Big Night: Ryan Preece Wins Blewett Memorial At New Smyrna After Qualifying For Daytona 500

Ryan Preece celebrates victory in the John Blewett III Memorial 76 at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway Wednesday (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

It’s an old short track announcer’s cliché joke to refer to a driver with a deep starting spot as having started in the parking lot. 

When it comes to Ryan Preece participating in Wednesday’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing Tour Type Modified feature at New Smyrna Speedway it’s fair to see he started 20 minutes at another race track. 

When the Wednesday’s racing card at New Smyrna Speedway kicked off, Preece was down the road at Daytona International Speedway participating in Daytona 500 qualifying with his JTG Daugherty Racing team. 

Preece was eighth fastest of 44 entries at Daytona to lock himself into a starting spot for Sunday’s Daytona 500. 

Preece, of Berlin, then kept the speed up from qualifying, raced over to New Smyrna Speedway and made it to the track in time for the Tour Type Modified feature. 

And that speed just kept on rolling through the night as Preece went from the last starting spot in the 37-car feature to win the John Blewett III Memorial 76 at New Smyrna Speedway. 

“I’ve got to thank my team for working here today and getting this thing prepared and letting me just come and drive,” Preece said. “We actually broke something in the rear suspension … [late]. I was just hoping it would hold on and it did.” 

Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa. was second and Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, N.Y. third.

It was a caution marred event pocked by five red flags for extensive cleanups.

Preece went by Eric Goodale for the lead on lap 70 and then defended the top spot through four late restarts.

“Ultimately, the whole reason I put myself through what I do is to win races,” Preece said. “So showing up here tonight, starting last and winning it makes it worth it.”

Preece became the third different winner in three Tour Type Modified events this week. Craig Lutz won the Tour Type Modified division opener on Monday and Emerling was victorious Tuesday. The division will run a 35-lap feature Thursday before the final Tour Type Modified event of the week on Friday, the Richie Evans 100.

Preece also won the John Blewett III Memorial at New Smyrna in 2017.

“He was a racer man,” Preece said of former Modified standout John Blewett III, who was killed in a crash during a Whelen Modified Tour event at Thompson Speedway in 2007. “A lot of Modified guys are racers, but John Blewett was a racer. I have a ton of respect for Jimmy Blewett and John Blewett, so to be able to win this race – it’s been a while since I’ve won here – it’s pretty cool.” 

Preece will be making his third consecutive Daytona 500 start in the 63rd running of the event Sunday.

Hirschman rallied back after spinning while battling with Stephen Kopcik in the top-five on lap 62. Hirschman somehow narrowly missed getting plowed into by numerous cars after spinning. 

“I’ll go to bed and thank my lucky stars tonight that we have a race car,” Hirschman said.” That was very bad. … It’s kind of been a demo derby.” 

Hirschman was second on Monday and third on Tuesday.

John Blewett III Memorial 76 at New Smyrna Speedway 2-10-21


  1. Congrats Ryan on qualifying 8th fastest at Daytona and your win at New Smyrna. Coming from the back very impressive as well. Certainly a shot in the arm at the end of a great day!

  2. David Fisher says

    Great job by Preece; the move for the lead was classic. Good job by Hirschman in a car that is so underpowered :-). Terrible job by most everyone else.

  3. Not looking good for those dark horses. Even when they show speed they lack brains. The big dogs are the big dogs for a reason.

    Another good showing for Buddy. Fell back some at the end but was in the top 10 for a bit.

    I’d like to see McKennedy get a win this week.

  4. Oh, where do I begin?

    Silk… It was amazing he finished, even more amazing he finished in 5P. After rubbing out not one, but two cars against the wall, and going airborne and spinning around a few times, he was still able to get a 5P!!!!

    But the most precious sight was Catalano going over to Silk… Catalano (does it really matter which one?) who can rarely not DNF, rarely finish on the lead lap, goes over to give Silk an earful. Thinking highly of yourself is a good thing, but not in that situation. Silk had an extremely bad night, way out of character. But Catalano played the victim card perfectly. 😁

    Okay, who else… Sapienza… he went spinning like a pinwheel, loaded the car up with sod, yet still ends up with a 10P!!!!! Beautiful car. He’s another mowing and landscaping expert.

    The #9 car… I’m still laughing… reminds of the days I commuted on the Long Island Expressway and people cut across three lanes of traffic to barely make the exit, nerf a few cars on the way. Oh, the memories.

    And the #48, Rufrano… gotta feel for the kid. Jeez, just not his week. Hope they brought a trailer loaded with spare parts, or spare cars.

