BUSCH: Kansas: Chad Blount preview

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Oct. 1, 2003) ­ When Chad Blount climbs into the No. 26 High Life Dodge for this Saturday's (Oct. 2) Mr. Goodcents 300 at Kansas Speedway, he'll be driving a car recognizing a stock car legend, as well as continuing a ...

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Oct. 1, 2003) ­ When Chad Blount climbs into the No. 26 High Life Dodge for this Saturday's (Oct. 2) Mr. Goodcents 300 at Kansas Speedway, he'll be driving a car recognizing a stock car legend, as well as continuing a long-time family tradition.

Blount's car at Kansas Speedway, the No. 26 High Life Dodge, will resemble the stock car in which Bobby Allison captured his only NASCAR Winston Cup championship in 1983. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Allison's title-winning campaign -- when he won six races en route to his only NASCAR Winston Cup championship -- driving the No. 22 High Life Buick for DiGard Racing.

In addition to recognizing Allison's accomplishments from 20 years ago, Blount's Team Jesel entry will also honor High Life's 100th anniversary by returning to the brand's roots in racing. Miller Brewing Company's High Life brand was a major supporter of numerous racing teams and drivers beginning the early 1970s, and continuing for more than 20 years. The High Life brand was first introduced in 1903 when Ernst Miller, son of company founder Frederick Miller, selected the name.

Along with driving a stock car that honors a stock car legend and celebrates a company's rich history, the 24-year-old Blount is following a long and established family tradition as he pursues his racing future.

Blount, a Walkerton, Ind.-native, is a fourth-generation racer, following the path established by his father (Bob), grandfather (Jim) and great-grandfather (Harold). The Blount family, primarily Chad's father and grandfather, have combined for more than 1,500 race wins at tracks throughout the country.

"It's a pretty neat deal to be a fourth-generation racer and running some of the same tracks as my father and grandfather," says Blount. "Unfortunately, Kansas Speedway is a pretty new track and my father can't really talk to me about his experience at the track. Hopefully, as I gain more experience and learn more about NASCAR I'll be able to enjoy some of the same success as my family."

Growing up in Indiana, Blount's father was a racer and car builder. Chad began helping his father in the family race shop when he was just five or six. "It was always my job to clean inside the racecars," explains Chad. "Being the smallest person around Dad's shop and being able to easily get in was my first responsibility."

By the time he was 10, Chad had learned enough from being around the shop and traveling to the races, that he began working as both a mechanic and fabricator. "I never had any formal training in how to build a racecar or how to put together an engine, but I learned so much from spending time with my father and grandfather," adds Blount. "Every summer we'd be in the race shop from early in the morning to late at night, just working on racecars and talking racing. It was the best `school' for me to learn about the racing business."

While he did race throughout the country, Bob Blount was usually participating at racetracks in the Midwest, including circuits in Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. During his 28-year racing career, which continues today, Bob has driven many different types of racecars -- everything from Late Models to Sprint Cars and Midgets. He was a regular competitor in the ARGTO series and the ASA Sportsman class, and frequently fielded entries in events at Indiana's Anderson Speedway and Plymouth Speedway, as well as Salem Speedway and Winchester Speedway.

"One day, my Dad and I were trying to figure out how many races he has won," says Chad. "We counted up all his wins since he began racing at 16, and he had close to 700 wins. I think the number was actually 664 or 665, but that number keeps getting bigger because Dad's still racing. Just a couple of weeks ago, Dad won another Late Model race at Indiana's New Paris Speedway (Sept. 20, 2003)."

Chad's grandfather and Bob's father, Jim Blount, was also an accomplished driver who recorded more than 1,000 victories on his racing resume. "He drove every type of car you can possibly imagine," says Chad. "My grandfather started racing in 1954 and he didn't retire until 43 years after his first race. During his final season of racing in 1997, he even won a track championship at Plymouth."

Jim Blount's accomplishments are quite extensive, and include more than 30 different track championships. He captured American Speed Association (ASA) championships in 1968 and 1969, and recorded 20 podium finishes during his ASA career. At Anderson Speedway, Jim recorded three straight victories in the prestigious ASA Anderson 400 (1968-70), a feat duplicated by only one other driver (NASCAR's Mark Martin).

"During the summer, my father would race six or seven nights a week, in all different types of racecars," says Bob Blount. "It wasn't unusual for him to begin the week racing in New York, and by the end of the week he had raced six straight nights, at tracks in New York, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana."

        One of Chad's fondest memories took place at Indiana's Plymouth Speedway in the summer of 1996
when he was just 16.  That night, three generations of the Blount family raced together on the same track as
Chad ran on the same circuit as his father and grandfather.  Although not competing against each other that

The person who began the Blount racing tradition was Chad's great grandfather Harold. Even though he was not a driver, Harold Blount was a respected car owner who fielded entries at many tracks throughout the Midwest, and across the country.

Blount's next chance to add to the family win column is this Saturday when he makes his NASCAR debut at Kansas Speedway, and starts his 15th Grand National event of the season. In Blount's two most recent starts in the No. 26 High Life Dodge, he finished 15th at Michigan International Speedway (Aug. 16) and 35th at Richmond International Raceway (Sept. 5). At the Milwaukee Mile (June 29), in his debut with Team Jesel and the High Life Dodge, Blount had to retire from the race with engine problems after just 98 laps.

This season, Blount has two top-10 finishes in the series -- a fifth-place at Texas Motor Speedway (March 29) and an eighth-place at Nashville Superspeedway (April 12). A year ago, Blount was a regular competitor in the ARCA Re/Max series and finished second in the championship point standings, recording four wins and 11 top-fives en route to the series Rookie-of-the-Year honors.

The High Life brand made its motorsports debut in 1971 by sponsoring the High Life 500 NASCAR race at California's Ontario Motor Speedway. Along with sponsoring Allison's 1983 championship-winning car and his 1988 Daytona 500 win, High Life has supported teams and drivers that have won auto racing's most prestigious events. In 1989, High Life backed the Porsche that won road racing's 24-Hours of Daytona, and the brand was an associate sponsor on Rick Mears' Indianapolis 500-winning cars in 1984 and 1988.

In 1906, three years after High Life was introduced, the slogan "The Champagne of Bottle Beer" was first used in the brand's advertising. In 2002, High Life received a prestigious gold medal for best American Style Lager at the World Beer Cup.

Milwaukee-based Miller Brewing Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of SABMiller plc. Principal beer brands include Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft and Miller High Life. The company imports Pilsner Urquell and Foster's; produces SKYY Blue, Sauza Diablo, Stolichnaya Citrona and Jack Daniel's Original Hard Cola flavored malt beverages; and has primary products ICEHOUSE and Red Dog from the Plank Road Brewery, a small division of Miller. Specialty regional brands include Leinenkugel's and Henry Weinhard's. The company brews Sharp's, a non-alcohol brew, and has malt liquor brands including Olde English 800 and Mickey's Malt Liquor. More information is available at www.MillerBrewing.com and www.MillerTime.com.

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Drivers Chad Blount , Rick Mears , Bobby Allison , Mark Martin