A searing 90 degree heat greeted fans and competitors at Wall Stadium Speedway (NJ) Saturday evening for the appropriately named “Summer Scorcher,” a $5,000 to win 125-lap show for the Modified division. The race brought out some of the biggest names in New Jersey Modified racing, but at night’s end it was a relatively new face in victory lane.
Trevor Alspach of Williamsboro, New Jersey beat out Jimmy Blewett, one of the most familiar names in Northeast Modified racing, to score one of the biggest wins of his career.
After starting second and chasing polesitter Andrew Krause for the lead during the first 85 laps, Alspach eventually fell back to third prior to a lap 90 caution. Alspach took advantage of that caution by first retaking second from Blewett on lap 92, and then getting the lead on a crossover move on lap 94 off turn two.
“It was interesting. I got lucky,” Alspach admitted after the race. “I was able to get a nose underneath (Krause) there and I just stayed patient, waited for it to open up.”
Alspach still wasn’t out of the woods at that point. After another restart on lap 107, Blewett battled hard on the outside before Alspach slid up into Blewett in turn one the next lap. That allowed division points leader Eric Mauriello to nearly make a three-wide bid on the inside. Things would eventually settle down and the running order would remain the same with Alspach pulling ahead of Blewett and cruising to the checkered flag. Despite the hard racing, both drivers were perfectly fine with the ending of the 125-lap feature.
“I love racing with Jimmy,” Alspach told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “He’s a hard racer. Everyone gives him a hard time here and there, but I enjoyed racing with him and sure he did the same.”
“(Trevor) ran me good. He ran me real clean. He did slide up there, we made some contact, but you’re racing for $5,000 and you’re within 20 laps to go. He did what he had to do to win. If the tables were turned I’d probably run him the same way,” Blewett said of his battle with Alspach.
For Blewett, a second-place finish was still satisfying after coming forward and battling his own racecar part of the night.
“We had a pretty good car, fought tight a little bit all night,” Blewett said. “But, the car was fast for the long haul. It was definitely better for that first 100 lap stretch. We made it up to second from starting seventh. We made the wrong call when it came down to tire strategy. We put rear tires on, the car being tight it just made it worse.”
The win for Alspach was the first for him in a Modified at Wall after a few missed opportunities in prior races. But the scope of “The Scorcher” more than made up for any previous missed opportunities.
“Glad we could finally get to victory lane,” said Alspach. “We came close the last few weeks. Last week we had an incident with a lapped car while leading and a couple weeks ago in the ‘Garden State Classic’ I was leading with 12 laps left and we had something go in the motor, but we got it all straightened out now. But I’d trade in both those wins for a night like this.”
After starting scratch in 23rd position, Modified points leader Eric Mauriello was plenty pleased with his third-place finish.
“We came a long way,” Mauriello said of his night. “The car was good in the beginning and we were a lot better than those guys in the long run. We saved tires for a while. We pitted and the car got even better. We got a good starting spot on the restart and went forward from there.”
Mauriello did admit after the race that being involved in a battle for the track championship did have an effect on how he raced when presented an opportunity to go three-wide for the race lead.
“It wasn’t really worth the points at that time. If I had a little more in the car, maybe I would’ve went for it. I’m happy where we finished after not qualifying.”
Wall Stadium returns to action next Saturday night for weekly racing before hosting another big money show for the Modifieds, the Woody’s High Banks 105, on August 22.
An on-demand lap-by-lap replay of Saturday’s race can be found by visiting 51’s Trackside Now coverage presented by Blewett Construction.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Summer Scorcher 125 Unofficial Results
Wall Stadium Speedway – August 1, 2015