BLOUNT DOESN’T FORGET WHERE VICTORY LANE IS presented by Advance Auto Parts
Former ARCA RoY Gets The Guitar He’s Always Wanted by Jeremy Troiano
Three years. That is a long time for any good racecar driver to be absent from Victory Lane. Just ask Chad Blount.
Blount last found Victory Lane in 2002, when he opened a lot of eyes after winning four ARCA RE/MAX Series races and the series Rookie of the Year title. After that, the Busch Series was calling, but Blount never found the right combination to win.
“We had good pit strategy, but the driver blew it that first yellow around lap 34 or so when I was jabbering on the radio and missed the pits. So I about blew it for the team. We had to come in later and had to make up a lot of ground because of it. We knew we had a good race car, so I just took my time and worked our way tot the front. This team gave me a great car and a car that was able to win the race.
Chad Blount got the guitar that he's always wanted by winning Saturday afternoon in Nashville. (51 Photos)
Now, in 2005, Blount finds himself back with the ARCA Series in one of the premier rides; the #67 ML Motorsports operation, guided by Jason Jarrett over the last few years.
His debut with the ML Motorsports team didn’t go so well, getting caught up in one of the “big ones” at Daytona and coming home 33rd.
But Blount made up for that on Saturday, winning the PFG Lester 150 at Nashville Superspeedway in just his second ride with the team. Not only did he win and break he near three-year winless streak, but he also won one of the most coveted trophies in all of Motorsports, the custom-made and custom-painted Gibson Guitar.
“This is a good rebound from Daytona,” said Blount. “I’ve been close here (at Nashville) before, so this is a big win for me and my team. I should have had a guitar here in 2002, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I just can’t think everyone enough. This is for them.
It didn’t come easy for Blount though. He had to battle back from the rear of the field to get to the lead, then had to hold off a charging Joey Miller during two late-race cautions that actually extended the race several laps beyond its required distance.
"The car was good, but there toward the end I used everything it had to win the race. I really wanted that guitar, so I wasn’t going to let anyone stop me. Now that I’ve got it, that means I’ve gotta take guitar lessons now.”
Miller, who was the defending winner of the Nashville race, looked as if he might be trying to match 2004’s performance for perseverance. In 2004, Miller came from two-laps down to win in just his first ARCA start. This year, Miller looked to have the best car all day long, but a couple of mistakes caused him to have to come through the field a couple of times, once from the very back of the pack.
Early in the race, Miller (#9) led Blount (#67), but later, it was the opposite way around.
“We had to come from the back a couple of times,” said Miller. “The first time was my fault. We were coming off of pit road and there was a wreck and I went right out onto the track. The first caution, that is what we did, so I was just thinking that we could do it again. I messed up. I guess I need to study the rules again.
“I’m just so excited about this weekend. We lost a crew chief right away this week. You are down on things and you are like “oh geezz.” But we pulled everything together and did it well and did it right. This was our first weekend using our new pit crew out of Minnesota and that worked well. We’ve got a crew chief by board member and that actually worked out pretty well.”
Miller was running third and making a charge through the field when a late-caution put him right behind leaders Blount and Mario Gossellin. Miller had a bad restart and looked like he was going to settle for third before another caution set up a one-lap shootout. During that final restart, Miller got a better restart and passed Gossellin for second, but didn’t have time to catch Blount.
Speed51.com will have much more from the ARCA race this week. Stay turned.
PFG LESTER 150
Nashville Superspeedway, Lebanon, TN
1Chad Blount/Walkerton IN
2Joey Miller/Farmington MN
3Mario Gosselin/St. Marie Quebec
4Chevy White/Columbia TN
5Brandon Knupp/Sidney OH
6Ken Weaver/Dallas TX
7Frank Kimmel/Jeffersonville IN
8Zach Chappell/Talala OK
9Jason Jarrett/Hickory NC
10Don St. Denis/Lasalle Ontario
11Josh Clemons/New Albany IN
12Erin Crocker/Wilbraham MA
13Kyle Krisiloff/Indianapolis IN
14Robert Richardson/McKinney TX
15Sam Hafertepe/Sunnyvale TX
16Frank Kapfhammer/Louisville KY
17Mark Gibson/Winder GA
18Joe Cooksey/Centralia IL
19Norm Benning/Pittsburgh PA
20Howard Bixman/Milford MI
21Michael Simko/Clarkston MI
22Chad McCumbee/Supply NC
23Tandy Marlin/Franklin TN
24Darrell Basham/Henryville IN
25Todd Bowsher/Springfield OH
26Chase Miller/Canton GA
27Terry Jones/Amherstburg Ontario
28Chad Martin/Chambersburg PA
29Johnny Leonard/Cape Coral FL
30Andy Belmont/Penndel PA
31Dominic Vara/Jupiter FL
32Marc Mitchell/Tallahassee FL
33Scott Stovall/Ft. Wayne IN
34Mike Harmon/Birmingport AL
35GR Smith/Folsom NJ
36Denny Hamlin/Chesterfield VA
37Christi Passmore/Pryor OK
38Bill Eversole/Chelsea MI
39TJ Bell/Sparks NV
40Walt Brannen/Unadilla GA
41Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA
Miller's crew offered him up a "mini" guitar for finishing second.
“That next to last restart I was just being a little too conservative. I was just too conservative. One the last restart, I knew I had to go. So I tried to get a really good restart without buzzing the tires. I knew what I was going to do and it all worked out in my favor. We just didn’t get a good enough run to get the leader coming to the checkers.”
With the second-place finish, Miller moved up to second in the point standings, just five points behind Frank Kimmel. Kimmel suffered engine problems, but still finished seventh.
“This whole season, I want to win as much as I can, but I’m just trying to drive as smart as I can,” said Miller. “If I got a third-place car, then I’m going to take third place. I’m not going to try and go for first and wreck it. We need to look at the big picture. I think we had a first-place car though today, but through circumstances, we just finished second. We all messed up a little bit, but you’ve always got to learn. You just take it from this race and build on it.”