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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
Permatex/Follow A Dream breaks into the 5.40s in Virginia!
MARSTONS MILLS, MA. – May 3, 2016 -Jay Blake’s Permatex/Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car team had an outstanding outing in this past weekend’s NHRA Lucas Oil Racing Series Division 1 meet at Virginia Motorsports Park.
Driver Phil Burkart, who joined the Follow A Dream team earlier this year, was the event’s No 1 qualifier, as well as recorded low elapsed time (ET) and top speed of the meet in the second East Coast Regional race of the season. Continue reading Permatex/Follow A Dream breaks into the 5.40s in Virginia!
PERMATEX/FOLLOW A DREAM TEAM FINISHES IN THE TOP 8
Marstons Mills, MA.-April 25, 2016-Jay Blake’s Permatex/Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car team was well-prepared and ready to go all the way to the final round of this weekend’s NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway
in Concord, North Carolina.
Unfortunately, the team managed to get just halfway to its goal before a slippery track and tire shake issues resulted in an untimely exit in the second round of eliminations on Sunday.
Driver Phil Burkhart qualified eighth in the team’s third race of the season. In Saturday’s first round of eliminations, Burkhart’s better reaction time (0.065) at the starting line against Ulf Leanders (0.090) proved to be the difference.
Leanders closed in around the 330-foot mark, but Burkhart held on for the win with a margin of victory of 0.0258 seconds (approximately 10 feet). Burkhart covered the track in 5.590 seconds at 263.82 mph, while Leanders went down to defeat in 5.590 seconds at 263.31 mph. Continue reading PERMATEX/FOLLOW A DREAM TEAM FINISHES IN THE TOP 8
PERMATEX/FOLLOW A DREAM TEAM ANNOUNCES NEW DRIVER
Marstons Mills, MA-February 23, 2016-Jay Blake’s Permatex/Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car team has a new driver for the 2016 season: Phil Burkart. “Our whole team is excited to have Phil driving as another era begins here at Follow A Dream. We’ve had some changes in the off season and are ready to get the 2016 season underway,” said Blake, who has led the team to multiple victories since fulfilling his lifelong dream of owning his own Alcohol Funny Car team in 2003. Burkhart began drag racing at age 14, starting with bracket cars and moving up the ranks to both Alcohol Funny Cars and nitro Funny Cars. “Jay and I have been friends for a long time and I’m eager to get back to my Funny Car roots, where I honed my skills,” Burkart said. “I’m hoping to pick up where Todd Veney left off and not miss a beat for Jay and this group.”
Blake’s Follow A Dream team will compete throughout the country, on a 13-race schedule that includes seven national events and six Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events.
Anthony Terenzio is set to tune for Blake, the only totally blind crew chief in all of motorsports, who, between racing events, encourages countless thousands of others across the country through motivational presentations delivered at technical schools, colleges, automotive shows, and corporate events, to follow their dreams.
PERMATEX/FOLLOW A DREAM TEAM TUNER TOM HOWELL TO RETIRE
Marstons Mills, Mass. (Jan. 19) – With great sadness, the Permatex/Follow A Dream team announces the retirement of longtime tuner Tom Howell, who recently was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). His departure marks the end of an era for the team. Howell called the shots when team owner and crew chief Jay Blake began campaigning Alcohol Funny Cars in 2003, and under his guidance the team has won a regional championship, four national events, and 10 divisional/regional events, including three wins in 2015 with driver Todd Veney. Howell’s involvement in motorsports spans more than 30 years, including stints with Marc Rowe Race Cars, the Blue Chip IHRA Funny Car driven by Dave Rowe, and the Florence Motorsports dragster driven by Don Florence. He also has extensive experience with Super Modifieds and offshore racing boats. Longtime tuner Anthony Terenzio, who guided veteran Mickey Ferro to countless Alcohol Funny Car victories, including five in a row to conclude the 2010 season, will take over for Howell in 2016.
About Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurological disease that causes muscle weakness and gradually impacts on the functioning of the body, leading to eventual death. It is also referred to as motor neuron disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the famous baseball player who had the condition.
About Follow A Dream
Follow A Dream Race Team is a remarkable story in itself, and winning at the national level is only part of it. Follow A Dream’s owner and crew chief, Jay Blake, is totally blind. Jay lost his eyesight in a tire explosion over 19 years ago, but he did not lose his positive attitude on life, nor his desire to pursue his dreams. Jay had always wanted to form his own race team, and in spite of his serious setback, he continued to focus on his goals. Through years of incredible determination and perseverance, he was able to realize his dream and founded Follow A Dream Racing. Since then, the team has worked its way up the rankings to become one of the top Funny Car teams in the world.
PERMATEX/FOLLOW A DREAM TEAM TIES ALL-TIME BEST WITH 7TH PLACE FINISH IN NATIONAL STANDINGS
Marstons Mills, MA-November 17 2015-At the last event of 2015, the NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., Jay Blake’s Permatex/Follow A Dream team suffered its worst race in years but held on for seventh place in the national Top Alcohol Funny Car standings, tying its highest finish ever.
Driver Todd Veney failed to qualify for just the second time in four years and was passed by resurgent Mickey Ferro, who won two of the season’s last four races and reached the semifinals in Pomona. “That was a huge disappointment, a total letdown,” said Veney, who missed a Top 5 finish by four points. “One more round-win anywhere all year, and we would have had our first Top 5, but everyone except the world champion looks back on the season and wishes they’d won one more round somewhere.”
