Once racing season starts time becomes short on adding new inductees into the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame. Today’s inductee though helped me secure a Championship ownership plaque from the Central Auto Racing Boosters. He is a very talented race car driver and his assistance when I first began racing was critical to both our successes over the years. This driver began racing in 1982 and his preferred track was Lakeside Speedway and I will add even more his preferred track was the original Lakeside Speedway located at 92nd and Leavenworth Road, however, he was one of the first champions on the then new Lakeside Speedway asphalt.
How we met is an interesting story in and of itself. I was on an appointment doing what was then a part time job selling buy term and invest the difference with A.L. Williams, the same company that allowed me to purchase my first race car because I had a check for $1,500 burning a hole in my pocket. I happened to have an appointment and drove past a race car sitting in the driveway, hood off, and obviously somebody was preparing their car for racing. However, there was nobody outside with the race car, so I drove by nine times thinking maybe eventually someone would be outside. After nine times I gave up. After my second race at Lakeside we discovered we were following this same race car home and normally we would exit I-29 at Highway 169 to 68th Street to get home, but on this night we followed this car as it exited North Oak. We exited North Oak and headed home. The next day I was at this drivers house, got the nerve to knock on his door and introduce myself. We sat around and talked racing for about an hour. Turns out he used the same machine shop that I was using Bill’s Performance Center, which meant my brother-in-law Mark Miles knew both of us.
The next week at Lakeside Speedway this driver parked next to us in the pits and our friendship began to blossom. Our families got to know each other and in fact this driver’s son was the same age as my oldest son and they played on the same soccer team of which I was one of the coaches. Once I got my nerve to pass cars, I became notorious for finishing fourth in the B feature to claim the last transfer spot for the A feature. One night this driver was shoving me into second in the B feature as we crossed the start finish line, so he could claim the last transfer spot. At the end of the 1988 season of course the original Lakeside Speedway went to the dogs/horses.
This driver and his family invited us to our first Central Auto Racing Boosters Banquet at the Armory in Kansas City Kansas. Remember we were still new to this racing scene so we gladly accepted, and we were impressed how the racing community came together to celebrate the racing season. There were 6 different tracks presenting their awards that night and we all applauded and enjoyed the evening. Wow did we choose the wrong seats, we sat by the door where the food came in on a December day when the high was 8 degrees. Eventually we were all wearing our coats at the table!
This driver at this point was planning to get out of racing, however, I talked him into remaining in racing with the understanding I would have a race car built for him to drive but he had to supply the drivetrain. He agreed as long as his buddy Lefty Frizzell could build the car. Thinking the new Lakeside Speedway would still be dirt we sat out building him a Chevrolet Leaf Spring Camaro. I was in the process of collecting used Chevelle race cars. What a surprise when the announcement was made the new Lakeside Speedway would be asphalt! At this point we were too deep into race car building to change any of our plans.
When the new Lakeside Speedway opened we raced on Sunday afternoons because the track did not yet have lights. Additionally, the infield had yet to be graded and after a week of heavy rain the infield was flooded, we still raced. Clyde Ellis of Seeburg Mufflers put up $25 to the first driver who ended up in the water in the infield. None of us drivers wanted to be that person but yep you guessed it, this driver being inducted, after a front straight incident was spun into the muck and the water. The tow company would not wade in, instead they threw the cable and had the driver hook up his own car.
This inductee was the first champion at the new Lakeside Speedway (our class ran first)! In 1989 he claimed two victories enroute to the Charger championship. What a surprise at the C.A.R.B. Banquet to have him honored as the Champion Driver but I was also called to the stage as the Champion Owner! Oh the memories. This driver won on both the dirt and the asphalt. After this championship season he went on to compete in the Super Stock class with this same Charger car. He won three more races with the Camaro before hanging up his helmet after the 1992 season. Today we want to honor a great friend, a champion driver, Dave Perkins, welcome to Racingkc.com Hall of Fame!
Of course, I could not let his racing career end. Like most racers when they quit they stay away from the sport, stay away from the track. Dave moved on for awhile away from racing, then he made the mistake of showing up at I-70 Speedway one night and of course that led him to come to Lakeside Speedway again. Before it was over I asked him to become the Pace Truck driver and at the time hold the flag for the trophy presentations. He served in this capacity in racing through the 2014 racing season. I could see Dave possibly driving a Vintage car in the future, the love of racing, the sheer joy of competition never leaves us! Congratulation again Dave Perkins on your induction into the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame.