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Hot Lap With #18 Mini Open Mark Pinto

Monday, September 23, 2019

-Tell us about your racing background and how you ended up at the Lucas Oil Regional Series:

I have been racing one thing or another off and on since I was about 5. Started out in motocross then Honda Pilots then on to desert with a 10 car on the same team with Ricky Johnson for Neal Performance Products in the Fud Series. Later a 516 in MDR and my last desert truck is a 1450 that I still have and play with at Jump Champs.

-Family seems to play a big role on most regional teams and we see your family at the track with you at every round. How important is your family to your success and what roles do each of them play on race weekends?

My family luckily enjoys all kinds of racing and that's huge. My wife who has climbed in the passenger seat before, handles food, set up, positive vibes and spots for me. My son Maximilian does whatever he can for the truck and then anxiously runs off to take pictures of all the classes for his business Pintagraphy. Without their support and patience, racing would not be an option for me plain and simple.

-What is your advice to someone looking to start out in short course off road racing?

Honestly, I'm so new at this type of racing the only advice I am qualified to give is to have deep pockets, forget about free weekends and plan on your honey do lists at home getting longer.

-What is your favorite track and why?

Well with only 2 tracks to choose from, I prefer GH. I live in San Diego and that track is 25 min's away from my father's house, so that keeps our expenses down. We all shower, eat and crash there in Yucaipa. I like both tracks though. They each have their own character.

-When you're not at the track, what can we find you doing?

We live near the beach and the water right now is around 70, so this time of year we spend a lot of time there surfing, swimming and just relaxing. Good times camping, the river, vaca's, etc. are always a must too. Not to mention, my general contracting business and typical home stuff.

-How much time/work goes into preparing for each race weekend?

I can't see how it's not the same for all teams...every chance you get, you're buried in the garage.

-What/who is your biggest challenge on the track?

My wallet.

-Any goals for the next few years or beyond?

Hartwell's building a new Pro Lite as we speak, so hopefully we we'll have her out testing soon. Once we get that truck dialed in, we plan to be out there racing in the pro lite class. There is a very good chance my son Maximilian will take over my mini-open truck.

-We know it takes a lot of support to race and you seem to be backed by some great companies. Is there anyone you would like to thank for their support?

My biggest thank you goes out to John Hartwell. I bought this truck from him. He and Biker Sherlock took this truck to 2 championships a few years back. This guy can build a motor like no other and without him, I'm in the stands watching. Long time friends help out too. Donny has been my right hand man each race, Dave's there to do anything needed and Doug's always doing his best to keep the radios functioning. 1 Life Trauma Kits, Pintagraphy, PurBlend Science, Bilstein Shocks, General Tire and most of all Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series. If it was not for Lee and Poppy and their passion, none of us would have a place to do what we do.