Jake Bradley, of Morris , is second in the street stock standings at Grundy County Speedway. | Brian Nolte/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 22, 2014 2:28AM
Bradley, 19, of Morris, began racing go-karts when he was 9 years old. The past two seasons he’s been a competitor in the street stocks division at Grundy County Speedway. He stands in second place this season.
Did you have success as a go-kart driver?
I won quite a few heat races and won a couple of features. I got quite a few trophies. It was fun.
How did you get into street stocks?
I wanted to get into something bigger. I’ve been going to Grundy County Speedway since I was a baby. We were going to buy a street stock, but ended up meeting Matt (Olson). He built us one.
Is racing in your family’s bloodline?
My dad (Gary Bradley) raced motorcross out on the flat tracks. That’s where I got my No. 38 from. I was more interested in the four-wheelers. I like race cars better.
Did you have any racing heroes as a kid?
I remember as a little kid my favorite driver was Pat Kelly. He was just a good driver, and at the time orange was my favorite color and he had an orange car. I actually went to school with his son, Nathan, and me and him raced go-karts together.
How were your first times in a street stock?
Oh, it was a blast. There is so much more power. Going from go-karts was a big jump — but not too much.
Is working on your car as much fun as racing?
Me and my dad do all of the work on the car. It allows me to spend quality time with my father. It’s a father-son thing for me that I enjoy.
Does he try to tell you how to drive?
Actually, no. He knows I know how to drive. He’s a coach, but he helps me more with setups on the car and how to tweak and tune it.
You’re chasing points at Grundy, giving Eddie Ligue a run for his money.
Last year and this year I wasn’t worried about any kind of points. I was just out there to get seat time since it was my second year. Last year I got ninth in points, and this year I’ve been kind of stuck in second. So I said, “You know what? I’m going to go for it.” Right now I’m closing the gap. The best I can do is try.
What’s the hardest part about driving at Grundy?
Passing is the majority of it. It takes some finesse to get good at it. If you’ve got to run on the outside, that’s probably the most challenging. If your car isn’t set up for it, is just isn’t going to stick.
Who’s your toughest opponent on the track?
Everybody else I can figure out, but John Senerchia, he’s just one person I cannot figure out. I’ve tried everything (to pass him). That’s honestly the biggest thing right now. When I’m right behind him and trying to pass him, I just can’t figure him out. (Laughing) I’ll get there.
Where do you see your career going?
I was planning on staying in street stocks until I either win a championship or got a couple of years experience. Then I was going to move up to late-model. But that won’t be for a while. I just want to get more seat time.
As told to Tony Baranek