Category Archives: Follow A Dream Racing

Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team ends up just a split-second away from victory at Maple Grove

Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team ends up just a split-second away from victory at Maple Grove

MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts (September 26, 2017) – The Permatex/Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car team ended its season on a high note, finishing runner-up in this past weekend’s Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pennsylvania. Continue reading Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team ends up just a split-second away from victory at Maple Grove

Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team looks forward to return to Maple Grove Raceway, the track that changed team owner Jay Blake’s life

Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team looks forward to return to Maple Grove Raceway, the track that changed team owner Jay Blake’s life

MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts (September 19, 2017) – The Permatex/Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car team had a rough outing at this past weekend’s NHRA Carolina Nationals in suburban Charlotte, N.C.

The Jay Blake-owned team reached the quarterfinals but bowed out when the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro spun the tires at the starting line and was never able to recover.

“The whole team did a great job, we just were fighting a little consistency,” Blake said. “But it’s coming around and we feel good about it.

“We need some real good runs and that last run (at Charlotte), while we’re not exactly positive of what the issue was, we live to fight another day.”

But there were good things that came out of the Charlotte race, among them a very uplifting speaking engagement for Blake at the headquarters of legendary NASCAR organization Hendrick Motorsports on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

Blake imparted a prophetic and inspirational message to a crowd of nearly 150 HMS employees as part of a weekly Bible study at the organization’s main campus, just two blocks from both zMAX Dragway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“That was a great day,” Blake said. “(HMS chaplain) Donnie Floyd and Sandy took great care of us. We had a great visit and Bill McKnight from Clevite was with us.”

With Charlotte in the Follow A Dream team’s rearview mirror, now it’s on to one of the most meaningful places in Blake’s life, Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pa., for this weekend’s Dodge NHRA Nationals.

It was 19 years ago while sitting in the grandstands at Maple Grove that Blake, who had lost his sight a year earlier in a tragic industrial accident, got the inspiration to decide and follow his own dream.

That was the seed that took root to become the hugely successful Follow A Dream race team and its inspirational motivational program.

“Maple Grove is just a special place,” Blake said. “There’s great people, it’s a great track, it always brings back great memories of deciding to start Follow A Dream, there’s just so many things wrapped into it.”

As a racer, Blake and his team now return to Maple Grove for the 18th straight year to once again challenge the quarter-mile for what he hopes will lead the team to break through for its first-ever win there.

“It’s always fun and always great to come back and race at Maple Grove,” Blake said. “We’ve got the car and the team to do it.”

To illustrate how important Maple Grove is to him both on and off the track, Blake was asked what his life would be like today if it wasn’t for that fateful day at Maple Grove where Follow A Dream began as an idea and soon germinated into an incredible story of success, overcoming adversity and being an inspiration to hundreds of thousands that have served as witness to its message.

“Nobody’s ever asked me that question,” Blake said. “Everybody always asks ‘What if you never had your accident?’ I have no idea what I’d be doing today if it wasn’t for my accident and starting Follow A Dream.

“I just tell people it all happened this way. You can’t change it. That was an amazing weekend that started so many amazing things that have happened over the years since then. Maple Grove is just awesome.”

And to see how Follow A Dream has grown and become such a success both on and off the track, Blake is humbled and honored that so many have not only supported and cheered over the years for his team, like primary sponsor Permatex as well as all of the team’s associate sponsors, but that FAD has made an impact on so many people’s lives.

“I never would have imagined 19 years ago that Follow A Dream would become as big as it has become,” Blake said. “We dreamed of winning one race. Now we dream of winning more races and championships.

“The biggest thing is the people that we’ve had an opportunity to inspire and change and really make a difference, that’s been just an amazing opportunity.

“As weird as this may sound, things happen the way they’re supposed to happen. I really believe that, just the way it’s all happened and has come together, I am blessed to do what I do. It’s just awesome.”

While the Follow A Dream car has never won at Maple Grove, Blake is hoping that changes this weekend once and for all.

“The ultimate goal is to win and that’s the hard part,” Blake said. “You want this one so bad. The reality is that it doesn’t matter how much you want it, you have to earn it.

