WHITEWATER, Wisc. -- When the checkered flag drops on the Oktoberfest 250 marking the end to the 2004 NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division Midwest Series season, Russ Blakeley (#22 Chevrolet Monte Carlo) hopes to make two potential racing accolades a reality.
Blakeley's goal from even before the start of the season was to capture the Auto Meter Rookie of the Year title. Facing tough competition from Justin Hirt and Brent Kirchner, Blakeley endured some bad luck early on but has turned the tide and has put in more than just a few strong showings. By finishing ahead of fellow rookie competitor Justin Hirt this weekend at the LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway, Blakeley will take the Rookie of the Year honors and the $2,000 prize and merchandise from Auto Meter.
Also, a Top 10 placing in the series points will get Blakeley an invitation to the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. Currently sitting in 10th place, just 16 points out of 8th, Blakeley will look to make a jump in the standings if not ensure an invitation to Irwindale Speedway in November to face the rest of the Nation’s best NASCAR Elite drivers.
As if facing the fierce competition in the Midwest Series for a full 13 race season isn't an accolade in itself, Blakeley still hopes to leave his mark on this 2004 season in which he's seen the view from the very front of the pack as well as the hard-fought wheel-to-wheel battles at the back.
Blakeley will join the grid of a scheduled 28 starters for the Oktoberfest 250 on Sunday, October 10 at the LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway.