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Friday November 14, 2008

By Phil Smith                                             Click on Photos for Full Size                                

Last year, 2007, it looked like Jimmy Blewett, who had 15 wins to his credit in 2007, would be spending his non-touring Saturday nights at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island in 2008. Blewett would compete on the tour in 2008 but not in the familiar Eddie Partridge No. 12. Blewett was scheduled be driving the George Bierce No. 19 that was driven by Ronnie Silk. Partridge consummated a deal that will saw both race teams merged into one. To supplement the Bierce team Partridge would supply an additional car plus motors and transmissions. Blewett and the Partridge SK Modified would compete weekly at the Stafford Motor Speedway and at the Thompson Speedway. Silk was a candidate to drive the Curt Chase No.77 as well as the Boehler No. 3, which is if Bobby Santos III is committed to racing in the south. Eric Beers, who lives down the street from Tony Hirschman, will be stepping into the Massachusetts based No. 46 that was driven by Dick Houlihan. Beers, who drove the Boehler No.3 a while back, finished an impressive second in the No. 46 at the recent North-South Shootout. Jamie Tomaino, who is considered to be the oldest active tour driver with close to 500 starts, has his home in New Jersey up for sale and hopes to be moving to North Carolina. Once the move is made he will concentrate his racing efforts on the Whelen Southern Modified Tour with occasional starts on the northern tour.
 
This year would mark the end of an era as it will be the final appearance of the Blewett Motorsports family owned, Red, White and Blue #76 Modified. Jimmy Blewett, in honor of his late brother John who lost his life in a racing accident at the Thompson Speedway last summer, would race the car number for the final time in the Wall and Open Mods, and then the car would be placed in the Blewett Automotive Museum. The number 76 would be retired by Wall Speedway. The Blewett 76 had been a mainstay in Modified racing the last 4 decades.

The Stafford Motor Speedway honored its 2007 track champions at its 38th annual Champions Awards Ceremony at the La Renaissance Banquet Facility in East Windsor, CT. The guests of honor included Ted Christopher who was recognized as the 2007 SK Modified Champion, which is his sixth overall at the central Connecticut oval. Corey Hutchings was honored as the 2007 Late Model Champion, which he achieved in his rookie campaign at Stafford. Chris Matthews, who missed out on racing for the inaugural SK Light championship in 2006 because he was on his honeymoon, drove to the 2007 SK Light Championship in dominating fashion this season, clinching the championship with two races remaining. Sean Foster drove to four feature victories and eight top-4 finishes in the final 9 races this season and was recognized as the 2007 Limited Late Model Champion, and Norm Sears put together an amazing stretch during the second half of the 2007 season with seven podium finishes in the final eight races to win his second consecutive DARE Stock Championship.

Reliable Welding and Speed Rookie of the Year honors went to Wade Mattesen from the SK Modified division, Corey Hutchings from the Late Model division, Josh Sylvester from the SK Light division, and David Capriati from the Limited Late Model division. In addition to recognizing the 2007 track champions, other prestigious awards, including Most Improved Driver, Most Popular Driver, and the Reliable Welding & Speed Rookie of the Year awards were presented.
Matt Kenseth ended Johnson's four-race winning streak, but Johnson's seventh-place finish was more than enough to cap a brilliant Chase for the Nextel Cup performance and give him a 77-point final margin over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon. Kurt Busch battled back from a flat tire 100 laps in to finish second. Denny Hamlin was third. Gordon ended up fourth. In Busch Series action at Homestead Jeff Burton won the Ford 300 for his 5th win of 2007 and the 27th of his career. It was the series' final race with Anheuser-Busch as the title sponsor. Mark Martin was second followed by Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Stephen Leicht, Greg Biffle and Tony Raines. In the season ending event for the Craftsman Trucks a spin by the #08 brought about a green-white-checkered finish and gave Johnny Benson the room he needed to make the pass on then race leader, Kyle Busch to pick up the win in the Ford 200 at Homestead Miami Speedway. This was Benson's fourth win in 2007; ninth career. In the race for the championship, an early tire problem put Skinner a lap down and then again on lap 74 Skinner had tire problems as he lost the left rear wheel. Skinner had to pull the #5 Toyota into the garage losing eleven laps while the team made repairs. Ron Hornaday finished seventh to win the 2007 Craftsman Truck Series Championship. In his first outing Don Lia finished 25th.

This week are several vintage racing photos of Hall of Famer Billy Harman.
Courtesy of VintageModifieds.com.

 

Thatís it for this week from 40 Clark St. Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and various other publications
 for over 3 decades.
 

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