The Life and Times of NASCAR Cup Series Driver Quin Houff
Elysia: Alright. Hi everyone, welcome to Life is Digital. I am your host, Elysia Cadorniga. Get ready to learn about digital marketing as we share our knowledge and perspectives on current trends, best practices and actual tips to help you grow in the digital age. So I’m really excited today because we have a really important guest on as well as I’ll be co-hosting with our very own Jenna Cooper. Jenna say hi to the audience.
Jenna: Hello everybody!
Elysia: We’re really excited. I’m glad to have you on board. I feel like I haven’t seen you in forever. I hope your daughter is doing well.
Jenna: She’s great, and I’m excited to go do something out.
Elysia: Get out and out and do something. Yeah, and so we’re really excited because we have the opportunity to bring on a guest today who we’ve been talking and working together for the past year. This is Quin Houff with NASCAR. He’s our driver, double zero with Starcom racing. So Quin, just introduce yourself to the audience.
Meet NASCAR Cup Series Driver Quin Houff
Quin: Yeah, hey guys, thanks for having me on getting into the second race season of the cup series for me and glad to be able to come down here and hop on with you guys.
Elysia: Yeah, you’ve been pretty busy lately, huh?
Quin: Yeah, you know, we’re week five or six of our race season, we run 38 times a year, so we’re just getting started, and I just got back from the West Coast wing and we’re coming back to race in Atlanta this weekend, so I’m looking forward to it.
Elysia: Awesome. Well, I love it, and I can’t wait to dive in deeper to that. So I’m really excited to have you on. We obviously have been working with Starcom racing and seeing all the amazing things that you guys are doing and being a part of it, it’s been an honor here at Bos Digital and Bos Klein. Well, maybe just to go ahead and kick off, you wanna tell the audience a little bit about yourself… How was life growing up?
Quin: Yeah, you know, I’m just… I like to consider myself a small town boy from Virginia, I grew up in the Shenandoah Valley and what’s called Weyers Cave, Virginia. I was just your normal, Little League baseball player growing up through school, played all sorts of sports, basketball, football. And at a young age, got the need to race. I was just at batting practice with bullpens, but there was always a Go-kart out back, and I started racing with my dad and my brother out back there, and once I kinda got the bug, I saw a picture of a kid that raced Go-karts competitively and I bugged him to do that for two years, and he finally caved in and got me and him connected with the local Go-kart community in area in Virginia, and we started racing together when I was eight years old, it was just something for him and I had to do as a hobby. And from then on, it was just I set sail, I moved up to another level at about age nine and raced there and had success at a young age of 11, 12 I kinda looked at it, I was like, I think I wanna do this as a career. I wanna try to be a professional race car driver, and he kinda looked at me and was like, I don’t know, what we’re doing at this level, you’re gonna have to figure out or find people to help you along the way. So I took a lot of great people along the way I met and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, a lot of great driver development programs, I was in full size race cars by age 14, and now here I am going into my second season as a professional race car driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, so it’s a dream come true, not many people get the opportunity to do what they love for a living, and I’m very blessed to do so.
Jenna: Yeah, that is awesome and inspiring. Say, were you beating your dad back then?
Quin: Yeah, like I said, I didn’t come from a racing background, so he and I were just competitive and we would race each other, but he’d always try to get my brother and a double and double cart with him so he would have the bigger motor because he always thought I was just lighter that he was so… He quickly got out from behind the wheel of a go-kart, let me go out and race and He was a supportive dad. Yeah, we’re definitely competitive, and I come from a family that owns a small trucking business up in Virginia, so driving is obviously in our blood, but I for some reason wanted to do it a lot faster.
Elysia: Yeah, yeah, that’s awesome. I don’t know, competition, growing up, it’s good that you can kinda have that environment, it pushes you… Right. What do you think from your childhood… What do you think are the takeaways, if that got you here today?
How did your family and childhood experiences influence your career?
Quin: Yeah, you know, it’s just the environment that I grew up in. My dad was always… My parents both were always a 100% supportive of all of us, I’m the youngest of three, they always stood behind us and whatever we wanted to do and told us that whenever we put her mind to and relied on God on for the path of it, we could achieve and I took that to heart, ran with it, and a lot of times it didn’t look like it was gonna happen, and you know, that was just something I left up to fate and I just kept plugging away and opportunities led to another thing, and here we are, and being able to sign with Starcom racing and being able to do it full-time, it was a dream come true, being able to step away from the night shift job or right out of high school at home and be able to go race racecars for a living, and something that was definitely the dream and I’m glad to have achieved it.
