Current ARCA RE/MAX Series points leader Chad Blount became the first driver to test Kentucky Speedway's new asphalt surface during a one-day test on the facilities 1.5-mile tri-oval.

With the new surface in place, Blount predicted the Kentucky's Channel 5-155 race on May 11 will be competitive. "This track is very smooth and has a lot of grip," Blount said. "This race will be a two-lane race because the second groove will work in quickly. Looking at the schedule before the season, we were looking forward to racing at this place (Kentucky), Nashville and Atlanta."

He enters next week's series race in Salem, Ind., in the points lead after driving his No. 77 Braun Auto Group Dodge to two top-five and three top-10 finishes through the first five series events of 2002. He narrowly missed his first win of the year at Atlanta where he was edged out by Damon Lusk by a margin of .001 seconds.

"It's a pretty neat deal," Blount said of his points position. "We have a rookie team, and , for the most part I'm a rookie in the series after making only five starts in 2001."

Blount made the most of his 2001 starts by capturing four top-10 finishes, including a career-best second-place finish at Berlin, where he also raced super late model cars.

The unsponsored Blount said he's ready to challenge defending series and two-time Kentucky Speedway champion Frank Kimmel for all three of his current titles at both Salem, Ind., and Kentucky Speedway through next three weeks.

"Our goal this season is to be in the top-five in points," Blount said. "Frank will get rolling soon, but our team is prepared. Our guys put in a lot of hours. We started strong in Daytona and finished second in Atlanta. We have six cars ready to go."

Kentucky Speedway officially opens its 2002 season on Friday, May10, at 8:00 p.m., with the "ABP Short Track Special," which will feature USAC National Midget Car Series, ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series and Baby Grand Series racing on the speedway's paved quarter-mile track.

Tickets for all 2002 events at Kentucky Speedway are on sale now and can be purchased in five easy ways:

  • By phone at 1-888-652-RACE
  • On the World Wide Web at www.kentuckyspeedway.com
  • In person at either the speedway's Ft. Mitchell ticket office or at the Kentucky Speedway Fan Center off Ky. Hwy. 35 in Sparta, Ky.
  • At Tickets.com and all Tickets.com retail outlets located in Greater Cincinnati area Meijer Hader Hardware and Play-It-Again Sports stores.
  • In person at all Greater Cincinnati AAA locations.