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   The Chrome Horn - Modified News


Adding Another Historical Race To His Resume
by Denise DuPont

Thursday night at New Smyrna Speedway the tenth annual John Blewett III Memorial 76 took the stage following an intermission and break in race action. After a rainy day and sitting out one night of race action, the drivers were ready to get back on the track and compete.

Past winners of the memorial feature race have been : 2008 – Jimmy Blewett, 2009 – Ron Silk, 2010 – Ted Christopher, 2011 – Earl Paules, 2012 – Rained Out, 2013 – Woody Pitkat, 2014 – Ted Christopher, 2015 – Eric Goodale, 2016 – Eric Goodale.

Wednesday’s racing was cancelled due to heavy Florida rains. With twenty-six modifieds in the field, racing was racy from when the green flag flew through the checkered. Jimmy Blewett had the pole at race start and led the feature for 23 laps until the yellow flags flew. Caution was thrown after two cars spun at the entrance to pit road. After the spinning cars move forward, the caution was extended for ten minutes while officials looked for a car or cars potentially leaking fluid. The culprit ended up being Tyler Rypkema, Tuesday night’s feature winner. The #32 crew found loose bolts in the modified’s rear end which were addressed so he could later rejoin the competition laps down.

After the yellow, Ron Silk who had been right there running with Blewett passed him after receiving a strong push forward from Ryan Preece.Silk pulled away from the field with definitely one of the stronger cars in the field. He led until a late race caution on lap 61. Using the same move on the bottom that rocketed Silk into the lead, Preece passed Silk for the lead. With only a 14 lap shootout, Preece protected his territory from a strong challenge from one of the best, Matt Hirschman. Preece held off Hirschman to become the winner of the tenth annual John Blewett, III Memorial 76 race.

For a lot of the race Preece was just present in the top five riding with the lead cars but not making any moves toward the front. When the late caution happened, he knew it was his opportunity to challenge Silk for the top spot. “We were just really kind of riding there and we knew Ronnie had a good race car there. I did not know if he had burned it up there. Then all of a sudden he was coming on strong. I am really happy with how consistent the car was. I think we know what we need to do for tomorrow night for the 100 lapper.” Preece stated in Victory Lane as his mind was already moving onward to the next race. “I have to thank Connie and Eddie Partridge for letting me drive for them. I have a lot of fun doing it.”

With the traditional big race still to come, the “Richie Evans Memorial 100”, the #6 team will join all of the teams and get notes out to do their best to win the prestigious race and the rights to brag that come with it. “We get two more tires tomorrow night so you will see us racing a little bit harder and it should be a little bit more exciting so fans will have to show up tomorrow night.”

Hirschman had pulled by Silk into second at the last race caution. He was hungry for a win. He was right there ready to challenged Preece victory. He strategically drafted on Preece’s rear bumper scoping out the situation looking for the right place to move. In the end he was all over Preece, but was unable to make the final move for the win.

‘The right front tire is falling off the car was what on my mind”, confessed Hirschman after the race. “I was not comfortable driving the car any harder. The brakes were fading because the rotors were shaking so hard the brake pads pulled away from the rotors. Not to make any excuses – but I just did not have the comfort to make the move that we needed to do what we needed to do to get the win. I am disappointed in that for sure.”

Learning a lot this race, the education never stops when you are behind the wheel. “We have been learning all week. We have a pair of seconds now and have one more opportunity to hopefully close the deal.” So a master a short track racing, Hirschman will cross off this race and get ready for the next.

Third place finisher, Silk led the 75 lap feature race for a dominate portion but was unable to hold off Preece’s hard charge on the last restart to secure the win. “It was a good effort. We made some big improvement from the last race (Tuesday night) to tonight. I think that we know a little bit more for tomorrow night. We will work hard on it and try to get a win tomorrow.”

The tour type modifieds will cap off their week with the Richie Evans100 Friday at New Smyrna Speedway. See you there or back here for some great side by side racing from the groundpounders.

Notes From New Smyrna Speedway:

What went through your mind when you came around turn four on the last lap and Jon McKennedy was sitting on the track while you raced for the finish?

Ron Silk
“Last lap just after turn four Yes my spotted had let me know where he was and he was out of the groove.”
McKennedy had been running with the leaders when his came out from under him as he rounded turn four on lap 75. He was able to move from across the track so he did not block the leaders charge for the win. A disappointing finish after such a strong run for McKennedy.

Race 3 -  John Blewett III Memorial 76 Finish:
    1. Ryan Preece 6
  2. Matt Hirschman 60
  3. Ron Silk 82
  4. Justin Bonsignore 51
  5. Jimmy Blewett 45
  6. Timmy Solomito 16
  7. Richie Pallai 17
  8. Chuck Hossfeld 22
  9. JR Bertuccio 2
10. Calvin Carroll 40
11. Tommy Catalano 54
12. Jeremy Gerstner 70
13. Jon McKennedy 29
14. Tyler Rypkema 32
15. Shawn Balluzzo 70G
16. Jimmy Zacharias 71
17. Matt Montineri 71M
18. Austin Pickens 63
19. Paul Hartwig, Jr. 73
20. Ricky Moxley 33
21. Spencer Davis 82x
22. Amy Catalano 64
23. DJ Wagner 39
24. Al Emmarino 2x
25. Matt Gallo 6x
26. Joe DeGarcia 23D
Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
: February 23, 2017

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