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ASHLEY ASKS…… Julia Landauer

This past season, Julia Landauer made the trip north of the border to take part in a select number of NASCAR Pinty’s Series races.

The New York native spoke about that experience with POPULAR SPEED and more recently.

POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts looking back on your Pinty’s Series season?

JULIA LANDAUER: I wish we could’ve been ran stronger, but we had some mechanical issues. I was thankful for the opportunity and the ability to go racing this past year, and it was nice to be able to try something different.

PS: What was the biggest surprise?

JULIA: Quite a bit different than I was expecting it to be so it took a little bit. I was surprised that it took several sessions to get comfortable in the car, and I was speaking with Brandon McReynolds who had also raced in the K&N cars, and he was also surprised by how different they were.

PS: A lot of people like to compare K&N and Pinty’s. Now having driven both, what are some of the differences and similarities?

PHOTO CREDIT: Canada’s Best Racing Team

JULIA: I think they’re a lot different. Obviously how they drive is very different, but there’s similarities. The number of races per year, and how competitive both series are. A couple things that were different are the people who race in Pinty’s Series have been racing there for years so a lot of people know each other well, whereas K&N a lot of drivers spend two years and then move up.

Also, how the car drives is very different as the K&N car, you can attack the corners more as you have better brakes. So it’s a different styles, but the racing is competitive and the races are longer in the K&N Series, so there’s more of a preservation going into there and pacing yourself back. It’s really hard, clean racing in the Pinty’s Series, and I was surprised by how few crashes there were and caution laps there were.

PS: Could we see you back in the Pinty’s Series again next season?

JULIA: I would love to, and I think we’re trying to figure how to get our plans in place and are talking to a bunch of people. I love racing up there and I’d love to do a street course in a stock car and I’d love to do that so we’re working on it. But I think that’d be really cool to run again.

PS: How did you get started in racing originally?

JULIA: My parents were looking for an activity all of their kids could do on the weekends and were looking for something with girls and boys, so they liked the idea of go-kart racing so that’s how I started. Then I fell in love within a year or two, and wanted to figure out how to do it as a career. So we’ve been working together to climb the ranks.

PS: Who is your racing hero?

JULIA: I have a couple. So on the NASCAR side, I’ve always liked Mark Martin and Carl Edwards. On the Formula 1 side, I really like Michael Schumacher – obviously he’s been really impressive, and Lyn St. James. She’s been a great mentor and obviously very accomplished herself. I look up to Paul Newman and the fact he was able to do many different things. He’s not known primarily for his racing, but he led such a cool life that he got to do a lot of things he loved.

PHOTO CREDIT: Canada’s Best Racing Team

PS: You mentioned Lyn St. James. A lot of talk lately about female racers has been happening due to the W Series announcement. What is your take on the W Series?

JULIA: So on the one hand, anything that gives woman the opportunity to get into good equipment, that’s good. I think that’s important. On the flip side, I love racing is co-ed and when you win in racing, you get to prove you’re the best – not the best female, not the best male, but the best. I’m a little worried that making a female only series, it might hurt the overall progress of seeing more woman in co-ed racing.

It might not, it might help and if it does help woman get into Formula 1 – which we haven’t had a woman full-time in a long time, that’s great. I’m just a little worried that it won’t.

PS: Being a spokesperson yourself, what would be your advice to females aspiring to get into racing?

JULIA: I think this advice applies to any field you want to get into, but do a lot of research and see what makes the sport happen. I think everyone is surprised at how expensive it is to go racing. I think having a concrete idea of what that’s like and the business side is really important because so many great racers and only a handful racers do make it. So if you’re trying to figure out what you have to do on and off the track to really progress, and obviously you need results on track and talent and work with a team. But learning the other things that go into racing is very important.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Landauer Expects to Win, Contend for Championship in 2017

After a successful campaign last year in the K&N Pro Series West, Julia Landauer will return to the series once again in 2017. It was announced earlier this month she had signed with Bob Bruncati’s Sunrise Ford Racing Team for the 2017 season.

