2017 NEWS AND RESULTS:
WALL STADIUM - TURKEY DERBY - 2017 - MATT has an 11th and 4th place finish
Jimmy Blewett of Howell won both the Tour Modified and Freehold Ford Modified main events during the 44th running of the Turkey Derby at Wall Stadium Speedway while Holmdel's Andrew Krause took to honors in a 50-lap race for Dirt Modified stock cars. The Turkey derby was run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend and hosted one of the largest fields of competitors and grandstand crowds in recent memory. In the Tour Modified 150-lapper Blewett posted top time in qualifying and rocketed to the lead at the outset. Blewett wrestled with Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa. early in the race before Krause took over the runner-up spot and chased Blewett to the finish. Brick's Ron Frees was in contention the entire way before finishing third with Ryan Preece and Kyle Elwood wrapping up the top five. Blewett also set fast time in Freehold Ford Modified qualifying and again rocketed to the lead at the outset. Blewett did wrestle with Jackson's Steven Reed late in the race as the duo charged to the front after mid race pit stops. Toms River's Derek Hopkinson led this one for 20-laps when Blewett and a host of others stopped for a two tire change. Blewett finally returned to the lead for good late in the race as Howell's Eric Mauriello charged into second. Reed, Hirschman and Timmy Solomito wrapped up the top five. “These wins took a lot of preparation,” Blewett said. “I've got the best crew in racing. They put a lot of time in at the shop. The Tour Modified win is real special because I used a car that was my brother's. When he passed away we sold this car and a lot of good drivers have raced it. We got the car back recently and the crew worked hard to rebuild it.”
FEATURE – 150 Laps – 1. JIMMY BLEWETT, HOWELL, 2. Krause, 3. Frees, 4. Preece, 5. Elwood, 6. Hopkinson, 7. Reed, 8. Nocella, 9. Galko, 10. Zacarias, 11. Hirschman, 12. Bakaj, 13. Paules, 14. Bock, 15. Carrig, 16. Gumley, 17. Catalano, 18. Truex, 19. Barney, 20. Mandato, 21. Sapienza, 22. Williams, 23. Zeiner, 24. Treat
FREEHOLD FORD MODIFIED
FEATURE – 100 Laps – 1. JIMMY BLEWETT, HOWELL, 2. Eric Mauriello, 3. Steven Reed, 4. Matt Hirschman, 5. Tim Solomito, 6. Anthony Sesely, 7. Chris Lane, 8. Blake Barney, 9. Ryan Flores, 10. Danny Bohn, 11. Zack Alspach, 12. Tommy Farrell, 13. Andrew Krause, 14. Joey Merlino, 15. Chas Okerson, 16. Derek Hopkinson, 17. Jason Hearne, 18. Marc Rogers, 19. Mike Gervais, 20. Ricky Collins, 21. Chris Reynolds, 22. Trevor Alspach, 23. Adam LaCicero, 24. Zane Zeiner
Jimmy Blewett has had a Thanksgiving Weekend to remember at Wall Stadium Speedway (NJ). After winning the Late Model feature on Friday night, Blewett swept both Modified races from the pole on Saturday. “Showtime” earned his sixth career Turkey Derby Tour-type Modified victory, a feat no one else has accomplished. He won the Tour-type Modified race in dominating fashion, leading all but a few laps. He held off Matt Hirschman, Ryan Preece and Ron Frees to score the win. “I’m actually still in shock, to be honest,” Blewett said after the first Modified win. “The last few weeks for me personally have been great weeks. I got to watch a friend of mine (Martin Truex, Jr.) win his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup title, and when he won that title, it felt like he won it for all of us back home.” Blewett’s victories left him feeling “awesome and happy,” and says he’ll stay that way regardless of what happens next. He felt the pressure from Hirschman, who won last year’s event, but was able to keep him at bay throughout the 150-lap Tour Modified race. Preece made a late charge, climbing as high as second, but finished fourth. He was patient in the first 100 laps and was looking to make a move as the feature got closer to the end. “We burned the right front off and then burned the right rear off,” Preece explained. “We had a really good car in the beginning and in the long run, but I guess I’m happy. … You can’t win it early. “If I were going to do something, it was going to be in the last 20 laps.” Andrew Krause was the runner-up after starting ninth. Frees came home third in only his fourth Tour-type Modified race. “It was a great race,” Frees said. “The car was pretty good and this was a new car for us and only our second race with it. We ran Seekonk a few weeks ago. … It all worked out pretty well.” Blewett led all but 23 laps in the 100-lap SK Modified feature. Eric Mauriello finished second, Steven Reed third, Hirschman fourth and Krause fifth. Blewett said he raced conservatively in the SK race. He had strong restarts and was able to build a large enough gap that he didn’t have to drive as hard as possible. “The more I was saving, the better I was going,” he said. “We were turning our fastest laps at the end. When you’re younger you dream of weekends like this. I’m not old, but I’m getting older, and I always say to myself, ‘Hey, when am I going to slow down?’” He said it won’t be anytime soon. In fact, as the years go by, he feels better and better. “Hey, I seem to be getting a little bit faster with time.”
Matt Hirschman picked up another Myrtle Beach 400 victory Saturday, Nov 18, becoming a back-to-back winner of the race in his team’s backyard.
“Everybody that’s part of this team, we all came here with the hope of winning the race,” Hirschman told Speed51.com Powered by JEGS in victory lane. “Two years in a row winning this race. It’s great. Pee Dee [Motorsports] is based in South Carolina, so this is like a home track for them. We like coming down here, the weather’s great, and I enjoy racing here.” Hirschman took the lead in a bizarre set of circumstances in a new format for the race. The 125-lap event was divided into four segments, with the last break coming on lap 100. Bobby Measmer, Jr. led coming to the final intermission, but was forced to restart at the rear of the field due to a penalty for entering a closed pit. “They told us that pits would be open as soon as the caution come out,” Measmer explained. “So we come down pit road, and they said the pits weren’t open. They need to get their [expletive] together. Have someone with a red flag to say pit road’s not open.” irschman said teams were made aware they would follow the pace car onto pit road for the final segment. “I do remember they said the whole field would come down pit road, pace car and everything [in the final segment],” Hirschman recounted in victory lane. “That was different from the other stages. I do remember them saying that. So I didn’t peel off when he did, and I didn’t know why he did.” Hirschman had narrowly avoided a $500 bonus for winning the third segment, but was happy to take away the big prize of $4,000 for the race win. “They put up the $500 for stages, which was something to shoot for,” Hirschman said. “We were close on the last one, ended up second, but [Measmer] was really good there and I knew we wouldn’t run him down. It worked out, we led the lap we wanted to, the last one.” Measmer was able to fight his way up to third place despite the penalty, but couldn’t help but feel the sting of disappointment of losing the race. “It pretty much screwed us out of a chance to beat Hirschman, because we had a hot rod,” Measmer continued. “I can’t thank Phil and these guys enough. This is a brand new car, first time out with it. Finished third. Anybody behind us should be embarrassed because we just outrun them with a 604 crate motor.” While a late-race caution could have allowed Measmer to close the gap on Hirschman and restart directly behind him, Measmer believed he used up his equipment too much to challenge for the win. “I used my [expletive] up to get up there,” Measmer said. “I passed every car here except the first and second place car. I’m a little frustrated. It’s a hell of an event, and a hell of a job by this team. It just sucks.” Jason Myers came home in the second position, feeling he had the perfect strategy for the win. “Really, most of the time here, you run out of race car,” Myers said. “You wear your tires out. We were just as good the last ten laps as we were when we went green. We put ourselves in a position after that last pit stop. We had a heck of a race car, but that last run we didn’t quite have enough for Matt.”
-By: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
Pos # Driver
1 60H Matt Hirschman
2 4M Jason Myers
3 17M Bobby Measmer, Jr.
4 3 Daren Scherer
5 17B Danny Bohn
6 11M Burt Myers
7 7NY Timmy Solomito
8 07 Patrick Emerling
9 00 Jeff Fultz
10 18Y Daniel Yates
11 4TR Jason Tutterow
12 79 George Brunnhoelzl, III
13 12N Mike Norman
14 48 Johnny Kay
15 71 Jim Zacharias
Hirschman, Preece Battle for North South Shooutout Victory
November 4, 2017
“Big Money” Matt Hirschman completed a $13,000 weekend at Concord Speedway (N.C.), winning the 125-lap Tour Modified feature at the North South Shootout.Hirschman took the lead from Ryan Preece with 12 laps to go in the $10,000-to-win feature, scoring his sixth victory in the event.
“Once I got clear into second, I noticed right away I was able to gain on [Preece],” said Hirschman in victory lane. “By the lane choices on the restart, he was able to get ahead of me. Once I got to him, I saw where I was stronger to get underneath him and hold the throttle down the backstretch.”
Ryan Preece took the lead from Bobby Measmer, Jr. on a lap 106 restart. Just 14 laps prior, Preece had fitted fresh rear tires to his machine under caution, allowing him to quickly carve his way through the field. “With fresh tires late, my money is usually on Ryan Preece,” Hirschman said. “He’s such a good driver. With a tire advantage at the end, I thought he would be tough to beat. “It was a good clean race,” Hirschman added. “Me and Ryan have had a couple of them. He got me earlier this year at a race at Oswego, and we got one back on him. Ryan is as good as anyone in these things.” Preece believed he had the perfect strategy to win the race, but an adjustment during that final pit stop made the difference between winning and a runner-up finish. “Just one little adjustment, that’s all it takes. We had such a good car all day,” Preece said. “I thought our strategy was pretty good. We got by Matt, but we made a change based on how the race was going, and I should have left it alone. Am I happy with second? Not really. But we’ve got a fast race car.” Measmer, Jr. capped off a roller-coaster weekend with a third-place finish. After crashing his primary car in an incident during last night’s Ted Christopher Dash for Cash, Measmer climbed into the car originally entered for Danny Bohn this weekend by Phil Stefanelli Racing. With just 20 minutes of practice on race day, Measmer drove from the rear of the field to a podium finish. “First time ever in Phil’s car, that was awesome,” said Measmer. “Started in the back, worked my way to the front, led some laps. Went back to the rear, changed some tires, went back to the front. We just came up short at the end.” “To come away third and only got 20 minutes of practice on a car I never turned a wrench on, honestly, is awesome. I know we had a car that could have won the race. Danny Bohn normally drives this car. We’re planning on going down to Myrtle Beach and running as teammates. Maybe we can finish 1-2.” “How about Bobby Measmer?” Hirschman said in victory lane. “Wrecked his primary car last night, and to jump in somebody else’s car he hadn’t been in and finish third, that’s a hell of a job by his team. We put a lot of work to come here and prepare, and he just hops in another car and nearly won the damn thing.”
The victory continues Matt Hirschman’s dominance of the North South Shootout. In 14 starts of the event, Hirschman holds six wins and 11 top-five finishes of the November classic. Hirschman also won last night’s Ted Christopher Dash for Cash, earning him $3,000 in the 13-lap trophy race along with his winnings today.
-By Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @ZTEvans
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
North South Shootout Unofficial Results:
Pos. # Driver
1 60 Matt Hirschman
2 6P Ryan Preece
3 17 Bobby Measmer, Jr.
4 1 Burt Myers
5 00 Jeff Fultz
6 5 Kyle Ebersole
7 29 Jon McKennedy
8 92 Anthony Nocella
9 22 Chuck Hossfeld
10 4 Jason Myers
11 79 George Brunnhoelzl III
12 6MA Sammy Rameau
13 97 Bryan Dauzat
14 66 Tyler Truex
15 82 Woody Pitkat
16 15 Jeremy Gerstner
17 11NC Andy Seuss
18 11 Brian Loftin
19 19 Brandon Ward
20 77 Gary Putnam
21 99 Jamie Tomaino
22 6 Chase Dowling
23 39 Calvin Carroll
24 69 Carlos Gray
25 33 Gary Fountain
The inaugural Tri-Track Open Modified Series Haunted Hundred at Seekonk Speedway (MA) had all the tricks and treats fans of Modified racing could want: hard driving, risky maneuvers, paint swapping and nerf bar banging. All of this was fueled by a guaranteed $6,000 to win, plus an extra $1,500 bounty on the line for any driver who could beat Matt Hirschman.
(Ocotber 27, 2017) When all was said and done, it was Hirschman himself claiming the bounty placed on him and completing the 2017 Tri-Track sweep in an exciting finish. “Big Money Matt’ took home $7,500 in prize money for his win along with his winner’s trophy and 2017 championship trophy. Unlike some of his previous Tri-Track wins this season, good draws and good luck had nothing to do with his win on Saturday. Hirschman fought tooth and nail over the final half of the 100 laps. Hirschman’s first challenger came in the form of New Hampshire driver Russ Hersey, who celebrated his first two career wins in Modified Racing Series competition this season. Hersey showed his front-running swagger, keeping ahead of Hirschman on long runs while taking care of his tires. As the laps wound down, the number of yellow flags went up, giving Hirschman opportunities on restarts. A yellow flag with 10 laps to go brought another challenger into the mix in the form Anthony Nocella, setting the stage for the first big turning point. While Hersey was occupied with Hirschman up high, Nocella threw his nose in making it three-wide in turn two. Coming off the corner, Nocella’s right-front and Hersey’s left-rear came together, sending Hersey sliding into the grass. When the dust settled, it had put Hirschman in the lead and by that time he knew the complexion of the race had changed substantially. “Coming in, the whole bounty thing, the extra money, I knew what it was probably going to do,” Hirschman told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “The racing up until I got up into second, everybody ran me clean, it was good racing all the way, but then I could tell when the 88 (Hersey) was leading, he was not going to give that up very easily. When the 92 (Nocella) came on there, I think he pitted earlier, I don’t know for sure. He was in the catbird’s seat, that restart there the door was going to be open and it just worked out that he filled it, they tangled, that got rid of (Hersey) and handed me the lead.” For the final laps and after the race, Hersey was not happy, especially with Nocella.
“We came down into the corner, Matt and I drove into the middle and drove real aggressive down in, nothing dirty, bars on bars, we come back off and we both hit the gas. We were coming up the straightaway and the 92 got into the left-rear, once he had me hooked he just kept pushing, he didn’t release me enough to try and save it. He finished me off and down through the grass I went.” Nocella was aware of the Hersey’s strong opinion, but he too had his own take on what happened and also had a strong opinion of Hersey’s restarts.
“I think he’s mad at me and Matt,” Nocella began. “The officials came down and said the exact same thing Matt and I said, ‘How do you keep screwing up the restarts like that?’ You brake check everyone, taking off, driving into him and he tried to run him up in the third groove there and have so much wheel in it to try and block me when I’m on the bottom. He was already loose coming to us, just like the officials said. When he caught my bumper he went around. You can’t expect to block two guys at the end of a $7,500-to-win race and not expect to get turned around.”Even with Hersey out of the way, the show was far from over, with Nocella showing greater speed than Hersey and Hirschman on longer runs. After the final restart with 10 to go, Nocella settled in behind Hirschman, waiting for just the right time to make his move. With four laps to go, Nocella got some room, which meant with three to go, it was time to go.
Nocella muscled Hirschman off the inside groove in turn one and took over the lead with two laps to go. But this left time for a counterattack and Hirschman did just that the very next lap, at the same place and with the same move. Nocella was not as quick to recover, and despite keeping second it was too late to try again. Afterwards, both drivers shared a conversation of great respect. “Nocella was a good sport there. He gave it to me a little, I gave it back. I just crossed him over there. He tried to stop the car, block the bottom, but we were able to muscle up under there,” Hirschman stated. “I’m just glad neither of us got taken out of it. Whatever the order of finish, as long as we were one-two, I wouldn’t have a complaint. I would’ve hated to see, when you’re rubbing side by side and hopping wheels like that, the outcome could’ve been not so good for either one of us or both. Glad it worked out. We came out on top, it was sure exciting, that’s what people come to see.” Despite finishing second, Nocella was still on the jovial side after the race. “We were just kind of joking. I went in there to congratulate him, can’t be mad at him. I used him up first,” Nocella admitted. “We knew he was going to be tough, we were running the same lap times those last 15 laps, whoever got to the bottom first was going to get it I think. He got a little tight there when I leaned in, he slid up, my car was getting a little free so it rotated good. I got a wheel on him, it was my one shot with three to go, give him my best shot. I’m not going to lift, but I didn’t want to wreck him You’ve got to go in there somewhat under control, get him sideways, use him up like I did and let him get it caught up again.
“Right away you’re expecting the same thing back, you use him up, he’s going to come back and do the same thing, which he did. He drove into me, moved me up the same way. He lifted before he wrecked me too, so that’s all you can ask for. It’s good hard racing, you put up this much money that’s what is going to happen. While Hirschman is not one to be the center of attention, looking back on the day and week leading up to the event, the bounty fanfare was worth it in the end as it not only had given him extra money but plenty of people to race in front of. “From the promotional side I didn’t mind, coming here today and seeing the crowd when I was over on the grandstand side, I could tell that it had an impact on bringing people in here. I was fine with that, it’s what’s best for the series,” Hirschman said. “As far as on the track, it was seeing how it played out. If somebody was going to beat me fair and square today, I’m all for it because it’s more money in the racer’s pocket, and I’m all for more money for the racers.”
Matt Hirschman Caps off Huge Weekend with $4,000 Evergreen Payday
St. Johns, PA (10/22/2017)- The second and final day of Evergreen Raceway’s second annual “King of the Green” (KOTG) weekend kicked off Sunday afternoon. With $4,000 on the line for the winner of the 100-lap American Rental Equipment Modified main event, it was destined to be a show that would draw cars from the tri state area, which it did for all three divisions on Sunday’s card. Despite a slow start to the Modified main, which eliminated some of the stout runners, Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA took the checkers over Zane Zeiner to claim the big check and the division championship. It was no surprise to see Randy Schlenker of Whitehall running up front in the Barbush Automotive Street Stock division. In what he calls his career best season, Schlenker not only took the victory, but also claimed another Evergreen championship. After crossing the stripe second in the Factory Stock feature, mixed with the disqualification of the feature winner, Gerard Lawrence of Long Island, NY was honored with the victory. Twenty eight tour type Modifieds lined the pit area. Each and every driver had their first goal in mind- to finish well in the heat or consi to make the 20 car starting field. Three drivers were well on their way with heat race wins, including John Mandatto, Brian DeFebo and Scott Adams. Thirteen cars started the consi and Blake Barney took that victory. With a heads up start from qualifying, Mandatto led the field to the drop of the green in the 100-lap contest. He led the opening circuit over DeFebo, Adams, Matt Hirschman and Roger Coss. The top five settled in and quickly ran off some quick laps before a quick yellow waved on lap 11. Green flag racing resumed and then a pileup occurred at the exit of turn two. Many drivers were involved, including DeFebo, Coss, Earl Paules, Buddy Miller, Lou Strohl, Gene Bowers, Barry Callavini , Zane Zeiner and Randall Richard. Nearly turning over, Zeiner rode the backstretch wall before landing back on all four wheels. Amazingly, after some quick crew work, Zeiner rejoined the field without losing a lap. DeFebo on the other hand was not as lucky and the day came to a close for the 2016 event winner. With the green back out and with Mandatto still showing the way, a quick caution waved on lap 14. Hirschman held second on the restart and got the jump on Mandatto to take the lead. A red flag stopped the show for minutes on lap 17 when Callavini’s car appeared to have a part break while entering turn one. He shot up the track and collected John Fortin, Jr. Fortin’s car slammed into the Styrofoam blocks and then rode the fence prior to flipping on its roof. Thankfully, Fortin was uninjured both the hopes of winning for both drivers came to an end. More green flag laps clicked off following the restart and Adams found himself on Hirschman’s back bumper at the halfway mark. Mandatto, Paules and Coss were in tow. Within the next 20 laps, Brandon Oltra made his presence known and moved into the third behind the two front runners. Amazingly, Zeiner had moved into fourth after the incident early in the show.
The show slowed on lap 74 and Adams gave up second and hit the pits for a tire. The only problem was; the pits were closed. Realizing the mistake, it forced him to restart as the last car on the lead lap. When the pits were finally open, many of the top ten runners pitted, including Paules, Coss, Barney, John Markovic and Mandatto. With a very strategic call, Hirschman did not pit and held the lead over Oltra and Zeiner for the restart. Once the green flag came back out, Hirschman focused on the lead and Zeiner focused on overtaking Oltra for second. He succeeded on lap 75 but didn’t have anything left for the leader by the event’s end. Hirschman went on to score his fifth King of the Green victory over Zeiner, Coss, Oltra and Markovic.
Modified (100-laps) 1. MATT HIRSCHMAN 2. Zane Zeiner 3. Roger Coss 4. Brandon Oltra 5. John Markovic 6. Earl Paules 7. Blake Barney 8. Todd Baer 9. Scott Adams 10. Alan Creveling 11. Randall Richard 12. Gene Bowers 13. Lou Strohl 14. Jon Mandato 15. Joey Jarowicz 16. Barry Callavini 17.John Fortin 18. Justin Gumley 19. Brian DeFebo 20. Buddy Miller DNQ: Paul Frantz, Mitch Dowd, James Pritchard, Wayne Szerencsits, Joe DeGracia, Scott Miller, Paul Monkoski
Big Money Matt Wins Big Money Race at Wyoming County
(October 21, 2017) For the second consecutive year, “Big Money” Matt Hirschman from Northampton, Pennsylvania is now $10,000 richer after earning his first career win at the Perry Bullring in the third running of the American Racer 100 for the Tour-Type Modifieds at Wyoming County International Speedway on Saturday afternoon. Zach Myers from East Concord, NY led every lap to score the win in the Super Stocks. Bob Rip Ripley from Pine City, NY was victorious in the CAMS Modified exhibition event. “We rode around for the first half of the race but when the second half of the race rolled around and after the first caution, we decided to come in and get the new tire and the car was fast all day” stated Hirschman in victory lane. “I always love coming here to Perry, the track is racy and we’ve always had good success here” Hirschman added. Chuck Hossfeld and Austin Kochenash were on the front row for the third running of the American Racer 100 for the Tour-Type Mods with Hossfeld showing the way from the start. Eric Beers took second away from Kochenash on lap three and began to chase down Hossfeld. Throughout the races early stages, the field was single file for the top dozen or so positions. Matt Hirschman would start working his way up through the field from his sixth starting spot as we worked around John Fortin to move into the fourth position on lap 15. Hossfeld would hit lap traffic by lap 20 as he started to pull away from Eric Beers and Kochenash. While the field was strung around the 1/3rd mile-Bullring, Kochenash would catch Beers and would battle for the second position. TJ Zacharias would slow in turn two to bring out the races first caution on lap 57. As most of the leaders went into the pits, Jimmy Zacharias, Brian DeFebo, and Tony Hanbury stayed on the track to take over the top three spots. On the restart, DeFebo would take the lead away from Zacharias with Hossfeld moving into third. Chris Ridsdale spun in turn three to bring out the races second caution on lap 58. Brian DeFebo’s strong run came to an end on lap 60 after slowing entering turn three, as Daniel Majchrzak and Bill Mislin got together trying to avoid the slowing DeFebo. The restart with around 40-laps remaining would see Jimmy Zacharias and Chuck Hossfeld on the front row, but it was Eric Beers and Matt Hirschman moving into second and third, behind Zacharias. Austin Kochenash and Mike Leaty got together on the front straightaway to bring out the red flag on lap 63. Both Kochenash and Leaty climbed out of their racecars under their own power. Eric Beers would take the lead on the restart as Matt Hirschman moved into second, shifting Zacharias back to third. Hirschman would look underneath Beers for the lead on lap 66 and would take the lead on lap 67. Andy Jankowiak would move into the top five on lap 70 after passing Barber. Tony Hanbury came to a stop in turn four to bring out the caution on lap 89. Hirschman would lead the final 11 circuits to grab his second American Racer 100. Eric Beers, also from Northampton, PA finished in second and Jimmy Zacharias, the 2017 New York State NASCAR Champion from Candor, NY finished in third. “We had a good car but Matt was that much better”, commented runner-up finisher Beers. “If we went into the pits and changed the tire, would we have won? No one can answer that, but it is a win for us finishing in third, with Matt (Hirschman) and Eric (Beers) here, they are always tough wherever they go” stated Zacharias.
RACE RESULTS – Shootout at the Bullring Day featuring the American Racer 100
American Racer 100: MATT HIRSCHMAN, Eric Beers, Jimmy Zacharias, Chuck Hossfeld, Andy Jankowiak, Camden Barber, Daren Scherer, Jack Ely, JB Fortin, Patrick Emerling, Kirk Totten, Daryl Lewis Jr, Jon Kay, Bryan Sherwood, Chris Ridsdale, Neal Dietz Jr, Billy Mislin, Tony Hanbury, Austin Kochenash, Mike Leaty, Brian DeFebo, Alan Bookmiller, Daniel Majchrzak, TJ Zacharias, and Scott Wylie
Qualifying Winners: Camden Barber, Matt Hirschman, Eric Beers, Andy Jankowiak
Hirschman Makes it Three-in-a-Row at Race of Champions 250
In the eyes of Modified enthusiasts and perhaps many new fans acquired, Saturday evening’s 67th Annual Race of Champions and its change to the progressively-banked 3/8-mile Lake Erie Speedway (PA) paid off. The prestigious event featured endless passing throughout the field, unique strategies and a familiar winner over the course of the less than two hours it took to complete the 250-lap feature. Matt Hirschman battled his Northampton, Pennsylvania neighbor Eric Beers early on and then patiently waited until he needed to before taking the lead from Binghamton, New York series regular Daren Scherer with 38 laps remaining. It was a record-tying fifth Race of Champions weekend main event victory, matching Dutch Hoag’s accomplishments on the dirt at Pennsylvania’s former Langhorne Speedway in the 1950s and 60s. Not only is winning such a competitive event only once a tough task, but each of the successful racer’s most recent feats took place at a variety of facilities offering differing characteristics.
“Just to think about it, three consecutive years, three totally different race tracks, different set of circumstances as far as pitting, different weather scenarios, all those things that go into it; to win the same race three years in a row is just incredible,” Hirschman told Speed51.com The No. 60 team used strategy after a yellow flag flew with 100 laps remaining to work in their favor in order to find a way to be in contention near the conclusion. The rules for this long-distance race allowed teams to only change one tire per pit stop; however, they were permitted to make more than one pit stop per caution period. Teams could put on up to four new tires throughout the distance, and Hirschman and a few others elected to change a max of three “Our first stop wasn’t a good one,” Hirschman admitted. “We got behind a few guys and then it was a matter of just watching the flags and seeing if we could get all three tires done.” The strategy of Hirschman and some of the earlier frontrunners meant that they would have to restart toward the rear of the field, since several in front of them stopped for only one or two fresh tires. Nevertheless, there would still be plenty of time to maneuver toward the lead. “We kind of dug ourselves a little bit of a hole and I thought it was going to be very unlikely this race was going to go (green) all the way to the finish,” Hirschman noted. “With that in mind, I wasn’t going to make a big charge immediately.”While acknowledging their performance was not flawless by any means, his prediction would be correct on this day. On a restart with less than 50 circuits to go Hirschman began to make his move as he dove low to nearly make a three-wide bid for second before ultimately gaining the lead. “That was going to be the most critical restart for me based on the strategy I was on,” Hirschman explained. “That was the first time all night I worked the bottom like that. We had a tire advantage over some of the guys in front of us and you don’t want to get stuck behind somebody that’s out there on older tires and lose spots to guys that have all the tires, because it’s going to be tough to get them back. It was definitely go time and I hustled it for everything I could get. We were good when we needed to be.” In the second position at the finish was series veteran Mike Leaty, but it turned out to be a more than meaningful runner-up result. The Williamson, New York driver was involved in a race within a race, a battle for the 2017 RoC Asphalt Modified Series championship. He entered with an eight point advantage over defending champion Patrick Emerling and two-time winner in 2017, Andy Jankowiak, a close 33 behind. “It’s the biggest accomplishment of my career for sure,” an ecstatic Leaty said. “Where do I begin? This is my best finish in the Race of Champions, this is the championship; it’s more than I could have ever dreamed of.”
The L2 Autosport group went winless for the first time in the series since 2010, but consistently put in a total team effort consisting of numerous podium finishes, only one finish outside the top 10, and years of hard work. That effort continued into Saturday evening when early on it looked like their championship hopes may have been all but over with Emerling and Jankowiak running toward the front of the field and Leaty trying to figure out an unusual set of circumstances. “It was a miracle because I’ve never raced so long in my life with zero oil pressure,” the son of two-time RoC event winner Jan Leaty commented. “I think something was going on with the oil pump. There was one point in the race where the motor started to act a little funny and I actually dropped down off the backstretch and started to slow down and the yellow came out. I was actually thinking about coming in the pits. I don’t know if I was going to that lap. I was going to slow down and drop to the back and kind of feel it out. Then the yellow came out and it was the break of a lifetime.” During the closing stages, Emerling’s car was noticeably ill-handling and a late pit stop was not able to solve their problem, resulting in a disappointing 16th place finish. Jankowiak worked his way up to second and appeared to be a challenge for Hirschman, but was forced to surprisingly pit during a late caution after realizing a tire was flat. The Tonawanda, New York driver raced back up through the field, but would be caught up and hooked with the spinning car of former Lake Erie track champion Scott Wylie, relegating him to the end of the lead lap with an 18th place finish.
At the same time with nothing left to lose, Leaty drove his heart out to become a contender once again.
“I was in the back, but I knew I had such a fast race car that I just couldn’t give up,” Leaty noted. “Even when I went to the back and made all those pit stops, every single time I came back on the race track I just drove right back by everybody and I was just taking it easy. I was just trying to maintain a little track position. The car was just so good I could just pass everybody at will almost. This is extra special, we’re going to savor this right now, and then we’re going to think about next year in a few weeks.” Danielsville, Pennsylania’s Austin Kochenash led laps and turned in a phenomenal third place run. Beers had a learning experience, eventually settling for fourth after being the apparent car to beat early on. It was his first long-distance RoC start away from home track Mahoning Valley Speedway (PA) in many years with the DeLange Racing Team. Scherer tied a season best fifth after leading the middle stages of the event. Beers commended the clean racing that took place over the 250 laps and applauded the move of the event to a first-class facility like Lake Erie. “All the people running the show here are doing a fantastic job,” Beers added. “All the guys that are racing are good racers. We drove by a couple guys and a couple guys drove by us, and I don’t think there was a scratch on the car. That’s a testament to how good these guys race. It was a lot of fun.”
-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Central NY & PA Editor – Twitter: @aaron_creed
67th Annual Race of Champions 250 Finishing Order:
Fin Str # Driver Laps
1 1 60 Matt Hirschman 250
2 5 25 Mike Leaty 250
3 12 2T Austin Kochenash 250
4 2 45 Eric Beers 250
5 11 3 Daren Scherer 250
6 15 76 Zane Zeiner 250
7 21 48 Jonny Kievman 250
8 22 15 Chris Pasteryak 250
9 4 54 Tommy Catalano 250
10 3 71 Jimmy Zacharias 250
11 16 7NY Bobby Holmes 250
12 18 22 Chuck Hossfeld 250
13 8 95 Bryan Sherwood 250
14 24 34 John Fortin Jr. 250
15 25 59 Karl Hehr 250
16 6 07 Patrick Emerling 250
17 17 10 Daryl Lewis Jr. 250
18 10 12x Andy Jankowiak 250
19 13 13w Scott Wylie 246
20 26 14 Daniel Majchrzak 197
21 14 13 Tony Hanbury 175
22 7 32 Tyler Rypkema 148
23 23 1 Chris Ridsdale 136
24 20 65 George Skora III 102
25 9 64 Amy Catalano 100
26 19 0 Randal Richard 72
27 27 17 Ben Reynolds 3
ANDY JANKOWIAK BOOK ENDS LANCASTER NATIONAL SPEEDWAY SEASON WITH EMOTIONAL VICTORY
IN THE US OPEN 125
Lancaster, N.Y. – (September 25, 2017) – Andy Jankowiak of Buffalo, N.Y., drove to his second Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series fueled by Sunoco victory on Sunday afternoon under steamy Fall conditions in front of a sun drenched crowd to close out the 29th Annual US Open 125 at Lancaster (N.Y.) National Speedway to book end the Lancaster season. Jankowiak won the season opening event for the Race of Champions Series at Lancaster in April and Sunday marked his first victory in the Modified portion of the event. “This has been an emotional week for Modified racing, I thought about what I would say if I got here, but I’m a little at a loss for words,” stated Jankowiak from victory lane, after resting the checkered flag next to the 13 and “TC” on his roof in memoriam of Plainville, Connecticut racer, Ted Christopher, who passed away suddenly last Saturday. “Teddy was such a huge part of racing, I’m proud I can tell people I raced with him. This was a huge win for our team. I work these guys so hard and today it just all came together. We had a good car and it showed. This is one I will remember.” Jankowiak started on the pole for the 125-lap feature and led the first 66 caution free laps with Tommy Catalano of Ontario, N.Y., giving chase. The lap 66 caution saw the entire field pit for their permitted one tire change. Jankowiak’s team, led by crew chief, Tom McGrath made their way back out first. Chuck Hossfeld of Ransomville, N.Y., and Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pennsylvania were the big winners on the pit stops as they advanced to second and third respectively on the ensuing restart. Hirschman eventually made his way to second with Mike Leaty of Williamson, N.Y., racing his way to third. Jankowiak was not to be denied, surviving two late race restarts and running to the victory. He joins Karl Hehr of Cheektowaga, N.Y., and Todd Hoddick of Cheektowaga, N.Y., as the only three driver’s to win events at the US Open in three different divisions.
Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, N.Y., Bobby Holmes of Lockport, N.Y., and Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa., won the qualifying races while Hirschman posted the fastest time in group qualifying.
US Open 125
Lancaster National Speedway, Lancaster, N.Y.
Finishing Position, Car Number, Driver, Laps Completed, Reason Out (If Any)
Pos No. Name
1 12x Andy Jankowiak
2 60 Matt Hirschman
3 25 Mike Leaty
4 22 Scott Wylie
5 65 George Skora, III
6 32 Tyler Rypkema
7 22 Chuck Hossfeld
8 10 Daryl Lewis, Jr.
9 66 Austin Kochenash
10 54 Tommy Catalano
11 01 Cam Barber
12 95 Bryan Sherwood
13 3 Daren Scherer
14 54 Jack Ely
15 07 Patrick Emerling
16 64 Amy Catalano
17 7ny Bobby Holmes
18 01 John Barber
19 27 Matt Galko
20 59 Karl Hehr
21 17 Danny Knoll, Jr.
22 40 Jake Rought
23 1 Chris Risdale
24 45 Eric Beers
25 13 Tony Hanbury
Fast Time in Group Qualifying: Matt Hirschman
Qualifying Race Winners; Patrick Emerling, Matt Hirschman, Bobby Holmes
Evergreen Raceway - September 10
Paul Monkoski led the Modified field to the drop of the green flag. However, he was overtaken by Brian Sones before a lap was scored. Brian DeFebo held second, followed by Gene Bowers. A quick yellow waved on lap five and a pileup occurred on the front stretch during the restart several known front runners were involved and sustained heavy damage, including John Fortin, Jr, Brandon Oltra, Barry Callavini and Sal Accardi, Jr. Other. Matt Hirschman and Mitch Dowd also got a piece of the incident and continued on. Luckily, none of the drivers involved were seriously injured. Green flag racing resumed and with nine laps complete, Austin Kochenash moved to the point. He held the spot until a lap 12 restart, when he was overtaken by Zane Zeiner. Despite having a total of 12 yellow flags throughout the event, Zeiner kept cool and pulled of the victory. Kochenash was the runner up, followed by Brian DeFebo, Blake Barney and Hirschman. DeFebo, Earl Paules and Kochenash were heat race winners. Fortin was the consi winner.
Modifieds (50-laps) 1. ZANE ZEINER 2. Austin Kochenash 3. Brian DeFebo 4. Blake Barney 5. Matt Hirschman 6. Roger Coss 7. Earl Paules 8. Gene Bowers 9. John Markovic 10. Bobby Jones 11. Mitch Dowd 12. Alan Creveling 13. Paul Frantz 14. Buddy Miller 15. Brian Sones 16. Paul Monkoski 17.Brandon Oltra 18. John Fortin, Jr 19. Barry Callavini 20. Sal Accardi Jr DNQ: Wayne Szerencsits, Tommy Wanick III, DJ Macri
Wyoming County International Speedway - Sept 10
PERRY, NY (September 9, 2017) Danielsville, Pennsylvania’s Austin Kochenash is now $5,000 richer after earning his first career win at the Perry Bullring in the American Racer 75 for the Tour-Type Modifieds at Wyoming County International Speedway on Saturday evening. Dave Krawczyk from West Seneca, NY grabbed the win for the Super Stocks and clinched his third consecutive track championship. Maddy Virts from Fairport, NY scored the win in the 4 Cylinders and Paul Flye from Ontario, NY scored the track championship. Brandon DeBrakeleer from Mill Village, PA won the main event for the INEX Legends while Mark Tychoniewicz earned the win in the CAMS Modifieds. Camden Barber and Andy Jankowiak brought the field to the green flag for the American 75 for Tour-Type Modifieds with Jankowiak in the lead after Barber got loose on the main straightway taking the green flag. Mike Fiebelkorn and Mike Leaty battled for second with Leaty taking second away on lap four, as Jankowiak opened the lead of the green flag. With Jankowiak and Leaty pulling away from the field, Jimmy Zacharias and Austin Kockenash battled for third with Kochenash keeping the final spot on the podium in the races early stages. The first caution came out for Mike Leaty whose window net came down on the HJ Motorsports number 1. Also entering the pits was Patrick Emerling, who was running inside the top 10.Off the restart, Jankowiak, Kochenash, and Jimmy Z worked inside the top three as Matt Hirschman took over fourth place. Off a lap 31 restart, something would go a miss on the Jankowiak 73 and would lay gear oil down on the front straightaway, ending his night. The restart would see Jimmy Zacharias challenge Kochenash for the lead as Matt Hirschman raced in third with Cam Barber moving into fourth place at the halfway mark. Jimmy Z would take the lead on lap 58 and Hirschman took second on lap 59. Off a lap 60 restart, Jimmy Zacharias and Hirschman would race hard for the lead and the end result was Hirschman ending up on the back straightaway wall. Zacharias went to the rear of the field for his involvement. Off the late race restart, it was Kochenash continuing to show the way with Patrick Emerling running in second. Kochenash would hold off Emerling and a hard-charging Zacharias to score the win, his first Modified victory at the Perry Bullring. The win also earned Kochenash a guaranteed starter in the American 100, held on Sunday, October 15th
Tour Type Modified 75: AUSTIN KOCHENASH, Patrick Emerling, Jimmy Zacharias, Camden Barber, Daren Scherer, Alan Bookmiller, Kirk Totten, Daniel Majchrzak, Mike Leaty, Teej Cochrane, Tom Wiest, Mike Fiebelkorn Jr, Matt Hirschman, Bill Mislin, Steve Fuchs, Andy Jankowiak, Chris Ridsdale, Chad Nugent
Qualifying Winners: Camden Barber, Andy Jankowiak, Austin Kockenash
Preece Claims First Oswego Victory in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Toyota Mod Classic 150 - Hirschman 2nd
OSWEGO, NY – NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour points leader Ryan Preece etched his name into Oswego Speedway’s history books as a winner on Saturday (Sept. 2) night in the second annual NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour ‘Toyota Mod Classic’ 150 presented by McDonald’s. Preece, a recent first-time winner on the NASCAR Xfinity Series trail, qualified fourth with the TS Haulers, Maynard Troyer Tribute No. 6 and it showed in the early stages of the event that he was an immediate threat to win, quickly driving around Timmy Solomito to pull in behind the original front row of Matt Hirschman and Patrick Emerling on lap 2. “I’ve been here at Oswego before, but never in victory lane,” Preece said. “This really is pretty cool and a special one to me. The other one I want to win is the Race of Champions so hopefully I can come back for that one day and get here again. We just want to keep on winning.” Less than 10 laps after moving into third, Preece made his jump to the second spot under Emerling as ‘Big Money Matt’ was the early leader with Preece, then Solomito, Emerling and defending event winner Doug Coby leading the way at lap 10.
Hirschman hit traffic by lap 16 and the top five remained tightly knit until the yellow flag came out on lap 38 for a slowing Kyle Ebersole with Hirschman still in front as Preece, Solomito, Emerling, Coby, Pennink, Lutz, and Bonsignore continued to trail.
The green flag was back in the air six laps later for a lap 44 restart which saw Hirschman take off again despite a valiant effort by Preece to challenge him on the top side.With 100 laps to go, Hirshman continued his dominance, at one point opening up a half staightaway advantage on the No. 6 of Preece. That was all put to rest when the competition caution was thrown on lap 75, allowing all drivers to head pitside for fuel and tires, which set up a perfect second half strategizing opportunity for the Preece team.Unfortunately for Emerling, who had ‘home track advantage’ as far as the tour is concerned with several victories under his belt at Oswego, the Buffalo Auto Auction No. 07 was forced pitside on lap 86 with handling issues.This was the only major shakeup in the top five as Hirschman still continued to lead, Preece, Solomito, Coby and the 46 of Craig Lutz at lap 100. The lone crash of the race occurred on lap 107, when the No. 82 driven by pavement star Ted Christopher made heavy contact into the turn three foam with something apparently breaking on that car. Christopher was done for the night. It turned out to be the lap 112 restart after the track was cleared that set Preece up for victory as he took the top spot on lap 114, inching by Hirschman at the entrance of turn three after yet another solid pitstop for the Ed Partridge owned machine. The other car on the move after the restart was that of Bonsignore, who had restarted way back in the seventh spot before working his way by Luts to take fifth, but he didn’t stay there as everything went in Eric Goodale’s favor after his late-race pitstop, allowing the No. 58 to go from eighth to fifth on the final green flag run, impressively working by Max Zachem, Lutz and Bonsignore all on the top side to take the final spot wiithin the top five with just over ten laps to go. Preece had never won at Oswego prior to Saturday night, but that sure didn’t show as he went on to dominate Hirschman in the closing stages as the two led Solomito, Coby, and Goodale to the checkered flag with with Bonsignore, Lutz, Zachem, Dave Sapienza and Rowan Pennink completing the top 10. Hirschman, a former Race of Champions 250 winner at Oswego, felt he had the car to win, but the Pee Dee Motorsports team came up just a little bit short in their second NASCAR start of the 2017 season. “We had a good run tonight,” Hirschman said. “The car was really good the first half to stay ahead of (Ryan) Preece but not in the second half. He’s got the late race pit stops figured out and we just missed a little. We were pretty equal the first half but he was better the second half. Hopefully they have us back next year so we can do this again.” Solomito was happy as well, coming home third in just his second career start at the ‘Steel Palace.’ He is now fourth in points heading into the next NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Riverhead Raceway.“We had a real solid car lately and tonight we have continued our momentum,” he said. “We were in the points race all through last week but had a couple bad nights, so this should put us back in it. I think we will be alright and it’s nice to podium at Oswego.”The Mod Squad appears at Riverhead for its second consecutive stop in New York State on Saturday, September 16. Classic Weekend action concludes at Oswego Speedway concludes on Sunday with the 61st Budweiser International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds plus the Bud Light Classic 75 for Pathfinder Bank SBS.
Toyota Mod Classic presented by McDonald’s (150 laps): 1. 6 Ryan Preece, 2. 60 Matt Hirschman, 3. 16 Timmy Solomito, 4. 2 Doug Coby, 5. 58 Eric Goodale, 6. 61 Justin Bonsignore, 7. 46 Craig Lutz, 8. 20 Max Zachem, 9. 36 Dave Sapienza, 10. 3 Rowan Pennink, 11. 64 Rob Summers, 12. 89 Matt Swanson, 13. 21 Ronnie Williams, 14. 77 Gary Putnam, 15. 39 Calvin Carroll, 16. 33 Wade Cole, 17. 82 Ted Christopher, 18. 07 Patrick Emerling, 19. 78 Walter Sutcliffe Jr, 20. 5 Kyle Ebersole, 21. 01 Melissa Fifield
Time Trials: 1. 60 Matt Hirschman – 17.640, 2. 07 Patrick Emerling – 17.662, 3. Timmy Solomito – 17.673, 4. 6 Ryan Preece – 17.709, 5. 2 Doug Coby – 17.720, 6. 3 Rowan Pennink – 17.836, 7. 51 Justin Bonsignore – 17.837, 8 46 Craig Lutz – 17.839, 9. 36 David Sapienza – 17.884, 10, 64 Rob Summers – 17.906, 11. 5 Kyle Ebersole – 17.918, 12. 58 Eric Goodale – 17.932, 13. 89 Matt Swanson – 18.012, 14. 77 Gray Putnam – 18.012, 15. 20 Max Zachem – 18.013, 16. 21 Ronnie Williams – 18.062, 17. Ted Christopher – 18.362, 18. 39 Calvin Carroll – 18.548, 19. 01 Melissa Fifield – 18.889, 20. 33 Wade Cole – 19,229, 21. 78 Walter Sutcliffe Jr. – 20.638
August 26 - The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) came to the quick oval of Seekonk Speedway for 150 laps of fast short track racing. The circuits clicked off fast with on track moves just as fast.
Doug Coby of Milford, CT came to Seekonk winless so far in 2017 in NWMT events. He finally made his mark by leading the most laps, surviving seven cautions, several restarts and red flags to cross the finish line first. With three circuits to go the green flag flew and Coby was able to hold off Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct and Anthony Nocella of Woburn, MA to pull off his first 2017 victory. It has been a challenging year for Coby and the #2 Mayhew Tools/Dunleavy/AJ Romano Construction team who have with stood a lot of bad luck and unexpected finishers. To finally break through and complete a great run was an achievement the #2 team has been waiting to accomplish. Leading over one-half of the race shows the #2 team and their driver is ready to go forward and make their track presence known again. “I am just excited that my guys made the changes that they did and gave me a car that ran in the middle as good as it was.” Stated Coby after victory lane ceremonies. “We were battling there for a while in the corners with Matt. He was pinching the corners and we tried to cross him over for position. We had a great car and it was everything that I hoped it would be. So this race with this tire, this car and with this series was really good tonight.” There were a lot of cautions and most of them led to red flag conditions to allow safety crews to clear the track. The process was good for track crews, but modified tires cooled and made restarts continuity difficult. How did all these yellow/red conditions effect Coby’s racing? “On one hand I do not want to see the restarts because if I could stretch it out for four or five lengthens to make it easier to cruise around. On the other hand I knew on every restart the car did the same thing so it was predictable and I could make sure I did not screw up. If it was green flag racing and you are tight then you could get knocked around and if you are stretched out end to end those cautions eat up laps.” “I did not like all those red flags. We have a series that courts caution flags for a reason.” Exclaimed Coby. “So when we go red when there is a wreck things change. I am not sure why we could not drive around and count caution laps to prevent the tires from cooling off. If this series wants to go red, just don’t count cautions laps and let us keep heat in the tires which would make for better racing for the fans. But instead we are trying to conserve laps because we count the caution laps. So we cool the tires off and cautions breed cautions because the tires have kind of an icy feeling for the drivers. Let come up with a new plan for the short tracks to make it work for us and the fans and eliminate our frustration.” As the race unfolded drivers made their surge forward with some challenging Coby for his top position. Preece had been following him in second while Nocella had made his way from thirteenth into the top three. Nocella had the fastest car in the field and with more laps on the Seekonk groove than Coby or Preece he was ready to challenge. Coby knew there were strong cars there and ready to push him out of the way so he went into defense mode and covered the bottom. ”If I am going to have a faster car behind me near me, this is the track that I am going to want to have it.” Confessed Coby. “Because the faster car is in the crappier lane where you can be as fast as you want and when you try to stomp on the gas to get under someone you get free. I just knew I had to keep the car on the bottom and if he was able to go on the outside and use his nerf bar a little bit than maybe things would get tougher but with a green -white-checker finish where I was really strong and comfortable on the bottom, anyone would have to be superior or try to cross me over and get under me on the backstretch. And it did not seem like our entire package here was going to allow that to happen where the cars could move around a lot. If I just kept drivers on my outside near my right rear tire and they could not beat me so they would have to tuck in. Then you do not know if he is tucking in because he is fast and can give me a shot. And if he gives me a shot I would go way up on the track. So then it just is squeeze on the gas and try to get away from him.” Nocella had only run with the tour drivers once before but with his home track advantage he gave it his all to test the NWMT teams skills. Starting mid-pack Nocella avoided incidents, ran a steady pace and broke into the top five on Lap 100. From there he made his presence know as he threatened the leaders for position. He was adept on the track and with two to go had second and made Coby work hard for the win. “It was pretty awesome,” expressed Nocella with a big smile. “I was kind of an underdog coming into the race. This was only our second race out with these guys. Our car is always good here and we have won a few races with this car in the MRS and Tri-Track series. I also have a lot of laps here which helps out a bunch. I had a decent car all day here speed wise. We were not the quickest but we were pretty balanced which I think helps in the long runs.” With a stable car under him Nocella was able to once again master his home track and challenge the tour drivers. “The car started coming to its own the longer that we ran while other cars just started to slow up. So we just kept on going and the car kept getting better and better as the night went on. It is tough racing with these guys because nobody is going to give you an inch. So I went to the bottom at the end and filled the hole. It is just short track racing I just kept plugging along and it is pretty awesome to pull off a second in only our second time out with these guys.” Preece had a good car, timed well and stayed within the top five group for all 150 laps. He started on the outside pole, led for one lap, but did not have enough at the end to force his way under Coby for position. At race end it was a green, white, checker finish. The final restart had Preece once again on Coby’s outside. Since the top does not have the grip of the bottom, Preece knew by turn two he had to get down if he was going to have any chance of getting past Coby. But when he went to go down coming out of turn three, Nocella was already there. Preece had to back off and control his car after making slight contact. After a brief squiggle, Preece collected himself and scrambled to get into third. He remained there to take home a podium finish. “I would not have expected him (Nocella) to lift. That is just racing. All I was thinking about really was that the #16 and 3 had issues during the race and I just needed a solid day. I have never been really out of this world here. I just had to be smart. I wanted to finish second because of Doug and to be there at the end. But ultimately it was a good day. Finishing third is not so bad.” Matt Swanson finished fourth followed by Dave Sapienza for fifth. Justin Bonsignore, Matt Hirschman, Max Zachem, Gary McDonald and Wade Cole rounded up the top ten finishers.
Teams will regroup and prepare for racing next Saturday at Oswego Speedway in New York.
Notes from Seekonk Speedway:
What are your thoughts on racing at Seekonk Speedway?
“Seekonk does not work for my driving style. Maybe it is actually because I have not found a setup for me that works here. Maybe if the track put some rosin on the outside it would be great but this track is just tough for me. I am not a fan of racing in a small circle all race. It is just hard to hold back on the throttle.”
“Oswego is like a big Seekonk shape wise. The difference between here and Oswego is that the gooey stuff allows you to have some grip on the outside and have some good runs and competition.”
“Running here you feel like you have a raw egg under your gas pedal and you have to drive so you do not break it.”
Heading to Oswego where you won last year your thoughts?
“We won last year with a really good car. I babied that thing for 130 laps as a fuel consumption thing to ensure that we had something at the end. I told Phil Moran with ten laps to go at the end that I was going. I think we then ran our fastest lap with four to go last year. If we have the same car that we had last year it is going to be a lot of fun. If we don’t then we are going to have to work at it. It is a neat place and if they put that grippe stuff in spots it is going to be a good race. There was a great crowd there last year and it is a neat weekend. Something that brings the crowd out for that big Super Modified race. Hopefully we can win two in a row.”
1 4 2 Doug Coby Mayhew Tools/Dunleavy/AJ Romano Chevrolet 150 48 5 Running
2 13 92 Anthony Nocella Nocella Paving/Airgas Chevrolet 150 42 Running
3 2 6 Ryan Preece TS Hauler Chevrolet 150 42 1 Running
4 19 89 Matt Swanson Starrett Tools Ford 150 40 Running
5 5 36 Dave Sapienza Sapienza Enterprise Chevrolet 150 39 Running
6 15 51 Justin Bonsignore Phoenix Communications Inc. Chevrolet 150 38 Running
7 1 60 Matt Hirschman Pee Dee Motorsports Chevrolet 150 38 1 Running
8 12 20 Max Zachem Anytime Realty/Robert B Our Chevrolet 150 36 Running
9 25 26 Gary McDonald Lakeland Landscape /TRC Electric Chevrolet 150 35 Running
10 22 33 Wade Cole Perf. Engines/Kendall Oil Chevrolet 149 34 Running
11 8 64 Rob Summers Hoosier Tire East/Fast Track Elect/Hughes Motors 148 33 Running
12 6 3 Rowan Pennink Cape Cod Copper/Dicky's Clam Shack/Bay State 148 32 Running
13 11 46 Craig Lutz Riverhead Building Supply Chevrolet 148 31 Running
14 17 58 Eric Goodale GAF Roofing Chevrolet 148 30 Running
15 14 82 Ted Christopher Horton Avenue Materials Chevrolet 146 29 Accident
16 9 21 Ronnie Williams * Gershow Recycling Chevrolet 144 28 Running
17 23 1 Melissa Fifield Eastern Propane & Oil Chevrolet 143 27 Running
18 21 38 Manny Dias * Perf Engines/Kendall Oil/Ryan's Chevrolet 142 26 Running
19 16 85 Jeff Rocco * Stuarts Automotiive/J&R Pre-Cast Chevrolet 138 25 Accident
20 24 78 Walter Sutcliffe Jr. * Last Minute Racing Chevrolet 125 24 Accident
21 18 66 Shawn Solomito ACME Sanitary/Starrett/New England Gear Chevrolet 118 23 Accident
22 7 16 Timmy Solomito Starrett Racing Ford 63 22 Accident
23 10 24 Andrew Krause Supreme Manufacturing Chevrolet 63 21 Accident
24 3 0 Jon McKennedy Brady Bunch Racing/Copeland Toyota Chevrolet 63 20 Accident
25 20 39 Calvin Carroll * Power with Prestige/Cruising w/Betty Chevrolet 47 19 Ignition
Hirschman Lucky & Good on Way to Another Star Victory
f there’s two facts that have been driven deep into the minds of Northeast Modified fans this year, it’s that Matt Hirschman is always a favorite at Star Speedway (NH) and he is always a favorite on the Tri-Track Open Modified Series. Both of those points were proven Wednesday night when Hirschman won the Flamingo Motorsports 100 at the Epping, NH quarter-mile after leading the entire way. The driver from Northampton, PA also made it three-for-three in Tri-Track competition in 2017 and clinched the 2017 Tri-Track Open Modified Series championship. Hirschman also won the Open Wheel Wednesday 100 at Seekonk Speedway (MA) back in June and the SBM 125 also held at Star in July. Hirschman has admittedly been lucky as well, particularly when it comes to heat race and feature draws. It has been the case in the last two races, and it was the case Wednesday. It’s also something that “Big Money Matt” freely admits, but that it still comes down to both team and driver to stay at the front. “Tonight things just kind of fell into my lap, really,” Hirschman told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I didn’t draw my heat position; my mom did that because I had another obligation for a photo out here for Speedway Illustrated, so she drew third. We finished second, put us in the redraw, and that was the last number in the bag, one. What else can you say? It was kind of handed to me to just come out here and not make any mistakes. Make the right decisions with the car, hit the setup. The car was really stuck tonight. I was better from the drop of the green then I was back in July.” Those who don’t know Hirschman would immediately suspect that Star is his home track, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The simple fact is that Star is a style of track that Hirschman enjoys, and that the two have clicked since day one. “I came here as a kid when my dad raced, but that was back in the late 80’s, early 90’s, not sure I can attribute any of it to that. Came here to race for the first time in 2007, kind of a last minute, spur of the moment thing; we went to the World Series at Thompson and they were passing out flyers for a $4,000 to win Modified race next week. I talked to my owners from Pennsylvania and they said ‘yeah.’ We came up here for the weekend, won, raced with Ted Christopher, Jon McKennedy, that ended 2007. Just took to the track immediately, won the first time out and won many times since. I’ve got a lot of money at this little bullring.” Wednesday night also had a little twist brought on by Tri-Track co-promoter Wayne Darling. He offered an extra $1,000 to either of the drivers who drew a front row starting spot, dropped to the back of the field on the pace laps and drove back to win. Both Hirschman and Ryan Preece had the choice. Preece accepted, Hirschman did not. But he had a very good reason not to take the chance. “It was a generous offer, but a thousand really wasn’t enough to me. It didn’t make sense in my head because it pays $6,000 to win and the championship this year pays really well, it’s $5,000,” Hirschman explained. “I knew a win tonight would lock that, and there is a race drop involved, there’s one more race left. I knew no one else could win three, but somebody else could still win two if someone won tonight and the next one. So the only way I could lock it up was a win and with $6,000 to win and $5,000 for the championship, a thousand wasn’t enough to persuade me to give up the pole.” While Hirschman enjoyed both the race win and Tri-Track Open Modified Series championship in victory lane, things were not as smooth behind him.
Rowan Pennink ran second most of the night, but had to deal with Tommy Barrett, Jr. who had not pitted with the rest of the field before halfway and elected to pit instead on the next yellow flag with 40 laps to go. By the time the white flag flew, Pennink was holding second from Barrett, when in turn three contact was made, sending Pennink into the grass. After the race Pennink made his displeasure clear by driving into Barrett’s rear bumper. Barrett would be penalized for the last-lap contact, while Pennink was fined for making contact after the race Pennink later gave his view on what happened. “He just drove into me, took us out on the last corner there. I think he just drove it in there as hard as he could and probably hit me as hard as he could,” Pennink stated. “Idiot move cost him a third, me a second, and probably close to seven grand in money between the two of us, just a dumb move. Matt locked up the championship and we would’ve probably locked up second, whatever. But it ends up being a sh—- night and he’ll (Barrett) get his back, I’m not forgetting that one.” Barrett was not available for comment after the race or Thursday morning.With Barrett’s penalty, Les Hinckley was credited with finishing second, Jon McKennedy third, Woody Pitkat fourth and Jon Kievman rounding the top five.
Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA turned in a dominating performance in NorthEast Race Cars Tri-Track Open Modified Series action to score the victory in Wednesday night’s Flamingo Motorsports 100 at Star Speedway in Epping, NH. In a controversial finish, Les Hinckley of Windsor Locks, CT, and Jon McKennedy of Chelsmford, MA, joined Hirschman on the podium. It was his third win in the three races held so far for the Tri-Track Series (TTOMS) this season. It also cements Hirschman’s stronghold on Star Speedway’s victory lane.“This is my best track,” said Hirschman in victory lane. “I hate to sound cocky but I will be hard to beat when I am out front here.” That was certainly the case on Wednesday night as Hirschman led every lap en route to the victory. “I think the guys may be tired of following me around here,” added Hirschman. With modified aces Hirschman and Ryan Preece qualifying through heat races on the front row, Series managing partner Wayne Darling posed a challenge to the duo - start tail of the field, win and pocket an extra $1,000 cash. Series point leader Hirschman opted to remain on the front row. A showman, Preece started scratch on the field.
From the drop of the green flag Hirschman was dogged by Max Zachem and Richard Savary. Immediately the field lined up nose to tail with Hirschman, Zachem, Savary, Hinckley and Pennink making up the top five. On lap 6, Hinckley was all over the back bumper of Savary. He was able to make the pass but went wide exiting turn three and shoving Savary out of the groove. Savary lost several positions. Finding himself now locked in battle with Woody Pitkat. The pair went side-by-side for several laps before Savary went spinning off the race track’s backstretch on lap 10 to bring out the first caution. Preece was still mired deep in the field. On the restart, Zachem tucked in behind Hirschman. Pennink looked to be making the outside groove work; taking third away from Hinckley and charging to the outside of Zachem. Preece and McKennedy, who started at the back of the pack after suffering mechanical woes in qualifying, began picking their way through the field. Hinckley was, once again, moving in the positive direction advancing positions over Pennink and Zachem. He continued his forward progress and began to reel in Hirschman. Hirschman and Hinckley enjoyed a bit of breathing room over Pennink in third. Pitkat joined the fray getting by Zachem and headed for Pennink. Youngster Blake Barney was having a solid night running in sixth. Preece’s progress had stalled-out in tenth position. Preece was getting pressure from McKennedy, who made the pass look easy on lap 44. Savary was gaining ground following his earlier incident to run mid-pack as well. Just as the lead duo of Hirschman and Hinckley hit heavy lapped traffic, a caution flew on lap 46 for a single-car spin by Dylan Rock. Under the caution, the entire field headed to the pit area for service with the exception of Tommy Barrett.
The restart on lap 46 pitted Tommy Barrett against Hirschman. Hirschman got a great run on the outside and was able to get the lead away from Barrett before the completion of the lap. Cars inside the top-ten went scrambling when third-running Hinckley washed-up the track in turn two. Several cars were collected including Anthony Nocella and Zachem to bring out the third caution of the event on lap 47. All were able to continue; however, Zachem was penalized for intentionally bringing out the yellow. Hirschman looked like he was shot out of cannon the on lap 47 restart. Barrett fell back losing several positions and Preece was making his presence known; breaking into the top five. At halfway, Hirschman continued to lead Pennink and now Pitkat in third and Preece in fourth. The lead duo extended their lead as the battle for third heated up between Pitkat, Preece, and Andy Jankowiak. Jon Kievman and Brian Robie also joined the fray. Jankowiak dogged Preece for fourth. Making a run on Preece, the two made contact. Jankowiak spun and collected Preece to bring out the fourth caution on lap 60. Kievman and Brian Robie were also involved. Jankowiak and Robie remained on track while Preece and Kievman returned to the event after pitting. Following the incident, Preece would not be a factor in the outcome of the race; ending his bid for the $1,000 bonus.
Lap 60 Hirschman took control of the event once again with Pennink in second followed by Pitkat. Barney continued his strong run in fourth with Hinckley back inside the top five. Inside the top-ten, Kurt Vigeant had his hands full with McKennedy. He was able to hold him off for a couple of laps before giving up the spot. A fully-recovered Savary followed through. After staying out on the lap 46, Barrett had taken advantage of the lap 60 caution and was slicing through the field with the new fresher tires. Hinckley was beginning to look racy once again as well; passing Pitkat for third. John McKennedy dogged Barney and took the position away on lap 74. Barrett was back to sixth. Up front, Hinckley was right on Pennink while Hirschman got a few car-length advantage. The caution flew on lap 80 for spin by Jankowiak in turn four. Hirschman, Pennink, Hinckley were again the top-three on the restart. Hinckley peeked to the inside of Pennink looking for second. Barrett was right with Hinckley as well. The three cars ran in a tight pack a few car lengths behind leader Hirschman. Thing got dicey on lap 89 when Hinckley got sideways coming out of turn four. The door opened for Barrett but he could not make the pass. All the action cooled when the sixth and final caution of the event flew on lap 90 for a single-car spin by Savary. The caution set up a 10 lap shootout for the checkers. Again, it was Hirschman pitted against Pennink. The two went side by side for a single lap before Pennink settled back in line in second. Sparks were flying off the Pennink’s 25 from contact from Barrett, who had gotten by Hinckley. All cars were able to continue without changing positions.
With the heated battle for second, now between Pennink and Barrett, Hirschman enjoyed the largest advantage of the night. Barrett was letting it all hang out over the final few laps. Coming to the checkers, a distance behind winner Hirschman, Barrett and Pennink made contact; sending Pennink spinning. Barrett was penalized for his actions and scored as the final car on the lead lap. Pennink, whose frustration boiled over, was issued a fine for contact after the race. When the dust settled, Hirschman sat patiently in victory lane joined by family and friends. Hinckley and McKennedy rode their roller coaster nights to podium finishes. Pitkat and Kievman completed the top-five. Nocella, Barney, Vigeant, Jankowiak and Matt Galko rounded out the top-ten.
There is only one TTOMS race left for competitors to try to stop Hirschman’s winning ways. The final race of the 2017 TTOMS season is scheduled for Saturday, October 28 at Seekonk Speedway with the running of the Haunted Hundred. In the meantime, fans of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series can visit the series on social media - on Facebook at facebook.com/tritrackmods and on Twitter @tritrackmods.NorthEast Racecars Tri-Track Open Modified Series
– August 23, 2017 - Flamingo Motorsports 100- Star Speedway Official Finish:
1. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA; 2. Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks, CT; 3. Jon McKennedy, Chelsmford, MA; 4. Woody Pitkat, Stafford, CT; 5. Jon Kievman, Deerfield Beach, FL; 6. Anthony Nocella, Woburn, MA; 7. Blake Barney, Lakewood, NJ; 8. Kurt Vigeant, Oxford, MA; 9. Andy Jankowiak, Tonawanda, NY; 10. Matt Galko, Meriden, CT; 11. Josh Cantara, Saco, ME; 12. Dana Smith, Sunapee, NH; 13. Richard Savary, Canton, MA; 14. Ryan Preece, Berlin, CT; 15. Michael Douglas Jr., Auburn, NH; 16. Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, PA; 17. Tommy Barrett, Millis, MA; 18. Dylan Rock, Enfield, NH; 19. Sal Accardi, Jr., Deer Park, NY; 20. Brian Robie, Sunapee, NH; 21 Max Zachem, Preston, CT.
BLEWETT POCKETS WOODY'S $5105 IN WALL MODIFIED WIN
August 20 - WALL SPEEDWAY. ~ Jimmy Blewett earned $5105 by racing through the pack and into the lead during the closing laps of the Woody's High Banks 105 for Freehold Ford Modified stock cars at Wall Stadium Speedway Saturday night. It was sixth win of the season for the current championship point leader. By virtue of a pole starting spot by turning the fastest lap in time trials Blewett jumped to the lead at the outset with Holmdel's Andrew Krause offering plenty of pressure. Invader Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa. slipped into second on a lap 15 restart and chased the top runner until a red flag waved on lap 43 for a backstretch tangled between Jackson's Jason Treat and Ricky Collins of Willow Grove, Pa. At this point contenders Hirschman, Jackson's Steven Reed and Derek Hopkinson of Toms River ducked in the pit area for new tires. Blewett continued to lead when action resumed until a lap 76 caution allowed him, Krause, Howell's Eric Mauriello and Danny Bohn of Mooresville, N.C. to stop for new tires. Hirschman took up the lead on the restart but Blewett was charging as he raced into second by lap 80 and closed to the leader's bumper on lap 84. Blewett went right to work looking for a path into the lead and dove to the inside lane on lap 86 to take the top spot. Blewett was not alone in his charge, however, as his team mate Mauriello followed him through for second. The final 20 laps offered a spirited battle for the win between Blewett and Mauriello before the team cars crossed the finish line first and second. Hirschman was third at the stripe with Krause and Bohn finishing fourth and fifth. “When Eric (Mauriello) joined this team I told him to race for the win no matter who is in front of him,” Blewett said of the late race battle for the win. “This makes for a great finish for this team. We really needed that because this has been a long week for my family. We lost my brother John on August 16 ten years ago.”
MODIFIED FEATURE – 105 Laps – 1. JIMMY BLEWETT, HOWELL, 2. Eric Mauriello, 3. Matt Hirschman, 4. Andrew Krause, 5. Danny Bohn, 6. Shanon Mongeau, 7. Steven Reed, 8. Derek Hopkinson, 9. Kenny Van Wickle, 10. Marc Rogers, 11. Chas Okerson,12. Tom Catanzaro, 13. Trevor Alspach, 14. Scott Brannick, 15. Ed DeLage, 16. Blake Barney, 17. Shaun Carrig, 18. Chris Reynolds, 19. Ricky Collins, 20. Jason Treat, 21. Adam LaCicero, 22. Zack Alspach
Matt Hirschman Remains Unbeaten at Evergreen Raceway
August 19, 2017
It seems like it wouldn’t be a typical Friday night at Evergreen Raceway with the treat of rain. Luckily, storms blew through early enough in the day for the skies to clear and for the speedway’s racing program to click off without a drop of moisture for Fairway Motors Employee Appreciation Night. When it was all said and done, Matt Hirschman of Northampton remained unbeaten in the American Rental Equipment Modified Series action, as he claimed his third win of the season and the $2,000 prize. With $1,000 on the line for the winner of the Barbush Automotive Street Stock feature, it was bound to be a barnburner. Randy Schlenker of Whitehall edged Mike Pollock for the win and the cash. Tom Casagrande of Drums held off Stephanie Moyer to claim the Factory Stock victory and even with a three wide pass for the lead, the Evan’s Roadhouse Four Cylinder feature went caution free and Harry O’Neill of Mountaintop took the win. Following the qualifiers and a redraw, Earl Paules led the Modified field to the drop of the green flag in the 50-lap main event. With three laps in the books, Paules held the point over Austin Kochenash, Roger Coss, Brian Sones and Zane Zeiner. The first of six quick yellow flags flew when Zeiner spun in turns three and four. The lap four incident slowed the show for a bit and when green flag racing resumed Kochenash took his turn at the race lead over Paules. Meanwhile, Matt Hirschman had worked his way into fourth from his ninth place starting position. With Kochenash still showing the way at the mid race point, Hirschman had already slipped into the second spot, followed by Coss, Brian DeFebo and Paules. Hirschman took several looks at the leader and didn’t make a serious bid for the lead. That all changed 11 laps later when the yellow flag flew for a Bobby Jones spun on the backstretch. Two wide for the restart, Hirschman drag raced Kochenash and had him clear for the lead by the end of the backstretch. With 10 laps to go, Hirschman continued to hold the point over Kochenash. John Fortin, Jr. had climbed into third, followed by Coss and Jon Mandato. From out of nowhere, Zeiner made the final laps full of excitement. First he cracked the top five and then overtook Coss for fourth with eight to go. He slipped past Fortin for third on lap 44 and then by Kochenash on the following circuit. Zeiner ran out of time and Hirschman took his third straight Evergreen win of the season over Zeiner. Fortin, Kochenash and Coss crossed the strip to complete the top five. However, Fortin was penalized two positions for passing below the line in turns one and two.
Kochenash, Hirschman and DeFebo were heat race winners.
Modified (50-laps) 1. MATT HIRSCHMAN 2. Zane Zeiner 3. Austin Kochenash 4. Roger Coss 5. John Fortin, Jr 6. John Mandato 7. Jack Ely 8. Todd Baer 9. John Markovic 10. Mitch Dowd 11. Gene Bowers 12. Earl Paules 13. Blake Barney 14. Rusty Smith 15. Brian Sones 16. Alan Creveling 17.Paul Monkoski 18. Bobby Jones 19. Brian DeFebo
Matt Hirschman Rolls To SBM 125 Victory At Star Speedway
It’s become an almost cliché story around the Modified ranks of the Northeast. Big money show, and Big Money Matt is on and rolling.
But the wrinkle Saturday for Matt Hirschman was that when the green flag fell, he knew with what he had at the start he was more likely to be an also ran than a celebrated victor.
Hirschman and his team used some finely calculated adjustments, and a flawless pit stop to help lift them to where they needed to be, and the song remained the same, with the Northampton, Pa. driver in tune perfectly when the big money was on the line. Hirschman cruised over the late stages and won the Northeast Race Cars & Parts Tri-Track Open Modified Series SMB 125 at Star Speedway in Epping, N.H. Hirschman took home a $6,000 winner’s purse for the event. It was his fourth in the event in its six-year history. Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. was second and Josh Cantara of Saco, Me. third. Hirschman won in the last Tri-Track event on June 28, the $10,000 to win Open Wheel Wednesday at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway. “It’s an incredible roll we’ve been on,” Hirschman said. “I’m just speechless really. To put together this many wins that we have is definitely, by far, the best streak of my career and maybe the best I’ll ever have really.” Hirschman started 14th in the 28-car field for the event, which attracted 33 entries. He spent much of the first 73 laps running around 10th place before all the leaders pitted on lap 73. Matt Galko led the field to green for the lap 73 restart with Hirschman restarting fourth. He made his way quickly to third then got by Chris Pasteryak for second on lap 77. A lap later Hirschman made a diving move under Galko to take over the lead for good. Hirschman was left to drive away watching Pennink battle with a host of drivers for second over the closing stages. Cantara got by Les Hinckley III for third on lap 86. “Tonight, I don’t really know what it is and I’m going to try to see if I can figure it out, but my car was not good at the beginning of this race and I owe a lot to my guys because when we came in for the pit stop, not only did we change a tire, I had about five guys who all made adjustments and everybody executed everything and we gained spots,” Hirschman said. “We beat all the guys that I was going to have beat on the race track. So I really owe a big part to them. And then the adjustments we did make did bring the car in so that I had a good car at the finish. But I wouldn’t have sniffed a top-five if we had the car that we had at the start at the finish. They would have been coming around to lap me, we were that bad. I’m going to see if I can figure out why, but we definitely dialed it in for the finish.” Said Pennink: “We had a good car. After we pitted we got stuck in a couple bad lanes and we kind of got dragged further back than we should have and we had to make that up. We definitely had a second place car. We had nothing for Matt. He had an unbelievable car. He could just pick it up and drive right away from us whenever he needed to. Congrats to him. That’s two Tri-Track races in a row that he’s had an unbelievable race car.”
