This next driver to walk the track with us first came to our attention at a race we were covering up in the Portland, Oregon area (the I-5 Corridor Series at Pat's Acres). Conner (Robustelli) was having a solid run that day, and we couldn't help but notice the well organized support team of mom and dad as well. So we performed the usual inquires, and soon realized this young driver was one busy little racer. Competing on both dirt and asphalt, across multiple series and states "The Rocket" has got an impressive resume at a very early age.
USKN: How old are you and how long have you been racing karts?
CR: I’m eight years old, and I’ve been racing karts for three years.
USKN: Do you have any racing heroes or figures that you look up to?
CR: I really look up to Kyle Bush because he’s a great driver, but I also like Kasey Kane because I think he has a great attitude.
USKN: How did you first get into racing?
CR: I first got into racing sprint cars when my dad and my uncle built one in our garage. I took it out and practiced on it in my grampa’s front yard until I got good enough to go out and race it for the first time. Right now I race a factory QRC shortie chassis with a 5 horse Briggs and Stratton motor at Salem Fairgrounds winter indoor series, in the past I raced at Cottage Grove Speedway, Lebanon, and Medford. I couldn’t start racing karts until I was five, so on my fifth birthday I went out to Pat’s Acres and started driving.
USKN: How has your sprint car racing gone for you up until now? What are your biggest accomplishments so far?
CR: I was doing really good and won two championships at Salem Indoor Series as well as a second place and I have won a 1st place championship in Cottage Grove. My parents and I decided to take this last year off of dirt in order to do some more races on asphalt, but I am excited to start back on the dirt! It's a whole different style of racing; I like the controlled drifting and the circle track. I can't wait to start in a new class this year!
USKN: Will you continue to run both karts and cars in the future?
CR: I hope so, I love any kind of racing!
USKN: Tell me a little bit about the different series you have run throughout the 2010 season. How do they differ from each other?
CR: I’ve run a lot of different Rotax series, like Gatorz, I-5 Corridor, Gold Cup and the 2 Stroke Nationals. It was a lot of fun going down to run Gatorz, and I learned a lot running the 2 Stroke Nationals because there was a lot of competition. My favorite series was probably I-5 Corridor because it was new and exciting. I met a lot of good racers and got to travel and race new tracks. Pat’s and PGP are very fun but technical tracks to run on, and I’ve learned a lot throughout the season.
USKN: Do you feel that it benefits you as a driver to run at different tracks along the West Coast?
CR: I really enjoy running different tracks on the west coast because it helps teach me how to learn different tracks that I haven’t been to, and it forces me to learn about different breaking zones, and different track surfaces. Plus I like getting to travel to different tracks; it’s a lot of fun.
USKN: What is your biggest accomplishment or most memorable moment in racing so far?
CR: Winning the Gatorz Challenge of the Americas championship was deffinately my most memorable moment, it felt great to be up on the top of the podium along with my team mates from Kartel holding up that big check.
USKN: So I hear that your dad is the new Wildkart dealer for the Northwest. Is that cool or what?
CR: It’s very cool; we started racing Wildkarts and I liked the way they looked and handled and my dad liked how easy they were to work on. My dad liked the chasis so he wanted to bring it up to the Northwest. I think it’s really cool because we can support Wild Kart while racing at the same time.
USKN: Tell me about your plans for the 2011 race season. Any specific goals for you?
CR: We are going to stay local through the 2011 season, and are big races are going to be the 2 Stroke Nationals and the Rotax Nationals. There is a lot of good and older competition which I know will make me better. In 2010 I felt good about my races, but next year with more practice and track time I think I can win! The 2 cycle sprint grand nationals have different motor classes then we have ever driven before. Next year I will practice driving and tuning with the Comer 80 and HPV 1 motors and hope I can be in the front at the end.
USKN: Any people you would like to thank that have helped to contribute to your success so far?
CR: I’d like to give a big Thank You to Shark Shifter for giving me awesome parts, Mike Collins, BBR, LRR, and Kartel Motorsports.
USKN: Ok, cool. So Conner who is "LRR" ? I'm not familiar with the name.
CR: That’s my team "Little Rocket Racing"
USKN: Awesome ! Conner this has been a blast; please thank your mom and dad for letting you take the time to walk the track with USKN, and good luck to you and your racing career!
Be sure to check back with US Karting News to see who we Walk the Track with next time !
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