Q & A with NASCAR/ARCA Driver Jesse lwuji
April 4, 2018
Senior Writer: Kamilah McLeod
How long have you been racing cars?
-3 Years competitively
2. How does it feel to be Lt. Iwuji supporting the next steps with your journey, from Navy to NASCAR?
-It feels great to be paving the way for other military members to chase their dreams. I love helping them achieve.
3. How does it feel to have Perfect Hydration return as your sponsor?
The 9.5+ pH Alkaline Water joined in mid-2017 to sponsor six races in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West: it’s always great having a lasting partnership with a brand like Perfect Hydration who understands marketing and brand building. I’m very happy to have them onboard.
4. What are your plans in branching out more into ARCA Racing Series?
-The goal with ARCA is to get big track experience in the 7 races I’m running with ARCA in my BBMC Mortgage sponsored Chevrolet.
5. How does it feel to be one of three African-American drivers across NASCAR?
-There should be more, and hopefully the path I’m taking helps bring more in.
6. How does it feel to be teamed up with former NFL star Shawne Merriman and his company Lights Out who was your first big sponsor?
-My first big sponsor was Phoenix Patriot Foundation, Shawne & Lights Out have come onboard as a great way to build more awareness about minorities in motorsports and continue to grow the diversity efforts in NASCAR.
7. What goals have you set for yourself on the track and off the track?
-Qualify competitive, Run clean races, finish clean, finish competitively
8. How many hours do you train on average?
-Per day: 1 hr of physical fitness & 2 hrs of simulator training
9. What do we have to look forward to hearing and seeing from you?
-More great news on developments in my career and more great news on how I’m leveraging my journey to help others.
10. What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue this career?
-Funding: have to find it whether it’s through sponsors or out of pocket. Out of pocket is easiest if you can find creative ways to make more money. I started a business that I knew could make money and through it funded $200,000+ of my first 2 seasons, sponsors covered the other $85k. Do whatever is needed to make more money. Be smart and think outside the box, take chances..no excuses.
Marketing: must create a loyal large fan base on social media to show potential sponsors your platform you can use to market and promote the sponsors products & services. This means weekly growth and daily engagement through creative content on your pages. Must learn how to get people to engage without the social media algorithms killing your reach. It’s a slow process but it’ll speed up if you’re more creative and interesting than others.
Experience: You may need more real life race experience in cars. My team offers chances to race in modifieds, late models, ARCA, and NASCAR K&N Pro Series cheaper than anybody so that you don’t go broke reaching for your truck goal. Modifieds are $1000 a race weekend, late models $2k, ARCA $20k a race and K&N $10-$15k a race.
Attend as many oval races in levels higher than you currently are and visit the pits to meet teams, crew members, drivers, and officials. Make it a goal every event to always open your mouth, introduce yourself to important people, tell your story and where you want to go for end goal, then pass your info to them and collect there’s. On Monday morning email them all to thank them for the talk and you never know who will help you get a step ahead.
Contact as many media companies big or small as you can to share your racing story as it kicks off and gets traction. The more media articles and radio shows and interviews you get, the better. Save every link, clip, podcast, etc somewhere you can reach it and send to people whenever...like on your notes in your phone.
-You need daily training to perfect your racecraft, you can do this on simulators like iRacing
-Aim to do 10-20 simulator races a week in Indycars, sports cars, and dirt oval
-Download iracing from
-Get wheel, pedals, race seat set up. The best budget set up is a Logitech G27 or G920 wheel & pedals(make sure there’s a clutch pedal ), buy a Logitech shifter, and get a Playseat race seat & Manual shifter mod
-Get your racing gear(SA2015 Helmet, SFI Approved gloves, SFI Approved suit, SFI Approved shoes, SFI Approved undershirt, SFI Approved leggings, SFI Approved balaclava) from G-Force Racing gear. Tell Taylor I sent you:
-Get your SFI Approved HANS device from anywhere online
-Get your in-helmet radio gear from Rugged Radios, just tell them it needs to fit NASCAR style and IMSA style hook ups, tell Joe I sent you:
How to succeed:
-Say it: Stand up and proclaim to the world out loud what your end goal is
-Believe: Fully insanely believe it will happen till the day you die
-Faith: pray and trust in God, daily. Praise him for the blessings, Blame only yourself for the faults.
-Action: Do at least one thing every day 365 days of the year that would work to get you closer to the goal even if it’s just emailing a potential sponsor
-Road Blocks: Never let others negative opinions become your reality no matter who they are in your life or what continues to not go right.
-Do not ever give up. Even in the darkest point of the night the sun will rise. Any setback is just a set up for a phenomenal comeback.