By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
After a partial schedule in 2021 with Our Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Blaine Perkins will run full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2022.
Perkins will drive the No. 9 Chevrolet Silverado for CR7 Motorsports. The Codie Rohrbaugh-owned team has 48 starts in the Truck Series over the past three seasons. In addition to Rohrbaugh, Colby Howard and Grant Enfinger have competed for CR7 Motorsports.
The 2022 season marks the first full-time season for both Perkins and CR7 Motorsports in the Truck Series. For the Bakersfield, Calif. native, it’ll be his first full season in one of NASCAR’s top three divisions. Perkins last competed full-time in the ARCA Menards Series West in 2020 where he finished runner-up in the standings.
“This is pretty special,” explained Perkins. “This is my first full-time season in any of NASCAR’s top-tier series. I am looking forward to getting into the Chevrolet Silverado this year at CR7 Motorsports. We are going to have a good year.”
In 40 starts in what is now the ARCA Menards Series West, Perkins has three victories. One came on the Utah Motorsports Campus road course in Tooele, UT. The other two came on short tracks. Although for the most part, Perkins won’t be competing on the same tracks in the Truck Series, he’s optimistic that his previous racing experience will benefit him.
“I am always looking forward to the short tracks,” admitted Perkins. “That is where I grew-up racing – at the half-mile and quarter-mile tracks. Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway will be fun. And road racing, I love road racing as well.
“The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has a very diverse group of tracks. Even the dirt tracks – I have never driven a stock car on dirt, so I will definitely be working on that a lot. But I know we are going to be fast when it comes to racing there. It is really going to be fun to run all these different types of tracks.”
The 2021 season marked the first time that CR7 Motorsports had drivers other than team owner Rohrbaugh behind the wheel. In nine starts with the team, Enfinger scored one top-five finish and three top-10s. In 2022, he returns to GMS Racing, who CR7 Motorsports will receive support from.
“I have high expectations for the upcoming season,” stated Rohrbaugh. “Grant (Enfinger) provided CR7 Motorsports a very solid foundation that we can continue to build from. Blaine (Perkins) will have to learn how the Chevrolet Silverados drive compared to the NASCAR Xfinity Series cars. He will have all the tools around him to be successful – a good crew chief, GMS Racing support, and good Chevrolet Silverados. I really look forward to next season, and, hopefully, making a Playoff-run.
“I think it is a big opportunity for CR7 Motorsports. It gives the crew, and Blaine the opportunity to learn and work together, and get that much better every weekend.”
Expectations for Perkins and CR7 Motorsports are high in 2022. In addition to the support from GMS Racing, Perkins will have a NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and Truck Series champion in his corner. As he has for Landen Lewis in the ARCA Menards Series and other drivers, Ron Hornaday Jr will coach Perkins through his rookie season in the Truck Series. Hornaday has four championships in the Truck Series.
“This year is about learning from one of the best truck drivers of all time, Ron Hornaday Jr.,” stated Perkins. “Having Ron in my corner coaching me through my first year in the truck series is invaluable. I mean, who gets to say they have a Hall of Fame driver advise them? I’m so humbled by these opportunities.”
On top of the pit box for Perkins will be veteran NASCAR Camping World Truck Series crew chief Doug George. He has two victories with all-time Truck Series win leader Kyle Busch in 2009. George also led Johnny Sauter to a fourth-place finish in points in 2015. The Atwater, Calif. native has worked with CR7 Motorsports since 2019.
“I have never driven in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series before, so that will be my biggest challenge,” admitted Perkins. “Fortunately, we will have practice and qualifying next year, so that will be beneficial.”
“We also have huge experience behind the scenes with CR7 Motorsports in Doug and his team. Between my team, the Hornaday’s, my spotter, Tim Fedewa, and the CR7 Motorsports’ team, our goal is to be a contender this year for a championship. We have huge goals to meet this season, but we have the right team to get it done.”
While Perkins only made eight starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2021, the 21-year-old turned heads in the playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway. With teammate Brett Moffitt in tow, he won the second Stage of the Sparks 300. Perkins ultimately finished a career-best 13th in the darkness-shortened race.
Featured Photo Credit: Photo by NKP / NKP Photo.