Well the first race of 2015 has come and gone and it appears that our luck has taken a turn for the better. With Jimmy Cope back as crew chief and Shawn Reutimann spotting, 2015 got off to a good start with a fourth place finish at the Pete Orr Memorial at New Smyrna this weekend that turned into a second with two DQ’s ahead of us. We’ll takem any way we can get them. Jake drove a great race in a not too great handling car for the first 50+ laps and then things kicked in and started going our way on the track. Jimmy’s last fix gave us better handling and after a couple of good runs, a good finish. Next up, the Icebreaker 100 at Desoto in two weeks.
This weekend marks Jake's return to the track at New Smyrna for the 49th annual Florida Governor's Cup 200. It also marks the reunion of Jake and Jimmy Cope, Jake's first SLM crew chief. Jake says that Jimmy has a great car prepared and he can't wait to get to the track. The schedule for the weekend is Thursday and Friday practice, Saturday evening qualifying and racing Sunday at 2PM. All the big names in the sport are here as usual and it should be an exciting weekend. Come out and support Jake and the team.
Jake had an exciting night Saturday at Auburndale Speedway’s 100 lap Super Late Model feature race. After qualifying third and starting sixth after the inversion, he moved up to second place in a span of 25 laps. With 30 laps remaining, he moved into the lead on a restart but a caution was thrown and he was sent to the rear of the field for jumping the restart. Not to be deterred, he aggressively sped to the front of the pack, finishing in second place. Jake said that “he thought he had the restart right, but you can’t argue with the track officials.” Even though he thought he could have won, he was satisfied with a very good finish against a quality field. The JPM team's next race is in two weeks at Showtime Speedway in Pinellas Park. See you all there.
Saturday night at Showtime was a very eventful night, not only from a racing point of view but also for the good things that come with racing celebrity. With the cooperation of Robert Yoho, owner of Showtime, Jake was able to entertain a group of youngsters from the Children’s Home Society of Florida once again. Jake spent about a half hour with the kids and then gave them a huge thrill by posting the winning time in his qualifying heat and starting third overall for the feature. The main event was scheduled for 50 laps, but rain came on during a red flag for an accident on the 26th lap leaving Jake with a 4th place finish for the evening. Before the feature, Yoho brought Jake to the front stretch and they talked about his work with the CHS and how rewarding it is to bring them to the races. This conversation resulted in a rousing applause from the nearly 5,000 fans, many of which found someone new to cheer for. We’re aback at Showtime for the big 103 lap feature on August 30th and looking forward to seeing all our new and old fans there.
Snake bit once again. Lead the first few laps and something happened electrically. We suspect the ignition box. We're done for the night. Thanks to all of our fans and supporters for sticking with us for what has been a very tough season. Next race for the team will be the Clyde Hart Memorial at New Smyrna Speedway on the 3rd of July.
After a very long weekend, we’re finally back on Florida soil. We had carburetor issues on Friday night at Five Flags in Pensacola and a brand new transmission fail on Saturday in Mobile. With only 20 laps of practice at a track we had never been to before, Jake did an awesome job. We had our ups and downs but we ended on a very high note with a very solid 8th place finish against arguable the toughest late model racers in the country at Mobile. We could not be happier with the effort of the entire team. Back to the dirt next weekend!
In light of the many tragedies involving loss of life and serious injury (including the recent fatal accident at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala) which have occurred at racetracks around the country, Jake Perkins a Junior at Belleview High School In Belleview, Florida and a Super Late Model race car driver, and his team, have taken the initiative to start a not for profit corporation which will help educate drivers and promote safety at race tracks around the country. It is Perkins’ hope that through the efforts of this corporation, many of these tragic occurrences will be eliminated. The effort will involve videos, written materials and other media to present the subject matter. Perkins, who has been racing since he was eight, and driving Super Late Models since he was 14, says that proper head and neck restraints and proper seat restraints should be required of all drivers and cars. It is the intent to inform drivers of proper safety measures, and getting race tracks around the country to subscribe to minimum safety standards for cars and drivers, especially those who are just starting in racing.
The team overcame a lot of adversity this week, worked hard on a car that wasn't even close to ready and we came home with a very solid 7th place finish after starting 13th. A mid race trip to the pits and a quick correction made the car a lot more competitive and Jake was able to move up quickly. Thanks to all the guys on the team. We take a week off then we head to Pensacola for round 1 of the Blizzard Series. Thanks again for all of your continued support.
Last Saturday at New Smyrna showed us the tough side of racing and the great side of short track togetherness. On the first lap of practice, we broke a right front spring which put us into the wall. That was the tough side. Having a car with severe damage, we questioned if we could get it back together by race time. What our guys did, coupled with the help of two other teams, got us back on the track in time for the race. Although we started dead last, 100 laps later, we were 16th. One huge thanks to everyone who helped get us back on the track for this race. It was an awesome effort, thank you all very much.
Jake will be appearing at his primary charity's summer event, THE DUCK DERBY at Westside Park in Gainesville on April 13th from 1pm to 4pm. This event is important to CHS and a lot of fun. Come spend time with Jake and the kids.