MOVING ON UP
Blake Hopkins Works His Way up the Dirt Racing Circuit
Many drivers catch the racing bug from their fathers. Blake Hopkins is no different. “I love to race,” he shared. “My dad did it… I just picked it up from him.”
As a young boy Hopkins watched his dad, Matt, race through the ranks of Street Stocks, Pro-Stocks, and Open-Wheel Modifieds. In fact, his first memory of racing was when his dad won a Modified Feature at Clarksville Speedway. That was the defining moment and not long after that night, he approached his dad and said, “I want to do what you’re doing.” From that moment on, Matt turned the wheel over to his son and focused solely on his racing career.
Hopkins credits both his father and grandfather, Harold “Junebug” Hopkins as having the biggest influence on his racing career. He definitely comes from great racing genes. His grandfather was the four-time Kentucky and Tennessee National Track Pull Champion for four years straight. Another huge influence on Hopkins’ career is that of fellow driver, Steve Ladd, who Hopkins refers to as “Granddad.”
“(He’s) helped on the car a lot. Steve kind of took him under his wing,” Matt shared on Ladd’s positive influence on his son. They can also be found parked side-by-side in the pit area every Friday night.
Hopkins’ first venture into racing was in four-wheelers. He found great success with them by becoming the Kentucky State Champion in the ATV Flat Track in 2003. He also won several races across Kentucky and Tennessee to get to that Championship. When asked how he felt about winning the Championship, Hopkins smiled, “Great! (It was) the best thing in the world.”
Next on the racing agenda came the Hummers (4-Cylinder Warriors.) Hopkins raced them at Clayhill Motorsports where they run on the full-track verses the smaller track. “It was pretty cool running on a full-track,” Hopkins shared, “(I) wanted something faster.”
Hopkins also has experience on asphalt from his days of racing Quarter Midgets in Nashville, Tennessee, where he finished second in points his first year. When asked the obvious comparisons between asphalt and dirt, he commented, “(The) track was smaller… you’re more in one place.”
Matt also shared that you have to be “super smooth.”
“(On) dirt you can go top, bottom, and middle.”
Currently Hopkins is racing exclusively at Paducah International Raceway while he is getting used to his Crate Late Model. He is considering traveling in the next few years to tracks including Clarksville, Clayhill, and Camden.
“Hopefully Late Models,” is how Hopkins described his racing aspirations in the next five years. As for ten-years down the road, the Lucas Oil Late Model Series is where he would like to be, noting the legendary Scott Bloomquist and recent UMP Summer National contender, Brian Birkhofer as two of his dirt-racing idols.
An Almo, Kentucky native, Hopkins has nine years total racing experience. He currently drives the #15B Pro (Crate) Late Model sponsored by Houston Electric, Security Systems, D & D Auto Sales, and White Works Motor Sports. For the 2010 season, he had three Top-10 Feature finishes.
Hopkins is a student at Calloway County Middle School, and in addition to racing, his hobbies include fishing. “I love fishing,” he laughed.
Racing may be a hobby that Blake Hopkins picked up from his father, but he is taking it to a whole new level. Come to Paducah International Raceway on Friday nights and see him on the hunt for his first Crate Feature win while chasing his dream of a tour on the Lucas Oil series.