CONCORD, N.C. — Story by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman – CMS/John Davison photo –
DRIVER: Chase Purdy
TOP FIVES: 10
TOP TENS: 10
FINAL POINTS: 437 (out of a possible 460)
BEST ON-TRACK MOMENT: Winning four races in a row during Rounds 5 through 8 of the 2015 Bojangles’ Summer Shootout.
BEST OFF-TRACK MOMENT: Continuing to pursue his racing dreams by relocating from Mississippi to North Carolina to position himself in the heart of motorsports country.
15-year-old Chase Purdy went through a lot of change during the 2015 Bojangles’ Summer Shootout, but saw just as many things stay the same during his second full-time season competing at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Purdy and his family went through the process of relocating from Meridian, Miss. to Huntersville, N.C. about halfway through this year’s 10-race run at the ‘Mecca of Motorsports’, but loading and unloading, packing and unpacking and making a new home just outside of Charlotte didn’t faze the young gun one bit in his pursuit of a championship belt at CMS.
After winning two races during his first points run last summer in the Bandolero Outlaws division, Purdy jumped up to the Legends Car Young Lions division with Dennis Lambert Racing in hopes of following in the footsteps of his longtime friend — and this season, mentor — Carson Ferguson.
The results were immediate with the team that nearly guided NASCAR Next inductee and current NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship leader William Byron to two Shootout titles in 2013 and 2014. Purdy rattled off four top-four finishes, including a win in Round 2, in the first four Shootout races before striking gold and winning four races in a row to pull away from the pack in the points battle.
“Last year [in the Bandolero Outlaws] was my first full-time run at the Shootout and it was crazy,” Purdy said. “This year was been calmer, and the difference now, I’d say, was my experience in knowing what to expect going in, the team around me and the new location.”
“The four races in a row that we won were huge. That helped us establish the ground we needed to in the points and really gave me a lot of confidence as a driver. By that point, I think we knew what we had and it was just a matter of hitting my marks every time we got on the track.”
The four-race win streak also came on the heels of Ferguson stepping out of his Pro division ride with Ladyga Motorsports and into a crew member’s role with Purdy for the remainder of the season, something that Purdy says helped him a lot as a driver in being able to glean advice from the reigning Shootout champion in his division.
“Carson helped me a ton this season, from helping with the car to just being able to give me little tidbits on ways to improve my line or just keeping my head down under pressure,” Purdy explained. “It was really neat to be able to have him back there, supporting me and helping me go on a run kind of like he did last year when he won eight of the ten races.”
The championship title was Purdy’s first at the Summer Shootout, and the young gun is hoping to use it as a springboard to bigger things in racing, much like Byron and current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie contender Daniel Hemric have before him.
“It is a big confidence booster for me,” Purdy said of seeing the two former Summer Shootout competitors, and two of his racing heroes, competing in the NASCAR ranks. “It helps me know that I’m in a good spot for my future.”
That future appears to be very bright for the Mississippi native that now calls the Tar Heel state home, and after more than a decade of searching for his big break, it appears that it might be closer than he once thought.
“When I was about 4 years old, I remember watching NASCAR races with my grandfather. I told him, ‘Hey I wanna do that!’ He responded by telling me that when I got older we could look into it,” said Purdy. “Now here I am — a champion at the Summer Shootout. How awesome is that?”
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network. Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s. He is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for both the United Sprint Car Series and the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: [email protected]