Dodge This teleconference with Busch Grand National driver Chad Blount Tuesday, June 24, 2003. CHAD BLOUNT (No. 66 Miller High Life 100th Anniversary Dodge Intrepid) NOTE: Blount will compete in Sunday's GNC Livewell 250 NASCAR Busch Grand ...
Dodge This teleconference with Busch Grand National driver Chad Blount
Tuesday, June 24, 2003.
CHAD BLOUNT (No. 66 Miller High Life 100th Anniversary Dodge Intrepid)
NOTE: Blount will compete in Sunday's GNC Livewell 250 NASCAR Busch Grand National race at the Milwaukee Mile in a Dodge Intrepid with colors honoring Bobby Allison's 1983 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship in the Miller High Life car. Blount is a 23-year-old Indiana native who now lives in Mooresville, N.C. He won the first ARCA race in a Dodge last season at Michigan. The Dodge he'll drive at Milwaukee is owned by Wayne Jesel.
"We're real excited with Miller High Life coming on board for this race at Milwaukee. It's Miller's 100th anniversary, and I'm looking forward to a good run with them. We recently tested at Milwaukee and had a real good test. It seems like the Miller High Life 100th anniversary Dodge is running really good, so I can't wait to go there and race.
Q: IS RACING AT THE NASCAR BUSCH LEVEL WHAT YOU EXPECTED?
"It's tough. I guess you could say we expected that as a team. It's a big jump up from what we ran last year. We ran the ARCA/Remax Challenge Series last year. The competition level from there to Busch is quite a bit different. We had about 15 cars that could win every week in the ARCA Series and now in the Grand National Division there are 35-40 cars that can win every week. You've really got to stay on your game. The race cars are somewhat similar, but not only the competition but the money also. It costs a lot more to run the Grand National Series than it does the ARCA Series."
Q: ARE YOU EAGER TO GET BACK TO THE MIDWEST WHERE YOU GREW UP RACING?
"I was able last week when we were up there testing to go back to my home state of Indiana to see my friends and family. With my dad racing this past weekend, I got to go help him race. He won and it was a good weekend for us. I can't wait to go back up there. I've got a lot of friends and family who are going to be in Milwaukee for the race Sunday. It had a home-warming type atmosphere.
"I've been around this sport for quite awhile. I didn't start racing until I was 16, but a lot of people don't know that I'm a fourth-generation driver. My great grandfather owned race cars. My grandfather raced for 36 years until he passed away with cancer, and my dad (Bob Blount) has raced since he was 16. He lives down here in Mooresville, but we try to make it home whenever we get a chance for him to race. I think he's raced six times this year. My background in racing is pretty deep. I've been lucky actually. My family has done it for so long that they were able to teach me the ropes and help me be successful at it.
"I could probably build a race car when I was 13 years old. My dad raced for a living. It wasn't at a real big level. It was at a local level, but he made money doing it. I worked in the shop every day. When I got home from school I'd be in the shop working on race cars with my father. He taught me everything he knows. I've been pretty lucky. I'm an only child, so I've been pretty lucky to have a dad that put that much time and money into helping my career. Everything he's ever made in racing he put into helping me race. My first year I won 20 or 26 and I think three or four were second-place finishes. That was my rookie year as a driver, but I didn't real feel like it was my rookie year. I've been around race cars for so long, I kind of understood how a race car worked before I got into a car. I felt like I had a jump up on the competition when I did start racing.
"I had the opportunity to meet Bobby (Allison) last week for the first time. He's a first-class person. I really enjoyed his company. We seemed to hit it off right away. We started talking about races he ran in Indiana and people he drove for. I knew a lot of them through my family. Bobby's a really great guy, and I look forward to possibly working with him in the future. The Miller High Life Dodge is going to be pretty good this week. It's a big week for Miller with their 100th anniversary. I believe I heard it's Milwaukee's 100th anniversary, too, and then it's Bobby's 20th anniversary for the Winston Cup championship. It's a pretty big weekend. We've been working on the car. I was in the shop until 8:30 last night getting the car prepared for this weekend. We want to go at it full bore. We've got a good race car, and there's no reason we can't run in the top five easily this weekend or maybe get us a win.
"Growing up when you say the names Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Dale Earnhardt, they were all on top of their game when I was real little. I grew up watching them. Even though I was young, I still knew who was who. I could tell you every race car driver out there, and Bobby was a great person to watch. Just being able to have the chance to meet him and get to know him, I really gained a lot of respect for him this past weekend. He's a very good spokesman for Miller High Life."
@: HOW DID THE DEAL WITH MILLER HAPPEN?
"It came together so fast, I really don't know. I was asked to drive Wayne Jesel's car at Milwaukee. They'd been talking to Miller High Life, and they asked me if I'd like to run with them. I said sure. We put the deal together in two weeks. I was able to run this race with Wayne Jesel even though I've signed with Penske Racing. We'll see how things go from there. Of course as a driver you want to run every race. Sitting out those five weeks we sat out was like going to the dentist and getting your teeth pulled. It was terrible. It's really hard watching races on TV. I'd like to run every race from here on out, but our main focus right now is to get through Milwaukee, see how things go there and maybe we'll have something the following week to announce. Right now we're putting all our efforts into Milwaukee for this weekend.
"I went there in 1993 with my dad. That was the first time I'd ever been there. I wasn't old enough to get on the pit road side of it, so I had to stand on top of the trailer in the infield. I can remember going there. My dad ran good there, so he gave me some advice on the place. I went there in 1999 with Matt Atkins and I spotted for him in the ASA race back when they had the old bleachers up there. I stood on top of the old roof. We were talking about that this past weekend when we were at the track. I was lucky I didn't fall through. It's really nice. We tested there last Wednesday and Thursday. I had to get used to a new team and the track. We have a lot of variables in the equation, but things went well and we had a real good test."
Q: DISCUSS YOUR 2002 ARCA SEASON
"We had a good season last year. I sit back and look at it. We won four races, but we also lost 18 races. You can't really ask for much more we had in our rookie year. We won rookie of the year honors, we finished second in the points and won four races. We won the superspeedway challenge which is a point system within the series for all the tracks a mile or bigger. The last rookie to win that was Davey Allison. We had one race in Chicago where we led all but 13 laps. I think we won five or six poles and had two track records. If I only knew then what I know now, we would probably have won a lot more races, but when you go to tracks like Atlanta for the first time, you're on tip toes getting around the place. If I had to do it all over again and knew then what I know now, we would probably have won at least 18 more races I feel like.
"I've never raced at Milwaukee. The test went well. It's a nice track. I can't wait to get that Miller High Life Dodge going Sunday."
Q: DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU SHOULD WIN EVERY RACE YOU ENTER?
"I do. The first year we won 20 of 26 got me spoiled on winning. I guess that's just competitiveness. Myself and my family have always been that way. Second stinks to me. When you get a taste of a win, you don't want anything else. That may be demanding, but that's just the way I feel. We won four, but we lost 18. I guess you can look at it in a positive way or in a negative way, but I would have liked to won 18 more races."
Q: ARE YOU UP FOR A BUSCH RIDE WITH RUSTY WALLACE?
"I haven't heard anything about what Rusty's doing. I have no idea. I don't have any plans with Rusty. We're just going to get through this weekend and see how things go. Maybe something will come of it, I don't know."