It’s another season and another new adventure for Max Blair. The 33-year-old driver is with a new team and embarking on a new national touring series in the 2023 season. But it is a challenge the Centerville, Pennsylvania driver is taking on with enthusiasm and is succeeding at.
After finishing last year third in the final World of Outlaws CASE Construction Late Model Series standings while driving for Viper Motorsports, Blair joined forces with veteran Late Model driver Boom Briggs and his Briggs Transport team for the 2023 campaign. That operation recently announced its intention to compete on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series this year.
It is the second transition in just over two years for Blair but he says this change has not proven to be a difficult one as there was already a degree of familiarity there.
“Moving to this team here was really pretty easy on us,” Blair told InsideDirtRacing.com in an interview conducted prior to the Ralph Latham Memorial at Florence Speedway. “I’ve known Boom and those guys my whole life and we stayed in all familiar equipment and everything so that wasn’t hard. They’re a really good group of people and easy to get along with.”
The winner of two World of Outlaws features in 2022, including a $20,000 triumph at South Carolina’s Cherokee Speedway, is also having to adjust to racing around new people and in new places and he and the No. 111 crew embark on the Lucas Oil Series.
“It’s definitely been different this weekend,” he acknowledged. “We had our friends and everything that we hung out with there on the other deal and we miss those guys. Hopefully we’ll make some new friends here on this one. When we sat down and kind of looked at where everything stood this year this is what made the most sense.”
Blair currently ranks 7th in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series standings with two top-5 and five top-10 finishes to his credit. The team’s Rocket Chassis has shown speed lately. The No. 111 was fourth in Group B qualifying at Ponderosa Speedway on Friday then finished 2nd in the fourth heat race before claiming his second consecutive 8th place result in the feature.
Blair was second in Group B time-trials at Florence Speedway then went on to win the fourth heat race. A 16th place finish in the feature was the result of an early race spin.
“I hope so,” Blair replied when asked if he felt like his car had shown improved speed recently. “I feel like we’ve definitely had speed so we’ve got to keep putting good nights together. We had a good one at Atomic and a not great one last night(Ponderosa). Hopefully we can string together a bunch of good ones.”
The unplanned break brought on by a myriad of spring rainouts broke the early season momentum the team had built up.
“We were good in Florida so I would have rather just kept on racing,” Blair remarked. “We ended up sitting for so long and guys in other parts of the country got to race a handful of times where we didn’t get to race at all. I feel like that got us a little behind the eight-ball. Now, we’re trying to dig back out of that.”
After just missing out on earning the 2022 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Rookie of the Year title, Blair will again seek rookie honors on his new tour. Does it seem a bit strange for a driver who has compiled numerous feature wins and series championships on the regional level over the course of his career to be considered a rookie?
“Yes and no,” Blair answered. “I understand what you’re saying but this is so different from racing the way I had always raced. This is a different deal. Doing it at this level, I believe that I’m a true rookie at that.”
Blair and the rest of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will be in competition this weekend in Illinois at Farmer City Raceway and Fairbury Speedway.
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