Jerrid Marhefka hopes to get a racing license after he graduates to follow in the footsteps of his father, Jon Marhefka, who started racing in the 1960s. (Provided via Jerrid Marhefka)
Jerrid Marhefka is waiting for the day to get his racing license.
Jerrid’s father, Jon, got his racing license at The Mid-Ohio School, which provides a program for prospective racers. People who go through the course can become qualified to compete in the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) or the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA).
Jerrid, a redshirt junior wide receiver for Ohio, has been around the racing scene since he was about six years old, regularly going to the race track with his father and older brother, Jonathan.
He hopes to earn his racing license after graduation, but getting the license is only part of Jerrid’s post-college plans.
Eventually, Jerrid wants to race with his father, something the two have talked about since around his freshman year in Athens.
“I mean that’s the dream — that we can race on the same track one day,” Jerrid said.
Racing and Cars Are A Marhefka Thing
The Marhefkas’ love for cars goes back two generations, with Jon Marhefka’s father, John, who started racing in the 1960s. Jerrid says his grandfather and father have had car dealerships, so he is used to being around cars.
Jon began drag racing when he was 15 years old, but stopped because he found drag racing to be boring. He owns a 1989 Honda CRX, a sports car that he hasn’t raced in 10 years.
With Jerrid’s grandfather establishing a bond with Jon through cars and racing, Jon passed down his love for the field to Jerrid.
“When you have an interest with your father, you tend to like things your father likes,” Jon said.
And for Jon, the memories at the race track — hearing the cars’ motors, smelling the racing fuels and exhaust — are something he still cherishes.
He continued the family tradition of going to the race track, taking Jerrid and Jonathan to places such as Mid-Ohio, Nelson Ledges in Garrettsville, Ohio and Watkins Glen International in New York.
Jerrid saw the stylish cars that enthusiasts brought to these races, looking at cars such as Porsche 911s.
“It’s always nice seeing a cool car, and then just the sound is loud,” he said. “I mean unbelievably loud.”
A Young Man And His Mini Cooper S
Though Jerrid has yet to race, he is still knowledgeable about what cars offer. From how many RPMs it takes for a card to red line, which is the maximum RPM level for a car, to what makes driving a manual transmission fun.
He drives a red Mini Cooper S back home in St. Clairsville, Ohio, and the turbo-charged car is what he prefers — he’s not too interested in muscle cars.
Muscle cars like Mustangs and Camaros have big engines. They go fast and are high-performing vehicles.
But Jerrid’s dream car is a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, a turbo charged car that can reach 60 MPH in 3.3 seconds.
“These Porsches and Ferraris they make them light, they make them turbo charged and it’s like all these different things that make it go fast,” Jerrid said. “It’s just not a big engine.”
Though he is a car enthusiast, he isn’t a big NASCAR fan. He says he’ll watch the sport with his father, but watching it is simply another way to bond with his father.
Rather, Jerrid is interested in Formula One racing, a form of racing that is faster than NASCAR. Formula One cars are purposefully built and highly engineered. The cars generally have a tiny body and have an open roof.
Along with his interest in Formula One racing, Jerrid shares a magazine subscription to Motor Trend with his roommate.
Jerrid said he and his roommate flip through the magazine, looking for any good deals on cars.
“I mean if you find a deal we can always sell our cars and get a new one, but just something I like,” Jerrid said.
Two summers ago, Jon Marhefka took his father, Jerrid, Jonathan and his daughter Sarto to race Go-Karts.
Jon proposed a deal to his children: whoever beat him around the track first would get his race car.
Keep in mind, Jon has a racing background.
“No one came close to touching him, but it was mainly just between me and my brother,” Jerrid said. “And surprisingly, my sister could drive a Go-Kart pretty well. Other than that, it was getting aggressive out there on the track for sure.”
Jon bred a competitive environment for his children, with Jerrid and Jonathan routinely playing 1-on-1 basketball in the driveway.
“I think that when you’re brought up in a family where competition is a regular part of your lives, your children have a high tendency to be competitive,” Jon said.
Jonathan says he’s not inherently competitive, denoting Jerrid’s competitiveness as the spark for his own.
Jonathan says Jerrid has had a competitive edge since he was in the sixth grade, and whether it was the weight room, football field or basketball court, the two constantly competed.
“There’s no stopping until somebody’s winning,” Jonathan said.
The ride of a lifetime
The racing license is what Jerrid covets, but sharing a race track is also something that Jon wants to share with his son.
When Jerrid is done playing football, he and his brother will bond with their father, hoping to take the 1989 Honda CRX for a spin.
Growing up around car dealerships, growing up around race tracks were great experiences for Jerrid and Jonathan.
But those experiences go back to John sharing his love for cars with Jon, and in turn Jon sharing that love with his sons.
“It was a pretty cool upbringing,” Jon said. “And I think it was for Jerrid as well.”