“You just keep trying, never give up, never quit. What’s all the more surprising is that when you look at the (Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series East Region), the only track we’ve never won at is Maple Grove.

“That’s an incredible thing, an incredible accomplishment – and yet it’s baffling that it’s true. Some day, we’ll win Maple Grove because we’ll never stop trying! It will be the ultimate win for us.”

While Maple Grove is slated to be the final race of the season for the FAD team, a strong finish there could potentially lead to some additional NHRA races upcoming, Blake said.

“If we win this one, we may try and go west (for season-ending NHRA national events at places like Texas Motorplex, The Strip at Las Vegas and the season finale at Auto Club Raceway).

Entering this weekend, Follow A Dream driver Phil Burkart Jr. has clinched the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series’ East Region championship and is No. 6 in the LODRS National standings, just 17 points out of the top-five.

“If Maple Grove is our last race of the year, we’re going to go out and do what we do every race: do our best and go for the win,” Blake said. “We want to go out on as high a note as we can, and you can’t go out on a higher note than with a win.”

Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team has rough outing at Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis

Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team has rough outing at Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis

MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts (September 5, 2017) – The Permatex/Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car team saw its recent run of success come to an end this past weekend at the NHRA Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in suburban Indianapolis. Continue reading Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team has rough outing at Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis

Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team continues strong recent run, reaches semifinals at Richmond

Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team continues strong recent run, reaches semifinals at Richmond

MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts (August 29, 2017) – The Permatex/Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car team continued its recent strong run, reaching the semifinals of this past weekend’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Virginia Motorsports Park.

The race was rescheduled from a rained-out event in April.

In its three events prior to Virginia, the Follow A Dream team won races at New Jersey’s Atco Dragway and the team’s home track, New England Dragway in Epping, New Hampshire, and finished runner-up at Cecil County Raceway in Maryland.

Team owner Jay Blake was hoping for a third win at VMP, but their car suffered unexpected adversity in its first round of eliminations, prompting a change of transmissions.

“We put a complete new long-block in the car prior to Virginia so we’d have a very dependable running motor on the bench for Indianapolis (the upcoming U.S. Nationals this weekend) if we had any issues,” Blake said.

“We had one pass to test the track, set up the car, test the new motor we put in and that the fuel system would be what we hoped it would be.

“We ran a 5.66 second pass and it showed it had great potential. Plus, the track was in good shape. But in the first round of eliminations, we had a bye run. The car broke the rear end right as it left the starting line.

“The team thrashed and we serviced the whole car and swapped rear ends and set it up for the next run. We got put in the left lane, which was the less-desirable lane, and basically the car spun the tires.

“We hadn’t spun the tires for several races. We never had a real good run on the track at Richmond; there was a bunch of new stuff on it and it just wasn’t our day.”

With a new trans in place, the team went back on-track and advanced to the semifinals.

However, it could not go any further when the Permatex-sponsored 2016 Chevrolet Camaro spun its tires at the starting line in its semifinal run against eventual event winner Kris Hool.

“It wasn’t what we were planning on,” Blake said.

Now, the team travels for the biggest race every season on the National Hot Rod Association national event schedule: this weekend’s (Aug. 30-Sept. 4) Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in suburban Indianapolis.

“We were fortunate in a way to get the bugs out of the way at Richmond before we get to Indy,” Blake said. “It looks like it was a parts failure. The rear end only had about 15 passes on it. But now it’s on to Indy. It’s back to business as usual. You’ve just got to go and race it.”

Blake will have two qualifying rounds on Friday and Saturday, while there are two rounds of eliminations on Sunday and the semifinal and final round of eliminations on Monday.

Even with the semifinal loss at VMP, Follow A Dream driver Phil Burkart Jr. remains seventh (402 points) in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series’ AA/FC national standings, one point out of sixth and 47 points out of fifth.

A strong run at Indianapolis could help Burkart come close to clinching the Lucas Oil East Region championship. He heads to Indy with a commanding 160-point lead over the next closest driver.

The U.S. Nationals have not been the most hospitable host to the FAD team over the years. In more than 15 starts there, the team has only reached the semifinals once.

Blake hopes to break that string of bad luck of early first round and quarterfinal exits this weekend, especially in light of its two recent wins and runner-up finish in its three races prior to VMP.

“Indy’s never been a great race for us, but like everything else, you have to put yesterday in the mirror and go forward,” Blake said. “We’ll go to Indy with what we’ve learned, hopefully the weather will be good and the track conditions will also be good, and we’ll get after it.”

Prior to the team’s race at VMP, Blake visited and gave an inspiring speech to injured military troops at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

“That was a great visit there,” Blake said.

It was the fifth time Blake has spoken at the nation’s preeminent facility for treating soldiers injured in the line of duty.

The Follow A Dream team has been a staunch supporter of our nation’s military for more than a decade.

To illustrate that, the rear of the FAD Chevrolet Camaro carries dozens of signatures of military members who’ve visited with the team over the years.

The car also carries this saying on its rear window: “Free to dream, thanks to our troops.”

 

Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team barely misses making it three wins in a row

Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team barely misses making it three wins in a row

MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts (August 22, 2017) – The Permatex/ Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car team continued its roll this past weekend, just barely missing a third straight victory.

The team finished runner-up in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series’ Northeast Division’s event at Cecil County Dragway in Maryland. Continue reading Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team barely misses making it three wins in a row

Permatex/ Follow A Dream TA/FC team earns second win of season in a row at Atco Dragway

Permatex/ Follow A Dream TA/FC team earns second win of season in a row at Atco Dragway

MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts (August 9, 2017) – The Permatex/ Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car team is definitely on a roll, capturing its second straight win of the season this past weekend.

After winning two weeks ago at their New England Dragway home track in Epping, New Hampshire, the Jay Blake-owned Permatex/ Follow A Dream car made it two in a row this past weekend, capturing its second straight Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series regional event at Atco (New Jersey) Dragway.

“We have a ton to be proud of,” Blake said. “The one word that best describes what we’ve done in the last two races is ‘awesome.’ It really is truly awesome what we’ve accomplished.” Continue reading Permatex/ Follow A Dream TA/FC team earns second win of season in a row at Atco Dragway

Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team earns first win of 2017 at New Hampshire

Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team earns first win of 2017 at New Hampshire

MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts (July 25, 2017) – For the last several races, the Permatex/Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car has been knocking on the door of success.

This past weekend, the team finally kicked that door down, winning the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series regional event at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H. Continue reading Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team earns first win of 2017 at New Hampshire

Permatex TAFC/Follow A Dream team reaches semifinals at Norwalk

Permatex TAFC/Follow A Dream team reaches semifinals at Norwalk

MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts (May 27, 2017) – The Permatex Top Alcohol Funny Car/ Follow A Dream reaped a strong semifinal finish at this past weekend’s Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.
With rain on Friday shortening the number of qualifying efforts from three to two, driver Phil Burkart qualified ninth for the event. Continue reading Permatex TAFC/Follow A Dream team reaches semifinals at Norwalk

Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team finishes runner-up at Maple Grove

Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team finishes runner-up at Maple Grove

MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts (May 30, 2017) – The Permatex/ Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car team bounced back from several qualifying issues to finish runner-up in this past weekend’s Showdown at Sundown.

The event, held at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pennsylvania, was a NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Northeast Division meet. The Follow A Dream team struggled during its three qualifying runs, according to team owner Jay Blake.

“Qualifying was horrible and the eliminations went well,” Blake said. “The first qualifying pass the car was bouncing a bunch and actually shot Phil (driver Phil Burkart) into the left lane, right in front of Dan Pomponio, who we were qualifying against. There was no contact, but that was pretty scary. Continue reading Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team finishes runner-up at Maple Grove

Permatex /Follow A Dream TA/FC team’s Charlotte hopes end early

Permatex /Follow A Dream TA/FC team’s Charlotte hopes end early

MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts (May 2, 2017) – The Permatex/Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car team went into this past weekend’s NHRA 4-Wide Nationals with high hopes and expectations.It left with disappointment and frustration.

After driver Phil Burkart qualified No. 8 in the national event, he had a strong run in the first round of eliminations (5.610 seconds at 265.33 mph), losing to Kris Hool (5.569 seconds at 261.72 mph). And just like that, the Jay Blake-owned Follow A Dream team’s hope of a potential win in the national event was over.

