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DI 30 Under 30 2023: Alec Bledsoe

Seven years ago, Alec Bledsoe was a 21-year-old kid living with his parents, “broke as crap” and trying to figure out how he was going to pay rent at the two-bay shop where he started his Late Model Performance of Maryland tuning business. He had just spent half of his life savings – which was supposed to go towards a home down payment – to put electric in the building. But Bledsoe knew he had the knowledge and skills to make his business successful, so he put his head down and went to work. 

[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in DI #185, the 30 Under 30 Issue, in Nov/Dec of 2023.]

Since then, Bledsoe moved into one half of a much bigger shop, expanded to take up the other half of the shop, and eventually bought the building outright. His equipment now includes a Dynojet roller dyno to tune 400-500-horsepower street cars, as well as a Mainline hub dyno capable of dynoing race cars making up to 6,000 horsepower. He has five people on his payroll, and the business is finally profitable. Most recently, he’s added a fabrication department that produces parts for Late Model Performance’s online store. 

“We specialize in all these new cars like the Z06 Corvettes and the ZL1 Camaros and things like that,” says Bledsoe, 28. “They’re all factory supercharged cars, and we sell intakes, heat exchangers, and other bolt-ons. Our online sales have been going crazy this year.”

Bledsoe started the business after getting into tuning software in high school. He spent the summer working as a life guard to save up to buy a ’99 Trans Am, and when he called a handful of local shops about getting it tuned, no one called him back. He decided to learn how to do it himself, and by the time he was a senior, he was running low 10s. 

While building his business, Bledsoe has continued to race his own car, now a ’20 ZL1 Camaro. It’s controlled by a stock ECM, features a stock-style, 10-speed automatic transmission built in-house at LMP, and powered by an LTR engine Bledsoe put together with the help of one of his mentors, Gene Fulton. Last year, he broke the LT4 OEM blower record with an 8.43 at 160 MPH. He came back out this year and lowered the record yet again with an 8.26 at 161 MPH during the Haltech World Cup Finals at Maryland International Raceway.

“We all kind of go back and forth in the street car game,” Bledsoe says. “It’s a pretty big deal, just like Pro Nitrous, how competitive that is. Last year, we were all going back and forth with 8.80s and 8.70s, so I really jumped the gun when I ran the 8.43. It’s like when Jimmy Halsey went 3.59 [in his nitrous Pro Mod] and no one’s been able to catch him since. That’s how far ahead I am with that right now.”

Street cars are Bledsoe’s bread and butter at LMP, but he also works with multiple full-fledged race cars. Working with fellow young gun Jalen Burbage of Menscer Motorsports, Bledsoe tunes Joe McDevitt’s Johnny Haislip-driven, single-turbo, small-block Mustang in Warriors Outlaw, where Haislip qualified No. 1 and lost on a holeshot in the finals at the Yellowbullet Nationals this year. Bledsoe also helps Jack and Derek Ford tune their nitrous Pro Mod in NEOPMA and PDRA competition. 

Bledsoe points out that he doesn’t do all of this alone. He credits the Fords, who he worked for before he started his own business, as well as industry veterans like Gene Fulton and Mark Menscer for their pointers and guidance. He also thanked his parents, Larry and Melissa.

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“My parents pushed me to have a really good work ethic growing up,” Bledsoe says. “They ran a tight ship. I think that helped me out a lot because I played sports growing up and I always wanted to be the best. I always wanted to be the leading guy that made tackles in high school or whatever it might be. My dad always pushed me and I think that really helped me in life.”

This story was originally published on February 19, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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