Sponsorship is a huge part of racing, and one person who is deeply involved with Team Management is Joe Pillars. Most might assume that all that’s needed is to show up and do well and people will start sending stuff, but that’s only part of the equation. Sponsorship is part of manufacturers’ marketing plan and is taken very seriously. It exposes a brand, and sponsored drivers are ambassadors for companies making attitude and professionalism paramount. The end goal is to send a positive message to customers. Here’s our chat with Joe.
Hometown: Oregon City, OR
Home Tracks: Dave’s R/C Tracks & Premier R/C Raceway
RC Car Action:How long have you been racing?
Joe: I have been racing for 24 years.
How did you become a Team Manager?
I first started working at Team Orion in 2001. Travis Amezcua (currently Factory Team Driver for Team Durango) actually got me the job there. I started out building stock and modified motors for the first couple years. I continued to work my way up and was then offered the Team Manager job a few years later by my boss at the time Rick Hohwart. I have now been with Team Orion for 15 years.
What brands do you Team Manage for?
What are your job responsibilities?
My job responsibilities for Kyosho include: Managing our 100%, 65%, and 50% Race Teams. I book all the travel reservations for all the events throughout the year. I am involved in product testing. I help manage our social media outlets. I also write all the race reports.
My job responsibilities for Team Orion include: Managing our 100%, 65%, and 50% Race Teams. I also manage all the product needed by our All Star Travel Team Drivers that is listed in the next question. I am involved in product testing. I help manage our social media outlets. I also write all the race reports.
My job responsibilities for Mx Racing Fuels include: Building & Managing our 100% Travel Team Drivers. Arranging fuel shipments for each race. Manage our social media outlets. Writing the race reports, and soon building a USA Race Team with our very successful fuel.
Who are your big name drivers?
Kyosho America: Jared Tebo, Cody King, Matt Chambers, Tanner Day, & Chris Jarosz.
Team Orion USA: Ryan Cavalieri, Jared Tebo, Ryan Maifield, Dakotah Phend, Ty Tessmann, and Dustin Evans
Mx Racing Fuels: Jared Tebo, Ryan Cavalieri, and Spencer Rivkin
What’s expected of your sponsored drivers?
To be a great representative of our brand and to always try their best at every race. For me this is very important.
What’s a typical day like for you at an event?
It really depends on which type of race I’m at. The electric races are for sure the busiest as I am there to help all our Kyosho America and Team Orion drivers. We have pretty big teams for both brands. I also have been helping Jared Tebo for the past seven years at every race. Since Kyosho pays for all my travel, I am there to always help out Jared with whatever he needs first. However, I am always bouncing around from pit to pit making sure everyone is happy with their stuff and am always checking if they need anything. I also do all the social media updates during each day, which makes for a busy week.
How does someone get sponsored?
I accept racing resumes for all teams during the first two weeks of November. This then gives me the next two weeks to go through the hundreds of racing resumes I receive each year. The first thing I always look at with the racers resumes is if they are already using our products. This shows me they have confidence in the brand and they aren’t just looking for the best deal. I also look at their race results from the past two years. This helps show how much they are racing and their results.
What’s the hardest thing about being a Team Manager?
I would say the hardest part of my job is making sure all my team drivers get the much deserved attention they need. Also, making sure everyone has the products they need and in-time before the races.
What events do you go to?
I go to most of the big 1/10 Electric Off-Road & 1/8 Nitro & Electric Off-Road races.
Advice for someone thinking about getting sponsored?
The first step is to put in your time at the track. It’s important to practice and race as much as possible to start building good race results. I would also say it’s important to travel to a few big races a year to get your name out there. Lastly, it’s very important to have a good attitude at the track and always be willing to help others. Good race results are always great, but all the major manufacturers are also looking for a positive representative for their company.