“I’m really excited,” she told POPULAR SPEED. “I’m really looking forward to taking everything I learned last year and going back this year and having that confidence if you will. Just looking forward to going out there, winning races and going for the championship.”

With the successful year she had in 2016, she is entering this year confidently, expecting to reach victory lane while contending for the championship.

“That’s what the primary focus is,” she added. “To go from winning a championship in 2015 to not in 2016 is not what I wanted to do, so that’s what I’m hoping to do.”

With the diversity of the schedule, Landauer says the pair of the tracks she’s most looking forward to returning to this year are both tracks in which she scored poor finishes in 2016.

“I’m most looking forward to redeeming myself at Sonoma,” she said. “It was the race that I was most looking forward to last year, and it ended up being my worst race of the season. So definitely looking forward to redeeming myself there, and definitely looking forward to going to Iowa. I really like that track, but we had a lot of problems there, so hopefully looking to do better at that race.”

Last season, Landauer put together an impressive campaign for Billy McAnally Racing, scoring seven top-fives and 13 top-10s en route to finishing fourth in the Pro Series West Standings. Notably, it marked the highest finish for a female driver in the NASCAR development series.

“I’m really proud of myself,” she said. “To come in as a rookie with races with so much longer than what I had ever raced before, and with a car that was quite much more power than I had in 2015, I’m really happy. We had some obstacles that we had to overcome as a team, and we put our heads together and did that. I’m glad to have finished pretty well for a rookie, and obviously to make it to fourth place to be the highest female finisher ever. That was all really good, and great to be racing in a televised series and become more involved in NASCAR.”

Looking back on the year, she notes the biggest thing she learned was equipment conservation, in saving the tires and not burning up the brakes throughout the event.

For Landauer, she was able to get her start in racing at a young age, beginning in go-karts at the age of 10.

“My family got me and my sibling into go-karts so we could do something as a family on weekends, and my sister and I could compete against the boys,” she said.

She was able to have success, steadily making her way up the racing ladder en route to making history in 2015. That season, she won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Limited Late Model Division Championship at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia. She was the first female to earn a title in the track’s history. Looking back on her career, she admits her most memorable moment has to be the first win during that championship campaign.

Through her move up the ranks, she has been doing things her way, finding ways to get her name out there, including public speaking. She was recognized for her efforts as Forbes named her to their Sports 30 under 30 list.

“It was quite an honor to be named to the Forbes Sports 30 under 30 list,” she said. “It shows that the different approach that I am taking to racing, in that really I’m working on everything from the branding to the team building and to be from New York, be different and show that it’s making a splash – that’s really cool. It also adds a boost of confidence in knowing all the hours that have gone into my career over the past six years has been recognized. I’m really privileged to be part of that list.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Julia Landauer Bringing Survival Skills to NASCAR

Former Survivor castoff @julialandauer has taken her survival skills to the world of stock car racing.

Last year, the 24-year-old from New York City persevered in the ultra-competitive Limited Sportsman division at Motor Mile Speedway and became a championship driver. Now, Landauer is hoping to survive, and thrive, in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West tour, where she will compete for Bill McAnally Racing.

Landauer actually credits what she learned on the popular CBS Television reality show for making her a better, more persistent driver.

“With Survivor, I wanted to shoot it because I’m a competitive person and the challenge was really cool. My racing was a little slow at the time because I was in college. I got the opportunity to do it and knew I had to do it,” Landauer said. “I knew it challenged people mentally and physically and I wanted to push myself farther than I ever have before. It was incredibly difficult.

“I had never been so physically uncomfortable and had to deal with so many characters I didn’t like. It put me in an uncomfortable position the entire time I was on the show and it made me resilient and pushed my perseverance. You don’t know your limits until you push them. It was helpful for racing in terms of mindset and never give up mentality.”

