Championship Bout: Jimmy Blewett Fighting To Push Whelen Modified Tour Team To Its Limits

The emotion was difficult for Jimmy Blewett to stem standing on pit road at Stafford Motor Speedway last Friday after a second place finish in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Stafford 150.

Jimmy Blewett (Photo: Kim Tyler/NASCAR)

It was the best finish of the season for Blewett and the team has essentially become the fabric of his life this summer.

With his grandfather ready to fund a full-time go at chasing a Whelen Modified Tour championship, the 31-year old Blewett has gone all-in this season on the efforts and the labor is paying off.

A second place finish to Doug Coby at Stafford Friday, the halfway point of a 14-race season, put Blewett in fourth in the standings, 63 behind Coby.

And Thursday’s Budweiser 150 at Thompson International Speedway represents an important landing point for the team. It’s the event that five years ago took the life of Blewett’s older brother John Blewett III.

“There will always be emotion for a lot of people for that race,” Blewett said. “It’s a tough place. But you always want to go back and kind of, give that place one of your own back. It would be sentimental for us to go back and win there this week, but first we’ve got to finish. If I had a car like I had [Friday], we’ll be up front for sure.”

Blewett walked away from his full-time ride with team owner Ed Partridge during the 2009 season. After spending the last two years racing on the Whelen Modified Tour sporadically for team owner Dick Barney and with his family owned team, Blewett rededicated himself to a full-time run for this season.

Over the offseason Blewett dropped about 80 pounds off his frame, leaving him at about 200 pounds.

“After my brother passed on, it was a little different around by us,” Blewett said. “Just to get a family car back up front again means a little more. We’re flying the red, white and blue colors. We’ve got the original paint scheme that I started with and my brother started with, which we’re going to keep.

“I lost a bunch of weight just trying to get myself prepared to run this car for my grandfather, physically. I felt like I had to give him 150 percent. We put a pretty good crew together. A few guys from brother, a few guys that worked with me and a couple friends that I met when I drove the 14 car and even just a couple guys that were around the pit area.”

Friday the team showed its mettle for not letting a setback put them in the back. After losing crew chief Kevin Crowley, Ed Bennett stepped into the role just days before the Stafford event.

“Last week we were sitting there with no crew chief, this week we’re sitting here with a second place finish,” Blewett said. “

And Blewett is proud of taking on the role not only of driver but all-around team manager for the family owned operation. He said Friday night was an event he knows his brother would have been proud of.

“The hard work is what makes you feel [emotional] sometimes,” Blewett said. “I have a lot more appreciation for racing now more than ever. When I drove for Ed Partridge it was just show up with your helmet bag and your fire suit and race. But it’s not like I didn’t work on cars and build my own stuff before that. I did that with my brother. My grandfather made us start that way. To now try and do that at this level, it’s a whole different story.

What makes me emotional is when I think of how hard my brother worked as a driver and a crew chief, he did everything, he was the total package for himself. I feel like [Friday was] a night he would be proud of all us.”

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