Veney shut off to a 5.97 at just 202 mph in the first qualifying session when a wire inside the ignition box shorted out. A decent 5.68 at 252 mph on the second run, also plagued by ignition problems, had the Follow A Dream team 16th in the 16-car field with one shot to go.
“When you have no computer data to go off of, you’re just guessing, and we had no data from that first run,” said Blake. “[Tuner] Tommy [Howell] had information to go off of from the second run, immediately figured out what the problem was, and had everything fixed for our last shot, but with the ignition working like it should, the engine made way more power than it’s had since the first run at Las Vegas, and the car went up in smoke.”
The team finishes 2015 with three victories, tying its highest season total ever, and its biggest win – Norwalk – since 2006. Veney led the national standings in July and the East Region standings for much of the year and ends the season with a fourth Top 10 finish since 2010.
PERMATEX/FOLLOW A DREAM TEAM TO WRAP UP 2015 IN POMONA
Marstons Mills, MA-November 12 2015-Jay Blake’s Permatex/Follow A Dream winds up its best season ever this weekend at the NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif. Sixth in the standings with one race to go, driver Todd Veney looks to improve on a quarterfinal finish last year in his only previous Finals appearance.
“The whole team has worked hard all year for this opportunity,” Blake said. “The car has run great all season, and everybody’s ready to rock. We got to the final here in 2005 and won it in 2006, so the whole team is pretty excited about it.”
“Pomona’s always been one of my favorite tracks, and it’s a real thrill to be running the Finals again,” Veney said. “I lived just a few miles from the track for 11 years, so it’ll be great to be back.”
Qualifying sessions are scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Thursday, 1:45 p.m. Friday, and 10:00 a.m. Saturday, and the first round of eliminations is set for 1:45 Saturday afternoon. The race will be televised on ESPN2 Sunday Nov. 22 at 8:30 PST.
PERMATEX/FOLLOW A DREAM TEAM HITS VEGAS FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2010
Marstons Mills, MA-October 29, 2015-Jay Blake’s Permatex/Follow A Dream team is headed to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend for the last leg of the best season in team history. Sixth in the Top Alcohol Funny Car national standings with two races to go – this weekend’s Toyota NHRA Nationals and the World Finals in Pomona, Calif. – driver Todd Veney is fresh off a career-best 5.51 in Dallas. Continue reading PERMATEX/FOLLOW A DREAM TEAM HITS VEGAS FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2010
PERMATEX/FOLLOW A DREAM RUNS ALL-TIME BEST 5.51 AT DALLAS
Marstons Mills, MA-October 21, 2015-Jay Blake’s Permatex/Follow A Dream team made its quickest run ever in its first appearance at the NHRA Fall Nationals at Dallas. Driver Todd Veney ran a 5.51 at 265 mph in the opening round of eliminations but lost to a 5.46, one of the quickest runs in Top Alcohol Funny Car history, by Sweden’s Jonnie Lindberg.
“I never saw him,” said Veney, who fell by just 18-thousandths of a second. “It’s pretty tough to lose on a run that good, but that’s the way it’s been going for us lately. The same thing happened at Indy and Maple Grove.” The 5.51 was by far the quickest losing run of the round and quicker than many winning runs. In quarterfinal losses at Indy and Maple Grove, the team was faster than every run except the one in the opposite lane.
“Nobody ever said this was easy,” said Blake, whose team now ranks sixth in the NHRA national standings, four points out of fifth place and 13 points out of fourth. “The top nine cars in the country were here, and it showed – this was the fastest field in Alcohol Funny Car history.” The Texas Motorplex’s all-concrete quarter-mile delivered a record bump of 5.62.
PERMATEX/FOLLOW A DREAM TEAM HEADS TO DALLAS FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER
Marstons Mills, MA-October 14, 2015-For the first time in team history, Jay Blake’s Permatex/Follow A Dream will run the prestigious NHRA Fall Nationals at Dallas.
“We’ve always run the Houston race, but this year it fell on the same weekend as the regional at Richmond and we had to miss it,” said Blake, whose first career national event victory came at Houston in 2005. “It’ll be good to get back to Texas and great to race all the top cars from the West Coast.”
The Follow A Dream team will be up against an all-star lineup in Dallas: every driver in the Top 10 except 10th-place Dan Pomponio will be there. “Our schedule is usually over by this time of year, so this is a real thrill,” said driver Todd Veney, currently fourth in the national standings. “I’ve only ever raced at Dallas once – in 2000, in my second NHRA race ever. The Texas Motorplex was the first ‘super track,’ and I’ve wanted to race there ever since it was built in 1986.”
Qualifying sessions are scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Friday, with a last-ditch session set for Saturday morning at 11 a.m. The first round will be that afternoon, and eliminations conclude on Sunday. The event will be televised on ESPN2 on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 7 a.m. on ESPN2.
PERMATEX/FOLLOW A DREAM TEAM HOLDS ON TO 4TH IN NATIONAL STANDINGS
Marstons Mills, MA-October 7, 2015-With one good run after another, Jay Blake’s Permatex/Follow A Dream team reached the quarterfinals at the rain-plagued NHRA Keystone Nationals, Blake’s favorite race on the tour and the one where, in 1998, he made the life-changing decision to form his own race team.
Facing the worst conditions racers have encountered in years, Blake had the most consistent Top Alcohol Funny Car on the grounds, running better on the team’s slowest run than almost every other team did on its best. Inclement weather completely washed out Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and for the first time in memory, an entire NHRA national event was conducted in a single day as qualifying was reduced to a pressure-packed one-session format. Continue reading PERMATEX/FOLLOW A DREAM TEAM HOLDS ON TO 4TH IN NATIONAL STANDINGS