Steve Blackburn Produces Career-Weekend At Daytona
Steve Blackburn Produces Career-Weekend At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (February 20, 2012)
Knight Motorsports Management
Steve Blackburn Motorsports
February 20, 2012
- - All the hard work paid off. Steve Blackburn and his Steve Blackburn Motorsports (SBM) team made numerous changes since the 2011 ARCA Racing Series season-opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway all with the intentions of earning an opportunity to beaming into the spotlight in this past Saturday’s Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200.
It was clear to the ARCA Racing Series garage that Blackburn in his No. 94 Harley Davidson Pikeville / Pop’s Chevrolet Buick Cadillac Honda of Prestonsburg Chevrolet would be a threat for the opening-race for the 60th season of competition.
When the first four-hour practice session concluded it was the Prestonsburg, Kentucky native that led the 52-car parade by turning a lap time of 47.712 seconds at 188.632 miles per hour, the only machine in the 47-second bracket.
Knowing that he had a car capable of drafting and running strong in single-car runs, the team was looking forward to Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell on Friday afternoon.
During time trials on Friday, Blackburn originally wheeled his No. 94 Harley Davidson Pikeville / Pop’s Chevrolet Buick Cadillac Honda of Prestonsburg Chevrolet to the fifth quickest lap at 49.416 seconds topping a speed of 182.127 miles per hour but when two drivers including original pole sitter Bobby Gerhart’s times were disallowed for failing post-qualifying racing inspection, Blackburn moved into the inside line of row two, third, his career best start in the ARCA Racing Series surpassing his previous best efforts of 11th twice at Kentucky Speedway in his inaugural ARCA debut (2005) and Talladega (2008).
A final practice session opened track activity on Saturday morning with Blackburn playing conservative in the drafting-session and producing the 12th fastest lap overall.
43 cars took the green flag with Blackburn quickly finding his comfort zone and tucking behind leader Sean Corr and holding the second position. He would continue to hold in the runner-up position through the race’s first caution flag. On the restart, Blackburn continued to stay tucked behind Corr but when Leilani Munter spun on lap 14.
It was under that caution that crew chief Gary Hostettler elected to bring his driver down pit lane for a fuel only stop. Blackburn would restart the season-opener in the 30th position.
By lap 20, Blackburn had improved six positions on the racetrack. Racing resumed a few laps later with the No. 94 Harley Davidson Pikeville / Pop’s Chevrolet Buick Cadillac Honda of Prestonsburg Chevrolet on the move and shoving his way into the top-15 by lap 30.
The race would take a green flag look through the halfway mark, Blackburn held his own in the 13th position just waiting for his opportunity to strike.
Inside the final 30 laps remaining, Blackburn drafted his way into the top-10 when the caution flag waived on lap 69 for a multi-car incident.
Racing resume with five laps remaining with Blackburn locked in the fifth position after several competitors elected to make a pit stop for a splash of fuel. Blackburn would remain in single-file formation and make the move on Chris Buescher with the lead group draft to move into the fourth position and take the white flag in that same position.
As the field thundered out of turn four, both leaders nearly simultaneously ran out of gas forcing Blackburn to take abrasive maneuvers to avoid a collision but it allowed the Chevrolets of Bobby Gerhart and Drew Charlson to make a bold move to the outside to take the checkered flag first and second. Meanwhile with all the shuffling because of the slowing racecars, Blackburn originally crossed the start-finish line sixth, but Brett Hudson and Nelson Canache would be yanked of their unofficial running positions for passing below the yellow line to bolt Blackburn into fourth, his first career-top five in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
“Man, that was a lot of fun, but incredibly hectic there at the end,” offered Blackburn. “We had a good car from the moment we unloaded. We didn’t have to make many adjustments to it and that’s a huge credit to the guys on this Steve Blackburn Motorsports team.
We came in early for fuel and really had to work hard to get back to the front, when we did I thought we were sitting in a prime position to maybe make a move with Kimmel (No. 68) if we could but then the No. 4 and No. 32 ran out of fuel and everyone went scattering. This is the first time I’ve taken the checkered flag at Daytona and man that feels awesome. The car is in good shape, so I think we’re going to Talladega.”
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 fourth at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2012) and backed it up the same weekend with a career-best finish of fourth in the same weekend.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will be the first of two stops in the state of Alabama with the sanctions first ever visit to Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway for the running of the Mobile ARCA 200 on Saturday, March 10.
For more on Steve Blackburn and SBM, please log onto steveblackburnmotorsports.com.
PHOTO CAPTION: Steve Blackburn, driver of the No. 94 Harley Davidson Pikeville / Pop’s Chevrolet Buick Cadillac Honda of Prestonsburg Chevrolet in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards for Steve Blackburn Motorsports (SBM).
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