Most fans traveling to NHIS didn’t even know that Jimmy Blewett was going to drive the TS Haulers #12 car this weekend. After the race though, there were very few observers who weren’t impressed.
Blewett led laps and was one of a few drivers who looked capable of winning even after he dropped back in the draft a few positions.
hot, but nothing to be threatened by. The next thing we knew, I was coming halfway down the backstretch and felt a ‘vroop’ in the motor and shut it down over there. It was locked up.”
Did Blewett expect to be so strong at NHIS?
“Honestly, no. I wanted to come here with a new team and a new car and finish the race in the top 10. The next thing I knew, we were battling for the lead. It’s my wildest dream. I’ve dreamed of coming to a big track and running up front since I was a little kid. Everyone worked together to get me here and it’s working out great.”
So what’s next for Blewett and his team now?
“We’re going to concentrate on Riverhead and do a few Tour shows that don’t conflict with that,” said Blewett. “This what the team needed, it’s what I needed and it’s what the car owner needed. This brought us all together.”
GEORGE TEAM PUTS PRACTICE WRECK BEHIND THEM
Nevin George finished 10th at NHIS. That’s impressive. But it’s how his team got to be even in the position to end up there that is even more impressive.
George has a valve stem fail in practice and Thursday and blew out a tire. He then hit the wall hard and had heavy damage to his #0 car. Without a backup car, the team rebuilt their primary machine. Apparently, they did a good enough job for a top 10 finish.
“My guys are great,” said George. “They don’t stop. They were up last night till midnight working on it. Everyone always thanks their guys, but really that’s the reason why everybody is here. I was hoping that we’d have a good finish with all of the effort that they put into it, so I’m pretty happy with that.”
All of the work wasn’t done at the track either. The kindness of racing strangers helped salvage the NHIS event for the #0 team
“I wanted to get to the front, so I pushed him [Christopher],” said Hirschman. “It’s not like I wanted to push Teddy. We’re not the best of friends, but I did what I needed to do to get in a position to win. I got into second and then I had a shot at the end. We just came a couple of feet short.”
TC acknowledged that Hirschman helped him get into the lead.
“He pushed me through there and that was definitely a help,” Christopher said.
Eric Beers also elected not to tuck into behind Coby to try and move to the front. That was a case of handling issues though.
“Eric told me that he wanted to go with me, but he was so tight that if we went side by side into the corner, he couldn’t have hung there,” said Coby. “He had no choice but to go with Tony.”
“Doug went to the bottom and I wanted to go with him, but I knew if I went there, I wasn’t going to be able to hold it anyway,” said Beers. “So I stayed up top and did what I could.”
Coby asked the Hirschman team for answers after the race and talked about what he learned.
“I talked to Tony’s son afterwards and he said that they needed to do what they needed to do to put themselves in a position to win,” said Coby. “But I just don’t know how you think that that you are in a position to win when Ted is leading. You are in a position to wreck if you try to pass him. I don’t know. Tony’s a smart guy and he did what he had to do, I just wish he went with me instead.”
COBY AND HIRSCHMAN TAKE THEIR BEST SHOTS AT TC
In spite of all the drafting and chess games, there were in fact a few good passes and near passes late in the race.
NASCAR WHELEN MOD LEFTOVERS: NHIS by Mike Twist
Hirschman Makes a Choice, Coby Comes Close Again, Blewett Strong and Much, Much More
DRAFT CHOICES MAKE DIFFERENCE LATE IN RACE
The turning point in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at New Hampshire came with only a handful of laps to go. Doug Coby was being pursued for the lead by Ted Christopher. Tony Hirschman lurked behind the two drivers. With drafting so important at the one-mile track, whoever Hirschman decided to pull in behind would likely settle into the lead.
Hirschman chose to hang with the #13 of Christopher and despite a last second to pass to try and take the lead from him, the two finished first and second.
Coby was left out in the cold and finished fourth.
“I think that I really had the race won if Tony Hirschman went with me and not Ted,” said Coby. “I would have had him if I had some help.”
“It comes down to last minute decisions,” said Hirschman. “Who do you go with? I went with the fastest car down the straightaway. The #13 goes down the straightaway probably better than anybody. He’s got the biggest motor.”
Coby was also surprised because he considers Hirschman an ally in the garage area.
“It’s weird,” said Coby. “Being a young guy, everyone tells you what to do and Tony has been the biggest help to me off the track. He hangs out afterwards and has shown me how to be calm and cool and make the right decisions. I don’t understand why he would do this.”
But Hirschman maintains that his decision had nothing to do with friendship and everything to do with his own chance of winning.
The first started when Coby looked in him mirror and saw TC.
“When he got into second I thought, ‘Oh no, Ted’s behind me and that’s not good,” said Coby.
Then Coby tried to hold off Christopher. The two zigged and zagged down the frontstretch and TC got the spot.
“We were road racing,” said Christopher of the unconventional lines that the two drivers took.
“I tired a little bit and if it was someone else, I don’t think that they would have made the pass, but Ted made the pass,” said Coby. “n he passed me, I let him go and he got so loose he squeezed up in front of me. I cut back underneath him.”
