Preston Blalock: Two Different Classes, One Car

Preston Blalock: Two Different Classes, One Car

Driver Preston Blalock and car owner Mitchell Herrell had one car but wanted to race two different divisions. Their solution? Swap power plants in between races.

The changeover happened between last Friday and Saturday nights during the Southern All-Stars-headlining event at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, South Carolina.

“We are a low-buck team,” said Blalock, 51, of Clemmons, North Carolina. “We have more time than money.”

Night No. 1 they competed in the Mid-East 604 Late Models. A broken shock ended their night early, relegating them to a 20th-place finish. Soon after, they started turning their 604 into a 602 late model. This involved more than an engine change, but also required swapping shocks, too.

“My son J.P. and I changed the engine,” Blalock said. “Mitchell and crew man Cayman Casper swapped the shocks, did the maintenance, and ground the tires.”

Unfortunately, night No. 2 presented its fair share of problems, too. However, Blalock managed to finish 10th for the Mid-East 602 Late Models feature.

“The left-rear caliper locked up,” said Blalock. “I’m thinking it had something to do with the shock breaking the night before. It was our worst showing of the year.”

That’s right, Blalock doesn’t typically run in the back of the pack. According to MyRacePass, he has four feature victories, with three in the Mid-East 602 Late Models and one in the Red Clay Series. This is his second season in a dirt late model. He debuted last year with three wins. Prior to that he raced in the modifieds.

“The Longhorn late model that Mitchell owns is the only race car I’d ever driven that I didn’t build myself,” Blalock, who makes a living as a firefighter, said. “Because of my job, I run when I can. There might be a week or a month between times I drive a race car.”

Preston Blalock just started racing 604s last month. He intends to continue swapping engines when it’s feasible.

“Next week, we’ll do it all over again,” said Blalock. “We’ll race the 602 on Friday the 13th at Ultimate Motorsports Park in Elkin, North Carolina, swap engines, and compete with the same car and a 604 with the American All-Star Series on Saturday. We’ve got it down, and hopefully we’ll have better results.”