New Beginning: Jimmy Blewett, Gershow Motorsports Ready For New Start With LFR Car At NHMS

Jimmy Blewett (Photo: Jim DuPont)

On June 5 at Thompson Speedway an ignition issue ended Jimmy Blewett’s night only 32 laps into the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 125 at Thompson Speedway. 

But the bad luck at Thompson proved an eye opener for Blewett and his Gershow Motorsports Whelen Modified Tour team. 

Blewett and the team obviously already knew well of the success of the LFR chassis program many teams had bought into over recent years. But that night at Thompson opened Blewett’s eyes. 

“We’ve been paying close attention, myself and [Gershow Motorsports owner Joe Bertuccio] and we felt that the best thing we could do to make our team better is change our direction,” Blewett said. “We dropped out of the race at Thompson due to mechanical failure [on June 5] and it opened our eyes. We all sat there in the infield and watched the top five, top six cars were all LFR. We watched them all basically have their own race.” 

Coming off a test last Friday at Stafford Speedway, the team will head to this weekend’s Whelen Modified Tour Whelen All-Star Shootout (Friday) and Eastern Propane & Oil 100 (Saturday) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with their new LFR ride. 

“It seems like if you want to win races you need an LFR,” Blewett said. “The proof is there. Since [LFR owner Rob Fuller] rolled the first car out, however many years ago, everything since then has spoken for itself. … We’re super excited to be able to go to Loudon with something that the top guys are running.” 

In its first season with Blewett behind the wheel, the Gershow Motorsports had a solid week at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing in February. The team opened the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season with back-to-back third place finishes at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway and South Boston (Va.) Speedway.

“We were really close to winning down at New Smyrna,” Blewett said. “We went to the first two [Whelen Modified Tour] races and we finished in the top three. We just really had a lot of momentum going. We started to struggle a little more and a little more and a little more and we really couldn’t find the balance that we were looking for or the speed. 

After finishing 10thin the third event of the season, Blewett has finished outside the top-10 in the last five events. 

“You’re kind of just looking for what works,” Blewett said. “… It’s really pretty simple. There’s only so many times you’re going to hit yourself in the head with a hammer realistically. We go to races to win, myself and my car owner. If we’re going to races week in and week out and watch an LFR car win then we’re not going to show up without one.” 

The night at Thompson on June 5 cemented a decision the team had been mulling to abandon their Troyer program and go to LFR. 

“[Fuller] had a used car for sale he had talked to [Bertuccio] about and he made the sale,” Blewett said. “We went up [to LFR in West Boylston, Mass.] last week and spent a couple days with him and just went over everything and what direction we were going to take with it.” 

Blewett tested the team’s new LFR car at Stafford Speedway last Friday. The last four Whelen Modified Tour championships – Doug Coby with Mike Smeriglio Racing in 2015, ’16, ’17 and Justin Bonsignore with M3 Racing in 2018 – were won by LFR cars. The top-three drivers in the standings in 2018 – Bonsignore, Chase Dowling and Coby respectively – were driving LFR cars.

“I wasn’t even sure about it all going into the test last week,” Blewett said. “And I didn’t think it would really be that big of a change. But after I drove it I realized that it is that big of a difference and you do need to go in that direction if you want to be competitive on the Modified Tour. 

“There was absolutely no comparison to anything that I’ve ever driven. It’s just a totally different feel. A different way of doing things. … With that said, for myself, I realized what I was missing. I’m not going to say I’m going to go right out there and set the world on fire with this this, but it was definitely a huge change compared to what I was running. It had nothing to do with my crew chief setting it up or anything like that. It had to do with how far technology has come in Modified racing and how [Fuller] has been taking the technology in Modified racing. I sat there and watched him build the shocks and watched the guys set the car up. He’s got a nice team of guys working there and it’s just a different way of doing it. 

“Even for myself, going forward from here, you might not ever see scale one of my own cars for a [Whelen Modified Tour] race ever again. Not that I couldn’t, I totally could, but it doesn’t pay, especially when you have guys like LFR around. I’ve watched others buy the cars – guys that weren’t really even running good at all – and buy them and start running up front. Truthfully, I believe that I’m better than a lot of the guys that have the cars.”

Blewett sits ninth in the Whelen Modified Tour standings after eight of 16 events this year. 

“I’m just really looking forward to getting to Loudon this weekend and working with [Fuller] and his guys and seeing where we can take it,” Blewett said. 

Editor’s Note: In this story it was mentioned that Justin Bonsignore won the 2018 Whelen Modified Tour championship driving an LFR car. We received numerous messages and e-mails from people saying that Bonsignore won the championship in 2018 driving a Fury car. We do understand the issues recently involving LFR and Fury and the debate about who can claim what accomplishments between the two companies. We also understand the fact that Bonsignore and the M3 Racing team now recognize themselves as a racing a Fury car. RaceDayCT is not trying to get involved in the politics of the debate between the two companies and is no way trying to make any type of statement of taking a side by referring to Bonsignore driving an LFR car in 2018. Our opinion is such that last October at Thompson Speedway when Bonsignore celebrated the 2018 championship his team recognized the car they drove as being an LFR. If they have decided that now in 2019 their cars are now Fury cars that is fine and that’s their decision to make, but for our historical reference at RaceDayCT we recognize that the team drove LFR cars in 2018 because in 2018 that’s what the team itself said they were competing with. 

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  1. But seriously Jimmy how do you really feel about LFR?
    Good article. Blewett just put a lot of pressure on himself to show improvement.

  2. Jimmy is blowing the cover on the 51 I think. Ken promoting Fury is smart business but the people in the division are well aware of who is responsible for their success. Now Jimmy knows as well. They can change decals all they want. What a joke.

  3. Is it the car or is it the driver ? Love Jimmy but Ronnie is the man , the tour isn’t wall stadium remember that !!! Last tour win ? Lmao ….. won’t even be top 10…. leave the tour and be a local legend ….. it’s the driver not the car !!!!

  4. Jimmy can’t drive he just has money like the LaJoie s

  5. High praise from a dedicated Troyer man. The times are a changin’..

    I know good fella had this all figured out a couple years ago and was harassed up and down about his theories, but Rob has clearly figured something out with the chassis, shock and overall setup that has everybody chasing his program.

    While never Blewett Sr. fan, I’d like to see Jimmy and that team do well. While not going back to the results, I feel like NHIS is a track where a Troyer has a better than avg. chance to win..

  6. Wow! What a sales pitch for lfr!! Well, lets see if it makes a difference. Sure set the bar high for himself amid all of this frame controversy for sure!

  7. With regard to the changing landscape in modified racing, cross currents, under currents, shifting and/or confused loyalties and such could this be the best race in the best season ever?

    -The Curb 77 showing three races this year with Putnam with lackluster results. Yet like most years who will be surprised if it’s fighting for the win with Newman driving with some built engined relic like Preece had last year, the best spec engine available or a squirrel on a treadmill for that matter.
    -Rob Summers in a LFR prepared Troyer TA3
    -Preece in a CD chassied David to all the other Troyer and LFR Goliaths in a car painted in the traditional Troyer paint scheme with no one likely to be surprised if the David is in the hunt at the end simply because the guy behind the wheel is named Preece.
    –Pure driver Bobby Santos stepping in to drive the 36 from the recovering Dave Sapienza expected to contend in a car that has been stout on occasion but in 68 races has never won And what if he did win?
    -The 3 everyone loves but at this stage who knows what the chassis is or who cares
    -The Fury chassied current champ, formerly LFR chassied car that the owner has distanced himself from but which LFR still identifies with as does Fury.
    -Jimmy Blewett in a Fury slash Troyer slash who knows fabricated chassis assembled and prepped by LFR with the Rob Fuller secret sauce that may not have to win but surely has to show something special after all the hype from LFR and Blewett.
    -Chase Dowling, formerly of Roxbury, Ct now a resident of North Carolina. Continuing his extended stay in New England to drive for North Carolina Troyer distributor Tomaino who is now a distributor for LFR/Troyer. The most vulnerable to Fury that until very recently built the chassis for LFR that no one seems to really know who should get credit for. And Chase expected to do well when he may or may not be the crew chief in a fast but perhaps under resourced car able to compete in the rigors of Loudon.

