Interview: Wernimont’s shocking retirement explained

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Upon his surprise Retirement Announcement from 1/8 offroad racing, a lot of questions were raised regarding the future of fan-favorite Carson Wernimont. We’ve caught up with Carson for a chat, and he tells all!

To me, I’m all for helping and making sure the people I help are number 1, but to use people up is just not right. If it was going to be like that it would make way more sense to go build real racecars, make more money, and keep all your secrets and ideas to yourself for now.  So I decided enough was enough, I wanted out and to carry on down the road onto bigger and better things I can actually sit in…

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RCN: Carson, thank you for sitting down for a chat today, as we are sure you’ve been overwhelmed with questions, texts, and emails regarding your announcement to retire from 1/8 scale racing. Let’s jump right in with the big question everyone wants to know. You made it very clear that you are done racing 1/8 scale R/C, BUT are you done with R/C all together?

CARSON: As far as running 1/8 scale, I am done. I will still continue to run 1/10 as much as possible, and this won’t affect my 1/10 program at all. Just with what I have going on right now, I have my hands too full, and I had to drop something. Unfortunately 1/8 is a lot more time consuming if you really put in the effort to be on top, but not only that you have to have mechanics and pit guys and it’s just too much for me at this time.

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RCN: We are excited to hear that you will remain a part of the Yokomo 1/10 team! Many would say that 1/8 scale is your forte, as you have successfully landed yourself on the World Championship podium along with a long list of successes over the past few years. Do you feel you can do the same in 1/10 scale?

CARSON: Yeah, unfortunately racing 1/8 nitro buggy is what I started with, and it’s my bread and butter. It’s what in know best, but that doesn’t mean that if I can concentrate completely on 1/10 now, that I can’t also be good at that. I’ve had a decent amount of success racing 1/10, but nothing near what I’ve done with a 1/8 scale car. It’s going to take a little bit of time to adapt my endurance-like driving style, but I know I can get there and I have the right people and products behind me to make me just as successful.

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RCN: Some are asking if your move from Mugen to Associated is related to your 1/8 retirement?

CARSON: Yes and No, and please don’t take this the wrong way. I thought with my move to AE that would give me the best shot at having a job in the industry being that they are arguably the biggest name in RC. With that being said, after a few months it just didn’t play out to be what I thought it would be, and I really wasn’t enjoying myself too much. I got a taste of what the industry can be like, that people can take advantage of you and your knowledge, and will steal your ideas in an instant and claim them as their own. To me, I’m all for helping and making sure the people I help are number 1, but to use people up is just not right. If it was going to be like that it would make way more sense to go build real racecars, make more money, and keep all your secrets and ideas to yourself for now.  So I decided enough was enough, I wanted out and to carry on down the road onto bigger and better things I can actually sit in.

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RCN: Upon announcing your retirement, you mentioned that “goals in life have changed.” Tell us a little bit of what your past goals were, and what your new goals are.

CARSON: I’ve always been pretty open minded. I’ve never been one to slam a door shut and say “No I do want to do that” etc., so with being fairly established in the RC community I figured I’ve worked hard to get where I am, let’s see what a career in RC would look like for me. Going off of what I said in the last answer, it just simply wasn’t for me. I really wanted to get in with a company and design some really innovative racecars because I believe between my knowledge, and my dad’s knowledge (who is a legend in building full size racecars) we could make cars that are way beyond the capabilities of the RC cars we know and see today. But I started looking at things and thinking, “If we are going to spend this much time, and effort in showing someone all of our secrets, why not just build real racecars again, it’s a lot more rewarding, you keep your secrets to yourself, and at the end of the day you get to sit in a real car!” And at this time in my life all the stars are starting to align with those opportunities so that was pretty much a no brainer to me.

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RCN: You are good friends with full-size short course racing star CJ Greaves. You mention full-size racing dreams in your retirement from R/C. Is full-size offroad racing in your future?

CARSON: Yeah it’s funny CJ has been one of my best friends since we were little tikes. My dad built all of Scotty Taylors Trucks who was the man in Pro-2 all the way up until he retired, and Jonny Greaves (CJ’s Dad) was and still is the man in Pro-4 so we were always the little kids at the track. I guess we’ve got that same competitive personality so we get along pretty good I guess. But I for sure see racing in my future, I can’t say if it’s going to be next week, or 5 years from now, but all I know is I’d give up everything I have and bust my ass to get the opportunity to have a seat in a racecar, and I’m going to get there someday.

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RCN: Clearly you have a desire to create and engineer things, such as your own custom bodies seen multiple times over the past couple of years. Have you considered staying in R/C from a business aspect, as opposed to a racer?

CARSON: I’ve thought about it, but the way I look at it is, if you’re going to put in that time, money, hard work and effort in making your own product, why not do it on the big roulette table with real cars! Just seems a lot more rewarding at the end of the day to me.

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RCN: While we may not see you kicking off the 2016 1/8 season at The Dirt Nitro Challenge, what events can we expect to see you at for 2016?

CARSON: I’ll still be at all the big 1/10 races representing Yokomo and Pro-Line. I know next year Yokomo is going to attack the US market as much as possible, and I know that we will be turning some heads out there for sure.

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RCN: What full-size events are you planning for 2016?

CARSON: I don’t have anything in store just yet, you’ll probably see me laying underneath a racetruck working on it for the most part [laughs]. But if anyone wants me to jump in something I’ve got my helmet and driving suit by me at all times, Ill drive a shopping cart, I don’t care! [laughs]

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RCN: We know this decision has been tough for you, do you feel you will ever return to a ‘full-time’ R/C career in 1/8 and 1/10 scale in the future?

CARSON: I mean you never know, all I know is that I’m not going to fail at what I set out to do. But it could be possible that I have a good business that runs itself, then I’d have time to do whatever I want!

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RCN: It’s been great talking with you today Carson, and we wish you the very best on all of your new ventures. Is there anything you would like to add before we go?

CARSON: Yeah I’d just like to thank everyone who’s gotten me where I am today, everyone from my Dad and Gary Kyes for getting me started, Dyno Dan, OS Engines, Tommy Porfirio and VP Racing Fuels for all the help with my Nitro program the last few years, Tom Yokobori, Robert Itoh and the whole Yokomo team for giving me a great 1/10 program to be a part of, Tim Clark and Daniel Adams from Pro-Line for giving me the best tires on the market, and all the rest of my sponsors, Futaba, EKD, LMR, Russ Wernimont Designs, MR33, and Stick It 1 for always having my back!

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