John Blewett III Memorial Race Missing from 2014 Wall Stadium Speedway Schedule
Wall Stadium Speedway has released what they are calling a rough schedule for the 2014 season on the track's website. While there are several interesting events for fans, and racers, to look forward to, noticeably missing is one of it's biggest races over the last several seasons.
There is no mention of a John Blewett III Memorial Race on the schedule. A race that is both near, and dear, to the hearts of both fans, and racers, at the historic Jersey Shore oval.
The 76-lap event was popular among the fans because it always seemed to bring a few special drivers to the track to compete with the Saturday night regulars. Leading that group would usually be John's younger brother Jimmy, who always managed to find time in his racing schedule to not only compete, but bring a first-class effort. Whether you loved or hated Jimmy's style, fans always knew he would make any race he was in exciting. He was certainly, personally responsible for bringing a few hundred extra fans through the gate.
The prospect of winning a race which honored the late John Blewett would also bring talented drivers like Anthony Sesely, and Zane Zeiner, who had grown up watching him, and then had a chance to not only compete with him, but become his friend.
Additionally, local race teams which chose to only compete in a few races each year would make sure this was one of them. Not just for the prestige that came with winning, but because it honored someone they respected tremendously.
As for the fans, they certainly looked forward to this event for the increased talent level, and the race's extended distance. However, much like the competitors, John Blewett, and his family, had touched their lives in some way. The fans came to the JBIII Memorial Race to both honor his name, and say thanks to a family who had lost one of their biggest parts to auto racing, yet continued to give so much back..
The omission of the JBIII Memorial Race from the 2014 Wall schedule could be the result of several factors. First of which is Jimmy's decision to compete exclusively on dirt this season. With a schedule that includes dirt modifieds, and some sprint car starts, it is highly doubtful that Jimmy would be able to compete at Wall this season at all. With Jimmy not attending it would be highly unlikely any other members of his family would be able to support the race the way it should be, as they would want to be supporting Jimmy in his efforts on that night.
Also contributing could be a somewhat distant relationship between the Blewett family, and the current management at Wall. Jimmy expressed to RacingAroundJersey.com, at last season's race, that there was a good possibility that it could be the last. He felt there was a sentiment within his family that they really weren't wanted at the track, and that perhaps not enough was being done to make the race truly special.
Whatever the reason, many will feel this is an event that should never leave the schedule. John III meant so much to so many at Wall Stadium Speedway. He was a competitor, a hero, a friend, a relative, but most importantly he was a member of the track's family.
The III painted on the backstretch asphalt in his memory may be fading, but the love for him certainly hasn't.
Perhaps a change will be made to the schedule, and the JBIII Memorial Race will in fact happen. If not, we hope the track will find another way to honor his memory. John Blewett III will always live on in the hearts of NJ race fans, and his memory deserves to live on at the track he called home.
A copy of the schedule can be seen on the track's website. A link is provided on this page.