The end result of Saturday’s SBM 125 VI for the Tri-Track Open Modified Series at Star Speedway (NH) was one that many predicted going into the evening, with Matt Hirschman coming out on top for his fourth win in the race and seventh straight Modified win; however, the road to victory was one that many had not predicted. Getting caught in the rear of his heat race, Hirschman started the feature 14th and was only able to climb as high as eighth by the time the yellow flew on Lap 73 Soon after that yellow flag, everything changed as all the leaders pitted for tires and adjustments. Steve Masse had dominated the first half of the race but he and several others took longer on their live pits stops, with Hirschman beating him and several others off pit road.Lining up behind Matt Galko, who led after staying out, Chris Pasteryak and Todd Annarummo, Hirschman used multiple restarts to pick them all off one by one before taking the lead for good on lap 78. Eventually, after a string of cautions, the race went for one final green flag run with Hirschman outrunning Rowan Pennink to the checkers. In victory lane, “Big Money Matt” was not short on praise for the entire No. 60 team.I owe a big part of this to my guys. I had a better car at Lap 100 than I had at Lap 1, and that really shouldn’t be that way,” Hirschman said. “We were no good at the beginning of this race; we came in and not only did we do our tire change, we made adjustments. There were four of five people that had jobs and everybody executed perfectly and dialed it back in better for me at the end. We would not have sniffed the top five if we didn’t come in for the tires and changes, we would’ve been one of the guys getting lapped, that’s how bad we were at the start of this race.”Not only did Hirschman’s crew get him in front of a lot of drivers, but drivers with potentially winning cars.“The caution came at the right time. We needed it, they hit it all right, and gave me so many spots. We had to pass two or three guys there, one of them didn’t have the fresh tires. My guys put me ahead of all the other guys that could’ve won this race tonight.”The win extends Hirschman’s summer winning streak to seven with the previous being four wins on the RoC circuit, one at Evergreen Raceway (PA) and the previous Tri-Track Open Modified Series event at Seekonk Speedway (MA).“It’s incredible the streak we’re on,” Hirschman stated. “I’m almost speechless because I don’t care how good of a car you have, how well prepared you are; races are not easy to win. By circumstance, sometimes the best car doesn’t win races, but to win this many in a row is incredible. We raced last week and I worked on this car every single night, late hours to finish this car for this week, and that was coming off a win last week. It does take a heck of a lot of effort. I know what it takes, and right now we’re on our absolute A-plus best game that we’ve been on, and I’m trying to stay there.”While Hirschman sees no reason he can’t keep the streak going, he is more than thankful that he and the team have made it this far.“We’ll keep taking it one week at a time, I’m not really too concerned about what this win streak finishes at, it’s been an incredible ride.”Behind Hirschman and Pennink were Josh Cantara, Anthony Nocella, and Woody Pitkat who rounded out the top five.
Next race up for the Tri-Track Series is back at Star Speedway on Wednesday, August 23.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
SBM 125 Unofficial Results
Star Speedway (NH) – July 29, 2017
69Tommy Barrett, Jr.
1550Carl Medeiros, Jr.
Matt Hirschman Thunders to RoC Victory at Holland - July 22
Big Money” Matt Hirschman from Northampton, Pennsylvania thundered his way to the $3,500 payday after winning the Thunder in the Hills 100 presented by the Upstate Automotive Group for the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series fueled by Sunoco at Holland International Speedway on Saturday evening. For Hirschman, it was his third career triumph at Holland and fourth on the 2017 Race of Champions Modified Series. Nik Welshans from West Falls, NY led the final two circuits to score the win in the Bank of Holland Chargers. Andrew Nye from Lancaster, NY Bob Palmer from Buffalo, NY won the main event for the Advance Auto Parts Hornets. “This place is so much fun driving a Modified” stated Hirschman in victory lane. “I felt all race that I had to beat Emerling to the front and we did that tonight. I love racing at Holland and race at this competitive track and we can change lanes here and can’t make much better racetracks than Holland” Hirschman stated. “Restarts were huge tonight. I love coming here, it’s my favorite racetrack and we were in good shape and we started on the bottom and we (Hirschman and I) had equal cars and it was a good points night” stated runner-up finisher, Patrick Emerling. “We led a lot of laps tonight, just not the one that paid the bills” stated third place finisher Austin Kockenash. New Jersey competitor Randall Richard and Pennsylvania pilot Austin Kockenash led the 24 car field of Race of Champions Modifieds to the green flag for their ninth race of the season, the annual Thunder in the Hills 100 and it was Kockenash in the lead with Patrick Emerling in second with DLJ in third with Chuck Hossfeld running in fourth and Matt Hirschman in fifth. Hossfeld wasted no time to move into second as he passed Emerling on lap five. George Skora and Andy Jankowiak made contact on the back straightaway and came together on lap eight to bring out the red flag. The Skora #65 needed to be cradled back to the pits. The early race restart would see Kockenash and Hossfeld bringing the field back to the green flag with Kockenash, Hossfeld, Lewis, Mike Leaty and Emerling racing in the top five. Mike Leaty would pass Lewis to move into third on lap 20, just as Amy Catalano spun in turn four to bring out the caution. The lap 26 restart would see Kockenash out front with Hossfeld, Leaty, Lewis and Matt Hirschman, who started 10th on the grid, racing in the top five with Tommy Catalano battling Emerling for the sixth spot. Daren Scherer slowed, in turn, one to bring out the races third caution on lap 41, erasing the lad that Kockenash built up over the field, nearly ¾ of a second over Hossfeld. At halfway, Kockenash, Hossfeld, Lewis, Leaty, Hirschman, Emerling, Tommy, Camden Barber, Scott Wylie and Bill Mislin raced in the top 10. The battle was on for the third and fourth position as Matt Hirschman raced by Leaty and Lewis to move into third place. Emerling would regain the fourth spot after passing Lewis and then Mike Leaty re-entered the top five with Tommy Catalano trying to follow Leaty. The leaders would hit lap traffic on lap 60. Tom McGrath, who came out of retirement, entered the top 10 for the first time on lap 64. The caution would fly once again as Bill Mislin hit the back straightaway wall. Mislin was able to drive his Rear End Specialists entry to the pits. On the restart, Kockenash took off with Matt Hirschman moving into second with Hossfeld, Emerling and Tommy Catalano taking over fifth. Mike Leaty would regain the fifth spot on lap 79, just as Emerling challenged Hossfeld for third place. Hirschman would catch Kockenash on lap 82 to challenge for the lead with Kockenash able to hold off Hirschman. Hirschman again would look underneath Kockenash coming off turn four but would settle to run behind Kockenash with less than 15 laps remaining, as Patrick Emerling started to reel in the lead duo. Hirschman went underneath Kockenash coming off turn four and Hirschman would take the lead on lap 88. Emerling would catch Kockenash for second, as Scott Wylie would move back into the top five and would battle with Hossfeld to move into fourth place. Emerling used the slide job in turn two to take second away from Kockenash with six laps remaining. Hirschman would pull away to score the win. Emerling, Kockenash, Wylie, and Hossfeld would complete the top five.
NEWS AND NOTES: Chuck Hossfeld was the fastest in Time Trials for the RoC Modifieds with a 13.902-second lap around the 3/8th’s mile oval. Highest car count of the season with 24 Race of Champions Modifieds signed in pitside.
RACE RESULTS – Upstate Automotive Group Night
Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series: MATT HIRSCHMAN (Started 10th), Patrick Emerling (4), Austin Kockenash (2), Scott Wylie (3), Chuck Hossfeld (8), Camden Barber (15), Mike Leaty (12), Tommy Catalano (5), Daryl Lewis Jr (6), Bryan Sherwood (11), Tom McGrath (23), Karl Hehr (14), Danny Knoll Jr (22), Tyler Rypkema (16), Dave Rigan (17), Tommy Rought (19), Mike Fiebelkorn Jr (20), Randall Richard (1), Amy Catalano (21), Bill Mislin (18), Alan Bookmiller (24), Daren Scherer (13), George Skora III (7), Andy Jankowiak (9)
Qualifying Winners: Chuck Hossfeld, Patrick Emerling, Daryl Lewis Jr
Hirschman Drives to Fifth Straight Modified Victory at Oswego July 7, 2017
Matt Hirschman drove from his sixth starting spot to win the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series race Saturday night at Oswego Speedway in New York, claiming his 11th career win at The Steel Palace. The win was also Hirschman’s fifth in a row in Tour-type Modified competition. Hirschman passed eventual third-place finisher Mike Leaty after a lap 25 restart and held off a hard charging Patrick Emerling in the closing laps for the win. Races here are usually won on the draw, but sixth just worked out for us” Hirschman told Speed51.com powered by JEGS, “He (Leaty) was just so tight he couldn’t hold the bottom. I just had a run and come up underneath him and got by him. We weren’t great, but we were good. Others were just off. The 07 (Emerling) was our best competition but he spun out in the beginning and had to come from the back.” Second-place finisher Patrick Emerling was overall satisfied with his result after spinning out on lap 2.“We didn’t start out with the best track position. We were slicing and dicing and another car came down on me and probably got a little help from behind and ended up going around,” he said of the early incident. “We had a pretty good car. I think we would’ve had something for the 60 (Hirschman) probably, but just got a little too tight there at the end. But all in all, it was a good points night and a pretty decent night for us.” For Hirschman, the win was his fifth straight in Modified competition after previous RoC Modified wins at Jennerstown (PA) and Lake Erie (PA), a $10,000 Open Wheel Wednesday win at Seekonk Speedway (MA) and a big money win at Evergreen Raceway Park (PA). “We’re definitely on a career-best hot streak,” he stated. “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the whole team. The preparation, the people at home and at the track. When you’re on a roll and you got momentum on your side and it can carry you for sure, and that’s what we have right now.” The RoC Modifieds are off next weekend before a doubleheader at Spencer Speedway and Holland International Speedway on July 21 and July 22.
RoC Modified Series Unofficial Results
Oswego Speedway (NY) – July 8, 2017
1 60 Matt Hirschman 67
2 07 Patrick Emerling 67
3 25 Mike Leaty 67
4 54 Tommy Catalano 67
5 12 Andy Jankowiak 66
6 32 Tyler Rypkema 66
7 65 George Skora III 66
8 10 Daryl Lewis Jr 66
9 64 Amy Catalano 66
10 59 Karl Hehr 65
11 40 Tommy Rought 62
12 22 Scott Wylie 33
13 45 Timmy Catalano 25
14 3 Daren Scherer 15
15 2 Austin Kochnash 8
16 95 Bryan Sherwood 2
“Big Money” Hits the Big Jackpot for the Third Time at Seekonk
June 29, 2017
Wednesday night was a night that seemed to go the way of Matt Hirschman from start to finish. In the opening round of the 2017 Tri-Track Open Modified Series at Seekonk Speedway, Hirschman started the night lucky, drawing pole in his heat race and going on to win. His good fortune would carry on, drawing the third starting spot for the 100-lap, $10,000 to win feature, while his top rivals were not as lucky. Hirschman made quick work to seize the lead from polesitter Justin Bonsignore on the third lap of the race. From there, it was all in the mirror for “Big Money”. “I had a very good night for drawing numbers and I didn’t have to really work hard to pass a car all night, and that makes things so much easier. The cars that were capable of winning the race, you know it’s the old saying, ‘The cream rises to the top,’ they all did, it’s just we were there long before them and I didn’t have to abuse my car at all to be there,” Hirschman said in victory lane on the Speed51.com broadcast.
9But winning races takes more than just lucky draws. Hirschman and his team put a lot of effort into winning this race, and in the end it paid off as Hirschman picked up his third win in this popular race. “It seems it’s either been feast or famine for me. I’ve had one where where it’d be easy or there’s so many years where I had a car that I could’ve won and I started back then used my stuff up before I got there. We usually find ourselves near the front, but it’s a tough race to win. Of all the early season races, I really targeted this one. I put everything I could into this race. I’m not racing anywhere else the rest of the week because I was all in for this race here. When you have $10,000 on the line, it only makes sense. Nothing was worth more than being here tonight.” A final long green flag run sealed the deal for Hirschman who enjoyed an enormous lead over a still strong Jon McKennedy. Though Hirschman’s car had plenty left to give, he felt fortunate he did not have to find out how much was left. “I think I had enough, but McKennedy, I think he had something for the end. He’s a lot like me like that and I know Barrett won a race a few weeks back here and he was fast all day. Those two were two of the guys we had to watch, and they were there at the end. It may have looked dominant, but trust me so much of it is the luck of the draw and not having to abuse my car. The 51 car was not good tonight, so passing him was easy and that was it. You take these nights when you get them because I’ve won this race now three times, but that’s over the course of almost ten years. They’re not easy, but we certainly had what we needed tonight.”
Modified Madness 100
Seekonk Speedway, Seekonk, Massachusetts
Pos. No. Driver
1 60 Matt Hirschman
2 29 Jon McKennedy
3 25 Rowan Pennink
4 92 Anthony Nocella
5 9 Tommy Barrett
6 52H Les Hinckley
7 6 Ryan Preece
8 12 Todd Annarummo
9 52 Woody Pitkat
10 14 Blake Barney
11 50 Ron Silk
12 16 Eric Berndt
13 51 Justin Bonsignore
14 8 Earl Paules
15 22 Chuck Hossfeld
16 44 Bobby Santos
17 76 Dennis Perry
18 7ma Kurt Vigeant
19 28 Dwight Jarvis
20 58 Eric Goodale
21 15p Chris Pasteryak
22 13x Jeff Rocco
23 99 Richard Savary
24 48 Jon Kievman
25 2 Doug Coby
26 23 Mike Douglas Jr.
Matt Hirschman Wins Big Money at Evergreen Raceway
St. Johns, PA (6/25/2017)- Following a rain delay on Sunday at Evergreen Raceway, Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA started from the ninth spot in the 50-lap American Equipment Rental Modified Series event. The seasoned veteran remained smooth and consistent throughout the show and then with 14 laps remaining, took the lead from Bobby Jones. It was his second $2,000 Evergreen payday in as many starts at the track this season. Following heat races and then a redraw, Brian Sones led the Modified field to the drop of the green flag in the 50-lap main event. He was overtaken by Brian DeFebo and Bobby Jones before a lap was scored and then settled into the third spot. DeFebo continued to lead following a handful of quick caution periods early on and Jones remained in tow. With three laps complete, Matt Hirschman, who had started ninth, cracked the top five. Meanwhile, Roger Coss had climbed into the second spot. With seven laps complete, Jones retook second and while fighting a very loose car, tried to reel in the leader. With 16 laps complete, DeFebo continued to show the way over Jones, Hirschman, Coss and Blake Barney. Following a quick lap 16 yellow flag, Jones jumped into the race lead and Coss followed through for second shortly after. The top two remained the same until lap 30 when Hirschman bided his time and worked by Coss. Six laps later he overtook Jones before going the distance for his second Evergreen win of the season. Coss crossed the strip in second, followed by Barney, Jones and John Fortin, Jr. However, Jones and Fortin were credited with third and fourth respectively after Barney was penalized two positions for need heeding the race director over the radio in that latter part of the show. Paul Frantz, Barney and Fortin were heat race winners.
