OSWEGO, N.Y. – Supermodified racing fan favorite Chris Perley officially announced his retirement this week as he approached the start of what would have been his 25th year in racing, and 20th with the winged supermodifieds.
The Vic Miller/Chris Perley team that began back in 1995, has undeniably thrilled crowds from Michigan to Maine and from down South to Canada. Gradually, wherever winged supers were, the first question was “which one is Perley?” The era is over.
One PR veteran said some years ago, “The most exciting thing in racing, anywhere, in any division, is watching Chris Perley come up from the back of the pack to win a race.”
Many would agree whole-heartedly.
Perley’s decision, therefore, did not come easily and certainly did not come without a lot of soul-searching for the six-time International Supermodified Ass’n champion.
He loves racing. He loves the competition and he loves the people involved. The accomplishments and statistics would fill a book which just may be written someday. Perley explained his decision Wednesday from his marina business in Rowley, Mass.
“First I want to say I have absolutely no problem with Vic Miller and the crew. I’ve heard rumors that I had a fight with Vic and I wasn’t happy with the car. This has nothing to do with anything like that. The writing has been on the wall for sometime now,” Perley said. “I thought that I could get one more year in. Eddie Shea was going to help me out with flights to get me to the races and back this year. That would have been great but I just have too many commitments here to get done, straightened out, whatever. I just need to focus my attention here first. I just had to cut the cord and do it quickly. I have a business and a family with three growing kids. As you get older, you realize the kids aren’t young anymore.
“I’m sure I could have gotten by racing again, but it wouldn’t have been right. I couldn’t lead my crew on any further for me to see how long it would take or if I could do it this year. The championship ended last year kind of screwed up and I owe it to them to have the same person driving the whole year. The only way I could do it was quit and do it now, otherwise I could have changed my mind. It’s tough and I just figured I had to do it. I laid low until Vic found somebody else because you know he’s going to go on. Then, I couldn’t change my mind and if I talked to anybody I know I would have changed my mind. It’s been very difficult to divide up my life and it’s time. I almost hoped for a bad year when I could have finally said, ‘ah screw it’. It wasn’t happening. We just kept on going and doing well. It’s time to pass the hat.”
Perley retires from competition as the all-time ISMA victories leader with 69 to go along with six ISMA titles. Fans and competitors won’t soon forget Perley, that is a guarantee.
“It’s been an awesome ride. I can’t complain. And I couldn’t have done it with a greater team. If I ever do come back, it will be with them. And, if they won’t take me, I won’t come back. That’s the deal, plain and simple,” Perley said.