Blewett wins memorial race named for his brother

A fter setting a fast time in time trials and starting fifth in the 18-car field by the luck of the draw, Jimmy Blewett of Howell raced to an emotional victory in the 76-lap “John Blewett III Memorial” for Modified stock cars at Wall Stadium, Wall Township, on Aug. 25. The annual memorial event is presented in honor of the winner’s brother who lost his life in a Connecticut racing accident in 2007.

Chas Okerson of Freehold rocketed to the front at the outset and paced the field through the early laps as Anthony Sesely of Matawan quickly moved in to challenge. All the while, Howell’s Ken Woolley Jr. and Blewett ran third and fourth. Blewett started his attack with 29 laps complete as he dove to the inside lane and up to second spot.

When Woolley’s great run ended on lap 35 when his car slammed the third turn rail, Blewett took full advantage of the restart to race into the lead. Sesely soon slid into second and chased Blewett all the way to the checkered flag. Freehold’s Steven Reed, Okerson and Frank Boardwick III of Union Beach completed the top five.

“It means a lot to win this race that remembers my brother,” Blewett said. “Still, this isn’t about me, it is about him and his memory. He loved this place and all the people here. We all love this place. John would race six hours away from here and try to find a way back on a Saturday night to race again. It feels good to win in front of friends and family at a place that John loved.”

After a thrilling side-by-side battle for the lead that lasted most of the final third of the 30-lap distance, Eric Mauriello of Howell won by just inches with an outside lane pass for the win in the Sportsman main event. Andrew Krause of Holmdel, who led early and fought Mauriello all the way to the checkered flag, was forced to settle for second place, while Joe Nappi of Howell, Trevor Alspach of Willingboro, and Toms River’s Charlie Kremer III completed the top five.

John Bowers of Point Pleasant raced from ninth on the grid to win the 25-lapper for the Factory Stocks. Bowers ran third as title contenders Ronnie Mullen of Brick Township and Scott Riggleman of Manchester raced side-by-side for the win. When Riggleman spun from contention with just a few laps remaining and officials asked Mullen to go to the rear of the field because they felt that he contributed to the miscue, Bowers jumped to the lead and on to the win. Howell’s Steve West, Jim Downey of Cliffwood Beach, Rob Hurley of Wall and Joe Stonevilla of Lakewood were second through fifth.

After a side-by-side battle for the lead between Nick Shaw of Chatham and Jackson’s Howie Conk that lasted for the final laps of the Street Stock 25-lapper, Shaw was able to inch his way to the lead in the outside lane and drive on to victory. Jerry Stanzione of Keansburg chased Shaw and Conk across the finish line, with Phil Fortuna of Toms River fourth and Bayville’s Mike Tillett fifth.

Mike Bilello of Brick Township won his second 4 Cylinder main event of the year while Tommy Chilson was second in the 30-lapper. Brian Crosby, Scott Dunn and Joe Garey were second through fifth.

Wall Stadium’s stock car racing season continues Sept. 1 with a special “Fan Appreciation Night” promotion. The evening will feature the Modified stock cars in twin 35-lap main events, while the Sportsman cars, Street Stocks, Factory Stocks and 4 Cylinder cars will also see action. A Powder Puff race is also on the schedule. A Country Western Night promotion will offer free bandanas to fans while supplies last.

A special on-track party featuring a Banner Night competition will also be featured. Fans are asked to bring canned goods as a food drive will benefit the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.