(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - February 14, 2012) - For the past two consecutive seasons, Steve Blackburn has been bitten by bad luck when the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards invades Daytona International Speedway. This year, however, the Prestonsburg, Ky. native is hoping that the “third time's a charm” in the running of Saturday’s Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200.
Extremely fast-cars have kept Blackburn in the hunt for a solid finish in all of four of his previous restrictor plate races, two at Daytona the other two at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway respectively, but on-track incidents have halted the Steve Blackburn Motorsports (SBM) from shining in the limelight.
Once again, the season-opener is upon the team and with the support of Harley Davidson Pikeville and Pop’s Chevrolet Buick Cadillac Honda of Prestonsburg, Blackburn is looking for a thunderous effort in his ninth career ARCA Racing Series start.
“I feel like Daytona owes us,” says Blackburn, whose run at least one ARCA Racing Series event since 2005.
“We’ve put a lot of effort in our superspeedway program, not only because it’s a blast to drive at, but it’s an important race. The atmosphere surrounding the race is contagious which makes you proud to be a part of it that much more. Hopefully, if we can have a good showing at Daytona, we’ll be back to dance with the series again at Talladega in May.”
Blackburn will admit that he is psyched about Saturday’s race and he has every reason to be. Since Daytona last year, his team has tediously worked on their No. 94 Harley Davidson Pikeville / Pop’s Chevrolet Buick Cadillac Honda of Prestonsburg Chevrolet for the 60th season of competition in the ARCA Racing Series.
“Believe me, it would be extremely humbling to be included in the opening ceremonies of ARCA’s 60th season,” Blackburn said. “That’s a great accomplishment for them (ARCA). They really do make us feel welcome which is why we continue to come back and have a presence in the series. We have a new chassis and body on this car plus the work from Gary (Hostettler, crew chief) and the rest of the SBM team is commendable. Lorin Ranier is scheduled to spot from us on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) side, so we’ve put all these pieces together to try and bring home a strong finish for our Kentucky-based team. Hopefully, we can just stay out of the trouble that has thwarted us in the past and see that checkered flag.”
Finally, if a new chassis and body wasn’t enough to boast about, then the manufacturer switch which included a change in their engine provider quite possibly can sneak Blackburn into the “sleeper” category for the first of 20 races this season.
“I’ve run a Dodge since we started racing in ARCA back in 2005, but we’ve made the switch to Chevrolet and have some power under the hood from Earnhardt-Childress Racing (ECR) engines,” Blackburn explained. “I feel that this change is that extra boost that we need to push us from contenders to winners in the ARCA Racing Series. Sure, to some it would be an unexpected win, but we don’t come just to race, we come to win too!”
Since 2005, Steve Blackburn has competed in eight 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 eight outings, Blackburn has delivered a best starting position of 11th twice at Kentucky Speedway in his inaugural ARCA debut (2005) and Talladega (2008). His best finish thus far occurred in his very first start where he delivered a notable 14th place finish.
The Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona (80 laps / 200 miles) is the first of 20 events on the 2012 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. The 49th ARCA race held at Daytona is a three-day show. Practice begins Thursday, February 16 with a four hour practice session planned from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell is set for Friday, February 17 slated to begin at 2:00 p.m. A forty-five minute final practice session is etched in on Saturday, February 18th from 10:00 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. The event will take the green flag later that day shortly after 4:30 p.m. The race will be televised live on SPEED with additional race coverage including live timing and scoring and radio broadcast through the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) online at arcaracing.com. All times are local. ARCA, celebrating its 60th season in 2012 is the preamble for the highly anticipated Budweiser Shootout for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) set to ignite under the lights later that night.
For more on Steve Blackburn and SBM, please log onto steveblackburnmotorsports.com.