By Landes Purnell
Most 9-year-olds are probably obsessed with video games, toy cars or even playing cards. However, when Chase Purdy was 9, he was dirt racing Go-Carts. With his grandfather giving Purdy his first Go-Cart at that age, he fell in love with racing.
“I’ve kinda been racing anything that has four wheels ever since,” Purdy said.
Purdy, now 22, is currently racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series.
A Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native, Purdy knows it is an honor just to be where he is today, while most people his age are getting out of college looking for a job. He truly is getting paid to do what he loves.
Purdy also lived in Meridian, Mississippi, and spent five semesters at Ole Miss before going on to race professionally. He said he might not need to come back to college at the rate he is going in his career right now.
“If I went back (to Ole Miss) today, I would have a year and a semester left. I’m fresh out of school still, because I just stopped not even a year ago. But hopefully I don’t even have to go back,” he laughed and said. “But you never know.”
Purdy’s work schedule is a busy one.
“During the week I have workouts (in the weight room) pretty much every day, at least 4-5 times a week,” he said. “When I’m not doing that, I have meetings to go to, whether that be with my marketing agency or just a team meeting about what we will be doing at the racetrack.”
The main goal of the week is to prepare for the weekend, according to Purdy. On the weekend the racers must qualify in order to get their starting spot and have to deal with media obligations.
“Then we finally race and come home,” he said. And it starts all over again.
Every racer has a certain type of track or place they like to race, and Purdy is no different.
“I’m a short track person. I grew up racing short track stuff, and my favorite place to race is in Pensacola, Florida, called Five Flags Speedway. If I could choose the perfect combination for me, it would be a late model car on that racetrack.”
Purdy chuckled a little as he discussed his favorite driver growing up, knowing it was a popular one.
“Mine was probably everybody’s favorite being Dale (Earnhardt) Jr.,” he said. “But as I got older, I really became a big Jimmie Johnson fan. So both of those would be my favorites.”
The biggest racing series that most people know is the NASCAR Cup series and the Sunday races. That is the highest level of racing. Purdy hopes to get there, but he still just loves racing.
“It would be awesome if I could make it to Sundays, you know. That would be the big goal. But honestly, I would be OK with where I’m at right now, just racing in one of the sport’s highest three series and having a great time doing it. It would be awesome to be racing on Sundays, but I can’t complain too much. I’m pretty lucky to be where I am right now.”
Having those ties to Ole Miss, he shot a design for his truck to the University, hoping the school would possibly even sponsor him.
“COVID hit and that kind of messed everything up, but I had given them the design and they loved it. But I never really heard back from them after COVID,” Purdy said. “I still thought it was a really sick scheme, so I kept it. And now I just have the blue on it because it looks cool, and it goes with the new design. Last year’s design was most definitely based off Ole Miss, but this year’s not as much.”
To top it off, the pit sign for Purdy is a picture of Ole Miss head football coach Lane Kiffin. A picture of this got to Kiffin on Twitter, and he thought it was funny, so Purdy kept the sign and still uses it at the races.
Purdy recently finished a race in Charlotte and then another one at Bristol Motor Speedway. He is currently preparing for his next race at Darlington Speedway on May 6.
“We travel all the time and I get to see really cool things, but the downside is that we are gone literally all the time,” Purdy said. “I can’t complain though. I got a really fair hand, and I love what I’m doing.”