Fast Talk: A Few Minutes With Drag And Oval Champ Jaren Mott

As if racing a Top Alcohol dragster weren’t enough, Jaren Mott became a licensed Jet Car racer in 2011. And as if that weren’t enough, last summer, at the urging of Rocky Mountain Raceways’ oval legend Jimmy Waters, Mott took up crate motor Sprint car racing on the America First Credit Union Super Oval. Clearly, growing up around racing and spending so much time at RMR – and Bonneville Raceway before that – has instilled in Jaren an insatiable need for speed … either that or the man simply likes the comfortable feel of a fire suit. Either way, he is always welcome on the Young Kia Drag Strip or the America First Credit Union Super Oval. Jaren recently had a conversation with RMR Marketing Communications Director Jim Burton.  

When did you know you wanted to drive a race car/dragster?

I grew up at the track. I was out there from the time was born. My dad, Dave Mott, has been racing since before I was born. He started in Sand Drags and then to NHRA Asphalt racing so I have spent my entire life at the race tracks so it was second nature to me to want to drive a dragster. I was fortunate enough, when I was old enough, to help my dad when he was running his Super Pro dragster to seven straight Super Pro championships at Bonneville Raceway starting in 1987. When NHRA introduced the Jr. Dragster program we built me a Jr car and just kept climbing the ladder from there.

How did you get involved in the racing business

My dad has owned and operated Utah Chassis & Machine since before I was born. When I was young I would always go down to the shop and hang out and as I got older learned more and more about building engines and dragster chassis. That led to me working there and building engines and chassis. I also have had the opportunity to run a few racing retail stores as well. I ran Silver King Power Sports which was a high performance racing kart shop for a number of years. I also had the opportunity to manage Strange Performance for years which specialized in high performance racing and street rod components. Now I am still building engines and chassis at Utah Chassis and Machine, and also Dyno Tuning cars at UCM Dyno Shop.

Who has had the biggest influence on your racing career and why?

Hands down my dad has had the biggest influence on my racing career!! If it wasn’t for him I defiantly would not be where I am today. He has taught me everything about racing, how to build and maintain race cars, how to drive, how to tune just everything has came through him. Without him, none of my 18 season championships would have been possible.

Jaren Mott drives his winged Sprint on to the infield of the America First Credit Union Super Oval after winning a feature race on July 4, 2015.

Jaren Mott drives his winged Sprint on to the infield of the America First Credit Union Super Oval after winning a feature race on July 4, 2015.

Last summer you began driving a Sprint car, what went into your decision to try oval racing?

Last spring I was out at RMR and Jimmy Waters and I got talking and he brought up if I had “ever thought about driving a Sprint car?” I told him I have always liked to watch the winged Sprint cars run at RMR but I was so into drag racing I never really thought about driving one. Well, less than a week later I was in one of his winged Sprint cars running laps around RMR’s Super Oval. One thing led to another and I ended up running quite a few races in one of Jimmy’s cars. To this day I can’t thank Jimmy enough for giving me the opportunity to drive his cars.

What was it like racing on the oval as well as the drag strip?

It has been really fun being able to run on both sides of the hill at RMR. When we started the year in the sprint car it was fun just being able to compete on both sides of the hill. As the year went on and we ended up winning the big oval race on the 4th of July in the crate Sprint class and started looking at season points and decided to do everything we could to win the season points title in the crate Sprint class. It came down to the last race on the RMR Super Oval to do it but we did it. I can’t thank everyone enough that helped make the 2015 crate Sprint championship happen!

Jimmy Waters (left) and Jaren Mott (right) pose together after Mott drove Waters' winged Sprint to a victory on July 4, 2015 on the America First Credit Union Super Oval.

Jimmy Waters (left) and Jaren Mott (right) pose together after Mott drove Waters’ winged Sprint to a victory on July 4, 2015 on the America First Credit Union Super Oval.

For you, what’s the biggest difference between driving a Jet Car, and a Sprint?

That’s a tough question. The Jet Car I drive and the Sprint car are so much different from each other. About the only similarities between them I can think of is they both have four wheels and race at RMR!!!  In the Jet Car you have a hand throttle and buttons to light the burner, and two brake pedals, compared to the Sprint where you have to more conventional throttle pedal and what not. The Jet Car requires a lot of focus for a short period of time to make sure you don’t make a mistake, where the sprint car requires you to stay focused for a lot longer period of time with the potential of a few rest breaks in there (yellow flags) throughout the race.  That being said, I have been fortunate to have driven quite a few different types of race cars.  I have so much respect for anyone that can drive any type of car at the top of the cars capabilities. I have been asked so much last year what is better, drag or oval? My only response is it takes so much to drive either at the top of your game. I have tremendous respect for both the drag strip and oval track.

What’s your favorite thing about Rocky Mountain Raceways? 

I don’t know that I have one favorite thing about RMR. RMR is my home from March through October. I have so many favorite things out there. I have had the opportunity to drive every race car I have driven down or around one of the tracks at RMR. Last season I started working on the best safety team in the World at RMR. So even if I am not racing I am working safety at RMR so it is truly the place I enjoy spending my summers at. From the people and teams I race against to all the RMR staff that makes all the races happen out there, to everyone on my team that helps Mott Motorsports week in and week out, to everyone that helps us on Jimmy Waters Motorsports. All of that is my favorite thing about RMR.

Jaren Mott fires up his Jet Car Tow Mater during a 2015 event on the Young Kia Drag Strip.

Jaren Mott fires up his Jet Car Tow Mater during a 2015 event on the Young Kia Drag Strip.

What is you favorite racing movie?

I think I have three favorite race movies. Growing up I would watch “Heart like a Wheel.” It is an older movie about Shirley Muldowney and her racing career. I also like “Days of Thunder.”  I got the opportunity to be a technical advisor and was a “stunt guy” (didn’t know driving a dragster was a stunt) in the Disney movie “Right on Track.” This is a movie about Erica and Courtney Enders’ Jr Dragster career and was filmed right here at RMR.

Who is your favorite musical artist?

I’m a big Nickelback fan. I like all their stuff from their older songs to their newest album.

2016 Rules And Registration Meetings

Rocky Mountain Raceways has announced the dates and times for its 2016 drivers meetings.

  • The Oval Track meeting will be held on Thursday, March 10. Doors will open for registration at 6 p.m.. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.
  • The Drag Strip meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 15. Doors will open for registration at 5 p.m.. The meeting will get underway at 6:30 p.m.
  • The Motocross meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 16. Doors will open for registration at 6 p.m.. The meeting will begin at 6:45 p.m.

For additional information, contact Rocky Mountain Raceways at (801) 252-9557.

Fast Talk: A Few Minutes With Super Pro Champion Jeff Cornick

Fast Talk: A few minutes with Super Pro champion Jeff Cornick

Like so many Rocky Mountain Raceways regulars, Jeff Cornick, 35, learned about racing from a very early age. His father, Rick, raced and worked at the old Bonneville Raceway and young Jeff soon found an extended family around the drag strip. Although he forged some lasting friendships in those days, Jeff didn’t actually climb behind the wheel of a racer until 2010. Since then he has seen plenty of success, highlighted of course, in 2015 when he won the Super Pro championship in his familiar-looking dragster, Red Baron. Jeff recently had a conversation with RMR Marketing Communications Director Jim Burton.

When did you start drag racing at Rocky Mountain Raceways; and when did you begin competing in Super Pro?

We started the Super Pro deal in 2013. I started racing out there in the middle of 2010. Dad and I got into a Nova. It was IHRA and we were running Pro and No-Box then. In 2011 we actually finished third place in Pro and last year we were IHRA. We got this dragster for 2012, which we ran it in Pro and then I converted the car and went Super Pro racing in 2013. The only reason I remember all those dates is because my dad passed away in February 2013 and he never got the chance to see it run in Super Pro. That helps me put my timeline together.Cornick

Was your dad involved pretty heavily on the racing side?

Back in the 70s he was a many-time Stock Eliminator champion at the old Bonneville Raceway and in the early 90s, when the Eames family was running Bonneville, he worked as a tech guy out there and I actually – back when I was 12-13 years old – I worked in the old ET shack writing out time slips by hand and whatnot. We were away from the sport towards the end of Bonneville. My dad hadn’t been to a race until 2008 or 2009, when I took him to Vegas to the national event as kind of a surprise and got him hooked back into (racing). We had always done street rods and hot rods but that had kind of started to get old, so I think he was looking for something else to do.

You and RMR General Manager Mike Eames have been good friends for many years, that probably goes back to when you were in your early teens, right?

Oh even before that because we knew each other from the street rod world. I’ve been around the Eames family since I was 5 or 6 years old. I’m 35 now, so it’s been at least 30 years.  Back then I was the little kid trying to keep up and trying to hang around. The older kids, they’d tease me and stuff, but we had a good time with it. My friends have always been older, but that’s what I was always around. I was around car show people and racing people. To me, that helped my growth; I just knew how to be around adults.

What was it like to work around the track and the drag strip, and working around cars?

To me it was great because I’ve always seen the car community – whether it be hot rods or racing – as a big extended family. Everywhere you turned you had somebody there to help you, guide you and answer questions. It always felt like even if I wasn’t around my dad I always felt like I had extra dads and brothers around. As an only child, it was a big extension of a family that I didn’t really have. My parents got divorced when I was 8 years old, but being around racing it always felt like wherever I turned I always had somebody I could go to. My dad was my best friend, no ifs, ands or buts about it. We did everything together, and that was great too. We were able to share all those experiences together. I just hope that with my little boy (Ricky), if he decides to be around cars and stuff, we can do the same thing.

How old is your little boy?

He’s 4, he’ll be 5 this year. Then begins the discussion of how early is too early to put him in a junior dragster. I had to restrain myself from buying him one for Christmas.  I’ve always said that he’s going to have to come to me and say, “Dad, I want to do this.” I’m not going to buy a car and force him into it. If he sees them and he decides that’s what he wants to do, then we’ll go racing. If not, there’s going to be no pressure at all, I’d rather he play baseball and football and soccer and everything else. I know too many kids that have been, in my mind, forced to be out there racing, and a lot of them would rather be doing other things.

What did it mean for you to win the championship in Super Pro?

It was the culmination of a lot of hard work, a lot of long nights. It felt like it was kind of one of the last things I could give my dad, even though he wasn’t around to enjoy it. There’s still one thing, I still need a Wally. With the double Heritage race and if I can get the money together and try the March Meet again, one way or another we’re gonna get one of those damn things. When we got racing, dad’s thing was, “We race as long as it’s fun. When it stops being fun, we stop doing it.” (In 2015) it was fun all the way through, and obviously the success did that, but I had a great time. At the ET finals in Boise, we got to know some of the drivers we didn’t know as well and we kind of came together as a team. The year was just a really fun year, even if I hadn’t won the championship I felt like I had a lot of fun.