    Then Jimmy Blewett… well, he had an impressive run from the back after having technical difficulties, not doing his qual run and having to start at the rear, but he did what he’s known to do… wreck. The pressure to come from behind was an overload. Bummer. He had a great car.

    Let’s hear it for the #56 Amy Catalano!!! She lands a P11. Just goes to show that slow and steady gets you to the final lap!

    Oh, the 17TC, Tommy Catalano… very consistent. Wrecks out. I understand, Silk rubbed him out, but still.

    Ronnie Williams and Anthony Nocella… bummers… these cars started very fast and had great potential. But then, it goes to show that you can’t judge a car by its appearance, but the by the grey matter between the ears.

    Burt Meyers… smudged out by Silk. Was Silk settling some scores tonight? WHEW!!! Silk could teach Luca Brasi a few things.

    Stephen Kopcik… qualified good, ran very good until an incident and wasn’t quite right after that. But he is getting that car dialed in, hopefully the car is not hobbled for the rest of the week.

    Rypkema #32 had a good night going on, but got caught up and wasn’t quite right. Racing would be so awesome if he and others can just stay out of trouble.

    Lutz had a good night going on, fell back.

    Goodale went from the lead to P12 in no time, as in the last couple laps, not sure what happened there. A miracle he made it that far in such a high position. Hopefully a sign of better times ahead for the #58. Perhaps he’s running out of bad luck.

    Final positions 6-10 were a bunch of cars that might not have been there if not for others like the 58, 4, 51, 48, 179, 36, 50, 92, and maybe a couple others getting bent up one way or another.

    The top 5 are what is known as a miracle. Preece made it by the Big One, how Silk survived will be a mystery forever, McKennedy and Emerling which are known to add parts to the trash heap once in a while made it through, and Hirschman and Preece kinda showed how clean racing should be.

    Perhaps the best entertainment was Preece and McKennedy testing their bumpers. Apparently all the R&D was worth it, the bumpers were indeed very strong.

    Somebody needs to tell the New Smyrna Speedway management to get a few more tow trucks, and a flatbed or two. The cautions are way too long.

    Good to see those underpowered cars running up front. 🤪😝🤪😝

    That said, the announcers are doing a good job keeping the audio content rather decent and uplifting.

    Somebody remind the drivers that this is on video and being recorded.

    Preece seems to have that new car dialed in. Sure would like to see him in the 35 tonight where the whole race is pretty much go-time. But then, these Cup guys have more important priorities. Good luck!

  5. I was laughing out loud while I was watching this race, and my wife was wondering what I was watching. Many comedies aren’t this funny.

    But Martino wins the award for best joke of the night.

    I hope the Richie Evans 100 is a clean event.

    It was known this was going to be carnage week. Don’t be surprised at this.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  6. It was tense there for a bit, regarding Preece. He couldn’t roll the apex at all during the closing laps, cars behind him had to check up, almost driving through him. Preece said something broke in the rear suspension. Glad it all worked out, no more drama.

  7. -long run until 24 to go, good racing until Nocella mistake brings out a caution.
    -Kopcik 3rd with 22 to go. Surely it was his setup skills that made the 179 a real force.
    -19 to go McKennedy 2 taps to the 6 then adios followed by 4 or 5 taps from the 6 on the 7NY and it’s adios. Two amazingly skilled drivers courting danger expertly and making it look routine.
    -15 to go Amy Catalano brings out the caution. Then mayhem ensues.
    -1st restart Kopcik too hot in 1 locks the brakes up, up track into the 60. Hirschman spinning looking right at the 6 as Preece saves the day for both the 60 and 6 with a Timex timely brake job.
    -2nd restart Silk into Catalano for the big one. Ending Blewett’s run from the rear to 7th but gracious in the post accident interview saying all the right things. Preece the fortunate son was in 5th on restart, lowest car on track and shoots into 3rd.
    -14 to go Rypkema smacks the 58, it backfires as Preece goes to 2nd.
    -7 to go Preece after terrific dual with Goodale shoots to the lead in 3. Rypkema inside Goodale, hits the flat spot in 1, into Goodale and they spin.
    -6 to go Lutz in 3rd hits the flat spot in 1 and into Nocella and the 92 is done.
    -6 to go restart Hirschman all the way back to 3rd, Galko 4th.
    -60 to 2nd with 5 to go. Amazingly Silk after having endured what looked to be a savage hit and spin of his own doing is back to 8th.
    –4 to go Charette spin brings out caution, Emerling back to 6th.
    -Silk naughty for the 2nd time with Myers the victim and Sap spinning to avoid being a second victim.

    Call it a bad, wreck filled race if you like. Say it was an embarrassment to some very experience drivers. You wouldn’t be wrong.
    I thought it was an outstanding race. Perhaps for some wrong reasons but riveting none the less.
    Preece, Blewett, Hirschman, Silk, Nocella, Emerling and more coming from the rear. A usually low drama, smooth as Silk anything but with what looked to be two major errors. Nocella causes the caution with an error with 24 to go, rallies back then gets taken out by an error by Lutz.
    My list for the bad racer award starts with Silk who appeared to be responsible for ending great runs by Catalano and Blewett then later ending Myers.
    Rypkema trying to be assertive going for the lead but it was ham fisted. Only great driving by Goodale saved them both from spinning on the failed tap and go with Rypkema self punting himself back to third. Not satisfied Rypkema finishes both he and Goodale off for good a few laps later ending two great runs.
    Plus a bunch of lesser misjudgments from really good drivers that included Kopcik, Lutz and Nocella.
    Thursday team meeting priority number 1!!! Remind drivers where the flat spot is in one and how they shouldn’t confuse it with the racing surface.
    It was a hugely entertaining race in my view for all the weird things that happened. Number one being Preece who had a magical day. First at Daytona with the 37 team showing they are anything but dead men racing. Then the rush to New Smyrna and winning a race coming from the rear with a ton of skill and some incredible luck.
    Followed by Hirschman. Go ahead and hate him because he’s beautiful…….a beautiful driver. But don’t say he isn’t a great, great driver who is never finished until you see him taken away on the end of a hook. Something that rarely happens. Finally Silk. Last nights Darth Vader but hugely successful saving a 5th.

  8. Great for Preece!
    I’m not sure when I yelled louder!
    The win, or the qualifying run in Daytona.
    My wife says it was definitely the qualifying!
    I’ll take her word for it!
    It was so great to see that 37 as darn near as quick as the 47 for sure! Fingers crossed for luck that he will avoid the big ones from here on out.


    🧻 🧻 🧻 🧻 🧻 🧻 🧻 🧻 🧻 🧻 🧻 🧻 🧻 🧻

  10. Dareal that was a nice breakdown. I was going to comment on the Preece and Mckenedy playing bumper tag for multiple laps and the great entertainment it provided. If there was a stock for Modified parts I would buy Call options because these guys are trashing multiple cars every night. I think we knew starting 40 cars would be bad idea, I dont think anyone thought it would be this bad. Marcello’s interview said it best last night. Talk about frustratingly bad luck. Not sure how many cars we will have left for the Evans memorial they are going. The modifieds have certainly been entertaining this year at New Smyrna. Some of the other Late model events have been good too.

    Nice to see Preece win. I didnt realize he qualified the Cup car 8th. Do they still run the duels these days or is 8th his official starting spot in the 500? Maybe a good finish at Daytona could bring in some additional sponsorship dollars so he can run the full season.

  11. 🌈🦄2020 says

    What’s the difference with what Preece did to Goodale and what Lutz did to Hinkley?

  12. CSG,
    The Duels are tonight, but Preece is locked into the Daytona 500 starting field based on his qualifying time no matter where he finishes tonight.

  13. Why is the Wed race 76 laps but the Friday race 100? Make Friday 61 laps. 100 laps has always been too many for that race.

    The good part about NSS is no matter how many cars get wrecked everyone will have forgotten by next Feb and we will do it all over again.

  14. csg, even if there were A and B mains with a split field, this idiocy would happen. The track is big enough for 40 cars, and size does not protect from idiocy. Just about every driver/team thinks that all other drivers must get out of the way. Everybody is always playing the victim card. And let’s be honest here, a car about to be passed is going to do all it can to prevent being passed.

    I guess it should be mentioned… the way Preece was working on Goodale. For several laps, Preece made it clear he had the better car and Goodale was going to get passed. Goodale did what he had to, gave nothing on the bottom while running as high as possible, making a high side pass very risky. Preece drove him into the corner and up high, then went under. Laps were running out, the gloves were getting untied, ready to come off. Had the 6 car been just about anybody else, Goodale would have been junked.

  15. Thanks shaun. Any idea how many Cup cars they are sending home this year? I just got home and found Daytona. I got the big track on the tv and New smyrna split screen with East Bay dirt sprints on the computer . Its a good night to be a race fan.

  16. CSG,
    I think 40 cars start. Not sure how many on the entry list.

  17. Preece finished 5th in the first duel. So I think he would start 7th. The two fastest timers start on the front row I believe. Some one correct me if I was wrong. Not a bad result for the local guy.

  18. Not a bad result? More like a shock under the circumstances. Something is different with that JTG team.

  19. Why has 100 laps always been to many for the Evans memorial? Cause you said so?

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing