Young hot shoe Feese joins stellar list of East Bay entries

SAYBROOK, IL - It's every kid's dream to go to Florida and visit the Magic Kingdom. Blake Feese's "Magic Kingdom" is about 85 miles west of Orlando in Gibsonton, FL, where he will be making his Florida debut at the 25th Anniversary East Bay ...

SAYBROOK, IL - It's every kid's dream to go to Florida and visit the Magic Kingdom. Blake Feese's "Magic Kingdom" is about 85 miles west of Orlando in Gibsonton, FL, where he will be making his Florida debut at the 25th Anniversary East Bay Winternationals from February 14-17 driving Kenny Mulligan's #3 Meyers International sprinter in the year's first "big money" sprint car event. Feese is hoping this dream trip to Florida will provide the soon-to-be 19 year-old great experience and a chance to splash onto the national sprint car scene. "I'm very excited about getting a chance to compete in the East Bay Nationals," said Feese, who will turn 19 on February 8. "They say the tracks are a little on the sandy and slick side, and with the caliber of competition down there, I know we'll have our hands full." Feese, who has followed his father Dave into a sprint car seat, spent the last two season's driving his family owned #1f Maxim. Last season, he won three IRA features and twice finished in the top five with WoO Gumout Series, which helped him get recognized and led to this shot in the Mulligan #3. "There are a lot of people that speak highly of Blake," said Mulligan, who has won 32 features in the past two and half years with drivers Terry McCarl, Sport Allen and Greg Leonard. "People like Rick Nichols and Terry McCarl think this kid is a real up and comer. We're excited about what we might be able to accomplish in four nights." Feese will bring his product sponsors Hooiser Tires, Pro Shocks and Butlerbuilt to the team, which will also be utilizing a Mopar powerplant that was in the famous #5m of Mark Kinser in 2000. His equipment will be competitive, but the question is how he will handle the pressure of the competition and driving for someone other than his father for the first time. "There is going to be a lot of pressure simply because of the guys down there," continued Feese. "I'm sure I'll get the most pressure from myself to do well, since it will be the first time I've driven someone else's equipmen t. I'd like to do well so that more people see what I can do and hopefully, more opportunities will follow. I can't thank Kenny Mulligan enough for giving me this chance." With an intimidating list of entries, Feese admits it's going to be important for him to adjust to his new ride quickly. Qualifying becomes more important when more than 80 cars are vying for 24 "A-Main" starting positions, and Feese is hoping the 1200-pound weight rule will benefit him. He knows racing against sprint car legend Sammy Swindell and last year's Winternationals winner, Danny Lasoski, along with the best All-Stars and Central Pennsylvania competitors will help him in the future exponentially. "I enjoy racing with Sammy and the Outlaw guys," said Feese. "The All-Stars are awesome too, so these races will be tough. I'm going to try and learn as much as I can. The key is for me to get on the track and race with them. That's what makes you better and gives you a chance when you compete with them again." If Feese and his family team didn't leave the weekly programs of Jacksonville (IL) and Farmington (MO), this opportunity wouldn't have happened. He proved he was up to the task in a number of events that included prominent drivers. Winning races at Beaver Dam Raceway (WI) and Hartford (MI) provided the confidence this rising star needed to be optimistic about this "Florida Trip". "I think last year was a big key," said Feese. "It was only my second season in a sprint car, but we decided to race all over. We ran six Gumout races and were fairly competitive, and raced with the IRA on several occasions. Being able to race with a number of series improve my skills and also taught me how to race with the best in the business. Now, I've got to figure out how to beat them." Like every driver heading to Florida, Feese would like to win every race he enters. He's more realistic about his chances and knows this is crucial time in his young career. "This will be a great chance for me to meet car owners and drivers from the All-Star series and also from Pennsylvania," concluded Feese. "I'm sure they haven't heard of me, so hopefully we can give them something to talk about on their drive home. On the track, I want to go down there and win four features, that's my goal. However, with the caliber of cars that will be there, a more realistic goal would be to put the car in the show every night and just go from there." Feese Racing will be launching a new website prior to Blake's arrival in Florida. Log on to blakefeese.com after February 5 and you can keep up with his "Florida Experience" and the 2001 season.

-Bill Klingbeil

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Series Sprint
Drivers Mark Kinser , Danny Lasoski , Blake Feese , Sammy Swindell