  8. Walt, Jimmy can’t drive, and Trump doesn’t like. He got the nickname “showtime” for a reason. As far as Williams, I think he stopped racing the tour to concentrate on his education, although I may be wrong.

  9. Shawn, like the editors note. Puts things in the right perspective.

  10. Doug, the 3 is a boehler chassis. Jamie Tomaino is not only a distributor, but builds cars as well. The #50 that Ronnie Williams won the open at Stafford with is a Tomaino car.

  11. Seekonk fan says

    Don’t forget, the 01 is now proudly sporting a Fury sticker.

  12. Actually, I remember Pennink saying after they won the 2017 Icebreaker that, that chassis was a Boehler chassis but had Raceworks modifications being a derivative from LFR. I am not sure though. Shawn do you have any info on this? Thanks

  13. Tyler,
    I do not.

  14. Does it really matter what chassis sticker the 01 has on it? It could have a NASA sticker and still not qualify to be a rocket ship.

  15. Tyler, Raceworks cars are totally different from LFR. Back in the day Raceworks cars were the equivalent of today’s LFR. Eddie and Reggie built cars that were unconventional compared to the other builders, but the idea never really took off and only a handful of teams ran Raceworks cars. Now Eddie mainly does repairs, and set up stuff and builds very few cars if any. His cars, in the right hands, we’re very fast although they struggled with consistency. Had they been able to get consistency, Raceworks would most likely be one of the bigger chassis companies.

  16. Just re- read this article. Wondering what Rob does different when scaling a car. I was always under the assumption that as long as your scales we’re level, and accurate that it was a straight forward process. It helps when everything like building the shocks, setting the car and scaling it are all done under one roof and at the same time. Willing to bet very few people know what valving is in those shocks, and what he uses for pressure settings.

  17. wmass01013 says

    I do think way too much chatter about chassis, as fans as long as the racing is good and the car counts are good then let the chassis wars be up to the owners and builders, I don’t care about stickers or who thanks who in victory lane, show me tight racing, good action, lead changes and a good points race and no injuries and I am Happy.

  18. And to think that Blewett, with the legendary name going back generations in Modifieds, was supposed to be all knowing.

    Scaling a car is not that revealing. You get cross weights, left %, F/R %, wedge. 🤔 There are ♾ possible combinations and permutations.

    There’s not too much more important than the left front chassis height (clearance) and getting the nose to set into the track. The rest follows that. Oops, did I let a secret out? Oh No! 🤦‍♂️ 🙈 🙊 🙉 😱 🤦‍♀️

    Here are a few variables: tires (pressure, 4 qty), shocks (4 qty), springs (4 qty), mass (all over), camber, caster, rake, panhard bar (height & angle), lower control arms, radius rods (front & rear), rear axle torque reactor, dive control, A-arm angles, roll center (which nobody has a clue what it is or does, but they fiddle with it incessantly), etc.

    Put a monkey in front fo a keyboard, and there is a chance that it will be able to one day end up randomly typing a perfect dictionary.

  19. And the monkeys name:

  20. The notion that getting a race car to perform is simply a series of calculations involving geometry, physics, algebra and such is an interesting debate to have post race over a few beers. I suppose if you could put a sensor on every component that makes a race car perform on the track and feed the data into a computer the changes necessary would be pretty automatic if not easy. Putting sensors on everything is not possible because of weight and cost considerations. Nor do the sensors or computer programs so comprehensive exist that can interpret 100% of the constantly changing data and eliminate human judgments completely.
    I’d argue that the sensor and computer already exist. The sensor being the driver. The computer being the crew chief.
    Artificial intelligence may be the coming thing but it will never replace the value of truly gifted designers, drivers and crew chiefs in racing nor would we want that.

  21. Earl, stop being so pragmatic and practical. The shills and sales staff don’t like it.

    wmass01013, well said. All the chatter about the chassis (frame) is a contrivance. A carnival barker is using smoke 💨 and mirrors.

    Blewett, “It had to do with how far technology has come in Modified racing and how [Fuller] has been taking the technology in Modified racing.”


    So, the word “technology” is very broad, ambiguous and non-specific.

