Jimmy Blewett has a lot going on this Turkey Derby weekend at Wall Stadium Speedway (NJ). The driver known as “Showtime” is going for his sixth win in the Tour-type Modifieds, and attempting to back up his SK Modified and Dirt Modified wins from a year ago. But perhaps even more important than all, he’s giving the family’s new Sportsman Modified a proper shakedown before handing it over to the next generation for 2017.
After a yellow and red flag filled event Friday afternoon, Blewett not only lasted the event, he took home the trophy after a shortened 45-lap race. He did so driving the same car that his nephew John Blewett IV, son of the late John Blewett III, will pilot in the 2017 Sportsman division at Wall.
“It’s definitely different, where they restart you on straight, it doesn’t give anyone any advantage to get the jump. I’m just glad it’s over and the car is one piece,” Jimmy Blewett told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
It puts an end to a big month of work on a car that was nothing but ‘nuts and bolts’ as Blewett described.
“It’s been a long month putting this thing together and putting everything else that we got together,” Blewett stated. “To bring it out of here in one piece and with one win is even better yet. We bought this car from the Zacharias’. It needed a lot of work, they knew it. We took it and did that work, thing is beautiful.”
The connection between the Turkey Derby at Wall Stadium Speedway and the Blewett family runs deep starting when John Blewett, Jr. won it back in 1980. That win carried onto the next generation with JB III becoming a four-time winner during his career and Jimmy winning five so far. While the win Friday was special, the journey so far has been more important to Jimmy.
“Building it was more special, these kids out here they got quarter-midget dads and they grew up with their dad, did everything with their father. My nephew didn’t get to do that stuff,” Blewett explained. “It was unfortunate what happened with my brother, that he never had those opportunities.
“He played basketball, he played soccer, he played baseball, those are the things he did because my brother wasn’t around to take him racing and it wasn’t that I didn’t want to take him racing; I just wasn’t capable of doing it on my own. I needed the help when I was away racing myself. Now that he’s older and wants to do it, it’s better late than never. For me and the guys to build the car, when he first came to me and said, ‘I want to go racing,’ I was like ‘wow, finally.’ I don’t care if he goes out and wrecks it every week next year. If my brother was here, he’d be racing, and he wants to do what his dad did and we’re going to do it, hell or high water.
“It’s special, the whole deal, I can’t wait until next Spring to get him out on the track and actually see him go around, that’s when it’s really going to sink in for everybody. There’s a learning curve, but we’re ready for it.”
Jimmy’s triumph has only stoked John IV’s eagerness evern more.
“It’s amazing, it puts a little bit of pressure on me for next year,” said John Blewett IV, the son of the late JB III. “I just got to live up to Jimmy here.”
Like his uncle, the journey to this point has been an incredible experience.
“It was awesome and different. I’ve never worked on racecars before the past two years, didn’t really want much to do with it,” the younger Blewett said. “I came up to him one day and said I want to get into racing. It’s a family tradition, got started with champ karts, building this from the ground up was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. It was awesome to spend time with my uncle, awesome, only way to describe it. It’s all my family has done ever since my grandfather, that and scrap recycling. It’s what I really want to do.”
The pressure is back on the Blewetts for Saturday, with Jimmy setting a fast pace in Tour-type Modified practice and winning the pole for SK/Wall Modified event.
Be sure to follow all the action Saturday with Speed51.com’s Trackside Now.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Kyle McGowan