Steve Blackburn Vowing To Prove Daytona Was No FlukeBy Official Release
Before February’s performance at “The World Center of Racing”, Blackburn had experienced his fair share of disappointment in restrictor plate racing. Now with a new outlook based on his fourth place finish nearly three months ago, Blackburn is ready to get behind the wheel of the No. 94 Harley Davidson Pikeville / Pop’s Chevrolet Buick Cadillac Honda of Prestonsburg Chevrolet and contend for the win.
“I’ve been slowly counting down the days to Talladega since February,” said Blackburn, a native of Prestonsburg, Kentucky. “We made a huge change in our program between the 2011 and 2012 seasons and we were finally able to prove our worth at Daytona. We’re keeping our heads clear heading to Talladega this week, but I would be lying if I said we weren’t pumped about racing on Friday afternoon.”
Armed with the same Chevrolet Impala from Daytona and steam under the hood from Earnhardt-Childress Engines (ECR), Blackburn knows that he’ll have to exercise the same type of patience but rely heavily on the calls from his spotter and crew in order to be near the front when the white flag waives this week.
“The finish to Daytona was wild,” recalled Blackburn. “Imagine if that happened at Talladega, where the start-finish line is way down near towards turn one. It could happen again, but we’re not going to take any chances like some of them did at Daytona. By playing it safe, we found ourselves in the hunt for a top-five and our goal is to do the same at Talladega.”
Blackburn, poised to make his 10th career ARCA start Friday afternoon mentioned about the spark of interest from his hometown following Daytona and how it will affect his Steve Blackburn Motorsports (SBM) team.
“We’ll have a lot of support for Talladega. From Alabama to all the way back to Kentucky, we have a lot of people rooting for us and that’s a good feeling,” Blackburn said. “We’re extremely thankful to have Harley Davidson of Pikeville (Kentucky) and Pop’s Chevrolet Buick Cadillac Honda of Prestonsburg back on-board.”
Like Daytona, Gary Hostettler will assume the primary role as crew chief while NASCAR veteran Mike Abner will join the team in a consultant role. Lorin Ranier, who spotted for Blackburn at Daytona, will return in the same role this week putting all the key ingredients back together for the final restrictor plate race of the year.
“Right now, this is our final race of the year, so we would like to go out on top (if we can),” added Blackburn. “I feel like we have a great group of guys who all deserve one thing, winning. With a little luck, we’ll have a similar if not better run than Daytona.”
Since 2005, Steve Blackburn has competed in nine ARCA Racing Series races. In addition to Daytona and Talladega, Blackburn also has made three starts at Kentucky Speedway and one at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway respectively. In those nine outings, Blackburn has delivered a best starting position of third at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2012) and backed it up the same weekend with a career-best finish of fourth in the same weekend.
The International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250 (94 laps / 250 miles) is the fourth of 20 events on the 2012 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. The 50th ever ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway is a two-day show. Practice begins Thursday, May 3rd with a three hour practice session planned from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell is set for later in the day slated to begin at 5:05 p.m. Coverage of time trials is available online through the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) online atarcaracing.com in collaboration with Alabama’s local WTDR Thunder 92.7 FM. A 45-minute final practice has been etched in on Friday, April 4th from 10:00 a.m. – 10:55 a.m. The event will take the green flag that afternoon shortly after 4:00 p.m. The race will be televised live on SPEED with additional live broadcasting available through the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) online at arcaracing.com in collaboration with Alabama’s local WTDR Thunder 92.7 FM. All times are local (Central).