Elysia: Yeah, well, I’m not a race car driver, but I started a business and I was hustling at 15 with bracelets in high school, so I had parents just like it was competitive. My parents were always like, gotta push yourself, do things that if you’re scared or you’re fearful that it’s not what other kids are doing, like just go after it and stick to your dream, so I definitely… Definitely resonate with that.
Quin: Yeah, 100%. And school wasn’t something that I liked, but I took that thing and did it to my best of my ability, and I’m saying that because I actually graduated a year early, so I was technically supposed to be a junior, but I completed my junior and senior year of high school in one year to enable myself to be able to go race more and quicker, so it’s not always stuff that you like to do to get to what you wanna do, but you gotta apply yourself in every level.
Jenna: Yeah, I feel like most people can’t say that they accomplished their dream. They probably are lacking the drive, which you obviously have the drive… If you were racing right now, what do you think to be doing?
If you weren’t racing, what would you be doing?
Quin: Yeah, if I wasn’t racing, I would always wanna be involved with my family business, and I still try to be as involved at home as I can. I still live in Virginia. It’s something that I grew up in, was washing trucks on Saturdays and then washing trailers on summer days, out of school in high school, and then even working in the shop and mechanical side of our business. I really enjoyed that, and something I did even when I was racing part-time in the Cup Series in 2019, I would go home and I would still go to work in the shop. It was something I just used to keep me grounded and also just stay plugged in with what my family does and now that I’m racing full-time, obviously I stepped away mostly but I still like to go home and try to see everybody. Those people are really who made me who I am, they’re the ones that gave me that work ethic, they gave me a lot of advice just as a teenager growing up, so I owe the world to them, and I love to go back and see if you see all the questions they have about what crazy stuff I’m doing now.
Elysia: I’m sure. That’s awesome. Well, so tell us what you got going on this past week, I know you’ve been pretty busy, right?
Quin: Yeah, like I said, we just finished what we call our West Coast Swing, and this year it was about one race short we usually do races out west, which would be California and Fontana, and then in Phoenix and Vegas, but this year we just Vegas and Phoenix so last week, we raced our Phoenix race, and we had a pretty good day, I had mount alot, bit more going our rear bumper accessories on board last week. It was a great looking car and short track out west, and I came from short track racing, so luckily we had some good experience there and had a good run, but now we’re coming back over here, we’re gonna be in Atlanta this week for our first 500 mile mile and a half race, which was a pretty long one, so I’m getting geared up for that, and we’re gonna have 8 ball traffic whiskey back on board with us there. Also going to the Bristol Motor Speedway but however this time they decided to dump a bunch of dirt all over it, so I don’t really know what to expect in two weeks at Bristol, but a lot of exciting things going on on as far as NASCAR goes.
Jenna: That is exciting, I just wanted to know do you have any race routines, things that you do?
Do you have any pre-race rituals or routines?
Quin: Yeah, you would think you’d have more of a routine, but things are so shaken up with differences in traveling and one day shows with that practice and qualifying now, so my routines aren’t very, very specific anymore, however I always wear the same thing, which is weird. I mean, I have two different colored pairs of socks, which is the weirdest thing I do. I have one sock on my right foot is blue and one sock on my left foot was red, I just do that ’cause I say red is for the stopping pedal had also right. I put blue in my right one to keep my right foot cool for the throttle, it’s just something silly I do. I used to always wear ninja turtle underwear when I raced, I still kinda do that sometimes. It’s good to have my super hero, underneath feeling, you know?
Elysia: That’s awesome. I feel like before we got on this call, Jenna and I were talking about a question that we were just like… We were so curious to ask… I don’t know if you wanna ask a Jenna.
Jenna: Yes, I think everybody wants to know the bathroom situation, like what do you do when you’re driving that fast for that long and you gotta go.
Everyone wants to know – what is the bathroom situation like while racing?
Quin: Yeah, that’s always a common question, you know, our races take three to four hours and the longest races take about four hours, so everyone’s like, What do you do when you gotta go to the bathroom? And normally I just say, well, we’re sweating so much because the cars are so hot, you don’t normally have to go to the bathroom, however, if you do, you have to just go because you don’t wanna wreck a racecar or take that chance with a full bladder ’cause you could rupture your bladder, so the teams to actually go ahead and drill holes in the bottom of all of our seats before races before they get installed, because if you do have to go you don’t want to sit in the bottom of your seat because it will literally boil your butt because the cars are so hot, so I… I, I’ve never had to experience that, thankfully, knock on wood, but there’s certain drivers that do go and it’s just part of it.
