Eddie Partridge Passes; Whelen Modified Tour Team Owner, Riverhead Raceway Owner

Eddie Partridge (Photo: Fran Lawlor)

He was a mountain of man, in stature and to the world of Modified racing.

Friday night, after celebrating a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory with driver Ryan Preece at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, longtime team owner and Riverhead Raceway owner Eddie Partridge passed away.

The 68-year old Partridge had a medical incident after leaving Richmond Raceway Friday.

“I don’t know if I know of any better person than Eddie Partridge in my eyes,” Jimmy Blewett told RaceDayCT. “As far as a car owner and friend, he was just all around one of the best human beings that I have ever met in my life.”

Partridge, in partnership with his wife Connie, owned the TS Haulers Whelen Modified Tour with current driver Ryan Preece. He also owned Riverhead Raceway in Riverhead, N.Y. The historic Long Island bullring is one of the most iconic venues in the country for Modified racing.

Partridge won the 2011 Whelen Modified Tour championship with driver Ron Silk.

“Some of my best years were racing with Eddie, it was amazing that he gave me that opportunity,” Silk told RaceDayCT. “But the things I’ll remember about him more was the fun. We’d go on a trip and we’d get a nice conversion van to ride to the races in and he was just really fun to be around. Sometimes you drive for people and things don’t go well at the track and everybody is in a bad mood for a while. With Eddie, he’d flip the switch right after the race and you’d still have a pretty good time with all the guys riding home.”

Preece started driving for Partridge in 2014. Even as Preece ascended to NASCAR’s top level Cup Series, he and Partridge continued to chase Modified victories together. Friday’s victory in the Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 150 at Richmond was their third victory in seven Whelen Modified Tour events together in 2021.

Preece has recorded 14 Whelen Modified Tour victories since 2015 with Partridge as his team owner. Partridge won the 2017 Whelen Modified Tour team owner’s championship with Preece as his driver.

Blewett recorded five of his six career Whelen Modified Tour victories driving for Partridge from 2005 to 2009. The pair also ran multiple other tracks together including running regularly in the SK Modified divisions at Stafford Speedway and Thompson Speedway. Blewett was driving for Partridge when his brother – John Blewett III – was killed in a Whelen Modified Tour event in 2007 at Thompson Speedway.

“I remember the day that my brother came to the shop and he said ‘Hey, I think I’ve got a ride for you.’” Blewett said of getting together with Partridge in 2005. “I was like ‘What do you mean you’ve got a ride for me?’ He said ‘Like a ride, driving somebody’s car.’ I said ‘Get outta here.’ And he said ‘Yeah, you know that guy with the really nice cars with all the chrome on it?’ He said ‘He’s a perfect fit for you.’ Eddie and I got together and the rest was history. We had a really really really good run together. We won close to 80 races together in a short period of time.

“There was nobody better than Eddie. Eddie was with me through the darkest hours of my life and him and his wife kept me going in a lot of ways just all the way around.”

Partridge was the godfather to Jimmy Blewett’s 13-year old son James.

“He meant everything to my career,” Blewett said. “He was the first person outside of my family to 100 percent believe in my ability to drive a car. He was always a great influence. You’re having a bad day and you call Eddie and he’d make you laugh or make you smile or talk you through it. I’m almost at a loss for words. That usually doesn’t happen to me. I don’t even really know what to say. I’m really really going to miss him. Him and Connie gave me an opportunity that not many kids got. When I got the opportunity not many young kids were getting opportunities like that on the Modified Tour.

“He wasn’t only a car owner, he was a friend. And that’s what made racing with him so easy. It wasn’t so much the racing aspect of it, it was the friendship that you built. We had a lot of ups and a lot of downs, but no matter how many ups and downs we had as a team, nobody laughed or had more fun than we did. Even the worst nights we had, that guy would have us laughing afterwards.”

Silk ran for the first time for Partridge on the Whelen Modified Tour in 2009. They ran full-time together on the Whelen Modified Tour from 2010 to 2014 and had five victories together in addition to winning the 2011 series title.

“It’s just so hard to believe that it’s true,” Silk said. “I saw him walking out of the race track last night. I don’t know even know what to think. I feel terrible for his wife Connie and his family. Whenever I’d see him we’d stop and speak. We were still very friendly. It’s going to be weird going to the races knowing that Eddie isn’t there.”

Partridge purchased Riverhead Raceway in 2015.

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of championship car owner and track owner Eddie Partridge,” read a statement from NASCAR. “Eddie’s passion for racing was felt not just throughout the Modified community, but also throughout grassroots racing as a whole. He fielded teams for some of the best drivers in the sport, and truly loved seeing his cars run up front. After taking on the task of running Riverhead Raceway, he then also proudly fielded a venue for those drivers to showcase their talent. It is only fitting that Eddie’s last race was a victory. A fierce competitor who fought for the good in short track racing, he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and teammates at this time.”

Eddie Partridge hoists the 2017 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour owner’s championship trophy with his wife Connie, driver Ryan Preece and Whelen Modified Tour series director Jimmy Wilson (Photo: Adam Glanzman/NASCAR)





Comments

  1. PRAYERS to the Partridge Family and allll who loved and admired Ed!

  2. Just really terrible news.
    Hearts out to all family, friends, coworkers and the countless others that knew, loved and respected him. Just a sad, sad day.
    Rip.

  3. Just shows how fragile life is. Was playing the victory lane ceremony last night several times with Preece so happy pointing to and thanking “big” Eddie Partridge along with the rest of the crew and in a blink he’s gone.
    We of a certain age may have a bit of a different perspective on this. If your number is up which it is for all of us at some point we’d prefer it be later then sooner and preferably with a good quality of life.. This was not good for being sooner. However if you can be in victory lane celebrating a win with some of the people you value most just before your ticket is punched it’s not the worst way to go in my humble view.
    Mr. Partridges journey is over. Now it’s up to those around him to remember him and carry on.

  4. Glad he was there to see his car win one more time,hard to see someone pass who has done so much for the sport.Godspeed.

  5. My prayers go out to Connie and all the members of the Partridge family. God speed Eddie, you will be missed.

  6. What a terrible loss for Modified racing. Or even racing in general. RIP

  7. Rest in Peace Big Ed …… Went out a Winner…..Prayers for Family & Friends…..

  8. Such sad news, really choked me up reading this. Great tribute Shaun. Condolences to all the family, friends, race team and employees of Eddie Partridge.

  9. Very sad news
    Rest in Peace

  10. really sad news. Reading the quotes from drivers and organizations you can tell how much he meant to everyone. Good people are hard to find. It certainly sounds like we lost one of the good ones yesterday. My condolences to his family and friends.

  11. Sad news RIP Ed, you will missed very much

  12. very sorry ,he will be missed rip ed

  13. Prayers go out to Connie, the partridge family, and everyone involved in Eddie’s life Is right, life is so fragile.
    R.I.P. Eddie.

  14. 🙏

  15. RIP EDDIE PARTRIDGE Prays go out to Connie and the whole team . He is now clebrating Ryan Preece and his Victory winning the Modified Race last night,

  16. I just have to say, how much I admire preece. Given the very tragic events in the last 24hrs, I’m watching him trying to drive his butt off in Richmond. God bless him. I do not know him personally, but I’m guessing, it’s the last place he wants to be right now. Very tough.

  17. Doug pointed out something. Eddie was an avid racer, Not only owning a Tour modified driven by some of the most talented drivers throughout the years, but also owned Riverhead Speedway. Last night he was in Victory lane celebrating the Win, right before his tragic passing… He was doing what he loved. Personally I hope I’m as lucky that when I pass I’m doing something I love. Not many people are so lucky.
    I know these words will never take away the pain of losing Eddie, but maybe softens it a little, knowing he was where he wanted to be, doing something he loved. This tragic event does show just how fragile life is, and we all should try and make the best of every minute of every day.

  18. Great article Shawn, I never met the guy personally but I think you really captured the essence of who he was and how much he meant to the sport of auto racing.

  19. Another sad event in racing. Thoughts and prayers to the Partridge family.

  20. Walter A Fike says

    My condolences 🙏

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