A Birthday Present Gone Wrong
As a parent one of the biggest things you want to do is make your children happy. That is why the parents of Amanda Gambacorto bought her a racing experience at the Green Flag Driving Experience, this past Saturday, for her birthday.
Sadly, this day that started out with smiles, and excitement, ended tragically when the 3/4 Midget race car she was driving collided, violently, with the turn two wall at Wall Stadium Speedway, located near the Jersey Shore. The impact was said to be so severe the helmet she was wearing was cracked.
Multiple sources have reported her father, who has been a crew member on race cars at Wall Stadium Speedway in the past, had purchased her a race car of her own. While it was not the car she was driving on Saturday, it may have been part of the reason she was at the track.
The Green Flag Driving Experience is often used by those interested in the sport of auto racing to get a taste of what it would be like, or to gain experience before they actually compete. Unfortunately, it may have been Amanda's inexperience which contributed to the crash.
The accident took place early in the afternoon long before many of the competitors for the regularly scheduled Saturday night show had arrived. However, in a showing of how much of a family the NJ racing community is, many of the competitors who had already entered the pits donated their pit entry fee to the family rather than accept a refund. The total money collected was approximately $1500.
A member of the track management shared with RacingAroundJersey.com that Amanda's father had called the track early Sunday morning to let them know he not only didn't blame the track for his daughter's death, but was supportive of them putting on their regularly scheduled show for Sunday.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family, and friends, of Amanda Gambacorto. We will share with you any updates to this tragic story when we have them.
Amanda Gambacorto's Obituary Link
As the Paint Fades Let's Not Allow the Memory of
John Blewett III to Leave Us
Seven years ago, on August 16, 2007, the New Jersey racing family lost one of it's most beloved sons, John Blewett III. He passed away doing what he loved to do, racing a Modified at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut.
John was a very talented race car driver, perhaps the most talented ever to come out of the Garden State. At the time of his death he had already accumulated 96 wins, and track championships at New Hampshire International Speedway, Flemington Speedway, New Egypt Speedway, and Wall Stadium.
But to the New Jersey racing community he was much more than just a winning driver. He was a son, grandson, brother, father, and friend. They say a racing community is a family. Nowhere is that more true than in New Jersey.
If you had anything to do with racing in the state, chances are you have a John Blewett III story. Whether it was being witness to his greatness on the track, or just his greatness in helping a fellow competitor out in any way he could. John was one of us.
What maybe made him even a little more endearing to us was he had the ability to go race anywhere, yet he chose to stay close to home. A NASCAR career could of been his. He could of packed up, and moved South, like many others who were far less talented. He could of raced a Camping World Truck, a Nationwide, even possibly a Sprint Cup car. He could have become a crew chief in any of those series, he was that talented. But he chose to stay with us, where he was comfortable, with his NJ racing family.
Shortly after John's passing someone painted III in white paint on the backstretch of his home track Wall Stadium. It was large enough to be seen from the grandstands, and perhaps more importantly, the sky, letting John know we were thinking about him every time we were at the track he loved.
As the years have passed the paint on the track has faded. It can now only be faintly seen when the race track is empty of cars. This year is also the first year Wall Stadium Speedway will not hold a JBIII Memorial Race since his passing. The family of John felt it was time to move on.
However, we can't let our memories of John fade like the paint on the speedway. He gave so much to us, he was one of us, and he never wanted anything more than to be one of us.
Perhaps we could repaint the backstretch at Wall. Maybe we could name a section of the grandstands for him. Most importantly we must never forget our son, grandson, brother, father, friend, who taught us it's okay to just be happy with who you are. A part of the New Jersey racing family.
R.I.P. John Blewett III
Jeff Gordon Area Appearance
Jeff Gordon, fresh off his Sprint Cup race win this weekend in Michigan, will be making an appearance not far from New Jersey this week. The driver of the number 24 will be taking part in a free question-and-answer session on Wednesday afternoon in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
The appearance will take place at 2:30pm at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand, located on the boardwalk at the end of Rehoboth Avenue. Gordon is appearing to promote the September 28th AAA400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway.
The Sunday race will be the first-ever knockout event in Chase history. Fans attending that day will be the first to see drivers officially eliminated from championship contention.
Gordon will be joined on stage by Sam Calgione, the founder of Dogfish Head Brewery, who is the Delaware ambassador to this event. The question-and-answer session will be hosted by SiriusXM and Motor Racing Network on-air personality Mike Bagley.
This could be a great day trip for New Jersey race fans, and may be the best chance to see Gordon in person, short of somehow getting on pit road at Dover.