Cruz Skinner – Wise Beyond his Years…
Michelle Hoskin, February 9th, 2015
This week we are profiling another GREAT young racer, Cruz Skinner. Cruz is the driver of the No.11 Skinner Motorsports Crate Late Model Dirt Car. He has been racing since the tender age of 5, now heading to a whopping age 13, just where will Cruz end up by the time he reaches 18? Only time will tell.
Cruz’s 1st win at the Talladega Short Track, 2014
Michelle Hoskin: At what age did you start racing?
Cruz Skinner: I started racing Go-Karts when I was five.
M: Your greatest achievement so far?
Cruz: My First win in a Crate Late Model, June 7, 2014 at the age of 12.
M: Your favorite track to race at?
Cruz: I like many different tracks. I like Talladega Short Track (Talladega, AL) & Boyd’s Speedway (Ringgold, GA) in the summer time and Magnolia Speedway (Columbus, MS) in the winter time.
Cruz with Ahanna Parkhurst, Boyd’s Speedway, January 2015
M: Your least favorite track?
Cruz: I do not have a least favorite track. I just LOVE to race anywhere!
M: Your ‘model/idol’ in racing?
Cruz: Ronnie Johnson because he has taken me under his wing and helped me out a lot. I admire his patience on the track too.
NOTE: Ronnie Johnson is a racing legend who has reached great heights on dirt surfaces all over east Tennessee and the United States. The Chattanooga driver’s achievements include hundreds of feature wins, two Dirt Track World Championship victories and multiple series championships. All of those accomplishments led to his induction into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame in 2004. (1)
M: Does anyone else in your family race?
Cruz: My Dad, Greg Skinner (Our Team Mgr.) raced from 1981 to 1999. He raced a Dirt Late Model Car.
NOTE: Greg Skinner used to race against 2004 National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame inductee Ronnie Johnson. Johnson saw the talent in Cruz Skinner from an early age and has made a concerted effort to serve as a mentor figure. (2)
M: What team/sponsors are you under?
Cruz: My Team is Skinner Motorsports and My Partners (Sponsors) are Skinner Body Shop, Skinner Motors, Huddle House and NAPA Auto Parts of Alexandria, AL.
Cruz’s #11, Boyd’s Speedway
M: Ever been in a wreck and were you scared?
Cruz: I flipped at East Alabama Motor Speedway in Phenix City, AL last season on Nov. 2, 2014. I barrel rolled 3 times, then it stopped up on its nose, then flipped twice, end over end, then it landed on all four tires. I was not scared; it just knocked the breath out of me. When I got out of the car, I asked my Dad if we could go get the other car so I can finish racing that day! I like to thank Chip Vineyard at CVR for building an awesome Chassis that protected me during that time!
M: What’s it like being so young and having fans?
Cruz: It makes me appreciate what I have and it makes me feel fortunate.
M: How many races a season?
Cruz: This past season my team and I raced around 45 races.
M: Your thoughts on the Chase point system in NASCAR?
Cruz: I think it makes racing during the Chase much more interesting.
M: Your thoughts on the fines doled out last season for fighting?
Cruz: I really don’t understand it. Is it a certain amount of money per punch or what?
M: Your family?
Cruz: My Family is 110% behind me in my racing career.
M: How is school going?
Cruz: I love my School. I go to Oxford Middle School. I am in the 8th Grade, and my favorite subject is Math!
M: What message would you give other young drivers just starting out?
Cruz: Stay patient and just work your way through the ranks. Also listen to your Dad or whoever teaches you and listen during School.
M: If you could race one-on-one with ANY racer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Cruz: Dale Earnhardt Sr. because I thought his driving style was interesting and it would be fun to race against that driving style.
M: Any changes coming up in 2015 you would like to share?
Cruz: In 2015, my team and I will be racing the NeSmith Weekly Racing Series (Crate Late Model 604) and in The NeSmith Touring Series (Super Late Model 525).
NOTE: The NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series features a $20,000 National point fund that pays $10,000 to the National Champion. (3)
Cruz’s award from NeSmith Awards Banquet, 2015
M: Favorite food?
Cruz: All Meat Pizza
M: Favorite music?
Cruz: Country Music
M: Your future in racing? Where would you like to be in say in 5 or 10 years?
Cruz: I would like to race in NASCAR (Sprint Cup, XFINITY Series, Camping World, and K&N Series) or ARCA one day, But if not, I would like to be successful in what-ever I race in! In 5 Years I would like to be in NASCAR or ARCA. IN 10 YEARS winning many races, be successful and hopefully a Championship. But be part of a Team with good product, good equipment and good representation in what-ever the race is!