The never give up mentality had to be carried over to racing, when Landauer competed in Limited Late Models at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia last year. Teamed up with three-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Lee Pulliam, Landauer had immediate success but a mid-season penalty set her back.

After a wild race in late June, every single car that rolled through post-race technical inspection, including Landauer, was disqualified, shuffling up the points standings.

“That was a nightmare,” Landauer remarked. “We had a little incident with the lapped car. That one was really challenging. I thought, ‘I lost my championship dream, we can’t do it,’ then we looked at it mathematically and figured out we could do it. Lee and I were very optimistic and positive and kept pushing and hit everything perfectly.

“It was great teamwork. They had faith in me and I had faith in them and we maximized our performance. I knew I deserved it. I need it is really what was driving me. When you’re in the zone, nothing else matters.”

Racing for one of Late Model Stock Car racing’s greats was beneficial for Landauer in many ways. Not only did she have great cars, but the two had chemistry and worked well together.

“Working with Lee (Pulliam) and the entire team was so beneficial for a couple reasons,” Landauer explained. “I learned more about the cars and setup and how to do everything mechanical, so that was cool. It was great to see a champion’s mindset and what his thought process was.

“Because Lee is closer to my age, closer than any other team owner I had, it was the first time I felt like I was one of the guys and didn’t feel being a woman had impact on my performance. The fact that they treated me helped me. They yelled at me when I didn’t do well and praised me when I did to well. I couldn’t have asked for a better setup for 2015. There’s no better equipment out there.”

Despite being in great equipment, winning the first race of the season wasn’t the expectation anyone had for Landauer, not to mention winning the championship. After all, no woman had ever won a race at the ultra-competitive Motor Mile Speedway and only one woman had ever won a Late Model championship in the Southeast when Haley Moody won a championship at Southern National Motorsports Park the year before.

However, Landauer is more than just a pretty face showing up to race on raceday. Landauer holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Bachelors in Science, Technology and Society from the prestigious Stanford University. Landauer is mechanically savvy and smooth in the racecar.

“Winning the first race exceeded my expectations,” Landauer stated. “Once I knew I could do it, I reset my standards and wanted to win races and the championship. I learned I was capable I was doing well so that elevated the bar of wanting to do well.”

Landauer went on to do more than just win races. She would rebound from the mid-season penalty with two victories in August which allowed her to complete the comeback and win the Motor Mile Speedway track championship. Even more impressive is that she did it against some very tough competition.

“I think the fact that the competitors were so hard and so tough made me elevate my game,” Landauer remarked. “Between Scott Lancaster, Karl Budzevski, Daryn Cockram and Preston McGhee, they gave me a really hard time and if I was gonna get it, I was gonna have to elevate my game and push back. I have to thank them for getting tougher. Even at the end with Ryan Repko, he did super well so he was really a threat at the end there. It was really cool to battle with those guys cleanly for the most part too.”

Landauer’s racing background is more than just Late Models. She’s been racing since she was 10 – competing in go-karts, the Skip Barber racing series where she won a championship, Formula BMW, USAC Midgets and Legends. In fact, she has raced for Bill McAnally in the past – the team she is reuniting with to compete in the full NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule.

“2015 proves a lot of momentum moving forward,” Lanauer commented. “2016 in the West Series is going to be exceptionally difficult. People will have more seat time and experience but I feel I am capable of being a champion and winning. Racing with Bill McAnally racing, they were champions last year so I’m confident I’ll be able to do well and my expectation is to win this season.”

If Landauer continues to surpass expectations, she might reach her ultimate goal in the coming years – which is to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

“Like all my competitors, my dream is to get to the Sprint Cup Series so I’m going to keep taking the steps I need to take to get there.”

Landauer will make her NASCAR K&N Pro Series West debut when the series opens its season at Irwindale Speedway in California on March 19th.

EMAIL ANDY AT andy.marquis@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @amarquis32

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, it’s owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement