Blind mechanic follows dream to build race team

BRECKNOCK TOWNSHIP, Berks County -- We’ve heard seeing is believing but for mechanic and race car owner Jay Blake, belief is witnessed with his hands.

Jay owns and works on one of the top dragsters in the country and he’s never seen his team race.

He says, “My dream as a kid was to work on a professional race team.”

Jay made a career as an auto and truck technician before tragedy hit. A fork lift, wheel and tire assembly, exploded in his face.

Causing him to lose total smell and taste and sight.

“There was no hope of working on cars and trucks anymore and there was no hope I’d ever work on a race car," Jay said.

Two years after his accident, Jay found himself at Maple Grove Raceway, with a friend, for the National Event. Never thinking a trip to the drag strip would enlighten him.

He says, “Nothing else really left in my life. I decided I was going to go home and start my own race team. I wasn’t really sure how but I was going to do it. I had nothing to lose."

Now, in their 20th season, 'Follow A Dream' race team has won some of the biggest races around the country on the top NHRA circuit.

“I had to create a job for myself and create a new life and this whole follow a dream organization, has done that," Jay said.

“He knows this pit area. He knows this race car so well, that, he moves around seamlessly. Even without his sight," said Phil Burkart, driver, Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car.

The man behind the wheel for the last four seasons at Follow A Dream racing, representing this team as the driver and face as he tries to get Jay’s voice, also heard.

“I truly love working with my hands and working on engines and with tools and it’s just who I am and what I do and I didn’t want to give it up. We all face challenges in life and it’s how we react to them that makes the difference. You can’t let the challenge define you, said Jay.

You can see Jay and the entire Follow A Dream race team at Maple Grove Raceway for the NHRA Nationals, September 12th through 15th.

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