If you are down in the Carolinas this Saturday & Sunday and you love Tour-type Modified racing, you are in the right place as both the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Southern Modified Racing Series commence their 2019 racing schedules. Plus, if you happen to be a Jimmy Blewett fan then lucky you, as it will be a “Showtime” doubleheader.
First up will be Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC) on Saturday with Blewett making his first Tour appearance for Gershow Motorsports in the No. 21, while Sunday it’s up north to Caraway Speedway (NC) to run the Blewett family No. 76 in SMRS competition.
While the rides may be different both days, the crew will remain the same, with the Bertuccio family, crew chief Stash Butova, and Blewett’s New Jersey guys joining forces both days.
“I’m really excited about it because I get to race with Joe and I get to race with my grandfather on the same weekend, and we’re doing it basically as one big team. That makes it even more exciting for me, we got all the guys we had in Florida and a few more. Can’t wait to get to it,” Blewett told Speed51.com.
Going into Myrtle Beach, Blewett could not be happier with where the No. 21 camp is at following a solid World Series at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) in February. A solid setup on the racecar with a trailer full of confidence has “Showtime” looking towards a possible victory on Saturday.
“We had a great week and I feel like it’s only going to get better from here. It took us a little bit to find the exact comfort that we were looking for between driver, crew chief, and car; but I felt like at the end of the week we were there. We’re taking what we learned and looking to move forward with it. One of the reasons we’re going down with two cars is that the more we run together as a team, the better we’re going to be.”
With over 30 cars expected at Myrtle Beach on the NASCAR side, Blewett is excited to test the mettle of the team’s efforts. Plus, with so many cars in South Carolina Saturday, he is also hopeful some teams will take the opportunity to mix it up with the SMRS regulars Sunday in North Carolina, bolstering an already impressive field that was expected last Sunday before a postponement from poor weather.
“The more, the merrier. The better competition you’re going to have, the better you’re going to be. Hopefully for Renee (Hackett), SMRS, and everyone at Caraway they get a solid field. There’s going to be a lot of guys already down there, hopefully they go over and show some support for Modified racing in the south. We planned on going last week and it looked like a good field, now with the Tour down there, it will be even better.”
This weekend’s Southern double is only the tip of a planned larger schedule for Blewett in 2019. The majority of races will be with the Bertuccio’s Gershow No. 21, mainly centered on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, but that fans can also expect to see the red, white, and blue No. 76 during the season.
“We’re going to try and run as many races as I can with Joe and his guys. Whatever race Joe wants to go to, we’re going to go. Even if Joe asks to use our car for a race, whatever we got to do. These guys are really working hard at it, Stash got to my shop and spent a whole day on my 76 car to make sure all the stuff we’re running is the same setup, and we’re working off the same base every time we go out.”
When running the 76, Blewett also expects to have most, if not all the crew from the 21 along for the ride similar to this weekend. It is a partnership that is crucial to keep the car on track, but will also build an effort that will bring success down the road.
“It’s hard to go racing with our family car because we really don’t have the help. So, Joe and his guys all stepping up to the plate; saying that if we bring the car they’ll crew it, that means a lot to me. It means a lot to me. This year, we’ll pick and choose whatever races we can squeeze in outside of whatever schedule Joe wants to do.”
To say that is Blewett is thankful for all that have taken the time and effort would be an understatement, especially for those who don’t get out of the shop and to the track that often.
“I got to thank Norman Pepper for all he does back in shop for us, he doesn’t make it to all the races, but he’s back at the shop working hard. Mike Bologna, all the guys that get us on track, wouldn’t be there without any of them.”
Keep up to speed with Jimmy Blewett and the entire “Mod Squad” this weekend on Speed51.com which will be on location at both Myrtle Beach and Caraway this Saturday and Sunday respectively.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com