New Smyrna Names a World Series Race in Honor of John Blewett, III by Mike Twist
Modified Hotshoe Was a Fixture of Florida Speedweeks
The World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing is a tradition at New Smyrna Speedway. Every February, in the shadows of the big league NASCAR races nearby at Daytona, short track racers from all over gather for nine nights of hardcore racing. There are Super Late Models, there are Modifieds, there are several other classes of racing there too.
Through the years, New Smyrna’s “Florida Speedweeks” have attracted the best of the best in short track racing. In the Modified world, it has served as an unofficial start to the racing season. Some drivers don’t go to Speedweeks, but others – like Ted Christopher, Eric Beers, Chuck Hossfeld and assorted Pasteryaks make it an annual event.
But this year, someone will be missing and his absence will be felt. After years and years of the Blewett family racing, and often winning, at Florida Speedweeks, there will only be one member of the clan racing this year. Jimmy Blewett will race as usual, but this will be the first time that Speedweeks will take place since the passing of his older brother John Blewett, III in a summer racing accident.
To honor Blewett’s memory, there will be a 50-lap race named for him this year. The John Blewett, III Memorial 50 will take place on Wednesday, February 13th for the Tour-type Modifieds.
“We wanted to recognize what John Blewett and the entire Blewett family means to Speedweeks,” said NSS General Manager Terry Roberts. “This is what we came up with to honor John and his family. They have been synonymous with Speedweeks for a long time.”
John Blewett, III definitely made his mark at New Smyrna. He won plenty of races and championships there. Last season, he won twice and took his final checkered flag at New Smyrna on February 14th. Then he watched his younger brother Jimmy win three Tour-type Modified races. In fact, only twice during the 2007 version of Florida Speedweeks did a driver who wasn’t named Blewett win a Tour-Type Modified race there.
“He did quite well here,” said Roberts. “I have fond memories of a lot of his wins here.”
Yet as much as Blewett will be missed at New Smyrna this year, it won’t really be because of his victories, his thrilling outside passes or the close finishes that he was involved with. Instead, it will be his passion for the sport of racing, his personality, honesty and his smile that will be missed the most. Blewett, like his family, was a part of Speedweeks and the will never change.
“It wouldn’t be a Speedweeks without the Blewetts involved,” said Roberts. “And we’ll certainly miss John.”
John Blewett, III spent a lot of time in victory lane at New Smyrna.