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by Walt Stubbs

     Talk about hectic weekends. John Blewett III had his share of highs and lows, some even during the same race. It all started Saturday afternoon as the NASCAR Modified Tour visited New Hampshire International Speedway for a Saturday afternoon 100 lap shootout. And what a shootout it was. Blewett was battling James Civali and Reggie Ruggiero as the white flag waved. Blewett got by Civali going into turn one when the caution came out, and with it, all hell broke loose. Some drivers continued to race, while other slowed down. Tour rules state that if the caution comes out, everyone is to maintain there position and that is where they would finish. At the conclusion of the race, it was determined that Civali was the winner, his first career Tour win. And then the celebration started in Victory Lane, the photos, the trophy presentation, the post race interview. The only problem is that he really didn’t win. NASCAR and track officials checked the scoring and the video tape and determined that Blewett was the leader when the caution came out. The only problem was that Blewett was already walking through the track tunnel, trying to catch a flight back to New Jersey so he could run in the Garden State Classic at Wall Township Speedway. As Blewett explained Monday afternoon, “I knew that we had won but I wasn’t going to make a big stink about it. I had already called the airport and was heading there when officials told me to come back to the media center and that I had won. I told them that I was paying this pilot by the hour and needed to catch a flight as the plane was already to go.” Once in the air, he arrived at Wall in time and wound up winning the Classic at Wall. Two big wins in less than a few hours. Even so, Blewett was still a bit perturbed about how the whole ordeal at New Hampshire went down. “To be honest, I was happy whether we won or came in second and if they made the decision to give the win to Civali, I would have accepted it. What really bothered me was that I wish they could have waited ten minutes or so before initially declaring him (Civali) the winner. I felt worse for him than me. There he is, thinking he won his first Tour race, at New Hampshire, a track everybody on the Tour wants to win at. He’s in Victory Lane celebrating and then someone tells him you didn’t win. I know if it was me, I would have never given them back the trophy. I would have told them to go get another one. I just think that if they took the time before doing what they did, it would have been better than what happened. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20. I mean Ed Cox had to make a quick decision and I’m sure he did what he thought was right based on what information he had. I knew, though, that we were leading when the caution came out and I knew they would get it right because if there was a track that had the necessary means to get it right, it’s New Hampshire,” said Blewett. Blewett, however, at that moment in time, was not in best of moods to talk to anybody and as of Monday, had a few messages to return on his cell phone. “To be honest, I have a few calls that I need to return. I have over 30 messages.”

     Lost in this debate is whether Blewett would have had enough to hold off Civali and Ruggiero if there was no caution. As Blewett said half joking, “There would have been a ten car pileup and the tenth place car would have won.” Then seriously, Blewett conceded, “I had to be on my best today to hold off Reggie. I know some people might say he’s not what he once was or this and that, but he is still a great driver and he showed it. I never raced as hard as I did today. It was hard, on the edge stuff but neither one of us ever once went over that edge. I don’t know if I would have called it fun as it was more work than anything else.” The win at Loudon was Blewett’s second consecutive win on the Tour, as he won at Stafford on July 4th. Blewett credits his success to his racing schedule, which is booked, unlike last year, when he didn’t come back from his surgery until the end of July. “I don’t care what anybody says; the best way to condition yourself and get better is to race as much as possible. I feel as good now as I did back in 1996 when I was racing as much as I could.” Even with that, Blewett still plans to concentrate his efforts at Wall and the Regional points while still racing Friday Night’s at Stafford and the Tour when there is no conflict. He’ll also try to squeeze an open Modified show here and there, with his latest focus being on the open competition event at Seekonk during the mid week. It all calls for an interesting summer, and while hectic, probably won’t be as much as it was this past Saturday. All views and news can reach me at 2 Constitution Court, Unit 501 Hoboken, N.J. 07030.

Source: Walt Stubbs/RacerHub.com
Posted:  July 15, 2006




















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