After a stellar 2015 campaign spent traversing the Late Model landscape at Irwindale Speedway (CA), first-generation competitor Blaine Perkins will make his first career K&N Pro Series West appearance this Saturday at Roseville, CA’s All American Speedway during the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150.
“I can’t wait to make our K&N [West Series] debut,” beams a visibly excited Perkins. “There’s so much talent out here on the west coast right now that it feels like the entire country is watching. We’ve been grinding with our Late Model program all season long just hoping that an opportunity like this would come along. Looking down the entry list and seeing my name next to some of the best drivers in the country still gives me butterflies. I’ve been counting down the seconds until this weekend”
The 15-year old finished third in Irwindale Speedway Late Model standings this season, and will enter Saturday’s event eager for his first career race with Bill McAnally Racing.
“The number one thing I’m going to have to remember is to let the car come to me,” offers the well-spoken high-school student. “When we practiced with BMR earlier this month, I couldn’t believe how much different the car felt.
“It’s a lot heavier than our Late Model and it took a few laps to find the limits of the car,” explains Perkins. “But, once we put some laps under our belt, I was able to develop my rhythm and it felt like a normal Saturday at Irwindale. That’s what I’m hoping to do at Roseville. My focus is to get comfortable with my equipment, not push the envelope early, and do everything in my power to make sure we have enough left to be there at the end."
Perkins will work with Crew Chief Duane Knorr in the 150-lap contest, and sees the race as an ideal way of continuing his development behind the wheel of a full-bodied stock car.
“Bill McAnally and his team are nothing short of legendary,” says Perkins. “From the moment that trailer door swings down, I’m going to be in that pit area with my eyes and ears wide open. These guys have been everywhere and seen everything – and I can only imagine what I can learn from them.
“This is such an amazing chance, and all that matters to me is that I not take it for granted,” emphasizes the Bakersfield, CA native. “This weekend is what my parents and my team have been preparing me for all season long.”
And although competing alongside some of the sport’s elite-level rising talent could be seen as intimidating to some, Perkins insists the opportunity serves as an ideal chance to continue carving out a name for himself in a rapidly intensifying west coast landscape.
“Running with this level of competition is the only thing that makes you better as a driver,” shrugs Perkins. “I want to continue growing as a competitor, and this is just the next step in all of this. A lot of the drivers that we’re up against this weekend have a lot more seat time than I do. With that being said, all I can do is listen and learn from the people around me, give every ounce of effort that I have in me and let the chips fall where they may. No matter what the result is – this weekend will be one of the biggest moments of my life.”
-By Spencer Lewis, Speed51.com West Coast Correspondent