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Monday, May 27, 2024

Fast Freddy Perkins: DragChamp Racer Spotlight

Fast Freddy Perkins is in this week’s DragChamp Racer Spotlight. Learn all about this DragChamp Pro Member in his spotlight below!

HIGGANUM, CT – Frederick Perkins III, better known as Fast Freddy has been a prominent figure in the racing scene for decades. His journey into the world of drag racing began with his first-ever pass in 1987 at Lebanon Valley Dragway, where he piloted a 1972 Chevy Nova to a time of 18.03 seconds. Racing runs in the family for Freddy, as he credits his father, Frederick Perkins II, for introducing him to the sport. Tagging along with his father and brother to the track sparked a lifelong passion for racing that continues to fuel his drive for success on the strip.

Currently, Freddy competes in Top Sportsman and Top Dragster running the Division 1 NHRA and PDRA circuits.

Learn more about Freddy below!

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Racing History

His first “real race car”, named “Old Faithful,” is a 1969 Chevy Nova, which he acquired back in 2009. Equipped with a 632 bbc and a Speedtech nitrous plate, this heavy machine weighs 2,800lbs. Fred’s best pass with her stands at 7.47 seconds at 184mph. She has a home built chassis and is a Top Sportsman car. Fond memories flood Fred’s mind as he recalls his first Top Sportsman pass with “Old Faithful” at Atco Dragway in 2010, where he clocked 7.92 seconds at 175mph in the quarter-mile, an experience that left him feeling on top of the world.

The accolades with “Old Faithful” are numerous. Freddy secured his first victory with the Nova at the Epping Night of Fire in 2011. Then, in 2012, he clinched his first NHRA Top Sportsman Wally at Lebanon Valley. From there, “Old Faithful” earned him a D2 Top Sportsman Wally in 2014 at Orlando Speed World. Other triumphs include victories at the 2016 Epping Night of Fire, the 2017 Atco Open, and a runner-up finish in the 8.50 class in Orlando in 2018. However, in 2021, he faced a significant setback with a massive nitrous backfire at Cecil County Dragway during the final round of the D1 divisional. Freddy’s girlfriend, Karla, pushed him to get back in the car, and one round at a time, he claimed his First National Event Wally at Epping. During that same event, he was honored with the “Never Rest” Wally.

In 2012, Freddy expanded his racing arsenal with the acquisition of a 1957 Chevy Bel Air, another Top Sportsman car. Crafted by Garret, this powerhouse boasts a 791 cubic inch engine paired with a Speedtech nitrous system. His best ET in this car was a 6.62 in the quarter-mile. Freddy picked up his first win the the Bel Air at Atco Dragway. Since then, he has raced this car to multiple finals and wins including his most recent World Series of Pro Mod Top Sportsman vs Top Dragster win in 2024.

Photo by Straight Line Media

Despite having much success in the door car realm, Freddy felt the itch to dive into the world of Top Dragster racing. In 2016, he welcomed the addition of a 2016 Maddox 250 into his collection, featuring a 540 cubic inch Pro Charger bbc. Transitioning from door car to dragster posed its challenges, but Freddy’s determination never wavered. His perseverance paid off in 2021 when he clinched his first Top Dragster Wally at the Virginia D1 Divisional.

Outside of Racing

When Freddy isn’t behind the wheel of his race cars, he enjoys golfing, riding motorcycles, snowmobiles, and catching Red Sox games at Fenway Park.

Freddy’s favorite movie is ‘Days of Thunder’, and his favorite football team to cheer for is the Las Vegas Raiders. One thing people may not know about him is that he loves magic—real, tricky, can’t-figure-it-out magic tricks. Another lesser-known fact about Freddy is that he started out racing motorcycles at a young age.

When it comes to food, Freddy can’t get enough of what his girlfriend Karla whips up in the kitchen. She’s a wizard with a spatula, cooking everything from scratch. Just the idea of Karla’s cheesy pasta, homemade bread, pepper jams, steak, and potatoes gets Freddy’s mouth watering.

Accomplishments

  • 2011 T/S Epping Night of Fire – Nova
  • 2012 NHRA D1 Lebanon Valley Wally – Nova
  • 2013 Atco Night of Fire – Nova
  • 2014 NHRA D2 Orlando Wally T/S – Nova
  • 2015 NHRA D1 Epping T/S Wally – 57 Chevy
  • 2016 Epping Night of Fire – Nova
  • 2017 Atco National Open – Nova
  • 2018 8.50 Index Orlando – Nova
  • 2019 8.50 Index Runner-up – Nova
  • 2021 First NHRA D1 Wally in T/D – Dragster
  • 2022 First NHRA National Wally in T/S – Nova
  • 2022 “Never Rest” Award Wally
  • 2022 D1 NHRA “Person of the Year” Award
  • 2022 NHRA D1 “Crew Chief of the Year” Award – Karla Grella
  • 2022 Finished #11 in the world in Top Sportsman out of 334 racers
  • 2023 D1 NHRA Numidia Wally – Nova
  • 2023 Pro Comp Winner NEDW – Dragster
  • 2023 Yellowbullet Nationals Runner-up
  • 2024 World Series of Pro Mod Top Sportsman vs. Top Dragster Shootout Winner- 57 Chevy

Freddy’s Q&A

What’s on your bucket list, future goals, what do you hope to achieve?

