors in those decisions than people tend to imagine, but again we always try to represent ourselves and our companies as best as we can and that involves develoing the most competitive car as possible. If I had to single out the most important thing I learned from those changes, it would have to be that even though you run for another company, or you think one's product is better than another, the most important thing is appreciate the friendships and support that you receive from each one.
AW: In your last interview, you said your RC goals were simply to do your best at every race. Have you added any new goals?
BP: I still want to do the best at every race I attend as I am competitive and I want to show everyone how awesome my program is, but lately my goals have shifted a little bit. My main goal now when I go to a race is to HAVE FUN! It is easy to get upset or frustrated with racing, but in the end we are all doing this because when we first started it was purely fun. I want to enjoy the time I get to spend with my dad and friends at the track, and I think a lot of people take those opportunities for granted. Even if my RC career doesn't come out as planned, I want to be able to look back and think about all the fun times I had with friends and family and embrace those moments rather than "that one time I TQ'd and won a big race" because those are the moments that actually matter.
AW: Thank you! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
BP: I would like to say thank you to my family. They have stood behind me trough all of these changes and kept me motivated that it was all going to be perfect (which it has). I also want to thank Tekno RC for giving me this opportunity as it means so much to me and my family. All of my other sponsors such as Pro-line, A Main, Protek RC and some others to be announced soon, I cannot thank all of you enough for the support and helping me enjoy what I love. I also have to thank the Big Man upstairs for blessing me with great friends and the ability to enjoy such an awesome hobby! Hope to see you all at the track soon!