Modified (50-laps) 1. MATT HIRSCHMAN 2. Roger Coss 3. Bobby Jones 4. John Fortin, Jr 5. Blake Barney 6. Brian DeFebo 7. Gene Bowers 8. Mitch Dowd 9. Eric Lane 10. Tommy Wanick III 11. Paul Frantz 12. Chris Ridsdale 13. Brian Sones 14. Calvin Caroll 15. Alan Creveling 16. Joe King, Jr 17. Paul Monkoski DQ: John Markovic
Matt starts 10th and wins in the return of the Mods to Jennerstown
(June 18, 2017) The Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series entered its inaugural appearance at Jennerstown Speedway Complex (PA) without a repeat winner in 2017, but Matt Hirschman put an end to that streak with a pass for the lead late in the 100-lap event. Bath, Pennsylvania’s Zane Zeiner looked to be on his way to his first RoC victory since 2011; however, a yellow flag with less than 30 circuits remaining erased the margin he had built during a lengthy green flag run. Hirschman came from fourth on the final restart of the race and steadily navigated to second before getting by Zeiner. “I ran a pretty consistent pace the whole time,” Hirschman told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I didn’t want to over abuse the car. When the last caution came out it looked like (Zeiner) had abused the right front meaning he probably had a tighter car. I knew my car would turn well and rotate around the bottom so I kind of thought he would have a hard time holding it down. He did pretty good for a few laps but the longer it went I had a pretty good piece.” As the field came back to green, it was evident that Zeiner was missing some speed that he had before. Despite salvaging a third-place finish, the culprit became clear when he parked his Modified on the frontstretch for post-race interviews following the checkered flag. “When the car fired off on that last restart I knew something wasn’t right,” Zeiner, whose next scheduled event is the New England Short Track Showdown at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in a couple weeks, explained. “We had a right rear flat tire. I don’t know if we picked something up. We were running hard but I still had some left. I saved for Matt because I knew he was going to be coming, so I still had something left for him, but I think I got something on that last restart and the car just never fired off. The longer we went the worse it got. We’re pleased and got some confidence to come out this year with this car. We’re getting better.” While a vast majority of competitors were seeing the ½-mile facility for the first time in their lives, Hirschman and Zeiner had an early advantage due to each having prior experience. Hirschman, who had two prior starts more than a decade ago when the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour last visited, was nearly a quarter of a second faster than the next closest competitor during the practice session in the early afternoon. “I knew coming in here that I was possibly one of the very few that raced a Modified here,” Hirschman said. “At a track like this that goes a long way. It’s a very fast and very demanding track so I knew some of these guys were going to have quite a learning experience. “ Zeiner never previously raced a Modified at Jennerstown, but did finish fifth in a Late Model a short time ago when the track first reopened after being closed for a few years. Although there are extreme differences between the two types of vehicles, the prior track time was a major help for the experienced driver. I think so, especially (turns) one and two I learned a lot,” Zeiner commented. “I was good here with the Late Model and adapted quick with the Modified. Logging those laps and knowing what the track was going to do really helped us tonight I thought, as a driver and what to do with the car.” George Skora III and Tommy Catalano, both searching for their first career RoC Modified victory, battled for the lead early on. In the end, they would round out the top five in that order.
Finishing between Hirschman and Zeiner in the final results was defending series track champion Patrick Emerling. The Orchard Park, New York driver ran near the tail of the top 10 for most of the race, but came down pit road during the final caution and found the problem. From there, he made a valiant climb to the front only to run out of laps to catch Hirschman. “Something was really wrong with my car and I think we ended up with a flat tire,” Emerling noted, which was confirmed by RoC officials to be significantly low on pressure after being changed. “We ended up pretty decent toward the end. A couple more laps and I think we would have been in pretty good shape. This track is a lot of fun; definitely a lot different from what we’re used to. They just have an excellent facility and awesome track here.”
Hirschman echoed Emerling’s statements about how it can be refreshing to travel to a new location for the series. “It really is an awesome track to watch the Modifieds or any kind of racing,” Hirschman commented. “You can really race all over this racetrack. We haven’t been here in eleven years and I couldn’t really tell. The facility is kept as nice as it was back then or even better. For a new group to come in and reopen this track and have it in the shape that it is they really should be proud. They have a first-class facility.” It was also one in which he was proud to repeat an accomplishment his father Tony had done on a few occasions during his youth. Hirschman, who won the weekend before at Lake Erie Speedway (PA) which will be hosting the annual Race of Champions for the first time in late September, added the significance in supporting races like these and is optimistic for future appearances at such immaculate facilities. “It’s something I looked forward to,” Hirschman said. “I knew I wasn’t running the full schedule, but I’m not going to miss a race at a facility that you get one chance to come to. I think the car count will increase and I really hope they have us back. I thank them for having us. I really had fun today.”
Race fans can find on-demand Trackside Now coverage of Saturday’s race by clicking here.
Fin Str # Driver Laps
1 10 60 Matt Hirschman 100
2 7 07 Patrick Emerling 100
3 2 76 Zane Zeiner 100
4 3 65 George Skora III 100
5 1 54 Tommy Catalano 100
6 8 25 Mike Leaty 100
7 12 5 Kyle Ebersole 100
8 11 12 Andy Jankowiak 100
9 14 32 Tyler Rypkema 100
10 5 3 Daren Scherer 100
11 13 66 Austin Kochenash 100
12 6 64 Amy Catalano 100
13 4 51 T.J. Potrzebowski 100
14 9 95 Bryan Sherwood 99
15 16 9 Brandon Oltra 99
16 15 72 David French Jr. 8
Matt Hirschman dominated the Race of Champions Modified Series Lake Erie 75 at Lake Erie Speedway (PA) Saturday Night, earning his first win of the 2017 season.
(June 10, 2017) Hirschman picked up the win after leading the race flag-to-flag. The driver of the No. 60 Race of Champions Modified started from the outside of the front row after Scott Wylie had a part failure just prior to the start. Hirschman passed Daren Scherer using the outside groove on lap one, taking the lead and never looking back. Despite what looked like an easy victory, Hirschman told Speed51.com powered by JEGS that second-place finisher Tommy Catalano kept the pressure on him. I thought at the time Tommy was probably pushing me too hard, that our pace was too fast. But the way the race worked out, a lot of green flag, a lot of long green late. It worked out for both of us to stay one-two,” he said. “When you’re leading, you don’t want to give up the lead because to get it back later is probably going to be tough. Glad it worked out.” Tommy Catalano moved quickly from eighth to second place, and stalked Hirschman for much of the race. Catalano was able to make several attempts to pass Hirschman, but was unable to make them stick. His best chance came late in the race when slower traffic was racing ahead of Hirschman. However, after making a three-wide pass around the lapped cars, Catalano was not able to catch the leader again. Catalano said after the race that he was hoping Hirschman would make a mistake. “I kept my tires right in his tracks and kept the pressure on him. I was hoping that sooner or later he would mess up,” Catalano explained. “It wasn’t likely, I knew that, but I figured that was what I had to try to do. Couple times where he got a little loose, but I wasn’t close enough to capitalize. We came home second, that’s awesome. Hopefully one of these days the rolls will be reversed.” Hirschman knows that the competition will be coming for him when teams return for the 67th annual Race of Champions on September 30. “It really was a true test for later this year. Something that I know everybody is going to build on. We can try to get even better, but we know other guys are going to make changes too.”
-By Patrick Hahe, Speed51.com State Editor (IN, MI and OH)
Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series Unofficial Results
Lake Erie Speedway (PA) – June 10, 2017
Pos # Driver
1 60 Matt Hirschman
2 54 Tommy Catalano
3 65 George Skora
4 22 Chuck Hossfeld
5 25 Mike Leaty
6 66 Austin Kochenash
7 12x Andy Jankowiak
8 76 Zane Zeiner
9 32 Tyler Rypkema
10 07 Patrick Emerling
11 64 Amy Catalano
12 9 Brandon Oltra
13 59 Karl Hehr
14 95 Bryan Sherwood
15 10 Daryl Lewis, Jr.
16 40 Alan Bookmiller
17 99 Bill Mislin
18 40R Tommy Rought
19 076 Randall Richards
20 3 Daren Scherer
21 22jr Scott Wylie
JUNE 3, 2017
Patrick Emerling bested a stacked field to win Friday’s 75-lap Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour main event at Spencer Speedway.
“This was a really tough one for us,” said Emerling. “The track puts that stuff down around the track and this is a really fun place to race. You can run two wide. It makes for a lot of work, but also a lot of fun.” Chris Finocchario took the 25-lap win in the New York SuperStocks. Mike Leaty won the 35-lap Sunoco Modified main event, Maddy Virts won the the Grandpa Dog 4-Cylinder Scorpions feature and Tim Faro was a winner in the Super Sixes. The 75-lap RoC main event started off with Chuck Hossfeld taking an early lead from his outside pole starting position. Hossfeld was able to out drag the pole sitter Bryan Sherwood. Hossfeld was joined up front by Tyler Rypkema and Leaty. On lap 11 Leaty was able to grab second from Rypkema and take off after Hossfeld. Three laps later, Leaty tried an inside move down the front chute on Hossfeld, but fell short. As the laps mounted up Hossfeld, Leaty, Rypkema, Emerling and Sherwood circled the half-mile oval. Lap 18 saw Matt Hirschman pass Sherwood to join the top five. The race remained green until lap 42, when Karl Hehr spun coming off the fourth turn and into the infield grass down the front chute to bring out the first yellow of the night. A rash of caution flags slowed the field after that, as time after time when the field tried to restart a yellow flag would wave. On lap 43, the red had to be displayed after contact on the back stretch between Hehr and Sherwood eliminated both cars from the race.
On lap 45 Leaty’s car suffered a right-front flat tire. He pulled into the pits under yellow to replace the tire. He returned to the rear of the field. The lap 46 restart saw Emerling grab the lead from Hossfeld, but still yellow flag fever seemed to halt the racing.
Finally on lap 50 the race resumed with Emerling in the lead followed by Hirschman, Tommy Catalano, Hossfeld and George Skora.
As the laps wound down Emerling and Hirschman were able to pull out away from Hossfeld. Hirschman made an attempt on Emerling, but was unable to complete his pass. At the finish line it was Emerling, Hirschman, Hossfeld, Tommy Catalano and Skora.
1. Patrick Emerling
2. Matt Hirschman
3. Chuck Hossfeld
4. Tommy Catalano
5. George Skora
6. Andy Jancowaik
7. Mike Leaty
8. Roger Cross
9. Austin Kochenash
10. Amy Catalano
11. Tyler Rypkema
12. Daryle Lewis
13. Daren Scherer
14. Kirk Totten
15. Chris Risdale
16. Tommy Rought
18. Karl Hehr
19. Bryan Sherwood
Matt Hirschman Scores $2,000 in Evergreen’s Tour Modified Opener
By: Gene Ostrowski
May 21, 2017
St. Johns, PA (5/21/2017)- Evergreen raceway kicked off the official 2017 regular racing season Sunday afternoon. Many area short track fans came out for the show, which paid $2,000 to the winner of the American Rental Equipment Modified Series winner. After finishing second in his heat race, Matt Hirschman of Northampton redrew the pole position and wired the field to claim the big prize. After starting sixth in the Barbush Automotive Street Stock feature, Randy Schlenker of Walnutport worked his way through traffic and took the checkers to win the opener. Following a fierce battle with Brayden Spencer, Harry O’Neill of Mountaintop took the checkered flag for his first Evan’s Roadhouse Four Cylinder win of the season.
Hirschman started on the point for the 50-lap American Rental Equipment Modified main event and led the opening lap over Zane Zeiner, Roger Coss, Brian Sones and CJ Lehmann. With four laps in the books and with Hirschman still in command, Brian DeFebo overtook Sones, who was running in fifth at that point in the show. Following a few quick cautions, DeFebo snagged fourth from Coss on lap nine. With 20 laps complete, Hirschman continued to show the way over Zeiner, Austin Kochenash, DeFebo and Coss. A string of lap 28 yellows slowed the event on several occasions, with the first being a tangle that involved Gene Bowers, Joe King, Jr, Brian Romig and Blake Barney in turns one and two. After several restarts the yellow flew again when Zeiner got down into the dirt at the bottom of turn two. Zeiner headed to the pits shortly after, which moved Kochenash into second. Kochenash spun in turns three and four a lap after the restart, and once green flag racing resumed; Coss was shown as the runner up, followed by Bobby Jones. As the race neared its end DeFebo turned up the heat. With five laps remaining he overtook Coss and moved back into the second spot. DeFebo had one more shot at Hirschman on a lap 49 restart, but his attempt was null and Hirschman took the checks and the big paycheck. DeFebo settled for second, followed by Jones, Zeiner and Barney.
Lehmann, Coss and Zeiner were heat race winners.
