When he started his 2019 racing season, Villa Park, California racer Cade Martin had initially planned to compete in the Southern California section of the Lucas Oil Regional Off Road Series. With a first race weekend under his belt and a second event on deck alongside the opening round of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series season at Glen Helen Raceway this past March, the Martin Brothers Racing driver decided to give the national series a shot. What followed was an impressive third-place finish in the JR 2 Kart class. Following his unexpected success at Glen Helen, Cade and his parents decided to jump full time into the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series schedule, where Cade would compete alongside his cousin, Talan, in the highly competitive JR 2 Kart division.
Over the course of the season, the up-and-coming 13-year-old racer continued to achieve more success and soon found himself leading the championship standings. The Martin cousins were consistently amongst the top performing drivers in the class, and they entered the final round at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park this past October with an equal shot at the title, tied atop the point standings. Misfortune unfortunately struck both drivers in that final race, and even though Cade missed out on the championship by a mere four points, he still capped off an incredible first year in JR 2 Kart with a runner-up finish in the final standings, the most wins and podiums in the class, and, most importantly, the coveted Rookie of the Year honors.
This was your first season racing in the JR 2 Kart class and you enjoyed more success than any other driver. Can you tell us what this season was like for you? What do you remember most?
We were just going to race the (Lucas Oil) regionals, but we ended up doing a couple of the (Lucas Oil Off Road) nationals and started racing all of them. I did the whole season, I started getting on the podium and was leading the points. I ended getting second in the championship and got Rookie of the Year. It was cool to change my plans and get my first win in the national (series).
You ended the season with the most wins and podiums in the class. Is that a surprise to you? Did you do better than you expected to do in your first year?
Yeah, I did a lot better than I thought I would in the national (series). The regional (at Glen Helen) was the same weekend as the national, so we decided to race that and I did good at that. So then we decided to race the next one and just kept going.
How does it feel to be named Rookie of the Year? Was that one of your goals this season?
It feels really cool to be Rookie of the Year. I was kind of surprised at how well I did. I just tried to do the best I could at every race and whatever happened I was happy with it.
You came very close to winning the championship, but the last race didn’t end the way you had hoped. How were you feeling at the end of that race, and were you still happy to finish second in the championship?
Yeah I was happy to still finish second. I was disappointed in how the race went. I crashed and didn’t get the win, but I was happy that my friend, Broedy Graham, was able to win the championship.
You and your cousin, Talan, accomplished something special at Glen Helen in October. What was it like for you and him to finish 1-2 on both days and each earn a victory?
That was pretty cool. I was able to win on Saturday, and then got second on Sunday when Talan won. That (weekend) also put me in the top spot in the points. It was a lot of fun to be able to race my cousin for the win like that.
Your team is all about family. What was that like to have your cousin and teammate be your main competition at every round? What is it like to have the support of your own parents, as well as your aunt and uncle?
It’s cool to have the chance to race against him and try to beat him at every event. I really like to battle against (Talan). It’s also cool to have the support of my whole family. All of it gives me more confidence and more competition when I’m on the track.
What is your favorite part about not only racing in the JR 2 Kart class, but racing in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series?
It’s a really fun class. There’s a lot of different drivers and everybody is still learning (how to race) so it’s really competitive. It’s really fun and exciting to be a part of the (Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series) too. I’ve made a lot of friends, and it’s challenging to race against them.
Given all your success this season, do you think you are a driver to beat for the championship next year, in whatever class you compete in? Is it your goal to win a title?
Well, I’m not going to race JR 2 next year. I think my brother will. I’m going to race Mod Kart next year, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to win the championship. I think maybe the year after next.
Is there anyone you want to thank for all the support this season?
I want to thank all my family and friends, and everybody for supporting me. All the Martin Brothers, M&M, Sunset Designs, BND Performance, Doug Fleming, PCI Radios, and Ultra Wheels.