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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour


Stafford Motor Speedway
by Polly Reid

In front of a packed house, fans on their feet, Jimmy Blewett of Howell, NJ in the Bob Garbarino owned, Starrett sponsored Dodge was able to capitalize on a second green, white, checker attempt to bring the Mystic Missile across the line to win the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 26th Annual Stafford 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway.

“We don’t give up,” said Blewett in victory lane. “This team of guys right here showed what they had at the pit crew contest at Loudon. They have big hearts, they work on this car week in and week out, we knew it was just a matter of time before we got there. We weren’t sure what the circumstances were going to be, Bobby had a good car, the 2 car was good, I wasn’t sure if I was going to get them tonight but the cards fell our way.”

Coors Light Pole winner Doug Coby dominated the event until seven to go, Coby was suddenly off the pace dropping down to the backstretch apron with a reportedly fuel pump issue. The caution out, Bobby Santos inherited the lead with Blewett on the outside for the double file restart on lap 150, Eric Goodale third, Justin Bonsignore fourth and Timmy Solomito fifth. At the green, Santos did not come up to speed, the field scrambling behind taking evasive action to bring out another yellow.

Blewett became the new leader for the green, white checker restart with Goodale, Bonsignore, Ron Silk and Brendon Bock the top five for the second attempt. Blewett was not to be denied as he nailed the restart and solidly took the checkers on lap 157. Bonsignore crossed for second with Brendon Bock third, collecting his first career podium finish. Chase Dowling crossed fourth and Ron Silk the top five.

The win marks Blewett’s sixth career win, his first since 2009. “I’m just happy for my guys,” said Blewett. “Starrett Tools coming on board this year, Bob (Garbarino) not really knowing if he was going to run the Missile this year- two weeks prior to the Icebreaker at Thompson, then sitting here at Stafford right now after a win- having the finishes we’ve had so far this year with a new team, it feels good to be back.”

Blewett took the green flag 11th, the key to getting the Starrett/Mayhew Dodge in position at the end came when the caution waved and nearly the entire field came down pit row on lap 72. Blewett came in tenth, his crew, headed up by crew chief PJ Fearns, got Blewett back out onto the track in fourth- the valuable spots gained set Blewett up to be in hunt for the podium.

“My guys, they showed me why they won that pit crew contest,” said Blewett. “They gained me about five spots. You know, when I came off pit row and was sitting fourth, I was like man, this is good, because I felt like the cars in front of me, we were kind of equal. It’s hard to gain track position on the track under racing conditions. You had to be there, put yourself in position at the end. Once I got by the 58 for third and I was running down Bobby, I was thinking man, I hope I have enough time to at least get second. When Doug ran out of fuel, I felt right then and there, I got a shot at this.”

Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, NY in the Ken Massa owned, M3 Technology Chevrolet, came oh so close to victory when after the first green, white, checker attempt he appeared to be the possible front runner. NASCAR officials made the call for Bonsignore to restart third on the final attempt. Bonsignore was able to regroup and secure the runner up spot.

“The guys had a good stop, we just missed it a little bit tonight, a little bit too tight in the center,” said Bonsignore. “It started to come around towards the end but track position is so tough here. All in all, a good points night for us – we’re getting into a busy stretch here, we wanted to be able to have this car for the next couple of weeks, it’s our best car. We’ll go onto Thompson- we had a really good car in June and I’d like to get back to victory lane. It’s starting to eat at me here.”

“I said on the radio coming to the one to go, it’s a whole other season in the season, the second half and we have to put together smoother races,” said Bonsignore. “We’ve had speed all year but whether it’s been me messing up, issues on pit road or just freak things, we just haven’t had too many smooth races. Tonight was a little bit of luck - the car was too tight, we missed it a little bit. But we got some good restarts with the green, white, checkers- you’ve got to take luck sometimes, we haven’t had it so it’s nice things went our way. All in all, I’m very happy we finished second. We’re going to Thompson where we’ve had even more speed and we get to bring this car because I’ve kept it one piece.”

Meanwhile, Brendon Bock of Franklin Square, NY pulled off the big move of the night – after taking the green flag 24th, the University of Alabama student methodically climbed through the field cracking the top ten shortly after the half. Bock lined up the George Bock owned, Meadow Brook Collision/Mesquito Free Organic sponsored Chevrolet seventh on the first green, white, checker attempt, survived the melee that unfolded in front of him, restarted fifth on the final attempt and followed Blewett and Bonsignore across the line for third.

“I got really lucky,” admitted Bock. “I always had the inside and the one time I had the outside, I was able to jump down low- “I’m just ecstatic, this is my first podium, this is my best finish.”

“Practice and qualifying we were struggling,” said Bock. The team pinpointed the issue and they were able to fix it before the green. “I knew we were going to have a good car, I didn’t think we’d finish in the top three. After we pitted, we were running in the top ten, I was happy. This is a whole team effort. I’m at a loss for words right now. It feels good to get my best finish.”

The 19-year-old will be leaving for school on Thursday, the day after Thompson. Bock added smiling, “We’re running well, I just might have to fly back up for a few more races.”

“It’s a good momentum for us,” said Blewett about the win. “A good confidence booster. These guys on my crew, it all comes from the heart. Everything we all do comes from the heart. To get this win for them, for Bob, for Starrett, for everybody that put anything into this effort, it just means a lot.”
Rounding out the top ten was Ron Silk sixth, Max Zachem seventh, Timmy Solomito, Woody Pitkat and Craig Lutz completing the top ten.

Doug Coby continues to lead the way in points with 354, Justin Bonsignore moves into second with 334, Timmy Solomito is four back at 330, Jimmy Blewett is fourth with 319 while Donny Lia is fifth with 318.

It is the quickest turnaround of the season for the NWMT as they head to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park this Wednesday August 10th for the 27th Annual Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150.  
Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
: August 6, 2016

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