Earlier this year, Mt Baker Vapor was proud to announce an extension of their sponsorship with Landon Simon Racing. The announcement meant that for a third straight year, Landon would be taking part in sprint car races around the country in the trusty (and beautifully designed) Mt Baker Vapor #24 car.
To help our customers learn a little more about Landon, we sent him a few questions regarding what it’s like to be a professional driver, the unique aspects of sprint car racing, preferred driving music, and much more. You can read all the answers below. If you have any questions of your own you would like to ask Landon, feel free to leave them in the comments section!
What’s the most important aspect of being a successful driver?
There really isn’t any “one” thing that makes a successful driver. Dedication would be at the top of the list, for sure, but there’s just so much that goes into it. This sport takes you from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in a fraction of a second. You have to be able to endure everything that comes at you and stay focused. Appreciate the good times and learn from the bad. You have to eat, breath and sleep racing; always looking for ways to make yourself better.
What makes sprint car racing special compared to other forms of racing?
As the name states, “sprint” car races are an all-out sprint to the finish. Our races are 30-40 laps with 24 cars making up the starting field. Sprint cars have 900HP and only weigh 1300lbs making for the highest power-to-weight ratio in motorsports. At speeds over 100 mph on dirt oval race tracks, it is very intense, suspenseful, action-packed racing. Sprintcars are open wheel, meaning they have no fenders, and open cockpit so the fans can see the driver at work. They are badass machines. They also have a crazy, incredible history as an original form of grassroots racing.
What was your first car?
Street Car – Ford F-150 pickup truck
Racecar – I started my career in a 410 non-wing sprintcar.
What’s the first driving experience that you remember?
Street – Sitting in my Dad’s lap “driving” home from the race shop at 6 years old.
Racecar- My first race at Twin Cities Raceway Park. I have never been more nervous in my life!
Who’s your favorite driver?
Jack Hewitt – he’s a legend and a family friend.
What’s the best part about winning?
Knowing that it was your team’s hard work, the car you built and your driving that beat everyone else’s.
How do you deal with losses?
It’s not easy. I don’t think anyone is a good loser, but it’s part of the racing game. More times than not, your night could end differently than you had planned because of a part failure or someone else’s mistake. In those cases, you at least know there was nothing you could have done to make your end performance better. Having said that, there’s nothing worse than knowing you could have given it more, made a different split-second decision, tried something different with the set-up, etc. That makes you sick to your stomach and I promise that’s the only thing you think about the whole drive home. But, at the end of the day and no matter what happens, you use the knowledge gained in any situation to get better. When you get down on yourself you lose confidence and you can’t let that happen.
What do you like most about working with Mt Baker Vapor?
Mt Baker Vapor’s passion is reflected in everything they do. Whether it’s a single customer order or a major marketing campaign, MBV takes pride in everything they put their name on. The story behind how they came to be an industry leader alone is inspiring and not enough can be said about how they operate as a company. The staff is one big family and they treat every customer like a friend.
Not only do we love the fact that we are able to partner with a company that is focused on bettering people’s lives, helping people kick traditional tobacco-filled cigarettes and make better choices, but we also appreciate the fact that MBV isn’t a cookie-cutter company or sponsor. They’re original and they appeal to our fan base.
Any issues with speeding tickets outside the track?
I got my first speeding ticket when I had my temporary permit. I was 15 ½ years old driving the family minivan home from vacation, which was embarrassing enough. The traffic court judge made me take a driving class and delayed my license for a few months. It was like torture having to wait longer to get my license when all my friends were getting theirs. I ended up with 3 or 4 more tickets between then and the end of high school and quickly realized it wasn’t worth the fine to get somewhere five minutes quicker! Now, I drive the speed limit on the road, whether I’m in a hurry or not. My girlfriend is on the gas at all times and she gets frustrated when I’m driving. In her words, I drive like a “grandpa.” A 26-year-old grandpa.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a professional driver?
Align yourself with the right people and work hard to reach your goal. There are many paths to becoming a professional driver, but all of them require hard work, dedication and paying your dues. I volunteered every weekend until I was 17 helping teams so I could learn. I started driving at my local track with an old race car, a borrowed hauler and a few buddies to help me. I worked laying paver stone after school to earn enough money to get to the race track on the weekends. I would get off work and go straight to the race shop until midnight every night to work on the racecar and then get up to go to school. You have to want it.
What’s your favorite pastry?
Are Cinnamon Rolls a pastry? (Editors Note: Yes, and a delicious one at that.)
If you could have any car in the world as your daily driver…what would it be?
What’s your preferred music to listen to when driving?
I’m all over the board… I listen to country, old school rap, metal… It all depends on my mood!
What’s your favorite car movie?
Days of Thunder is a classic!
We would like to thank Landon profusely for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. If you’d like to read more about his work and the entire LSR racing team, you can find their website here. You can also check it highlights from his 2014/2015 racing season in the video below:
Something to think about:
Do you have your own questions for Landon? Let us know in the comments section below! If we get enough responses, we’ll forward them his way for a follow-up interview.