Dirty Issues: Crash Sours Pole Run For Jimmy Blewett In Whelen Modified Tour Qualifying At NHMS

LOUDON, N.H. – NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver Jimmy Blewett climbed out of his car after putting up the fast lap of the day in qualifying Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and it was all he could do to hold back the tears.

Jimmy Blewett celebrates winning the pole in Whelen Modified Tour qualifying Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Not exactly what one would expect from someone after they put up the fastest lap of qualifying, then again, Blewett’s car was left a shambles after a wreck on his second lap of qualifying at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Blewett crashed on the second lap of his two-lap qualifying effort during Whelen Modified Tour time trials Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in preparation for Saturday’s Town Fair Tire 100.

Blewett’s first lap held up as the fastest around the 1.058-mile oval during qualifying. Blewett toured the track in 29.691 seconds (128.281 mph).

On his second lap he got a tire in dirt left on the track in turns one and two, remnants from the Global RallyCross event that was run at the track Thursday evening.

“I just got the right front [tire] in the dirt from yesterday, from the event they had last night, and once I got the right front in there I wasn’t really able to correct it from there,” Blewett said.

It was the third career Whelen Modified Tour pole for Blewett, of Howell, N.J.

Ted Christopher of Plainville was second fastest in qualifying with a lap of 29.783 seconds (127.885 mph). Bryon Chew of Mattituck, N.Y. was third fastest (29.806 seconds, 127.786 mph).

“I can’t complain, everybody had to qualify on it,” Blewett said of the dirt on the track. “You’ve got to take what you can get. I was trying hard and I got the right front in it. It’s not like getting in the normal marbles where you get into it and you lose the turn. It’s just unfortunate. Nothing you can do. They did a great job cleaning it up, but with the rain and everything else, there wasn’t much they could do.”

Chew, who was the 18th car to go out in time trials, said he noticed others having issues with the dirt in turn one and adjusted for it.

“I watched the qualifying, the second or third car that went out, it looked like the dirt came down,” Chew said. “I ran the lower groove and my car was sticking really well down there. Usually you fade up and go up and you’re faster that way. I was cautious with that factor though because I watched a lot of guys get in trouble there.”

Blewett did not bring a backup car to the event. He said he had offers from other teams to use backup cars immediately following the conclusion of qualifying, but he still had not fully evaluated the damage to his own car.

“I was trying to hold the tears back when I saw the car,” Blewett said. “A lot of hard work goes into that car. It’s been a big learning curve for me over the last seven years. We missed [the last series event at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway] and I felt that was going to be one of my stronger races. To come here and roll out and be just decent, I was happy. Never did I think that I wasn’t fast enough to put it on the pole or go out and win tomorrow. It’s just a heartbreaker because I know every inch of that car. And I see some stuff that’s bent on it that it’s going to be hard for me to dig it up because I built it at my shop. We’ll get back there and work our butts off and if it’s possible it’s possible.”

According to NASCAR, Blewett will be allowed to work on his car before Saturday’s event and if he can get it back to working order he can start on the pole. If he goes to a backup car he would have to start at the rear of the 32-car field. It’s expected that, based on prior NASCAR procedure, the inside row of the field would move up and Chew would take the field to the green in the race from the pole position.

“I’m nervous,” Chew said. “I’ve never been in this position with these cars. [With K&N East] cars yes, but not with these cars. I think that we have a really good car. I was very comfortable out there all day. We made some very minor adjustments here and there. I’m actually going to psyche myself up to do it. I can’t wait.”

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