Elysia: Yeah, yeah. That’s good. That’s such a fun fact. Yeah, I would have never thought of that. And I was like, Yeah, Jenna you gotta ask that, I’m so curious. So in terms of, obviously your back racing, it’s getting in the norm of things, what was last year like for you? I know everybody’s… Everyone’s got a story during 2020 of the pandemic, and obviously we’re still kind of recovering from everything, but… What was it like for racing?
How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect racing?
Quin: Yeah, obviously, racing looks very different last year, it was all different to me, I was a rookie, it was my first one, and then we just got going. Actually, it was like a week ago or this week, last year, I was driving to Atlanta, and on the way down there to the race, I was told we were gonna race without fans, I actually got to the track and the race got cancelled, so a year removed from that, but it canceled us for a while, and we didn’t know when we’d go back racing and there was a period of time that it took a lot to stay connected, we did as much as we could, from me as a driver’s perspective and a team to stay connected with the fans and a sports as NASCAR to do that, and we did a lot of things virtually obviously, I didn’t know what Zoom was this time last year, but now everyone seems to be expert at it, but between Zoom interviews or just Zoom meetings with fans and social media posts like, I’m on TikTok for some reason and started doing different TikToks.
Jenna: Do you dance?
Quin: I shouldn’t have dance, unfortunately the ones that get the biggest hits. Yeah, so we had a lot of fun with that and then we got on the e-racing. IRacing is a big platform that a lot of fans and actually like drivers uses the tool and NASCAR used that and actually televised some of those races on Fox Sports that we ran on there and that was just for something to watch other than re-runs during Covid pandemic. I actually held, the race team held a few races on our racing that I got on and raced with a bunch of our fans directly, just had fun. So it was very unique and very different. And thankfully NASCAR got protocols in place and we could get back racing there in May, and we actually doubled up, raced twice a week, whatever we had to do, and we still got to finish our season on time, and we actually got to run every race we were supposed to… So it looked different coming back without fans, it was obviously very different without qualifying, without practice, we were just showing up and racing, it was very tough on a new rookie like myself, but we took it as a team and they stood behind me which really helped me a ton. Now we’re heading into 2021 with at least some fans in the stands and some experience to lean back on, so it has definitely been a crazy year for sure, but it made us better for it, so.
Elysia: Yeah, I think that’s awesome. I’ve been hearing a little bit with your team and just talking about iRacing in general, and some of the more engaging things you guys had to do for television and for online to just stay and keep up with the engagement of your audience, but I also heard you guys probably acquired some new fans along the way, people that may have not been engaged with the races before, but might have different hobbies and iRacing probably intrigued them. So can you tell me a little bit more about how you see iRacing moving forward as an actual activity that you guys continue to engage in?
How did you use iRacing to help keep you connected with fans?
Quin: You know, iRacing was something that I really didn’t have a lot to do with up until last year. I had a great time, last year Sims Seats, out of Richmond, Virginia. They built a simulation rigs for the iRacing platform, and mine got delivered literally two weeks after the Covid pandemic hit to stop our race season, and so I had all the pandemic to set my basement and learn how to iRace, and I’m glad I did because when I came back to real racing, I didn’t have practice. I was literally one of the only tools I had to use to say, okay, well, I’m going to Darlington, well, I’ve never seen Darlington I’m about to go run there and just, so I had to at least know what it looked like virtually and ran as many laps as I could, but it was so neat to see because it kinda used to be… You had your e-racing world and you had real racing world, it was kinda… Well, this is a video game, but they didn’t wanna say it was a video game, they wanted it to be real. And there’s actually people that race iRacing for a living, they do it professionally, and to see those two worlds kind of come together during the pandemic and have real racers race e-racers was kind of neat, and it’s something that actually carried over… Next week is actually next Wednesday night, we’re gonna have all 36 of the Cup drivers get back on iRacing and have a virtual Bristol dirt race televised on Fox Sports. So we have that race and eight others coming up throughout the season of being back on our racing on televised broadcast, so it’s something that definitely carried over and it got us in front of a whole different crowd and it’s something unique to watch for sure.
Jenna: Yeah, now I wanna watch like I feel like I’ve learned so much.
