PRESTONSBURG – Prestonsburg driver Steve Blackburn has made an immediate impact in the 2012 ARCA Racing Series season. In a three-day span late last week, Blackburn led a practice session, qualified third and finished fourth in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona International Speedway behind the wheel of No. 94 Harley-Davidson of Pikeville, Pop’s Chevrolet, Honda of Prestonsburg, ECR Engines, The Fab Shop-sponsored Chevrolet.
Blackburn made his way to the NASCAR-sanctioned track early in the week, eager to get started. He returned to Daytona International Speedway after participating in a testing session held at the famed track in December.
“We arrived on Monday night and parked, unloaded on Tuesday, then went through tech on Wednesday and half of Thursday,” Blackburn said.
Blackburn paced the intense testing session held Thursday. On Friday, Blackburn qualified third for the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200.
Blackburn was running second when he pitted during the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200. Following the pit stop, Blackburn managed to work his way from 30th up to the fourth-place position. Weather didn’t hinder Blackburn’s progress during the productive week.
“Overall, the weather was great,” Blackburn confided. “It only rained one time.”
Between practice and the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200, Blackburn and his raceteam didn’t have to do much to the No. 94 car.
“This is by far the best racecar that we’ve had there,” Blackburn said. “There’s a lot under the hood.”
Prestonsburg native Lorin Ranier spotted for Blackburn during the ARCA race. Ranier is currently a spotter for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray.
In addition to Ranier, longtime crew chief Gary Hostettler, Sharon Hostettler, Reggie Caudill, Shawn Blackburn and veteran Sprint Cup crew chief Mike Abner were also instrumental in Blackburn’s fourth-place finish.
Blackburn plans to race in the Talladega ARCA 250 at tradition-rich Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama on May 4.
The former NASCAR weekly racing series regional champion has had success at the Alabama track before. In a previous race at Talladega Superspeedway, Blackburn was running second behind then-future NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano when he had a left-rear tire go flat.
“We’re very excited about having the opportunity to go back to Talladega,” Blackburn said. “We’ve had success there in the past and the track is similar to Daytona.”
Racefans can see the No. 94 Steve Blackburn Motorsports Chevrolet at Pop’s Chevrolet through Friday.