The last time Larry Pegram came to New Jersey Motorsports Park, he zipped around Thunderbolt Raceway on two wheels. This weekend, he’ll do it on four.
The accomplished long-time American Motorcycle Association Pro Racing rider will make his debut racing cars, driving in the Star Mazda Series. The series, which is a popular developmental open-wheel racing series, will highlight the Mazda Motorsports Festival, which runs Friday through Sunday. The series runs two 45-minute races Saturday and Sunday, each starting at 3 p.m.
“I had an opportunity to do this through some sponsors of mine,” Pegram said. “It’s an off weekend (for AMA) and it’s a great facility there. I know the track already, which is a plus.”
Pegram, who will race one of four cars under the AIM Motorsports umbrella, finished fourth and fifth in the two AMA races in Millville last year and clamped down a fourth-place finish in the overall points standings. He is currently fifth in this year’s point standings with four podium finishes.
The 36-year-old Ohio native has one test session in the car, a private day at Mosport in Canada. He said the run went well.
“I was pretty quick when I was in the car,” Pegram said. “Comparatively, I was about a second off the kids that’s were testing with us.”
That test session was the first time Pegram had ever been behind the wheel of a race car. He said he was used to the speeds, which helped his learning curve, but the idea of braking going into a corner is completely different from a motorcycle to a car.
“Some stuff carries over, some stuff doesn’t, which makes it harder,” Pegram said.
Accustomed to running out front in AMA, Pegram said he isn’t as concerned about what place he finishes.
“I’m going into it looking like I’m just going to have fun,” Pegram said. “But I know when the green flag drops, I’m going to be trying to beat whoever is around me for sure. But I’m so new to it, I don’t know what to expect.”
Pegram is quick to point out this race doesn’t necessarily signify a career change from two to four wheels.
“I’m looking at this as just to have a good time and see how competitive I can be in the car world,” Pegram said.