(LEHIGHTON, PA) Jimmy Blewett is a four time Wall Stadium Speedway Modified champion, he’s been victorious on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, he also races a dirt Modified and has amassed over 150 feature wins while traveling up and down the eastern seaboard.
But despite his many successes the driver best known as “Showtime” has never turned a lap at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway or for that matter even stepped foot inside.
That’s all about to change come June 13 when the ¼-mile paved oval opens up their 2020 season with the John “Peepers” Yerger Tribute 77-lap main.
The Yerger Tribute is race number one of the five race Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series and Blewett is looking ahead to making his maiden appearance at the speedway.
“The biggest thing is nothing else is conflicting with it. I’ve always been committed to something else and never really had the opportunity to come there,” disclosed Blewett.
“Keith (Hoffman) has reached out to me before and nothing ever worked out. I’d have an open date and then it would rain or I would be running on a tour or running for points somewhere,” he continued.
“He told me all about Peepers and what this tribute race is all a about and I think it’s very special. With everything that’s going on right now this is the perfect opportunity for us. We’ve all been sitting around idle and waiting to go racing and finally Mahoning Valley is giving us the news that the whole racing community wants to hear as far as asphalt goes this side of the Mason-Dixon Line.”
Blewett’s career personifies the true essence of a short track racer. He’s a hard-nosed driver with a total focus on winning and his numbers back that up.
He’s not just coming to Mahoning to add another feather in his cap but also the chance to race against guys he’s become respected acquaintances with over the years.
“I’ve always had really good relationships with people form Pennsylvania. A lot of guys come down here and we’d help them with their cars and over the years we’ve made a lot of good friends so I’m looking forward to coming there now,” said Blewett.
“I have nothing to prove in my career now. I’ve raced everything that I ever wanted to and won. Now our main goal is to have fun. That was our focus this season but unfortunately due to circumstances we’ve all been going through we haven’t had that opportunity,” he went on to say.
“Now this is the perfect time for us to come out and have some fun. We want to get as many people as we can and get a giant train and come up there.”
For an outsider like Blewett, the competition at Mahoning Valley can be a challenge. The track boasts a fierce core group of regulars that make it very tough on those invaders. And with this being one of the first asphalt races in the northeast there will be a high volume of Modifieds converging on the bullring track. Not surprising though, Blewett welcomes the opposition.
“We’re confident that when we roll out we’ll be decent. I approach it like I do anything else. I never run a race I don’t think I can win. I don’t go anywhere that I feel I won’t be competitive or even have a shot at winning,” he bottom lined.
“I’ve seen a lot of videos from there and I’m looking forward to going to a track that has the history that Mahoning has. I like going to tracks with great history and that track has been around a long time. There’s a lot of good drivers that have come out of Pennsylvania and Mahoning Valley – Eric Beers, Matt Hirschman and his dad Tony and so many others.”
Blewett will be running a new car that was built for Wall Stadium to run this season. The car is Troyer TA-3 chassis and owned by Scott Brannick of North American Construction and will carry No. 51. His crew chief, Rob Ormsbee, has raced at Mahoning and knows the track well.
“Scott’s a good friend and good guy to race for and we’re excited to have a new venture together.”
Race time is 6:00 pm. The night’s line-up will also include Street Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Pro 4s and Rookie Hobby Stocks.
Afterwards the question will be if Blewett returns for another race at Mahoning.
“It’s entirely up to my guys. We can be there at any time. There’s really no place to race right now. We’re going to support the people who support us and we just want to support racing in general.”
-Mahoning Valley Speedway Press Release
-Photo Credit: Jim Smith