    What is this technology that is talked about all the time? 🤣😂

    Frame? Nope. It is welded pipe and the rules dictate a pretty specific and confining envelope. It’s decades and decades old. It stopped being about speed a long time ago and morphed into being more about safety. It is part of the weight-mass factor.

    Springs? Nah. Winding wire is crude and wicked old world. If you know what you need in a spring, it can be had. Springs are nothing more than a fungible commodity.

    Weight? Nah. Sir Isaac Newton taught those that could learn all they need to know hundreds of years ago. Remember when the apple fell off the tree? You either understand it or you don’t.

    Shocks? Nah. Again, wicked old world. Shocks, or dampers as they are also known, have been in use for hundreds of years in many manifestations. Even horse drawn carriages and wagons had them. You understand them or you don’t. If you are still baffled by a shock, you don’t understand the principle. After all, it’s long name is Shock Absorber. Get it? 🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂😂

    What else is there? Nothing. A Modified is one of the greatest forms of motorsports because of the minimization of technology. It is brutal, crude and minimalist. Big tires, big V8 power, low CG… can’t get much simpler. It can’t get much, if any, simpler. Therefore, the differentiation comes down to talent.

    Technology: the branch of knowledge dealing with engineering and applied sciences. Please do tell… who has what engineering and science degrees?

    The teams all use the same parts, some make better use of those same parts than other teams. Why don’t all those cars with all the same parts run in a giant pack? The standings represent the teams that have the better talent and get more out of those same parts. Where is technology in that? That many teams are running the same frames, chassis, and other parts, but they are not competitive, negates the technology claim.

  22. OMG surprised Rob Fuller manages to stay in business. The way Dareal explained it, even a developmentally challenged person could set up a race winning car. Again more proof Dareal has never worked on a race car.

  23. And Dareal works for bananas 🙊🙉🙈

  24. Hey, what speed shop has this technology thingy? How big is the box?

    How do I buy this technology? By the pound, foot, quart? Please tell me!!!!

  25. Fast Eddie says

    My two cents: The technology Doug speaks of exists and has been used in Formula One for a while, at what I’m sure is a completely ludicrous cost. They can’t use most of it during the actual race, but they can use it in practice to set up the cars. However the analogy of sensor and computer as it applies to Modifieds is pretty good. Case in point: take two cars, set them up absolutely identically, and get two test drivers. Why is one faster and quicker than the other? Because the setup feels better and more comfortable to one driver over the other. I think ultimately the TEAM CHEMISTRY between what the driver wants in the feel of the car, his ability to communicate that, and the crewchief and crews’ ability to interpret that into adjustments in the car are the biggest difference. When Doug Coby says he had a fast car would Justin Bonsignore say the same about the same car? Maybe; maybe not. What feels good to one may feel terrible to the other. It’s the crew’s ability to get the driver the right feel that makes it fast.

  26. Technology is something only skilled people can use…leaves you out

  27. Fast Eddie, would team CHEMISTRY be technology? 😉 Chemical technology? Drivers can be very fussy 😩 😭 about some things. Some drivers like to call the shots, as in exactly what adjustments to make, instead of reporting what the car is doing or not doing, and let the Crew Chief make the calls. Look at the chemistry between TC and a couple of his later teams… the acrimony was hard to keep hidden. TC and Brad didn’t get along. Listen in on the radio, it was all there. TC & Brad each had different ideas. It didn’t work too well. Fell apart and shut down. Great equipment with the best potential, but terrible TEAM CHEMISTRY. Look at the Mark Sypher team (#8), another example of a major implosion. All the latest and desirable equipment. Then there was the Pennink team, when they ran their own operation. They had Don Barker as Crew Chief and it didn’t work out at all. Fantastic equipment, all the best, and it went down in flames. Pennink probably had his best driving years when he was in the #3, with a great crew chief in Greg Fournier. I remember that Barker couldn’t get the Pennink car to run at Bristol. BRISTOL!!!!! The car ran like it had four flat tires on ice at Bristol.

  28. Fast Eddie says

    Dareal, how about team chemistry being considered as human technology? That might be good way to refer to it. Maximum mechanical technology plus almost perfect human technology equals wins and championships!

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