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Sammamish grad on drive to Indy Car glory | Reporter Q and A
Four years ago, Javier Cantu-Lucero was a student at Sammamish High School with rather typical athletic experience.
Along with being part of the Running Start program at Bellevue College, Cantu-Lucero played baseball and football for the Totems in addition to his javelin duties on the track and field team.
That all changed when he began driving and eventually racing karts at K1 Speed in Overlake.
Cantu-Lucero began racing with the Porsche Club of the Northwest and was one of only 33 finalists from around the country to take part in the Skip Barber Racing School Indy Car Academy, which has produced a number of current pros including Michael Andretti and Helio Castroneves.
He took some time with the Reporter to talk about his start in driving, avoiding traffic citations and the Indy 500.
BELLEVUE REPORTER: How did you first become interested in racing?
JAVIER CANTU-LUCERO: I started right here. I was in the Wendy's parking lot and racing just fascinated me. I always wanted to try motor sports. I came in here with my step-dad and just fell in love with in instantly. I started coming three or four times per week and when I turned 18 I started getting into more automotive stuff. From there, I just kept progressing.
REPORTER: Describe the feeling when you get behind the wheel.
CANTU-LUCERO: It's almost euphoric. You feel like you're meant to be there. It's meditative.
REPORTER: Medatating at 100-plus miles per hour?
CANTU-LUCERO: The speed, you don't really think about it while you're going 126 MPH wheel-to-wheel with someone. I try to remain consistent without making a mistake. The speed will come. It is like weight lifting, you're not going to lift 500 pounds right away. Once you do it consistently and do it right, it will come naturally.
REPORTER: Crashes and driver fights are two of the biggest attractions in racing. Have you ever had to get feisty with someone on the track?
CANTU-LUCERO: The biggest thing I've learned through racing is the etiquette of racing and life. I never want to burn bridges and always want to treat people with respect, that is something my mom always taught me. I try to be friendly with everybody.
REPORTER: What do you drive when you're not on the track?
CANTU-LUCERO: I drive a Porsche 944. It's a completely different mindset from the road or the track. On the track, I'm there to take care of business. On the road, I want to obey the laws and still get where I need to go.
REPORTER: How is your driving record?
CANTU-LUCERO: I've had one or two speeding tickets. But I've gotten those taken care of…for the most part.
REPORTER: Where do you want to go with racing?
CANTU-LUCERO: My goal is to win the regional championship and if I can get my name established up here, there are a lot of good contacts. My long term vision is within six years, be in the Indy 500 and win an Indy Car championship. Just to go there would be a euphoric feeling in itself. That would be a dream right there.