Jimmy Blewett has had a Thanksgiving Weekend to remember at Wall Stadium Speedway (NJ).
After winning the Late Model feature on Friday night, Blewett swept both Modified races from the pole on Saturday. “Showtime” earned his sixth career Turkey Derby Tour-type Modified victory, a feat no one else has accomplished.
He won the Tour-type Modified race in dominating fashion, leading all but a few laps. He held off Matt Hirschman, Ryan Preece and Ron Frees to score the win.
“I’m actually still in shock, to be honest,” Blewett said after the first Modified win. “The last few weeks for me personally have been great weeks. I got to watch a friend of mine (Martin Truex, Jr.) win his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup title, and when he won that title, it felt like he won it for all of us back home.”
Blewett’s victories left him feeling “awesome and happy,” and says he’ll stay that way regardless of what happens next. He felt the pressure from Hirschman, who won last year’s event, but was able to keep him at bay throughout the 150-lap Tour Modified race.
Preece made a late charge, climbing as high as second, but finished fourth. He was patient in the first 100 laps and was looking to make a move as the feature got closer to the end.
“We burned the right front off and then burned the right rear off,” Preece explained. “We had a really good car in the beginning and in the long run, but I guess I’m happy. … You can’t win it early.
“If I were going to do something, it was going to be in the last 20 laps.”
Andrew Krause was the runner-up after starting ninth. Frees came home third in only his fourth Tour-type Modified race.
“It was a great race,” Frees said. “The car was pretty good and this was a new car for us and only our second race with it. We ran Seekonk a few weeks ago. … It all worked out pretty well.”
Blewett led all but 23 laps in the 100-lap SK Modified feature. Eric Mauriello finished second, Steven Reed third, Hirschman fourth and Krause fifth.
Blewett said he raced conservatively in the SK race. He had strong restarts and was able to build a large enough gap that he didn’t have to drive as hard as possible.
“The more I was saving, the better I was going,” he said. “We were turning our fastest laps at the end. When you’re younger you dream of weekends like this. I’m not old, but I’m getting older, and I always say to myself, ‘Hey, when am I going to slow down?’”
He said it won’t be anytime soon. In fact, as the years go by, he feels better and better.
“Hey, I seem to be getting a little bit faster with time.”
Race fans can find full on-demand coverage of Saturday’s Turkey Derby XLIV by visiting Speed51.com’s Trackside Now.
-By John Haverlin, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Rick Ibsen