Veteran to Compete Parttime on NASCAR WMT
Jimmy Blewett of Howell, NJ will make his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour start of the season this weekend. He will drive the No. 76 John Blewett Inc./TS Haulers/Starrett Tools Chevrolet for the Icebreaker at Thompson (CT) Speedway Motorsports Park. Blewett expects to run 4-6 events this season thatdo not conflict with his commitment at Wall (NJ) Stadium Speedway.
“I would love to support the Thompson, Stafford schedule,” Blewett said. “That’s always been my favorite because of the history of Thompson and Stafford and their dedication to the tour. Hopefully, we can maybe hit a Loudon race or two but it’s all kind of up in the air.”
Blewett’s focus is competing for the Wall Modified championship in his No. 19. There are benefits for Blewett’s return to Wall. The track five minutes from home is easier to find sponsors. Family and friends want to follow him at Wall when they cannot attend a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race.
Blewett won back to back championships at Wall in 2001-02 before driving for Eddie Partridge on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. He has been running the high banked 1/3 mile part time since then.
“We might have a good shot at running for the points. There’s a lot of good guys that run there locally. Andrew Krause his family leases the track. Steve Reed, he’s been the champion the past 2 years. Chas Okerson and a few others are really strong there week in and week out. That’s their bread and butter so it’s gonna be tough for us to just go in there and win a championship.”
Blewett is committed this year to helping his nephew’s career. John Blewett IV will compete at Wall this season. Blewett’s goals for his nephew are to get him comfortable behind the wheel and build his confidence. The purpose is to have a great time, learn, and build the team.
“He’s a great kid. My brother adopted him when he was just a baby and for him to take him from another country and then bring him over here and him to have nothing to come from nothing to having what my brother was offering him as a father and adopting him and then my brother passing away was kind of tough for everybody around here.
“But to know now that we’re able to get him behind the wheel of a car and give him something that my brother would definitely want him to be doing. If my brother was here he’d be doing it already. But to get him behind the wheel of a car and have him doing something that I know my brother loved to do and would definitely have him doing is good for all of us.”
Blewett is supported by Starrett, Extreme Wheel Repair, Jones Racing products, TS Haulers (Eddie and Connie Partridge), Waddell Communications, and North American Construction. He is thankful for his current backers as his Whelen Modified Tour program is seeking sponsorship.
The patriarch of the Blewett family, John Blewett, Sr. provides a shop for Jimmy’s team to work out of. Martino Race Engines of Farmingdale, NJ is helping the team this season. Rob Ormsbee serves as the crew chief.
“This is a giant group effort. .. We’re making a dollar out of 15 cents all day long every day, and that’s what we do. We work hard and we try to make the best of every opportunity we can and we’re just fortunate to be doing it for 17 years and still have the opportunities that I have today.”
Blewett finished sixth in points last year driving the Starrett Tools/Mayhew Tools No. 4. He had 1 win, 7 top fives, and 12 top tens driving the Mystic Missile. It was his first full-time season since 2012.
“When Bob’s ride was open I saw a lot of history. … Bob’s been around a long time. He’s a great car owner, a great friend, gave me a great car week in and week out him and the team. It was a good deal all the way around.”
Blewett has recorded 125 wins since 2000 at Bridgeport, Chemung, Concord, Martinsville, New Egypt, New Smyrna, the New York State Fairgrounds, Riverhead, Stafford, Thompson, and Wall.
“I accomplished a lot of things I wanted to in my career and from here on out whatever I do is just gonna be gravy for myself. I’ve had my days of where I pressured myself to win every last thing and now it’s just have fun and I feel if I have fun I’ll go out and I’ll win as many I can before I decide to spend the rest of the time with my family.”
Sources: Nicholas Teto/YankeeRacer.com
Auto Racing Research Associates by Steve Barrick and Fred Voorhees
Photos by Chip Cormie, Paul Fohlin, and Donald Silberman