Racy Track For Some, Tricky For Others
Yellow was the color of the night as the drivers of the Tour-Type Modifieds beat and banged their way through Monday night’s feature race at New Smyrna Speedway. After taking the night off on Sunday, the drivers resumed their fierce competition right where they left off.
In the end, it was John Blewett III who fended off numerous challenges from Zach Sylvester to claim his first victory at The World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. The win also came about two hours after younger brother Jimmy claimed a victory in the SK Modified event, making it a clean sweep on the night for the Blewett family in the modified divisions.
“On the start, I was able to run the high side and get a good run down the back and grab the lead on the first lap,” said Blewett III. “I didn’t anticipate getting the lead that fast.”
Blewett III took advantage of several short green-flag runs in-between cautions to maintain his advantage over Sylvester, hanging on for a margin of victory of about two-car lengths.
The feature was slowed a half-dozen times for cautions, leading many to wonder why so many drivers were taking chances. Second-place finisher Sylvester credited racing against Blewett III with patience as the reason why he was able to bring home a car in one piece.
“You take your shots when you can get them,” said Sylvester. “You can’t be overaggressive because it doesn’t get me or him anywhere. It’s a long week and neither of us want to do any more work than we have to. Tomorrow night is another night to get him.”
Sylvester said the reason for all the bent sheet metal was actually the competition at the fast half-mile oval.
“The track is just too fast,” said Sylvester. “Usually you have to give a little more than you can take. A lot of guys don’t do that and end up spending more time on their cars than they have to.”
Blewett III agreed about the competitiveness of the track.
“The track was really racy tonight,” said Blewett III. “I think the other guys were racy too, especially some of the good cars who had to start in the back tonight. They were trying to work their way back to the front.”
Two of the drivers who were moving forward were Eric Beers and Jimmy Blewett, whose cars, in an illustration of the weirdness of the night, became locked together nose-to-tail on the backstretch to cause a caution. Both cars continued, with Beers finishing 11th and Jimmy Blewett 13th.
The biggest incident on the day came when four drivers crashed on the backstretch. One of those involved was Bobby Holmes, who is running New Smyrna for the first time this week. He offered his theory for the high number of cautions.
“The track is fast, and there’s no place to go to pass anyone,” said Holmes. “You almost have to move someone to pass them. We made it through today but we backed it into the wall. They just need to settle down. We have a long time here – a week left – so it’s tough.”