After moving up to Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda (FR Americas) midway through 2021, Nick Persing is competing in his first season with the championship this year. Driving the No. 29 OPI Commercial Builders Ligier JS F3 for TJ Speed Motorsports, Persing is still fighting for his first FR Americas win. With three podiums and a best finish of second, Persing has helped the TJ Speed team complete two podium sweeps this season. Off the track, Persing just began his freshman year at Boise State University where he is studying business and marketing.
What topping absolutely never belongs on a pizza?
Nick Persing (NP): “Sardines.”
Do you believe in luck?
NP: “Yeah, I do believe in luck.
“I actually have a pair of socks—they’re ripped and I can’t wear them anymore. I used to wear them for every single race for the entire weekend; the same pair of socks, every day. They were Stance socks; there were flames on them. They were my lucky socks. I don’t do it anymore because I don’t want to let it get in my head that, ‘oh, I don’t have my lucky socks on,’ but for a year or two, I did.”
What emotions do you go through during a race?
NP: “I go through emotions before and after, but during a race—unless I make a big mistake that I’m angry at myself about—I just try to become a robot and not have any emotions. I just try to focus on what’s happening on the track and respond to that. Now, if I get on the podium, I’m obviously happy at the end of it.”
If you were developing the next big social media platform, what would it be used for?
NP: “A car-related social media platform would be cool. It sounds kinda basic coming from a racecar driver, but I’d like it. Or maybe it’s related to extreme sports? At a minimum, something sports related.”
How did you come up with your autograph?
NP: “My autograph is really simple. It’s just a capital ‘N,’ and then I do a curve on the end of it to make a ‘P.’ I always write the number 29 below it because that’s my number. I don’t remember exactly when I came up with it, but I think it was probably at one of my F4 races. It was one of those ‘oh, shoot; I need an autograph,’ and that’s what I came up with. It’s alright.”
How do you decompress after a tough race?
NP: “Go out to dinner—a nice big dinner with a whole bunch of food. Later in the week, I just hang out with my friends. Surfing is one of my at-home therapy things. It’s fun. I go surfing a lot to calm down.”
If you didn’t drive racecars for a living, what would you do?
NP: “If my parents let me stick with dirt bikes when I was a little kid, I’d probably be doing that right now, honestly. I went to a dirt bike race when I was little and I did pretty well, but there was a fight and some kid got hurt. My parents saw it and were like ‘I don’t know if this is for you.’
“I’d probably want to be doing Motocross; it’s pretty sick. Or maybe I’d get into surfing, too. I really like surfing. I live kinda far from the beach—it’s a good 30- to 45-minute drive. I surfed a little bit when I was a kid, but I never really had the chance to do it all the time until I got my license, but I do really enjoy it.”
Who in the paddock have you known the longest and how did you meet?
NP: “Probably Jay Howard. He was the very first person I met when I was doing F4 testing. There are some other people that I knew their names from go-karting, but I was never really friends with them to actually get to know them.”
One of your hobbies is surfing. Where is the one place that you dream of surfing?
NP: “Probably Nazaré [in Portugal]. Realistically, that’s a big wave; I don’t have the skillset to surf that. Let’s say I did, though—I’d love to surf there. I’ve heard that the waves can get up to like 100 feet tall there, which would be insane. Maybe Mavericks [in California], too, but that’s close to home. I’ve driven by that beach before. I’d really like to surf somewhere in another country. I have surfed Hawaii before and that was really cool. I think my dream would be Nazaré.”
Last week I talked to Jason Alder and I asked him for a question to ask you. He wanted to ask, if you weren’t driving cars professionally, would you try to become a surfer? Why or why not?
NP: “Probably not; it’s too late for me. It’s the same thing as racing—you need to be doing it since you were a little kid. If I wasn’t racing, I’d probably get a lot more into it and really try to chase some bigger waves. But I don’t want to hurt myself on the water because of racing. If I was into it a little bit more as a kid, then I probably would’ve tried to chase it.”
Do you have a question that I can ask the next driver I interview? It will be Mac Clark.
NP: “You know what, I might have known Mac the longest—I knew him from back in go-karting. I’ve known him a really long time, actually.
“I know he used to be a Birel driver in go-karting. I used to race Birel a lot, too. Ask him if he ever tried a different chassis.”