Article by Brandon Mudd / CompetitionPlus
Hollywood is littered with the broken dreams of those sacrificing everything to become a movie star. Cameron Ferre used Hollywood to make his dreams of being a drag racer come true.
Ferre, a California native, saw an NHRA race at Pomona when he was nine realized drag racing is where he wanted to be.
“I used to race BMX, motocross, and just kept getting hurt,” Ferre said. “I said ‘Dad, stop the presses, we’re done with that."
“He said, ‘Well, son, we’re from the beach. We’re beach people, we don’t know anything about race cars. If you want to try to figure it out, you’re gonna have to do it yourself.”
Ferre wasted no time be gaining his financial independence at 10, earning an acting role as Pudge in the movie Jack Frost starring Michael Keaton. The gig was enough to buy his own Jr. Dragster, engines, and trailer, allowing him to race in the class six years and earn a championship.
Promotions through the ranks of Super Comp, Nostalgia Funny Cars, and Top Alcohol led to this weekend, where he’s making his Top Fuel debut.
“That’s the Cliff Notes version," Ferre said with a smile. "It’s been a long, hard struggle during that, but it’s been awesome,” he said. “It’s been all I’ve ever wanted to do.”
Drag racing isn’t just a vanity project or hobby for the former thespian. It’s what he does, and what he lives for every day. He's also pretty good at racing, too. In addition to the Jr. Dragster title, he’s won races in Super Comp, been to several finals in Top Alcohol, and has been an amazing example of what can be accomplished if the work is put in, regardless of age. Making his rise to Top Fuel even more unbelievable is the fact he doesn’t come from a racing family.
Passion is the underlying reason the majority of people do what they do in life. While Ferre had a talent for acting and said he still does a few things within the industry, he doesn’t have the passion for it the way he does for racing.
“You’re going up against somebody else that has a true, true passion; all they ever wanted to do when they were a kid was be an actor,” Ferre said. “All I ever wanted to do as a kid was to be a race car driver, so I kind of went a different angle.”
When he’s not racing, he works for his sponsor, Racepak as a digital marketing coordinator. His duties include working in front of the camera, making YouTube videos, and other instructional videos. It’s a job he’s obviously good at, but at the end of the day, being behind the wheel of a 300+ mph nitro-breathing monster is the end game.
“I can speak on camera and that kind of thing and I enjoy it, but the end goal is to obviously get a full-time ride in the Mello Yello series,” Ferre said. “That’s my goal and plan. I’m going to work really hard to try to make that happen.”
Making things easier for him is the atmosphere of competitors helping competitors in the NHRA garage, especially a pair of former Jr. Dragster racers he knows pretty well.
“Leah Pritchett and Shawn Langdon, I’ve grown up racing Jr. Dragsters with them for years and years,” he said. “I’ve had countless conversations with them. Everybody is super welcoming in anything that I need. They’re all just, ‘Oh yeah, anything you need to know, ask.’ We’re an open book because they want to see younger people come out here and kind of grow the sport.
“So it’s really cool.”
The dream has come full circle for Ferre, as he qualified No. 14, and scored his first-ever Top Fuel round win on Sunday by beating Top Fuel’s winningest driver Tony Schumacher in the opening round of the NHRA Carolina Nationals.