Blewett Gobbles Up Turkey Derby
WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Jimmy Blewett saw no need for diplomacy or political correctness as he faced the raucous standing room only crowd at the reopened Wall Stadium Saturday afternoon.
After all, he was standing in victory lane.
“For every superhero, there’s a villain,” the hometown driver declared after winning the 100-lap tour-type modified race during the 35th annual Turkey Derby. “Sometimes the villain wins.”
Blewett may not have scored many style points in winning the event for the second time in three years, but he earned the right to his opinion by charging from 19th place on lap 58 to the lead on lap 88. Runner-up Matt Hirschman, who set a track record in time trials and led the first 87 circuits, offered a dissenting opinion.
“We didn’t have any problems all day. We just got run over by Jimmy Blewett,” Hirschman said post-race.
On the 88th lap Hirschman left a lane open on the bottom of turn three on the high-banked third-mile and Blewett filled the gap. In the middle of the corner contact was made, and Hirschman, who alone among the leaders was trying to go the distance without a tire change, slid up the track allowing Pete Brittain to move into second.
Brittain, seeking his second Derby win on the 20th anniversary of his first, made three runs at Blewett late in the event. On lap 92 he stuck his nose under the leader in turn two, only to find the door slammed at the end of the back straight.
Coming to the two-lap sign he moved boldly to the outside, drawing even at the flag stand, but was unable to complete the pass. Brittain’s final effort, to the high side on the final lap, saw him spin in turn two as Blewett headed for the checkers. Brttain finished 17th, the last car on the lead lap.
Blewett outran Hirschman by just under one second with Steve Reed, Earl Paules and Tom Rogers completing the top five.
Hirschman’s 11.996-second time trial was the first sub-12 second lap for a modified at Wall Stadium as Hirscshman topped a field of 34 modifieds.
Despite finishing second in the main event, Hirschman did visit victory lane earlier in the afternoon by virtue of his victory in the SK modified portion of the Turkey Derby. Richie Pratt, Jr. topped the DIRT-style modified feature for the second-consecutive day, beating Patrick Dupree to the checkered flag.
Shawn Thibeault won the street-stock event.