Jay Blake’s involvement in drag racing started as a fan in the late 1970s watching his older brother, Jim, race. Jay became a student of the sport knowing about all the professional competitors and dreaming of one day having his own team. Jay’s path to the fulfillment of that dream took a very different road than most.
After suffering a catastrophic accident in 1997 that would have left most people disabled for life, Jay took the opportunity to re-engineer his life. He had always dreamed of racing but was too busy working and taking care of his family. Challenged by his new disabilities and total loss of sight, Jay became determined to fulfill his dream of owning a race team. In 1999 Jay formed Follow A Dream, a non-profit organization designed to teach people about positive thinking, self-determination, and teamwork. Jay also purchased his first race car, a Super Comp dragster, and convinced his brother Jim to drive. After all, who else would drive a car a blind guy built?
In 2003, after campaigning the dragster in NHRA competition for three years and qualifying for the NHRA Finals in two of those years, Jay purchased his first Top Alcohol Funny Car, and assembled a team of individuals to help, including another Hall of Fame inductee, Tom Howell. Jay’s drivers have included several of the best in the business, such as Todd Veney, Arnie Karp, Dave Ray, and Phil Burkhart.
Not only have Jay’s teams been competitive but they have finished in the NHRA Division 1 Top Ten an incredible thirteen times. The team won the NHRA Regional Championship in 2012. The team has proven themselves to be worthy competitors, with ten NHRA Divisional/Regional wins. They have qualified #1 six times. They have earned five NHRA National Top Ten Finishes. And, if that isn’t enough, Jay and the team have won TAFC at four NHRA National events.
Jay has also received countless awards for his service work from civic and community groups. Jay is also a featured speaker as part of NHRA’s YES program, at select NHRA National events throughout the country.
It is with great pleasure and admiration the Orientals Hot Rod Club inducts Jay Blake into the New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame.