BUSCH: Richmond II: Chad Blount preview

RICHMOND, VA (Sept. 3, 2003) ­ In 1983, Bobby Allison won both races at Richmond International Raceway en route to capturing the NASCAR Winston Cup championship driving the No. 22 High Life stock car. This year marks the 20th anniversary...

RICHMOND, VA (Sept. 3, 2003) ­ In 1983, Bobby Allison won both races at Richmond International Raceway en route to capturing the NASCAR Winston Cup championship driving the No. 22 High Life stock car. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Allison winning the stock car title, including the two wins he recorded at Richmond during his championship-winning season.

In Friday night's Funai 250, it may look like Allison has returned to the Virginia track where he registered seven career wins, but instead it will be driver Chad Blount piloting a Grand National series car that resembles the vehicle in which Allison won his only series title.

This year, Miller Brewing Company's High Life brand has returned to its roots in racing to commemorate the brand's 100th anniversary. At Richmond, and in seven races this season, the Jesel Racing No. 26 High Life Dodge will feature a paint scheme that resembles Allison's 1983 championship-winning stock car and recognizes High Life's 100th anniversary.

"Both High Life and stock car racing are authentic, classic and uniquely American," said Carl Cahill, High Life senior associate brand manager. "This race at the historic Richmond track, where Bobby Allison had tremendous success driving a High Life car, is a great way to continue High Life's 100th anniversary celebration."

Along with this weekend's race, High Life will be the primary sponsor of Blount and Jesel Racing in Grand National races at Kansas Speedway (Oct. 4); Lowe's (Charlotte) Motor Speedway (Oct. 10); Atlanta Motor Speedway (Oct. 25); and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 15). Blount's debut in the Jesel Racing High Life Dodge was at the Milwaukee Mile (June 29), and his most recent start was at the Michigan International Speedway (Aug. 16).

In addition to High Life returning to its roots to celebrate the brand's 100th anniversary and the 20 years since Allison's title, the Friday night race at Richmond will also take Blount back in time. A fourth-generation racer from Walkerton, Indiana, Blount believes this weekend's race will bring back many memories.

"The night race at Richmond takes me back in time," said Blount. "Growing up, the weekends meant going to the races with my family, and the races were always on Friday and Saturday nights. When I turned 16 and began racing, it was usually under the lights at different tracks around the Midwest. In many ways, Richmond reminds me of when I began racing."

A 23-year-old series rookie who has participated in 13 NASCAR Grand National events this year, Blount will be making just his second career start at Richmond International Raceway on Friday. Earlier this season (May 2), while driving for the Braun Racing team, Blount started 33rd at the track, completed all 250 laps, and finished 17th .

In Blount's most recent start in the No. 26 High Life Dodge, he qualified 22nd and finished 15th at Michigan International Speedway. In his Milwaukee debut with the car, he had to retire from the race with engine problems after just 98 laps.

This year, Blount has recorded 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). He also was 11th in the series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 15).

In 2002, Blount raced full-time in the ARCA Re/Max series and finished second in the championship point standings, recording four wins and 11 top-fives en route to series Rookie-of-the-Year honors.

"From the time I started following racing, I knew about the greatness of Bobby Allison," said Blount. "That makes it a special privilege to be able to drive a race car that resembles Bobby's championship-winning ride. To be associated with a legend like Bobby and a long-time race supporter like High Life is a real honor."

The High Life brand made its motorsports debut in 1971 by sponsoring the High Life 500 NASCAR stock car race at California's Ontario Motor Speedway. Later in the 1970s, High Life sponsored Jim Hurtubise's front-engine roadster, a regular entry in the Indianapolis 500.

In addition to 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 supported 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.

High Life was introduced in 1903 when Ernst Miller, son of company founder Frederick Miller, selected the name. Three years later, the slogan "The Champagne of Bottle Beer" was first used in High Life 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