BAKERSFIELD, CA- Following a top-15 performance in his K&N Pro Series West debut at All American Speedway in Roseville, CA two weeks ago, teenager Blaine Perkins is eager to continue his ascension up the racing ladder as his team prepares for 2016 in the coming months.
“I like to feel as though our goal all season has been to test ourselves,” explains Perkins when asked about his most recent outing. “Our K&N debut was, without question, the toughest start we’ve had all year, just because of the sheer depth of talent we were racing with. But, it definitely wasn’t the first time we’ve felt like we were in the deep water”
The first-generation competitor makes sure to credit the decorated NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers he competed with week-in and week-out in Late Model action at Irwindale Speedway for preparing him to take on the challenge of the lauded K&N West series roster.
“The Late Model guys we race with are, in my opinion, some of the very best weekly guys in the country,” insists Perkins. “There’s a ton of talent out here on the West Coast that gets overlooked. But I think these teams would give just about anyone a pretty stiff test”
“A lot of people are sleeping on the guys out West – but all you need to do is line up beside them to learn just how tough it is to run with them”
Although the much-heavier K&N West series cars provided an initial challenge for Perkins, the Late Model ace explains that a late-September test session with Bill McAnally Racing helped the Bakersfield, CA native acclimate himself to his surroundings during his 13th place finish at All American Speedway.
“I picked so much up from testing with BMR last month that it made our debut smoother than i ever could have imagined it being,” smiles Perkins.
“These cars are night-and-day different from our Late Model, but thanks to the coaching of everyone at BMR, I was able to settle in and get comfortable almost right away”
“The [K&N] cars are so much heavier than a Late Model – and you feel it right away,” continues the teenager. “I mean, you have to really adjust your whole driving style to make them work. It was a challenge that I really appreciated. Versatility comes in handy – it was a valuable lesson”
After months of ‘points racing’ at Irwindale, Perkins notes just how much different his K&N Pro Series appearance felt by comparison.
“All season long we’ve been ‘big picture’ racing at Irwindale. Doing our best to stay as consistent as possible because we were racing for points,” says Perkins. “It was a lot different to just live in the moment at Roseville.
“Those 150-laps were all that mattered that day – because if we didn’t learn what we needed to, or didn’t make a positive impression, there was a chance we wouldn’t get another 150-laps”
Looking ahead to the 2016 season, Perkins admits his team’s plans have yet to be set in stone. However, as long as he’s able to find a way to continue to improve upon his craft, it’s clear Perkins will be more than just content with his situation.
“I just want to stay active,” explains the well-spoken up-and-comer. “In anything. It doesn’t matter what kind of car it is, or what speedway we’re going to, I just want to stay behind the wheel”
“If we end up in a K&N ride next year, that would be absolutely amazing. If we’re in a Modified, that would be amazing too. If we’re back in a Late Model I would have no problem with that at all. As long as I get to keep racing and keep competing, I’m going to be the happiest guy in the room”
“I think there’s a lesson in any start you make in this sport,” continues Perkins. “Wether you win the race or have a rough day, you’re going to learn something. I mean, if you’re paying attention, you can learn just as much from failure as you can from triumph. I’m hoping to have a long career ahead of me – so if I can keep learning, no matter what the outcome is, it’s hard to ask for anything more.”
Perkins’ 2015 season is fueled by Four Star Fruit, KMC Wheels and Campbell Motorsports.
Fans can stay up to date on Blaine’s busy schedule by visiting the official Blaine Perkins Racing page on Facebook.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)