Next, it was Hirschman’s turn to try for the lead.
“I tried,” said Hirschman. “He was so fast but he was bobbling in the corners pretty good. It took until the last corner to get a run on him, but we ended up a little short.”
Tony Hirschman (#48) pulls right up to Ted Christopher's tail. (51 Photo)
Coby felt that he had earned Hirschman’s help at the end of the race. Both by showing that he was worthy of running up front at NHIS and by helping Hirschman earlier in the day.
“This is my third really good run here,” said Coby. “I ran Zach’s car last July and we finished 10th with Don King’s car last September, so it amazes me [that nobody would draft with him]. When Tony fell back on the restart, I think that we fell back to eighth maybe worse. We started to catch somebody, I don’t remember who and we pulled out to pass him. I went in behind him and gave him a couple good shots to help him make the pass and then he pulled right up in front of the guy and hung me out to dry.
“The only reason he was able to pass that car was because I choose to go with him and not go with the other guy. I don’t really like that or understand how you can’t appreciate someone helping you to make a pass like that. Tony pulled out of line and next to the guy, but he would have had a hell of a time getting by him in the corner if I didn’t shove him along.”
“Everything was good, I got into turn one a little hard there, someone took some air off my spoiler and I got a little loose. That broke my momentum and I dropped back to third, but I felt like I easily had a car to win the race with.”
Unfortunately, an engine expired before the race’s laps did and Blewett dropped out of the event.
“The motor put us out,” said Blewett. “It got a little bit
Jerry Marquis' #4 car. (Leif Tillotson Photo)
HOSSFELD HOT AFTER PENALTY
Another pivotal point in the event came earlier in the race, when Chuck Hossfeld lined up to the outside of Christopher on a restart. Hossfeld got a big jump before the green flag and was given a stop and go penalty which pretty much ended his chances of winning.
Donny Lia's #18 goes for a spin. (Howie Hodge Photo)
“We had two bad right rears in a row,” said Lia. “The car was unbearable and we had no grip in the right rear. The car was fine in practice, but we couldn’t get it to drive with the tires that we had on there. It’s impossible to set the car up for. This happened to us at Stafford last year as well.”
The tire problems weren’t isolated to Lia’s team either.
“A lot of guys got bad right rears. The #3 car [Eric Beers] had a bad one and when they came in, they got lucky and put a good one on. They almost won the race.”
“We used a guy’s shop up here in New Hampshire,” said George of how his team fabricated new parts. “To be honest, I don’t even know his name. We met him through people who knew somebody who knew somebody.”
FULLER HAS SOLID RUN
Rick Fuller stayed near the front and flew under the radar screen for most of the 100 lap race at NHIS. He finished sixth.
“It was alright,” said Fuller of his day. “It wasn’t bad. With our record here at Loudon, sixth is probably like a win.
The Polar Beverages teams has improved their performance in recent races and that has not gone unnoticed.
“We did some testing and we learned a little bit. We are applying it now.”
#15 VAPOR LOCKS, BUT SYLVESTER STAYS COOL
For finishing in 17th-place, Zach Sylvester was pretty happy after the race. It wasn’t because of how he finished though, it was because of how he ran.
Eric Beers (51 Photo)
Hossfeld serves his penalty. (51 Photo)
Was the restart a case of Hossfeld being over anxious or Christopher playing games?
“I don’t know,” said Hossfeld. “I don’t really get the penalty. Teddy went to go and slowed up. I went when he went. He slowed up and we got penalized. I didn’t let off once we got going because I didn’t want to create a big pile-up. I don’t know, but I guess it worked for him.”
Hossfeld recovered from the penalty to finish seventh. Christopher won the race.
Doug Coby and his #77. (51 Photo)
Zach Sylvester (#15) runs with the #0 of Nevin George. (51 Photo)
“We’re happy,” said Sylvester. “We’ve got some more work to do to get it to run a little bit cooler, but we’re very happy with the chassis.”
LONG TRIP DOESN’T PAY OFF FOR HOAG
It wasn’t a hard decision for Alex Hoag and his team to make the trip North to New Hampshire. Exposure was the name of the game for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver.
well. It had enough power to get by people when I wanted to. I think that we had a top 10, maybe a top five car.”
That wasn’t to be though.
“The oil line backed off and blew oil all over the headers,” said Hoag. “That was it for us.”
CHRISTOPHERS BOOKEND TOP 10
At the top point of the top 10 was a Christopher (Ted). Meanwhile his twin brother Mike was on the other end of the top 10 in the 10th position. But, he wasn’t very thrilled about it.
“I’m not really happy to finish 10th,” said Christopher. “We never could get it right. It was too loose on entry and too tight on off the corner. I’m never happy with 10th. We searched here. We were good, but certainly not as good as we needed to be.”
MARQUIS BATTLES BACK TO EIGHTH PLACE
Jerry Marquis ended up eighth, but considering all that he had to do to get there, he couldn’t have been too disappointed.
“We’re trying to get a ride someplace and to do that, you need to race where people are watching,” said Hoag. “There are plenty of people watching here. Hopefully somebody noticed that we had a decent run for what we had.”
Having qualifying get rained out and having the field set by points was not a good thing for the Southern invader.
“We would have rather run qualifying than a 30-minute practice. That didn’t make much sense to us. We were 11th fastest on the time sheet. We were really starting to come to the front. The car drafted well and sucked up
“It was a blast, we had a great car,” said Sylvester. “We had some motor troubles towards the end. It was nobody’s fault. The heat got to the fuel and it vapor locked. It felt like we lost about 50 horsepower down the chute. It’s nobody’s fault and we had a great car all day. That’s all we can ask for, so hopefully we can come back again next time.”
The day wasn’t a lose for the #15 team even though they finished much further back than they would have liked.
Jimmy Blewett (#12) leads Steve Whitt (#06). (51 Photo)
The #0 did not look like a 10th-place car after practice. (51 Photo)
Eric Beers (#3) wasn't able to draft with Doug Coby (#77) either. (Howie Hodge Photo)
Alex Hoag (#87) runs under the #99 of Jamie Tomaino. (Howie Hodge Photo)
“We struggled bad here,” said Marquis. “We weren’t good at all yesterday. We weren’t bad, but we weren’t fast. We made a bunch of changes this morning. That helped the car, but we had trouble in the race. We had a tire on the right rear go nutty. It grew and inch and a half bigger than what it should have been.”
Marquis got caught a lap down, but moved up to the top 10 after making that up. How he got back on the lead lap is something that he is very thankful for.
“God bless the lucky dog,” said Marquis referring to the rule where a lapped car can make up a lap on each caution.
TIRE WOES KEEP LIA DOWN
Donny Lia had one of the quickest cars in testing at New Hampshire International Speedway. He started the race sixth after qualifying was rained out and the field was set by points and he made forward progress early in the race. But tire problems rained on Lia’s day during the 100-lap race and left him with a finish of 14th.
BEERS HAS TIRE PROBLEMS TOO
Speaking of Beer’s tire problems, they kept him down early on but could not keep him from contending for the win late in the race
Beers got his caution and changed tires, but from their he was off sequence with the rest of the contenders.
“We pitted early and took our tires. We hurt the right front coming back through. All those heat cycles between caution and green at the end hurt us. It kept heating it up and cooling it down, it got worse and worse. We could still run with them, but not as fast as we were earlier.”
Beers has been on a roll lately and his first win looks like it could be right around the corner.
“It’s great,” said Beers. “This team is awesome from top
to bottom. They give me a good racecar and we’ll be back here in a couple of months. It’s going to be a good time then.”
COBY STILL LOOKING FOR WIN NUMBER ONE
Once again, Doug Coby showed that he is more than capable of winning races on the Modified Tour. He’s been one of the hottest drivers of late in the series and came so close to winning at NHIS before fading to a fourth place finish.
He was still able to look on the bright side of his finish after the race.
“I’m always happy with a top 10,” said Coby. “I’m thrilled with a top five, but I really want to win now. Stafford and Loudon were two great runs in three races with this team. The guys had an awesome pit stop. We only took two tires and I think that Ted took four. We actually passed him in traffic. I think that he drove it in there hard and got it loose. I was thinking that Ted was behind me and that was pretty good.”
“I’m very happy with fourth, I hate leading and not winning, but this is Loudon and you never know what will happen. So we’ll take this. We aren’t wrecked, we finished in the top four and we put on a great show for the fans.”
HAYDT LOGS LAPS IN ROOKIE NHIS APPEARANCE
Tyler Haydt had never raced at NHIS before this event. The rookie did exactly what was expected of him though buy staying out of trouble and finishing the race on the lead lap. His 25th-place finish was not flashy, but nobody was mad at him after the race and he gained a ton of experience.
“It feels good just to run all the laps that we did,” Said Haydt. “We never really were in contention, but we never really fell back either. We just hung out, ran all the laps and learned a lot. It was good for us.”
So what were Haydt’s impressions of the strange new place where he raced?
“I like it here,” said Haydt. “The more I ran, the more comfortable I was. It’s just a matter of time I guess before I run well here.”
And the fact that NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams were watching added to the attraction of racing at NHIS.
“It’s neat to be at a place this big, with all these people here,” said Haydt. “All these guys are watching and under caution you can see them on the trailers. It’s neat to see that.”
HIRSCHMAN HAS SOLID DAY
Defending champion Tony Hirschman finished second at NHIS. It might not have been his ideal finishing position, but it was a solid day and when you are ranked third in points, those days really help the big picture for the season.
“Second’s second,” Said Hirschman. “It’s not a win, but it’s what we needed to do. We gained points on everyone except Ted. He gained 10 points on us, but at least we are in the hunt. There are a few races to go yet.”
Doug Coby (#77) tries to hold off the #13 of TC (Top) while Tony Hirschman (#48) tries to catch him at the line. (51 Photos)
Tyler Haydt in the pits during practice. (51 Photo)