Corona, CA (July 19, 2018) – It takes all kinds to make the field a whole here in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO. From 30+ year veterans like Rob MacCachren and Scott Douglas to talented two-wheel stars who've turned their skills towards a new four-wheel pursuit (i.e. Brian Deegan and Jeremy McGrath), from rising young guns who've climbed the ladder up from the kart ranks to brand new rookies who are just setting out in their racing careers, it really is a diverse collection of drivers who take to the start line each and every race. This time, we're talking with a rookie, 19-year-old Mason Cullen of Long Beach, CA, who is enjoying a quiet but promising first season in the National Series in the Pro Lite division, where he is currently making a run for Rookie of the Year. Cullen has shown good consistency and improving speed this year, and the thoughtful young man gave us some time to pick his brain and find out a little more about his views on short course, desert racing, and family.
Q1: How did you get started in short course?
A1: My dad wanted to race together, so he bought a Limited Buggy and a Pro Buggy, so that we could both race at the same place on the same day in the Regionals.
Q2: When did you first move into the Pro ranks?
A2: We raced Regionals (southern California, plus a couple of events in Arizona) in Pro Lite last year, and then we moved up to the National series this year.
Q3: When was your first Pro win?
A3: We won a couple in Limited Buggy in the Regionals in both 2015 and 2016.
Q4: What are some of your significant career achievements so far?
A4: I got third in points in Pro Lite in the Regionals last year, and I've got a couple of desert wins too. And definitely the two-day Vegas to Reno race in 2016- we won that in the (class) 12 car.
Q5: How did last season go for you?
A5: Pretty good I'd say- we got third in points with two, no, three podiums.
Q6: What does your race schedule look like for 2018?
A6: Crandon is still up in the air for us, but definitely all the Lucas races, and possibly some México races in the Class 1.
Q7: What are your goals for 2018?
A7: We wanna win Rookie of the Year, and then come back next year and run for a championship.
Q8: What are your longer-term goals for your career?
A8: To race a Pro 2 or a Pro 4, but I don't wanna leave the desert either, just because you're in the car for so much longer. I wanna stay in the Class 1, racing with my dad.
Q9: Do you hope to turn racing into a career?
A9: Yeah, I definitely do- it would be really cool to do that.
Q10: Who do you look up to in this sport?
A10: Probably Rob. I'd have to say Rob, or yeah, probably Rob (MacCachren). Just the way he approaches it, how much time he puts in when goes down to México to go prerunning, how professional he is, and how much time he spends with the fans- you can tell he wants to do it.
Q11: What have you sacrificed to get to where you are?
A11: Being a normal high school kid- I missed my Prom. It's kind of a job; it's not just a hobby anymore. You're always thinking about, "How can I make the truck go faster?" It consumes all your time.
Q12: What's your favorite track?
A12: If you'd have asked me a few days ago, I'd have said Glen Helen or Lake Elsinore, but from testing, I'd have to say Reno- it has so much speed, and the elevation aspect. And I guess also Missouri, but I'd still probably say Reno.
Q13: What's your favorite memory from racing?
A13: That's a tough one; there's a lot of 'em. The Vegas to Reno race, because it's such a long and grueling race, and because everyone who knows desert racing knows that race- and I beat my dad (who was racing his Class 1, but suffered a mechanical issue late in the race).
Q14: Who's your best friend in the sport?
A14: I don't know… maybe Polvoorde? Or Jerett Brooks…
Q15: Why do you like short course?
A15: It's cool to be tight and so close to people the whole time, always racing door to door. Plus there are aspects of short course that carry over to the desert and make you a better driver. Also, you get no breaks, where in the desert, you'll come to certain sections where you can catch your breath for a minute. The adrenaline is always pumping in short course.
Q16: Why should fans root for you?
A16: We have a real tight-knit family aspect to our team. And, I'm always there to talk- I don't have an ego. I'll talk to anyone about racing.
Q17: What's your most embarrassing moment in racing?
A17: Probably when I rolled it three times in a weekend (Glen Helen, southern California Regionals last year). I rolled it in qualifying, the race, and again in qualifying the next day. The truck just wasn't set up right, but I can't forget it- it was bad!
Q18: If you could race anything else in the world of motorsports, what would it be?
A18: If I had the skill, I'd like to race Super Cross, but I don't wanna get hurt that bad, so I'd pick NASCAR. With NASCAR, you can make enough money to race a Trophy Truck on the side.
Q19: What do you do to prepare yourself for competition?
A19: I do sprint cars, go-karts, gym stuff, mental stuff, and I watch a lot of video. Sprint cars are probably the most fun- it's like a rocket ship on wheels. My dad and I take a car we have out to Perris and rent the track, and we see who's the fastest.
Q20: Who would you say most helped shape you into the person you are today?
A20: My dad, without a doubt. I grew up around him every weekend at the races, and I've been going to the shop on my own for the last three years or so now. We pretty much do everything together- I'd probably call him my best friend.
About the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series:
The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is the evolution of the long-standing support of short course racing by Forrest Lucas and Lucas Oil Products. Steeped in the midwest tradition of short course off-road racing infused with a west coast influence, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing brings intense four wheel door-to-door action to challenging, fan-friendly tracks. Our events can be seen on CBS, CBS Sports Network, MAVTV, and Live all season long on LucasOilRacing.TV. Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series: This is Short Course! For more information, please visit www.LucasOilOffRoad.com, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter in our Newsletter Signup section of the home page.
Written by Scott Neth for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series