My big dream is to race either or both Top Alcohol Dragster and Pro Mod. I love the thrill of switching mindsets between the two different classes. These classes feature the best of the best drivers in drag racing, showcasing their talent, driving abilities, speed, endurance, and skill! I feel I have what it takes.

What is your favorite race car, and why? 

My favorite race car, or as we call it, my ‘heart car,’ is my ’69 Chevy Nova. I will have that car forever. This is my first ‘real race car’; she’s the car my father got his T/S license in, and she turns on the win lights the most. I can lick my finger, feel the wind, and know what the car will do. I know her like I know my right arm.

Who has made the biggest impact on your racing success?

My dad, he is my namesake, the reason I race. I wouldn’t be the man I am today if it weren’t for my dad. He taught me about cars; he was a truck driver and into drag racing. He taught me sportsmanship, how to trust my gut, how to work hard, and have dreams and goals both on the race track and off.

One of my life goals was to build the camper setup I have, hand him the keys as he was a truck driver, and meet him at the races. Unfortunately, I lost my father in January 2020, the same year I retired, turned 50, and ordered my rig. 2020 was the hardest year of my life. My father was my best friend, a bond I can’t even describe. That’s how Karla stepped up to help me. She saw the struggle I was going through on and off the track.

Karla believed I needed to keep on going for my goals and dreams and decided she would do whatever it took to get me there. She didn’t know anything about race cars or drag racing, but she made true friendships with racers who have taught her about the cars, drag racing; she’s in the garage with me taking things apart and putting them back together. She says she just did and does what her family does, whatever they have to support a loved one. The win with the dragster in 2021 was our first real race with just the two of us. She “had a feeling” and asked me to trust what I’ve taught her. Since it was a double race, I figured worst case, I lose. And we won! I have been fortunate throughout my short race career to have friends take time off from their own lives through the years to help me get to where we are today.

Tell us what you do for a living? 

I have worked two jobs my entire life. I opened my own business in 1998 from the back of my VW Jetta, and now I have three onsite service trucks. My employee Joe, who has been with me for 24 years, and now his son is coming on board. I own Southern New England Fire Protection and service all of CT. While running my business, I needed health insurance and a retirement plan, so I applied for the State of Connecticut Department of Corrections job and retired as a lieutenant after 20 years of service in 2020. Now, I am fortunate enough to say my business is thriving, and when I’m not racing, I work full-time for myself.

How do you support your racing, side hustle, sponsor, partner, etc.?

Outside of the above, these past few years, Karla and I have been given sponsorships with Mickey Thompson Tires, Maxima Racing Oils, Tommy Tape, who is also our D1 Series sponsor for T/S and T/D. Karla handles social media and creates an honest, welcoming pit by making homemade fried dough at the races, just like her family does at home. This has really introduced us to true friendships.

What’s the hardest part of drag racing?

Losing a race because of mechanical failure is tough. You put your hard work, time, money, and sweat into this sport. You pay and trust who you’re ‘supposed’ to, and to not make it to a round because someone else didn’t do what you paid them to do, it sucks, you know? It messes with you mentally.

What’s your most embarrassing moment in a race car? 

Oh man, one time I lost on a BYE RUN! Haha. God rest Carl the starter, but he turned me off when I had a bye run. I had a few drops of oil, and he wouldn’t let me take the beam. Yup, lost the race. I didn’t even know you could lose on a bye run, lol.

What are you saying to yourself just before you stage the car?

I put my hand to my heart, say a personal prayer to my father, then I say Fred, “don’t suck!” 

What do you enjoy the most at the racetrack?

All of it. The laughs, competitions, busting chops with the different class racers friends I’ve made. The energy of a good crowd. All of it. 

Are you superstitious?  If so, what are they? 

Kinda. We have a few rules that seem to work for us. 1. We only speak positively. 2. Karla puts a positive quote at the beginning of each race, which sets the vibe. She has crystals and sage, whatever it is, it works. Avoiding negative energy is a huge thing for us though.

Do you love to win or hate to lose? 

Everyone loves to win, of course, but it’s the losing due to a stupid mistake we made, or second-guessing ourselves, that sucks. Our motto, I guess, is: We all have two choices at the end of the track, win or lose. The goal is to get down the track safely and go a few rounds!

Which are you better at the starting line or the finish line? 

Starting Line

What motivates you to continue racing?

My dream. Pro Mod or TAD

If money were no object, what would your racing operation look like?  Car, trailer, class, race schedule, etc.

I’ve built my dream RV and trailer set up. I would have a driver for the rig, fly to the races and race both, TAD and Pro Mod every chance I would!

How often do you use a practice tree? 

Never lol

What is your daily driver?

My 2022 Chevy box truck for work

Where do you spend the most time on the internet?

I’m 53 years old, I don’t know computers. I use Facebook. Karla does all the social media stuff. Perks of dating a younger chick. lol

What are you really good at?

Talking smack and busting my friends butts. I enjoy the commodore, the laughs. If you can dish it, you can take it!

Would you rather hang out with a crowd or have a quiet evening at home? 

A crowd.

Who would you like to thank, who helps you the most?

Again, I am thankful for all my friends who have helped me through the years. If it weren’t for them being there when I started, I wouldn’t be here now. Now it’s just Karla and me, running like maniacs between car classes. She calls us ‘organized chaos,’ which sums it up. I’m thankful also for the sponsors’ support and belief in us and for the real friendships with some racers that are true off the track.

For more DragChamp racer spotlights, click here.

Want to become a DragChamp Pro Member like Freddy? Check out the details here

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