After a return to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour that saw Jimmy Blewett score one win and finish sixth in points, the driver from Howell, New Jersey will be taking a step away from full-time NWMT competition in 2017. However, that doesn’t mean that Blewett is slowing down; he may be even more busy this year than he was last year.
Blewett will be racing full-time in the headlining Modified division at his home track of Wall Stadium Speedway (NJ), racing part time on the dirt at Bridgeport Speedway (NJ) for Super DIRTcar Series driver Jimmy Horton and he’ll be helping his nephew get his racing career underway.
Or, to sum that all up, “play it by ear” as Blewett said.
“I’m just going to go with the flow this year,” Blewett told Speed51.com. “I’ll do whatever I can that doesn’t conflict with Wall. If it doesn’t hurt us going for the championship, then I’m going to do it.”
Going with the flow for Blewett will start with a return to New Smyrna Speedway (FL) for the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing for the first time since 2009. Blewett will be racing a car for the Catalano family as a teammate to Amy and Tommy Catalano.
Blewett and the Catalanos started a relationship during the Turkey Derby at Wall Stadium Speedway last year, according to Blewett. That relationship has continued on through the indoor TQ Midget season this winter and has blossomed into a return to New Smyrna for Blewett.
“I was kind of shocked when Dave asked me to run the backup car down there,” Blewett explained. “I think it’s going to be a good deal. Like I said, my main goal is to help them out and get them started off right, but I also get to race myself. I’m just very thankful that Dave and Amy and Tommy are giving me the chance to race for them there this year.”
The man known as “Showtime” said he’s looking forward to getting back to New Smyrna to race against competitors such as Ryan Preece, Ron Silk, JR Bertuccio and possibly Matt Hirschman and Andy Seuss. He said he’s also looking forward to being able to run the 76-lap event held in memory of his brother, John Blewett III, on Wednesday night of that week.
“It’s always special any time I go out there and run a race in my brother’s name. I feel like this year there’s going to be more heavy hitters than there’s been in year’s past,” he said. “You want to have a good group of guys out there running for those big trophies. There’s going to be a pretty stacked field this year and it’s good to see people are coming back again. It seems like track officials have done their part to make sure every series’ rules mesh together so everyone can come down and enjoy Speedweeks.”
But what Blewett said he’s most looking forward to is helping his 16-year-old nephew, the son of his brother John, begin his racing career. “Little John” as he is known, will make his debut this year in the Sportsman division at Wall in a car that has already proven it can win at the bullring on the Jersey Shore.
“We purchased the car from the Zacharias’. With the help of some friends we got it to the shop, stripped it down, put a new front clip on it and got it ready for Turkey Derby, which we didn’t think we’d be able to do. We then went out there and won with it. So it has a good test on it. We practiced it and ran time trials and all that which was good because it gave me time to work on it and figure things out with it.”
Blewett said helping his nephew get started in racing was probably the biggest reason why he isn’t returning to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in a full-time role this year.
“I tried to put deals together with a few people to run their cars for the full season and they didn’t work out,” Blewett said. “I feel that it didn’t work out for a reason. I feel it’s now in my best interest if I stay close to home with my family and work on his racing and work on getting a championship. Him racing is something I know my brother always wanted to do, but with my brother not being here he kind of got off to a late start. But it’s never too late. He’s going to be our main focus at Wall besides the championship.”
Blewett said he would like to run the Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT) and the Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) in his family car but at this time he has no definite plans to do either. He also said he will be running the full Poker Series at Bridgeport Speedway after a year away from racing on dirt.
Or, as Showtime calls it, “playing it by ear.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com photo