Russ Blakeley always thinks out of the box. He always tries to come up with an idea that no one else will think of. He will showcase his latest creation at the ASA Transcontinental Series Free State 500 at the Phakisa Freeway Circuit in Welkom, Free State, South Africa on Sunday, January 31, 2009.
The ASA Midwest Tour competitor from Whitewater, WI will be teaming up with 2009 ASA Midwest Tour Champion Steve Carlson for the inaugural event with team cars that will pay honor to the World War II bomber type of airplanes. "My buddy Dave, the letterman, had designed this paint scheme on a car that they did a special deal for at Milwaukee about 10-12 years ago and he airbrushed the whole car," Blakeley said. "So I called Dave and told him that I wanted to take that paint scheme and put them on these cars and go down to South Africa with them. Instead of airbrushing, he was able to print them and paste it on the car."
Russ "Goose" Blakeley will be driving car # F-22 while Steve "Mavrick" Carlson will be driving car # F-66 for the event.
Why did he go with this idea? "There really is no special reason, they just look cool and we thought it would be something different."
Blakeley received his invitation to compete as he had two cars in his shop that he drove for Rob Schuette in the Hooters Pro Cup Series. "They do a two-car deal so I called Dennis Huth and asked him if he had an open spot that I could take one as well and about 20 days ago, he invited me to be a part of this event."
With the help of many friends, most who worked through the Thanksgiving holiday, they were able to get the two cars prepared in time to be shipped down to the Port of Charleston (SC) and loaded into the containers for its long journey to the Phakisa Freeway Circuit.
The cars will be the first two to feature the new composite body designed by Five Star Race Car Bodies in Twin Lakes, WI. "The bodies were designed for the Hooters Pro Cup Series. The body is beautiful and its a composite body so there is no plastic in it like our late model bodies," Blakeley said. "So its nice and stiff, so stiff that you don't have as much bracing and all that stuff on it. The windows are a quarter-inch thick. You have all of the right stuff on there for the style of body the ASA would like to have in the Transcontinental Series. Five Star did their homework and we are looking forward to taking it on the 1.5-mile oval in Phakisa."
The cars will also have new engines built by B&B Engines in Appleton, WI.
Blakeley and his team are looking forward to their South African adventure, "We can't wait!" he exclaimed. "Every year there is about seven of us that take our spouses and we go to Las Vegas every year before the season starts. I said, wouldn't it be fun to take a bunch of your friends on a week's vacation to South Africa and have a good time. They had to bust their butts over the last ten days to get the cars prepared. The cars are in the containers so the hard work is over for now and its time to have fun."
"We are very grateful that Russ stepped up to provide his two cars for this event," Dennis Huth, ASA President said. "Not only has he put two great looking cars together but he took the time create some character to the cars with a unique theme. This event is going to be a fun and competitive event and I think they caught on to that theme as well."
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