“When you lose in the first round, it stinks,” Blake said. “We just couldn’t find the right setup for the whole weekend. The conditions were hot and humid, compared to Gainesville (March 16-19), where the air was great and you could make power very easily.”We just couldn’t find the right combination to be where we wanted to be.” Continue reading Permatex /Follow A Dream TA/FC team’s Charlotte hopes end early

Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC team reaches Gatornationals quarterfinals, shows promise going forward

Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC team reaches Gatornationals quarterfinals, shows promise going forward

MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts (March 23, 2017) – The Follow A Dream/Permatex Top Alcohol Funny Car may not have won this past weekend’s Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, but it made history nonetheless.

While the team fell short of victory lane, losing in the quarterfinals, it left Gainesville, Florida with heads held high. During qualifying, owner Jay Blake, driver Phil Burkart, crew chief/tuner Anthony Terenzio and the rest of the crew recorded the quickest elapsed time (5.42 seconds) and fastest speed (269.89 mph) in team history. “We were very pleased about both,” Blake said. “We were hoping to break the 270 (mph) barrier, but 269 is still the fastest we’ve ever gone. The conditions at Gainesville were awesome.” Continue reading Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC team reaches Gatornationals quarterfinals, shows promise going forward

Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC team overcomes adversity to start 2017 season with strong effort

Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC team overcomes adversity to start 2017 season with strong effort

MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts (March 15, 2017) – Given the way the 2017 season began, the Follow A Dream/Permatex Top Alcohol Funny Car team has already gone through a season’s worth of adversity – and it’s full steam ahead from here.
Early last week en route to Gainesville Raceway in north central Florida, the team’s transporter broke down, forcing it to be towed about 50 miles to the track so that repairs could be made.
“The racetrack was great to let us get in after hours,” team owner Jay Blake said. “We appreciated that very much.”
Then, driver Phil Burkart was flying from New York to Florida when the airplane he was on experienced engine failure and had to make an emergency landing in Tennessee. Continue reading Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC team overcomes adversity to start 2017 season with strong effort

Follow A Dream Kicks off 2017

MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts (March 7, 2017) – Expectations are high and all systems are go as Jay Blake and the Follow A Dream/Permatex NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car team kick off their 2017 racing schedule this week.

The team, which finished No. 2 in the NHRA Northeast Division and No. 14 in the NHRA national TA/FC standings in 2016, is ready to pick up where it left off and have an even better 2017 campaign.

“We’re building on what we had last year and the crew, the core group is returning and we’re in good shape,” team founder and owner Jay Blake said. “We want to build on last year, we want to win the division and we want to be in the top 10 nationally.” Continue reading Follow A Dream Kicks off 2017

Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC Team Reaches Quarter Finals of NHRA Carolina Nationals

Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC Team Reaches Quarter Finals of NHRA Carolina Nationals

MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts (September 20, 2016) – Only 10 feet kept the Follow A Dream/Permatex Top Alcohol Funny Car from advancing to the semifinals of this past weekend’s NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina.

In the quarterfinals, driver Phil Burkart squared off with D.J. Cox. Burkart, in his first season behind the wheel of the Follow A Dream Chevrolet Camaro, got a great start with a 0.039 reaction time to Cox’s 0.061 effort.

But Cox rallied back to catch Burkart just before half-track and continued on to the victory and to advance to the semifinals.

And that’s where that 10 feet margin (0.0248 seconds) came in, as that was the ultimate difference between Cox’s winning effort (5.585 seconds at 265.33 mph) to Burkart’s showing (5.631 seconds at 263.92 mph). Continue reading Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC Team Reaches Quarter Finals of NHRA Carolina Nationals

Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC Team’s U.S. Nationals Bid Falls Short

Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC Team’s U.S. Nationals Bid Falls Short

MARSTONS Mills, Massachusetts (September 7, 2016) – While the hoped for results fell a bit short, Jay Blake, owner of The Follow A Dream/Permatex Top Alcohol Funny Car team, was still heartened at the car’s performance at this past weekend’s Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Brownsburg, Indiana.

Blake’s Chevrolet Camaro and driver Phil Burkart reached the quarterfinals/second round of the NHRA’s biggest drag race of the season before falling in a very close battle to Doug Gordon on Saturday (Sept. 3).

