By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor
First, the Hollywood, FL native will drive the No. 45 Weiss Sand & Clay / Apex Coffee Roasters Chevrolet Camaro SS at Circuit of the Americas (COTA). While that is the first race on Perez’s 2024 calendar, he will also serve as Alpha Prime’s development driver, aiding the development of the team’s simulator.
Last season Perez earned his career-best finish in the Xfinity Series, 19th at Road America with Alpha Prime. It was his second career top-20 finish. In total Perez has seven career Xfinity starts and five NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to progress my career with Alpha Prime Racing,” Perez said. “This is a great environment for me to learn from veterans on this squad and show my talent. I’m excited to get to COTA in our Weiss Sand & Clay Camaro and have a good day and grow on what we accomplished at Road America last year.”
Perez will also be the team’s reserve driver, a role that he’s already served in last season. At Portland International Raceway, he relieved Leland Honeyman Jr. mid-race. Perez climbed back up the running order and into the top-20 until late-race contact sent his Chevrolet into the wall.
A ‘jack of all trades,’ Perez not only works with Alpha Prime on their simulator, as a driver, and their reserve driver, but he is also the tire specialist for Young’s Motorsports. The first-generation driver of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent will also be a spotter for several teams at Daytona Int’l Speedway throughout the month of January for the various Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona events.
The work ethic that Perez has caught the attention of Alpha Prime co-owner, Tommy Jo Martins. The 26-year-old has worked his way up the racing ladder both behind the wheel and in the garage working on the racecars.
“Brad passes the checklist of everything we look for in a driver,” Martins said. “He’s hard working, he’s had to do everything by himself his whole career from finding sponsors to learning how to work on cars to getting up to speed on the racetrack, he’s one of the nicest guys in the garage, and now having a chance to truly develop with us over the course of a year and call a place home – I think the sky is the limit for Brad. We love him.”
Having just 12 NASCAR starts between the Xfinity Series and Truck Series, Perez has recognized the competition level that the series have. Undaunted, he recognizes that he’ll likely have to qualify on time when he is behind the wheel of the No. 45 Chevrolet.
The confidence level and tenacity that Perez has is something that Martins quickly recognized.
“It’s the first thing we talked about,” Martins said. “And that’s the thing about Brad, he’s not scared at all. He knows he’s going to be going to these racetracks having to qualify but he believes enough in himself and us as a team to put himself in the show. It’s really cool to have a guy with that level of confidence in himself and us. He’s been in that spot on other teams, and he doesn’t shy away from it.”
Joining Perez at Alpha Prime for COTA are long time partners Weiss Sand & Clay and APEX Coffee Roasters. Both companies were among his sponsors in 2023. For Weiss Sand & Clay, the race at COTA marks an opportunity to be a primary sponsor at their home track.
“Weiss Sand & Clay is honored to team up with Alpha Prime and support Brad!” Eric Weiss of Weiss Sand & Clay said. “As a smaller Texas business we appreciate who he is and what he brings to the track every day. Brad’s the kind of guy who’ll put everything he has into what he does, and we fully support him.”
Like Weiss Sand & Clay, Apex Coffee Roasters first partnered with Perez in 2022.
“We are looking forward to this year’s race at COTA, which will mark our third year partnering with Brad,” Brett Jameson at Apex Coffee Roasters. “The name and colors of Apex Coffee Roasters were chosen because of our love for racing. Brad’s dedication to his craft, and to his sponsors has been great to see, and we’ve enjoyed being a small part of his journey and can’t wait to see what this new season will bring for him.”
Perez’s first scheduled race, the Pit Boss 250 at COTA, is scheduled for Saturday, March 23, at 5:00 p.m. ET. The race will also be broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.