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It started and ended with a handshake at the recent PRI show in Indianapolis. With that simple act, Freddy Perkins, and Karla Grella, collectedly known as Fast Freddy Motorsports were all in. In, as in heading to Bradenton Florida for the 2024 World Series of Pro Mod.

The team joins dozens of other Top Sportsman and Top Dragster racers vying for a big payday with a $50,000 take all purse.

“We had secured Maxima Racing Oils and Mickey Thompson Tires as sponsors for the 2024 season and decided to go to the PRI show to support them, said Karla.  “While we are at the show, we went by the Drag Illustrated display and introduced ourselves to Wes Buck.”

Freddy adds, “We told Wes that we were a competitive team with both Top Sportsman and Top Dragster cars. I explained that we had gone deep in rounds at PDRA and won a few NHRA events in what was a pretty short time in the Top/Top classes and Wes was impressed. Especially when we told him it was just us two of us running both cars. He told us he really wanted people like us to be part of the show. People that want to be there and deserve to be there.”

“After we talked Wes said, ‘You’re In!’ At first, I was stunned. We haven’t been racing that long and to be at this event is so cool.”

“With five rounds and 40 of the top racers in the country in each class, we have a one in 40 chance of winning. With so many Top Sportsman cars in the nation that could have been invited, we are pumped. I like that they are running PDRA rules and will run an eight-mile format.”

Karla adjusting the wheelie bars on the ’57 at the Gators where the team went to the finals in Top Sportsman

As Freddy said, the team is truly a two-person deal. Freddy drives and Karla is the crew chief. In fact, Karla learned as they say, “On the Job.”

“When I met Freddy,” Karla said, “I had never been to a drag race and really never got close to a race car.”  That all changed once the two started going to the races together. What started with small tasks with the ’Top Sportsman ’69 Nova that Freddy was campaigning at the time, evolved into Karla taking over full crew chief duties.

“Besides Freddy, I owe so much to Carmen, Phil, and Dawn Mollichella for helping me learn the mechanics of a race car. Phil showed me how to take a fuel pump apart and what a U joint was. My background is business and banking, and this was all new to me,” Karla said.

“Another teacher I have leaned on is Steve Logan. Steve rebuilt the Barry Grant fuel pump right before we went out and won the New England Nationals in 2022 in the Chevy Nova. We would have never won that race without his help.” Karla says, “All of this adds up to what we call ‘Organized Chaos’ and it works for us.”

All this training and hard work has paid off with wins on the track and in 2022 Karla was awarded the NHRA Division One Crew Chief of the Year.

The Nova in question is the car that Freddy’s pop, Freddy Perkins II got his NHRA license in. Freddy and his brother cut their teeth with their dad and later Freddy took the Nova to his first wins.

“I call the Nova Old Faithful or my ‘Heart Car’,” Freddy says, “and I will own it forever. It was my first real race car and it meant so much to my dad. She will turn more win lights on than most. I can lick my finger, feel the wind, and know what the car will run. I know the Nova like my right arm.”

Top Sportsman Champs at the 2022 NHRA New England Nationals 

“We race the Nova when necessary,” Freddy says, “When it’s a race with super quick cars like the PDRA and the WSOPM, we race the ’57. But at an NHRA Lucas Divisional, the Nova switches things up as it is not as fast but consistent as heck.

The team plans on heading south for the upcoming NHRA Lucas Oil Divisional at Orlando for some testing and get the rust out after a winter layoff.

Freddy, a retired Connecticut Department of Corrections lieutenant and is the owner of Southern New England Fire Protection said, “For the WSOPM, Bobby Vojtila and Tommy Tape, who sponsor the Northeast Division Top/Top series, have jumped in with us and is sponsoring both cars in Bradenton. This is a great help, and we are so fortunate to have the support of our division sponsor., Bobby’s a great guy. His team is super too, and they have an open garage door policy with us.”

The ’57 Chevy Top Sportsman car was built by Garret Race Cars out of Missouri and uses 791 cubic inch BBC prepared by Cliff Agar at  A&C Performance On top of the motor are a pair of Holly Dominator carbs fed by a two stage nitrous system build by SpeedTech.

All three of the Fast Freddy team cars use Powerglide transmissions prepared by Select Performance in Babylon NY and Henry Huard from H&H transmissions.

The Top Dragster is a Maddox chassis using a 540 cubic inch BBC with a Pro Charger for power boost.

The Top Dragster is one of the quickest in the Nation. 

“I purchased the dragster in 2016 with an itch to go faster,” Freddy said, “The Top Dragster class from the start is hard to judge on the top and took me a little while to get a handle on driving the quicker car. And I have to switch mind sets from car to car, especially running both at the same race. One car is nitrous and the other ProCharged.”

“The NHRA has a 6.10 dial as the quickest a racer can run and at one of the Virginia Lucas divisional, I kept the 6.10 dial on the car all weekend and ended up with the win.”

After some early testing in Florida the weeks before the WSOPM, the team with pull into Bradenton with one thing one their mind. Standing in the winner’s circle after all the racing is done.