WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. – Veteran Modified stock car driver Jimmy Blewett and his crew thrashed for days to prepare his team’s No. 5 car for stock car racing at Wall Stadium Saturday night.
The Howell-based team was rewarded handsomely with a win in the 53rd running of the “Garden State Classic.”
In a car painted to closely resemble the first racer that his late brother John Blewett III ever competed in, Blewett started ninth on the grid and wasted no time in moving to the front.
As Howell’s Eric Mauriello led the early going Blewett advanced to second by the ten lap mark and then raced into the lead with an outside lane pass on the 19th circuit.
Blewett then fought off a host of challengers until nearly the entire field pitted for new tires during a lap 83 caution. Blewett returned to the track third behind Mauriello and Freehold’s Steven Reed, but soon duplicated his earlier outside lane pass to take the lead for good.
Blewett then paced the field the rest of the way and was challenged intensely by Pennsylvania driver Zane Zeiner in the closing laps. Mauriello, Reed and defending Classic champion Chas Okerson of Freehold completed the top five.
“I really put my crew through a lot this week,” Blewett said. “They had to work to get this car ready and they worked to put anther car together for a friend. Their work paid off. The car was great.
“I am just so happy to win this as a tribute to my brother. It’s also a neat win because this is my son James’ fifth birthday.”
Second generation driver Dominic Fattaruso will long remember Garden State Classic weekend 2013 as he raced to his first career win in the companion 30-lapper for the Sportsman cars. Fattaruso raced past Joe Nappi of Howell in the early going and then held off Holmdel’s Andrew Krause and then Willingoboro’s Trevor Alspach to the finish. Alspach, Howell’s Kevin Davison, Joe King of Galloway and Manasquan’s Kenny Van Wickle were second through fifth.
Scott Riggleman overcame a work related injury and the warm and humid temperatures to win the Factory Stock 25-lap feature after taking the lead on lap nine. Union’s Joey Helberg was a fast closing second, while Brick’s Ronnie Mullen, early leader Marty Van Druten of Toms River and Steve Michel of Egg Harbor City wrapped up the top five.
Trevor Alspach won the 20-lapper for the Legend Cars dominating the entire event. Brother Zack Alspach was the runner-up, with Robert French of Howell, Rob Hyer of South Amboy and Casey Robicheau of Whiting completing the top five.