“It hurt to loose that edge,” said Jimmy, who led 110 of the race’s 150 laps. “John pitted for tires and he was better with that fresher rubber. That gave him the edge.”
“We were in good shape,” said John. “I didn’t know how quick that I was going to catch those guys. I was waiting for a caution because I knew that if I used my stuff up to catch the leaders, I wouldn’t have anything for the end. We got that one caution and that was just what I needed.
BROTHERS BLEWETT STEAL STAFFORD SHOW by Mike Twist
JB3 Wins Mod Tour Event Over Jimmy
What can beat a Blewett with old tires to the finish line of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event?
That answer is easy – a Blewett with new tires.
The Blewett brothers, who have racked up plenty of family-friendly finishes in weekly competition at Wall Stadium (NJ) through the years, treated Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) as their own personal playground on Tuesday evening. It was fitting that older brother John, III with his red, white and blue paint scheme beat Jimmy to the finish in the July 4th event.
What made the difference in the battle of experience vs. youthful enthusiasm were tires. Jimmy led much of the race on one set of Hoosiers, while John pitted on lap 65 and then made it back through the field to take the lead with 15 laps to go. From there, it was John is control with Jimmy finishing the race in second-place ahead of Donny Lia, Zach Sylvester and Mike Stefanik.
But Blewett Brothers battled for the victory... (Jim DuPont Photo)
The Whelen Modified Tour ran under threatening skies at Stafford, but NASCAR and track officals moved ahead the start time and the show got all of its 150 laps in the books. (51 Photo)
Interestingly, John’s own #66 crew is made up of guys who he has worked with at various other teams through the years.
“I’ve got some really good guys. There are some guys on it from Sheba Racing and from the Chase team. There are a few of my own guys too. They all fit well together.”
The victory is John Blewett’s first on the Modified Tour since winning with the Curt Chase #77 at New Hampshire in 2003. In the time since, he has had plenty of strong runs, but time after time has had bad luck bite him.
“It put me on Jimmy’s and Donny’s bumper and that is when the fresh tires really showed. We were able to get in a little harder and get off a little harder.”
John Blewett was not the only driver to pit just before halfway. Mike Stefanik, Eric Beers, Ted Christopher Zach Sylvester, Jerry Marquis and several others stopped at the same time as well. Yet none of those drivers could manage a podium finish. What was the difference for Blewett?
“The guys gave me a great pit stop,” said John. “We were out of there in 28 seconds. We were only beat by two cars.”
...but it was older brother John who got to the finish first. (Howie Hodge Photo)
“It’s nice to get a win because I’m like the forgotten guy. Every race, we’re fast but something seems to happen and we’re not around at the end. To put it all together today was nice.”
Those who weren’t able to put it all together at Stafford were a pair of drivers who looked to be strong enough to possibly take the victory, but had circumstances hold them back.
James Civali led 25 laps with his Don King-owned #28 ride and he could have probably led more. For much of the race, the rookie drove like a veteran and elected to settle into second place instead of battling for the lead. That strategy might have worked at the end, but Civali had his car shut off from him with 50 laps to go.
Reggie Ruggiero also had a quick ride under him. He battled Jimmy Blewett for the lead before the two made contact and The Reg spun just before halfway. Ruggiero twice tried to come back through the field, but flat tires and traffic took their toll and he ended up with an 11th-place finish.
But in the end, the day belonged to the Blewetts and even the guy who finished second was happy with the outcome of the race.
“I’ve learned almost everything from my brother,” said Jimmy Blewett. “He taught me what he knew growing up and if it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be racing in the first place. To finish second to my brother is the same thing is a win to me. It’s not a win, but it is close enough in my book.”
The brotherly love worked both ways.
“I’m proud of Jimmy,” said John. “He’s doing a good job. He’s with a great team and it is only going to get better from here. When they find what he likes in a car there won’t be any catching him.”
Speed51.com will have more from the Brothers Blewett, as well as several others drivers, in our Stafford Leftovers coming up soon.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action on Saturday, July 15th at New Hampshire International Speedway.
John Blewett, III in victory lane at Stafford. (Mary Hodge Photo)