Quin: My wife kinda made fun of me ’cause I was sitting there during the pandemic break last year, watching virtual cars go around the track, and she said do you find this entertaining? I was like, well, heck, it’s better than watching Friends again on Netflix or Hulu or something.
Elysia: So who’s butt were you kicking in iRacing?
Quin: I wasn’t very good at the start of it, but I’ve luckily met a lot of great people to help me get faster along the way, but that’s the other unique thing about iRacing is you get into iRacing and everyone’s in the same cars, it’s all supposed to be computer generated to be equal, and obviously there’s a lot more into iRacing than I ever thought with set-ups and stuff like that to go fast and different parts to it, but for me as a team that come races in real life with a smaller team and a smaller budget, it’s neat for me and other drivers that are like me to get on iRacing and be able to be on more of a level playing field with the guys that were not usually on a level playing field with… So we saw drivers that were with smaller teams run exceptionally well in the promotional races we had last year, which was really cool just to see those guys to be able to mix it up up front.
Elysia: That’s awesome.
Jenna: I’m so entertained by this is. If somebody wants to follow you, what your social media is, and will you interact with them sometimes or post stories or more dances or whatnot?
Follow Quin Houff and stay updated on his races
Quin: I try to say is I try to open up, I’m kind of a quieter guy, but especially during last year with the pandemic, I try to open up to beyond the track and to my personal life on social media, and you can go to Quinhouff.com and all my social medias are probably in there, but it’s P1_Houff on Twitter and Instagram, as well as tiktok actually, which I need to… I kinda went away from that after I found out how bad I looked at dancing and then Quin Houff, there’s athlete like page on Facebook as well. So I try to keep everyone updated, obviously on the race track for sure with our sponsors were we got going on, but I also try to do everything again away from the track, but I’m kind of boring away from the track right now, just because we’re back in the swing of things, and when I get home, I just kinda hide in my basement for a while and then leave to go race the next week, so hopefully once summer hits, I get a little bit more exciting.
Elysia: That’s awesome. Well, Quinn, as we’re coming to a close, what would you say is, let’s say, a key takeaway or something that you can leave with us or the audience on, whether it’s about your mindset or things that you’ve learned along this journey?
Quin: Yeah, for sure. I mean, just going back to you achieving your dreams, and she was saying that some people might not ever achieve their dreams, they don’t have the drive to do it, and that’s not saying that I’ve ultimately achieved my dream. Yes, I’m living a dream, but you… You just keep dreaming. And my parents told me a young age, you always dream, whatever you can dream up isn’t impossible, and if you put your mind to it and go after it 100% and follow God’s plan for your life, you know you’re able to achieve anything. And those things might not go the way you want, at certain times, it might not be the prettiest at certain times it might not be the easiest at certain times, and honestly, a part in my career, I might be living a dream, but it’s not necessarily the easiest time for me. Being a rookie at the top level and being with a smaller team, I’m not competing like I want to, so it’s just about keep plugging away, you achieve what you want to next, and there’s always that next thing… No one’s ever satisfied. You always gotta want that next thing, anybody out there listening for whatever reason or whatever path or whatever career you might take in, I feel like that advice and information can help anybody anywhere achieve that goal, so.
Jenna: I think so too it’s really easy to do why I appreciate you and successful you got so far because of your hard work, and you can tell a very humble person, and so I feel like people really enjoy working with you.
Quin: Yeah, I mean, like I said, I don’t ever take anything for granted and much in my career it was never full-time. I was never pretty. And I never knew if I got to do it again. So even though I’m doing it full-time now, I still treat it like I never know when the next time, I’ll be able to drive a race far again, and that’s just the way I treat it, and I take it as something that I’m blessed to be able to do, and I don’t take for granted ’cause I never know when something could get taken away, just like the whole world learned with the pandemic last year is just everything can change in the blink of an eye so, just enjoy the moment.
Elysia: Yeah, I love that, that’s awesome. Well, you know, Quin, I really appreciate you jumping on today. Jenna, it’s so good to see your face again, and I really appreciate you jumping on as a co-host here. I’m excited to see what you guys are up to and what the new year is looking like for Starcom racing and NASCAR and best of luck to you Quin.
Quin: Thank you, I appreciate you guys having me on.
Elysia: Yeah, awesome. And we appreciate you guys, the audience, for joining us on this episode of Life is Digital. I’m your host, Elysia Cadorniga. Jenna was on as our co-host today, and then we had Quinn Houff, NASCAR driver, double zero with Starcom racing, so please remember to rate, review and subscribe, but until next time, don’t stop marketing.