Buddy Perkinson attended Dragstock VII at Rockingham Dragway in 2010 as a fan.
This time, he’ll be going as a driver.
The 19-year-old budding star has been named the new driver for the Dingman Racing Extreme Pro Stock team and he will make his American Drag Racing League (ADRL) debut in the “Canned Heat” XPS car at Dragstock VIII on Sept. 9-10 in Rockingham, N.C.
“I went to the race there last year and I couldn’t find anywhere to sit, there was so many people there,” said Perkinson, who qualified for two NHRA Pro Stock races this season.
“I’m really excited for this opportunity and I can’t thank (team owner) Billy Dingman enough. They have an excellent program and I can’t wait to run these big 822 cubic-inch Hutter Racing Engines.”
Perkinson came highly-recommend from Roy Hill, and team owner Billy Dingman quickly named him as the driver of the car for the final three races of the 2011 ADRL season.
Dingman then met with Perkinson at the team’s shop just outside of Orlando and was immediately impressed.
“I’ve known Roy Hill for probably 30 years and I called him and said I was looking for a young driver. He came up with Buddy and we went over what he’s done and, after looking at his background, it sounded good to me,” Dingman said.
“Everyone seems to think a lot of him and he’s a sponsor’s dream. He’s very polite, a wonderful kid and I believe he’ll give us everything he can.”
It’s been a hectic stretch for Perkinson, who drove the Ford Mustang NHRA Pro Stock car of Jim Cunningham Motorsports earlier this year.
He just missed qualifying in Chicago in early July, which was his last NHRA race. From there, he got together with Dingman and jumped at the opportunity to compete in the ADRL’s standout XPS class.
“It all happened exceptionally fast, but things just really clicked. I saw the shop and it’s a great facility. It’s going to be awesome to have that many people behind you,” Perkinson said.
“I really love what the ADRL is doing. As a fan, they keep you entertained the whole time.”
Perkinson went as quick as 6.584 in NHRA Pro Stock racing, qualifying at the first two races of the 2011 season.
He won’t turn 20 until the end of September, but has already achieved success in the racing world.
Perkinson won his first Junior Dragster race when he was 10 and started driving a Super Comp car at 17. A year later, he drove in Comp Eliminator, moving to Pro Stock in 2011.
He has been mentored by the likes of Hill and Bob Glidden, and Dingman believes his future is bright in the XPS class.
“We have a lot of confidence in him and we’re building for next year,” Dingman said. “He’s a great kid and I think that’s what the sport needs.”
Perkinson has already been fitted for the “Canned Heat” car and he will test at Piedmont Dragway the week of Dragstock VIII.
As far as expectations, Perkinson and Dingman Racing are hoping for a strong finish to 2011, starting at Rockingham, which would only build momentum for the 2012 ADRL Tour.
“This is a chance to get my feet wet, get comfortable in the car, get used to everything and then really hit it hard in 2012,” Perkinson said. “But we’re still showing up to win.
“We want to go to Rockingham and do well, and I think we’ll be ready to turn it loose there. Hopefully we can finish the season on a high note and then try to go after a championship next year.”
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