Jacob Perry’s racing career has literally grown up on the grounds of Thompson Speedway.
From being a child watching his father Dennis compete, there to getting the chance in youth racing in a Quarter Midget at the Little T Speedway.
This weekend the Pawcatuck 15-year old gets the chance to do what he’s been waiting years to try.
Perry will make his debut on the .625-mile high banks of Thompson Speedway running in Sunday’s 15-lap Mini Stock feature as part of Icebreaker weekend.
“It really means a lot because that’s where I grew up watching my dad race,” Perry said. “So it’s a pretty big deal to be able to go up there and go race where my dad used to race all the time. That really means a lot. And I also grew up racing at the Little T Speedway (Quarter Midget track), so being able to finally get up on the big track is pretty cool.”
Perry turned laps on the track for the first time Sunday during a test.
“At first it was a little nerve-wracking because I thought I might blow up because that thing goes pretty quick up there, but we got it down after a few laps and we were doing pretty good up there,” Perry said.
After a highly successful rookie year in the Mini Stock division at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in 2016, where he had three victories, Perry had big plans for the season. He was ready to run for a championship in the Mini Stock at Waterford and also was prepared to make his debut in the tracks SK Modified division as a part-timer. Those plans are now in flux with the questions concerning the future of the Speedbowl.
“I’m honestly quite nervous, but yet I’ve still got that glimmer of hope inside me,” Perry said. “The Bowl has been through multiple times that are very similar to this and it’s pulled through before. So I’ve still got that hope that the Bowl is going to come back. That’s my home track. That’s my favorite place to race. Hopefully we’ll be able to go back and win some more this year.”
Even before turning a lap of competition this year, Perry already got to celebrate. Earlier this week he was named of the 10 runner-ups in Search For A Champion contest sponsored by Champion Spark Plugs. Perry earned $5000 for being one of the runner-ups and another $1,000 for making the final round of voting. Brett Gonyaw of Vernon, who compete in the SK Light Modified division at the Speedbowl last year, was also one of the 10-runner ups in the contest.
“I’m extremely proud of all my fans,” Perry said. “I can’t thank them enough for voting every single day. It really means a lot. I can’t thank them enough.”