“We’ve had some struggles the last couple of races,” Blake said. “The car hasn’t really been going down the racetrack. But this weekend, we had six good runs (four qualifying runs, plus two elimination rounds). Continue reading Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC Team’s U.S. Nationals Bid Falls Short

Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC team’s Eas

Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC team’s East Region Title Hopes Fall Short

MARSTONS Mills, Massachusetts (August 9, 2016) – Jay Blake’s Follow A Dream/Permatex Top Alcohol Funny Car team went to Atco Dragway (Atco, New Jersey) this past weekend with high hopes of winning the 2016 Lucas Oil East Region championship.

Unfortunately, those hopes went up in smoke as the car lost traction during the first round of eliminations. Even though driver Phil Burkart qualified No. 3, he lost to Dan Pomponio, bringing both the day and Burkart’s championship bid to a premature end. Continue reading Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC team’s Eas

Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC Team’s Hope For Rebound Falls Short

Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC Team’s Hope For Rebound Falls Short

MARSTONS Mills, Massachusetts (July 26, 2016) – Jay Blake’s Follow A Dream/Permatex Top Alcohol Funny Car team went to New England Dragway (Epping, New Hampshire) this past weekend looking for a big rebound.

In a rare happenstance, the team uncharacteristically failed to qualify two weeks earlier in the NHRA Route 66 Nationals national event in suburban Chicago. Continue reading Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC Team’s Hope For Rebound Falls Short

Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team looks to rebound from disappointing showing at Chicago

Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team looks to rebound from disappointing showing at Chicago

MARSTONS Mills, Massachusetts (July 12, 2016 – Jay Blake’s Follow A Dream/Permatex Top Alcohol Funny Car team looks to rebound after a disappointing showing this past weekend in suburban Chicago.

One week after winning its first race of the season in a NHRA Lucas Oil Series regional event at Lebanon Valley Dragway in New York, the Follow A Dream team did not have the result it hoped for in the K&N Filters Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. Continue reading Permatex/Follow A Dream TA/FC team looks to rebound from disappointing showing at Chicago

Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC team earns first win of season; Chicago national event is next

Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC team earns first win of season; Chicago national event is next

MARSTONS Mills, Massachusetts (July 5, 2016) – Jay Blake’s Follow A Dream/Permatex Top Alcohol Funny Car team enjoyed an extra special 4th of July weekend.
The team got an early start on celebrating Independence Day by roaring to its first win of the season, capturing the NHRA Division 1 (Northeast Division) regional event at Lebanon Valley Dragway on Saturday, July 2.

The event came up aces all the way around for the Follow A Dream/Permatex team:

* Driver Phil Burkart, who joined the team at the beginning of this season, earned his first win with his new team.

* Burkart was the No. 1 qualifier.

* Burkart recorded low ET and fastest speed of the meet.

* And to cap things off, Burkart (5.641 seconds at 254.40 mph) defeated D.J. Cox Jr. (5.688 seconds at 250.60 mph) in the final round to take the event victory. Continue reading Follow A Dream/Permatex TA/FC team earns first win of season; Chicago national event is next

Permatex/Follow A Dream-Jay Blake and Tom Howell Inducted into The New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame

Permatex/Follow A Dream-Jay Blake and Tom Howell Inducted into The New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame

MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts (June 29, 2016) – Follow A Dream/Permatex Top Alcohol Funny Car team founder Jay Blake was inducted this past Sunday (June 26) into the New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame at New Hampshire Dragway in Epping, N.H.

“I am incredibly humbled,” Blake said. “It’s an amazing honor. I started going to New England Dragway as a very young kid, and to be honored and part of history is a pretty amazing thing.”

Blake was one of six inductees named to the Hall, including longtime Follow A Dream tuner Tom Howell, as well as Dick Clark, John Corcoran, Jim Mahan and Rick Stetson.

“It’s very humbling when you look at some of the people and what they’ve accomplished that are part of the Hall of Fame now,” Blake said. “Also, being inducted with Tom Howell, it’s really awesome.” Continue reading Permatex/Follow A Dream-Jay Blake and Tom Howell Inducted into The New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame