Departing: Jimmy Blewett Shutting Down Family Owned Whelen Modified Tour Team

The dwindling ranks of teams in competition on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is taking yet another hit.

Jimmy Blewett works on his Whelen Modified Tour car in the pits at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July

Jimmy Blewett works on his Whelen Modified Tour car in the pits at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July

Jimmy Blewett confirmed Monday that he is shutting down operation of the  Whelen Modified Tour team he drives for and that his grandfather John Blewett Sr. owns.

Struggling to keep things going with the organization, the 33-year old Blewett ran a part-time schedule with the team in 2013.

“I’ve decided to take a step back from it,” Blewett said. “It’s getting too hard to find the people to take the time off of work for these two and three days events. And it’s so hard to find sponsors.”

Blewett, of Howell, N.J., started six of 14 events this year on the Whelen Modified Tour, recording four top-10 finishes. He debuted the team owned by his grandfather in 2011 and ran a full season with the team in 2012, finishing eighth in the standings with four top-five finishes in 14 starts.

“It’s an extremely tough decision, but at the end of the day you can only do what you can do,” Blewett said. “If you can’t find the people to do the work with you, you can’t do it all on your own. And it comes down to paying the bills. My grandfather, he isn’t hurting, but he’s not rich either. No matter how you cut it, to go to a [Whelen Modified Tour] race it’s $5,000. Now, if you don’t win, it doesn’t cover it. Sometimes even if you do win it doesn’t cover it. It’s not even feasible money-wise to even go to them.”

Blewett, who made his first Whelen Modified Tour start in 2001, has started at least one race in the division each year for the last 13 years.

Over 105 career starts Blewett has five victories and 21 top-five’s. He has three career poles, the most recent coming in July at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He ran from 2005 to 2009 with team owner Eddie Partridge. He was on track competing with his older brother John Blewett III when John was killed in an accident at Thompson Speedway on Aug. 16, 2007.

Blewett said he isn’t closing the door entirely on competing with the Whelen Modified Tour, he just won’t be doing it with a family owned team.

“Maybe I can get a call over the winter for someone looking for a driver,” Blewett said. “Maybe I can do something like that. I still think I can go out there and win. I’m definitely going to miss it. I’ve got some unfinished business. I definitely want to get a win at Thompson to close that chapter for me, and there’s a couple other things I’d like to accomplish on the Tour. But if not, I had a good run while I had it. All I can do now is sit here and hope the phone rings and maybe I can set something up with somebody.”

Over the last couple years Blewett has dabbled in dirt racing and he said he will continue with that endeavor.

“I’m going to continue doing some dirt stuff at New Egypt [Speedway in New Egypt, N.J.] and Bridgeport [Speedway in Swedesboro, N.J.] and maybe even travel a little bit with that. It’s a little more efficient for me. The tire cost is down a lot more with that than what you’re seeing at a Touring Series event. It’s just a lot more feasible financially.”

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  1. ” No matter how you cut it, to go to a [Whelen Modified Tour] race it’s $5,000. Now, if you don’t win, it doesn’t cover it. Sometimes even if you do win it doesn’t cover it.”

    That is a structural defect in the series, which I realize NASCAR doesn’t care about. Basically, you have to be very wealthy to play this game. It is not surprising that Thompson is changing their focus to the uber-wealthy.

  2. How much do u need 2 get for your equipment im intrested in purchasing the whole team

  3. I heard 120K will buy it …

  4. Henry I’m sure a question like that would be best asked by calling one of the Blewetts, not by asking in an online post lol. and p.s. wake up NASCAR….your killing the best division you have!!!!!

  5. That sad to hear. If this keeps up. Soon the WMT numbers will drop below 20 cars per race and that will not be good. And it could mean the death of the WMT.

    In all honesty if the WMT goes under. I can see VMRS making a pro series. Just saying.

  6. Charlie Sharpsteen says

    This is not good for the sport. Its sad to see a family that has helped build a class have to drop out. Jimmy always plays a good villan for fans to talk about.

  7. Again, another solid team is leaving thanks to the powers to be in Daytona. Would the last team standing be sure to turn out the lights on NASCAR’s oldest series.

  8. Fred Pucylowski says

    Eventually all auto racing comes down to ability to spend! I go back to the days of his Dad and recall seeing Jr. and Jimmy racing Big Wheels at New Eqypt.

  9. Dave Haggerty says

    I have followed the mods back to the 60’s nascar has done a poor job if any helping the most exiting division it has,now saying that drivers years ago did not care about cup they would stay with the mods ,RICHIE 66 Cookman Charlie J REGGIE R,J COOK, AND SO MANY MORE GIL HEARN AT WALL TONY SISCONE AT WALL NO NASCAR TRACK WITH BIG CROWDS now how many guys work in cup and gave up driving Ray Everham,gordon’s spotter EDIE D’HOUNT who won best looking car at the race of champions,Doug Hewitt,Doug Walcot,sorry about the spelling of names if they are wrong.Also the cars do not look like factory cars any more they need to get away from the J car look and make them look like a modified stock car,yes the J car look is sharp but that will not bring sales to the factory,this is one area that the tour could do better,still leave the tires hang out and the headers but put a nose and tail that looks like a stock showroom car.Put the mods with the cup cars at the short track,make all points from any nascar track count toward the championship any night any track that will make drivers from the north and south and any track mix.NASCAR needs to put more money into the series and the tracks forget about the back gate money give half back to the track,get a tire deal to help the teams.Modifieds have become 100 percent race cars and are very costly help them don’t slow them down you take away their trill but do something.

  10. Walter A Fike says

    I have been a modified fan for over 25 years slot of people have come and gone from the division and in my opinion its getting worse just 8 or 9 year’s ago you had 25 cars at the tracks now there’s less than 20 most of the time in my opinion nascar needs to give the division more prize money I have talk to alot of people who say its just not worth it any more and I have to agree yes racing is more expensive than 20 years ago but nascar could and should give more prize money to

  11. Bill Boulay says

    Dave Haggerty i grew up in the Modified division and you are absolutely confusing modifieds with cup cars! The modified was never designed to look like a stock car! It isn’t there to help dealers sell cars! That’s why they are called Modifieds and that’s what has made them so attractive to so many people! I do agree that NASCAR has done nothing to support or promote their oldest and most exciting division !!!

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