Michigan: Blount has been close, but first victory elusive

Rookie sits third in points entering Flagstar 200 at MIS. BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Chad Blount had every opportunity to claim his first ARCA RE/MAX Series victory in March at Atlanta. He started from the pole, had the car to beat and had just one ...

Rookie sits third in points entering Flagstar 200 at MIS.

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Chad Blount had every opportunity to claim his first ARCA RE/MAX Series victory in March at Atlanta.

He started from the pole, had the car to beat and had just one problem: Damon Lusk was one spot ahead of Blount in the closing laps. Rather than move Lusk aside, Blount raced him cleanly, wound up runner-up of the event by a RE/MAX Series record .001 seconds and was left searching for his first victory while Lusk celebrated in Winner's Circle.

That's the kind of driver Blount wants to be known as.

"I've always raced people how I want to be raced," said Blount, a 22-year-old rookie in the RE/MAX Series who will compete in the Flagstar 200 Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. "I don't want to wiggle someone to win a race, especially my first race or any one for that matter. I don't want that kind of reputation."

Tickets to the Flagstar 200 -- which include admission to a three-act concert featuring the Blues Brothers afterward -- are just $40 for all reserved seats with children 12 and under free. Call (800) 354-1010 or CenturyTel users can dial *MIS for tickets.

Blount drove to two straight top-five finishes in his first two starts of the season in the unsponsored No. 77 Dodge, the only Dodge competing regularly in the series. Entering the Flagstar 200, Blount is third in points after eight starts with four top-fives and six top-10s but no victories. Series leader Frank Kimmel (four wins) and second-place Lusk (two) have the lion's share of the victories, but Blount has been competitive week in and week out in his first season with two runner-up finishes.

"I'm surprised he's learned as fast as he did," said father and crew chief Bob Blount. "He was doing late model until just last year."

And in January, Blount and the team didn't even have a race shop to work out of. They used Bob Blount's pole barn to get ready for a run at the RE/MAX Series title but quickly figured the venture would be too big for a pole barn to accommodate. Now, the team works out of a race shop in Indiana with 14 cars in the garage owned by Todd Braun of Winamac, Indiana.

He will make his second start at MIS this weekend and look to improve on a 10th-place finish in the RE/MAX Series event last July.

"Last year at Michigan, we had a fairly good race car, and now switching to Dodge, we've got a really good race package," Blount said. "MIS is a neat place, and I enjoyed myself last year. We were fairly new to ARCA, and every time we go to a place, we learn something. I learned a lot from Michigan."

One thing he's learned is that driving a 3,400-pound stock car in the RE/MAX Series is quite a bit different than piloting a 2,600-pound late model car at nearby Berlin Speedway. Blount was second in a RE/MAX Series race at Berlin last year and was third in the late model points the year before with nine runner-up finishes.

"They don't have as much body as the ARCA cars do, and the ARCA cars have a lot more motor than what I'm used to," Blount said. "It took a while to get used to, but a race car's a race car. They all have four tires, so all you have to do is get yourself to believe that a race car is a race car."

It's not hard for Blount to do that considering that racing is pretty much all the 22-year-old has known. His father Bob is a fourth-generation driver who still competes in various late model races, although the number of events he competes in has been diminished due to his son's RE/MAX Series venture.

"It's all Chad's ever done," Bob Blount said. "I raced full-time for 27 years, and he's always worked in the shop. He used to help us clean the cars when he was little enough to stuff into the back window."

Chad Blount said he's appreciated his father support and found a tighter bond with his dad and crew chief.

"If I had to get a real job, I wouldn't know what to do, and he's been a big, big influence for me," Blount said. "He's not only my dad, but he's my best friend, too. When you spend 14 hours a day together, it makes you become real close."

-mis-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Chad Blount , Damon Lusk