A Conversation With…Marissa Odgers, Eastwood Industries

When she is not powder coating at Eastwood, Odgers is hell on wheels in her racecar.

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When she is not powder coating parts at Scott Eastwood’s facility, Eastwood Industries, Marissa Odgers is hell on wheels in her racecar, racing at Chowchilla Speedway in Merced, California. The race season runs March through October, and in November they finish the season in Las Vegas at a large race, the Duel in the Desert, which attracts hundreds of racers from all over the U.S.

 

PF: At what age did you start racing, and what inspired you to get into the sport?

MO: I started racing when I was 14. I started in the beginner’s class, the four-cylinder division. My first car was a pink and green Honda Prelude. My dad is the whole reason I am even racing. He has been racing since 1995. I’ve been around racing my entire life, and it is a huge part of my life. Racing is everything to me. Every race we go to it is always my dad, my boyfriend Robert and myself.

 

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PF: How much time do you spend each week working on your car, as well as racing?

MO: We usually spend about three hours per week getting the car ready. But it mostly depends on the previous race and how much damage happened to the car.

 

PF: How did you get involved in the powder coating business at Eastwood Industries, and how do you like it?

MO: I started at Eastwood Industries just over a year ago. My boss, Scott Eastwood, sponsors my racing. Last year I was looking for another job, and Scott needed help at his shop, so he hired me to be his powder coater. I really enjoy powder coating; you’re always getting new projects and they are never the same. I’ve always had a passion for working on cars and painting, so working at Eastwood Industries is a good fit for me. My favorite thing to powder coat is anything that is for my racecar or my dad’s racecar.

 

PF: Your work at the powder coating shop has allowed you to trick out your racecar with some unusual colors. How often do you change it up?

MO: I’ve always liked bright, neon colors and pink. Just before I started working for Scott, he powder coated the chassis of my sport mod a hot pink that also had sparkle in it. Just about everything that unbolts from my car is powder coated pink, or flat black. I’ve always had pink on my racecars, and I’m sure I always will.

 

PF: Do you want to make racing a career?

MO: It would be really nice to make racing a career. My dad and I are just a low-budget racing team. We share all of our spare parts, and he is actually racing my old car, which I ran for about four and a half seasons. I’m running his old car too, but one of our few sponsors, Stone Motorsports, helped us to cut and rebuild that car into a brand new car. If I ever had the chance to somehow make racing a career, I would in a heartbeat. One of these days when I have more sponsors, I would love to travel back east and race three or more times a week.

 

PF: What’s the best piece of advice you were given, and who gave it to you?

MO: The best piece of advice I have been given came from my dad. He’s always been supportive of everything I do. He always tells me to never give up and always do my best. He is my best friend and is always there to give me advice whenever I need it. He is always at my races, right there in the pits to answer any questions I have about racing that night. 

 

PF: What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?

MO: The first job I had was at a hotel as a housekeeper and the breakfast attendant. Growing up in a small country town doesn’t leave very many jobs for teenagers.

It was a job that I always told myself I would never have, but ended up being my first real job. I actually learned a lot from it. I learned how to not be so shy around people, since you are always around new people. I also learned I’m good with customer service. And you have to work hard for what you want.

Originally published in the August 2015 issue.