Modified (50-laps) 1. MATT HIRSCHMAN 2. Brian DeFebo 3. Bobby Jones 4. Zane Zeiner 5. Blake Barney 6. Roger Coss 7. DJ Wagner 8. Brandon Oltra 9. John Markovic 10. John Fortin, Jr 11. Austin Kochenash 12. Gene Bowers 13. Paul Monkoski 14. Paul Frantz 15. Brian Sones 16. Ricky Collins 17.Brian LaBar 18. Brian Romig Jr 19. CJ Lehman 20. Joe King, Jr
MYRTLE BEACH SPEEDWAY - 17th
by Polly Reid
Myrtle Beach Speedway in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina rolled out the welcome mat hosting the 2017 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) season opener and in NASCAR overtime, Timmy Solomito of Islip, NY in the Eric Sanderson owned, Starrett Tools sponsored Ford survived a dash to the finish out pedaling Justin Bonsignore, Andy Seuss and Rob Summers in the final restart to take the checkers winning the NWMT ‘Performance Plus 150’ at Myrtle Beach Speedway. Summers surged from fourth on the final restart to finish second, Andy Seuss third, Ryan Preece fourth and Max Zachem fifth. Tire strategy was a key component in the ‘Performance Plus 150’ as teams were allowed four tires for the event but could only change one tire at a time at each pit road stop. “My team had a great strategy,” said Solomito in victory lane. “Those guys gave me a great car, great equipment, it was really a game of chess, the rotation back to the front with the pit stops, I just knew I had to be patient and it’s hard to be patient because usually you want to go up to the front and lead. But, we were able to come up with the win. Sly and the gang, Starrett Tools, Starrett Racing, all the guys that helped get us here, this is huge.” Crew chief of the winning team, Sly Szaban smiling said the unique tire situation called for ‘crazy strategy.’ “We put on one tire at a time whenever we felt we needed it to go the next thirty to forty laps. The cautions had to fly when we needed it to make it all work and fortunately it did. We gambled with some things- Lady Luck was on our side for the cautions to fly our way.” Rob Summers of Manchester, CT in the Mike Murphy owned, Fastrock Electric sponsored modified earned his first Coors Light Pole Award in sixteen years and led the field to green with Donny Lia, Rowan Pennink, Max Zachem and Shawn Solomito the top five. Timmy Solomito started seventh. Summers dominated the first run gaining as much as a half a straight lead from the pack. Just as Rowan Pennink closed the gap on the leader the first caution of the night flew on lap 54. The pit strategy began with the entire field pitting with the exception of Pennink and Doug Coby, the new leaders. Pennink maintained the lead while Coby was shuffled back and at the half way mark, lap 75 it was Pennink, Timmy Solomito, Kyle Bonsignore, David Sapienza and Jeremy Gerstner the top five. A caution on lap 80 set up another round of pit stops with Kyle Bonsignore inheriting the lead, Sapienza, Gerstner, Matt Hirschman and Donny Lia rounded up the top five. Gerstner challenged and became the new leader on lap 89 only to be pulled back for a caution the next circuit around. Again, pit road lit up with action before the field went green on lap 96. As the field came around for lap 100, Gerstner still leading with Hirschman and Kyle Bonsignore the top three, the next yellow waved for debris on the track. The leaders pitted turning the front spot over to Ryan Preece with Pennink, Max Zachem, Ron Silk and Eric Goodale for the top five, brought the field to green on lap 108. Pennink on the outside, took the lead one circuit later while Silk took over second and Andy Seuss third. Seuss on a roll, powered on the outside to become the new leader on lap 116. A tangle on lap 128 between Todd Szegedy and Melissa Fifield in turn four closed up the field again, setting up a round of pit stops as well. Lap 137, thirteen to go, Rob Summers and Shawn Solomito brought the field for green only to be slowed again by a caution on the restart as two cars were collected up on the back stretch. Trying again, at the green with five to go, Solomito on the inside, Summers on the outside, contact between the leaders sent a chain reaction back through the pack immediately bringing out the red flag. At least five cars were involved in the turn one incident including Les Hinckley III, Shawn Solomito, Gerstner, Sapienza and Matt Swanson. Two to go on the restart, Summers, Timmy Solomito, Justin Bonsignore, Ron Silk and Andy Seuss came around for the green. A melee on the front stretch brought out the red flag once again sending the ‘Performance Plus 150’ into NASCAR overtime. Timmy Solomito, Justin Bonsignore, Andy Seuss, Rob Summers and Woody Pitkat led the field to green for the final restart with Solomito capturing the victory, Summers crossing second, Seuss third, Ryan Preece fourth, Max Zachem the top five with Justin Bonsignore, Rowan Pennink, Woody Pitkat, Les Hinckley and Burt Myers the top ten. The win is Solomito’s fifth career NWMT victory, his second consecutive NWMT season opening victory. “Flamingo Motorsports is great, there is no doubt about it,” said Solomito. “They’ve had plenty of drivers drive this car and plenty of guys win without me. I’m just the lucky guy that gets to hold the steering wheel and I’m sure there are twenty other drivers that would like to be in this seat. It just goes to show you how great this team is and how smart they are. We won four races last year- Sly and Jerry, everybody in the shop worked harder this winter than they did the winter before to make us faster. We went down to Speedweeks, we practiced, tried different things- we didn’t have a win but we learned a lot and that showed here tonight. It was a real team effort and the guys did a great job all night.” Rob Summers was close to having an exceptional race, setting fast time earlier in the day and being in position for victory at the end. “I spun the tires on the restart and I missed a shift,” said Summers. “My fault. Then at the end there I still don’t really understand the call, we didn’t complete a lap and they put me to fourth. I’m baffled on that but the team gave me a great car and I think we probably had the best car right off the trailer. I blew it on the restart. This is bittersweet, I feel like I gave that away. If I didn’t miss a shift it wouldn’t have been an issue. The crew did such a great job today, Murph, Ronnie Yuhas, the whole team. The pit stops were great, the car was awesome.” Andy Seuss from Hampstead, NH qualified fifteenth and worked his way up to lead for several laps in the Eddie Harvey owned, LFR Chassis sponsored modified and in the end, took home a strong third. “I wish that caution didn’t come out with about 18 to go,” said Seuss. “Then you’re faced with that decision, do you come in and pit or not, I think we all made the right decision because the tires got us back to the front but we had a great long run car, we showed that when we took the lead. We just needed more long runs there at the end, we just couldn’t seem to put two laps together. Overall, real happy, it’s a brand new car, first time out, we didn’t get to practice or anything. The crew did a great job maintaining and prepping the car. Great pit stops all day, a solid day, Eddie did great calling the race, Justin Link the crew chief did a great job with adjustments all day, a very solid day, just a couple of spots short.” Rounding out the top ten was Justin Bonsignore sixth, Rowan Pennink, Woody Pitkat, Les Hinckley III and Burt Myers tenth. The unified NWMT heads to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on April 2nd for the Icebreaker 150.
MATT HIRSCHMAN WINS "RICHIE EVANS MEMORIAL 100" RACE
Hirschman Finally Seals The Deal!
by Denise DuPont
With a compressed race week the tour type modifieds had two good shoot out races and two longer feature events. JR Bertuccio started the week off winning a 50 lap race. The next night, Tyler Rypkema won his first race at New Smyrna Speedway in a 35 lap short track shootout style race. Ryan Preece then captured the tenth annual John Blewett III 76 Memorial race on Wednesday night. Matt Hirschman finally broke his second place streak and won Friday night’s 100 lap Richie Evans Memorial 100. The coveted race for the World Series of Asphalt Stock car Racing has been a 100 lap feature event that ends the modifieds race week. Over the years several different drivers have taken some the trophy and prestige rights to say that they have won the “Richie Evans Memorial 100” feature race. Among these are Jimmy Spencer, Tony Jankowiak, Tom Baldwin, Mike Ewanitsko, Rick Fuller, Steve Park, Jamie Tomaino, John Blewett III and Ryan Preece. Tonight’s winner, Matt Hirschman, added his name to the impressive list. Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA. was second fastest in qualifying and started the race sixth. He quickly made his move and was in the lead by lap 20. Hirschman briefly led until Ron Silk from Norwalk, CT. went by him for the top spot. On lap 44, the yellow flag flew for a modified spinning jus at the entrance to pit road in turn four (Jimmy Blewett). All but five drivers pitted for tires and adjustments. Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, MA was the first car out followed by JR Bertuccio and then Silk. Hirschman returned to the field almost mid-pack. By the Half-way marker, Hirschman was in fourth while Silk led the field followed in second by McKennedy. From lap 70 onward it was the Silk- Hirschman show as they ran lap after lap competing for the top position.
A lap 84 late race caution gave Hirschman a chance to go under Silk in turn two. As they rounded the corner, Hirschman road Silk up high and secured the lead. “I have been fighting from behind all the time trying to make the pass. I have never being the one leading and trying to hold somebody off. It has been hard to do and everybody has been protecting. A lot of guys took from me all week and hardly gave a little. That is not how I like to race if I did move him (Ron Silk) up a little there, we did it.” Hirschman confessed at the end of the race. There was no contact between Silk and him but bringing Silk up high on the track stopped his forward momentum enough to give Hirschman the lead. From there it was Hirschman’s race to win. He held off Silk for the final laps and took home his first 2017 race win.
So with race week winding down for the modifieds, Matt Hirschman was finally able to zero in on a victory at New Smyrna Speedway. “We worked hard for it all week. My crew worked really hard. This could have been multiple wins this week but things just did not work out, “exclaimed Hirschman. “But finally tonight we closed the deal. My guys worked hard all week and I am glad that we finished the week with a win and especially with the biggest win of the week here.” Silk once again dominated the modified race but the end was not what he planned. On the last restart Hirschman passed Silk for the lead and he dropped to second for a runner up finish. “Matt had a good car. I started to get a little free at the end. The car was not terrible but he was just a little better,” stated Silk about his run. “We drove down into turn one real hard and he kind of got my right sides high up into the marbles. And it was easy pickings from there. Congratulations to them, they did a great job. I would like to that my car owner, Danny Watts, my crew that worked hard all week and Brad Lafontaine. The car was not good when we unloaded and Brad did a lot of work the last two nights and we made a lot of gains. We will take the positives out of here and roll on.”Jon McKennedy was in the top five all night long. He made it up to second but he was never able to get to the front spot. Being there all week long, McKennedy wanted just one win under his belt to start off the 2017 race year.
“I am just a little disappointed. All week we had just a great car and we were a serious contender. All practices, qualifying and race runs we were a top five car every single night. We were unable to get that win. We had top fives and threes but no wins. That is just disappointing not to get that win. It was a good effort on everyone’s end. They knew we were here and they knew we ran up front all week.” And with the new Race work’s Chassis Exit Realty modified McKennedy definitely made his presence on the track known. Every night McKennedy was racing with the leader but was just a little shy of the lead. “Come night time is seemed like we were a little too loose every night and we could not get it tightened up so we will move on,” McKennedy said about his car. “When you race with the group of guys that we have down here you pretty much have to be spot on. It was close to the toughest competition that this track has seen in a decade. There were eight or ten cars that could have won on any night. Like I said it was a great effort by everyone. I want to thank my crew and sponsors.’ So as another race week in Florida ends, race teams are packing their haulers and will make the ride home to prepare for the 2017 race season. Teams may all head in their own direction but for one week they were all united as race week competitors. See you at the track!
Notes from New Smyrna Speedway:
Matt Hirschman received the "Going the distance Award" in Honor of Kathy and Keith Goodale, a bonus to the highest finishing car that also raced at Bronson Speedway last Saturday night. Ann and Chris Young from Bronson Speedway were at New Smyrna to present the award for the Goodale family.
Matt Hirschman was the top finishing driver Saturday night so he was given the "Going the distance Award”.
“Matt congratulations on your win tonight. I want to thank you for going to Bronson Speedway and supporting our racing. Hopefully you will be back next year. This is a special award from the Goodale family. The award is being given to you for the distance you went tonight. Thank you for going the distance.” “I want to invite all the modified drivers to Bronson Speedway next year. We will have the modified race there again in 2018.”
“Thank you. Bronson Speedway did a lot of nice things to try to bring modifieds to Florida at Bronson last Saturday. It was not the end result we want at the Bronson race. But it was a good show and a fun little track. Everyone should check it out.”
“I appreciate this award from the Goodale family and it makes it a little more rewarding that we made the trip.”
Would have done anything different this week?
“Hindsight is 20-20. I wish that I could do some things over again this week and we would have multiple wins. We came here and the main objective was a learning experience. This is a new team with a relatively new car and we needed to learn and we did. We had a fast car and finally we closed the deal with a win tonight.”
Race 4 - Richie Evans Memorial 100 Finish:
1. Matt Hirschman 60
2. Ron Silk 82
3. Jon McKennedy 29
4. Ryan Preece 6
5. Justin Bonsignore 51
6. Timmy Solomito 16
7. Chuck Hossfeld 22
8. Spencer Davis 82x
9. JR Bertuccio 2
10. Richie Pallai 17
11. Tommy Catalano 54
12. Ricky Moxley 33
13. Matt Montineri 71M
14. Tyler Rypkema 32
15. Calvin Carroll 40
16. Paul Hartwig, Jr. 73
17. Jimmy Zacharias 23D
18. Amy Catalano 64
19. Shawn Balluzzo 70G
20. Jimmy Blewett 45
21. Matt Gallo 6x
22. Jeremy Gerstner 70
23. DJ Wagner 39
24. Al Ermmarino 2x
FEB 23 - NEW SMYRNA - NIGHT 4 - 2nd
Thursday night at New Smyrna Speedway the tenth annual John Blewett III Memorial 76 took the stage following an intermission and break in race action. After a rainy day and sitting out one night of race action, the drivers were ready to get back on the track and compete. Past winners of the memorial feature race have been : 2008 – Jimmy Blewett, 2009 – Ron Silk, 2010 – Ted Christopher, 2011 – Earl Paules, 2012 – Rained Out, 2013 – Woody Pitkat, 2014 – Ted Christopher, 2015 – Eric Goodale, 2016 – Eric Goodale. Wednesday’s racing was cancelled due to heavy Florida rains. With twenty-six modifieds in the field, racing was racy from when the green flag flew through the checkered. Jimmy Blewett had the pole at race start and led the feature for 23 laps until the yellow flags flew. Caution was thrown after two cars spun at the entrance to pit road. After the spinning cars move forward, the caution was extended for ten minutes while officials looked for a car or cars potentially leaking fluid. The culprit ended up being Tyler Rypkema, Tuesday night’s feature winner. The #32 crew found loose bolts in the modified’s rear end which were addressed so he could later rejoin the competition laps down. After the yellow, Ron Silk who had been right there running with Blewett passed him after receiving a strong push forward from Ryan Preece.Silk pulled away from the field with definitely one of the stronger cars in the field. He led until a late race caution on lap 61. Using the same move on the bottom that rocketed Silk into the lead, Preece passed Silk for the lead. With only a 14 lap shootout, Preece protected his territory from a strong challenge from one of the best, Matt Hirschman. Preece held off Hirschman to become the winner of the tenth annual John Blewett, III Memorial 76 race. For a lot of the race Preece was just present in the top five riding with the lead cars but not making any moves toward the front. When the late caution happened, he knew it was his opportunity to challenge Silk for the top spot. “We were just really kind of riding there and we knew Ronnie had a good race car there. I did not know if he had burned it up there. Then all of a sudden he was coming on strong. I am really happy with how consistent the car was. I think we know what we need to do for tomorrow night for the 100 lapper.” Preece stated in Victory Lane as his mind was already moving onward to the next race. “I have to thank Connie and Eddie Partridge for letting me drive for them. I have a lot of fun doing it.” With the traditional big race still to come, the “Richie Evans Memorial 100”, the #6 team will join all of the teams and get notes out to do their best to win the prestigious race and the rights to brag that come with it. “We get two more tires tomorrow night so you will see us racing a little bit harder and it should be a little bit more exciting so fans will have to show up tomorrow night.” Hirschman had pulled by Silk into second at the last race caution. He was hungry for a win. He was right there ready to challenged Preece victory. He strategically drafted on Preece’s rear bumper scoping out the situation looking for the right place to move. In the end he was all over Preece, but was unable to make the final move for the win. ‘The right front tire is falling off the car was what on my mind”, confessed Hirschman after the race. “I was not comfortable driving the car any harder. The brakes were fading because the rotors were shaking so hard the brake pads pulled away from the rotors. Not to make any excuses – but I just did not have the comfort to make the move that we needed to do what we needed to do to get the win. I am disappointed in that for sure.” Learning a lot this race, the education never stops when you are behind the wheel. “We have been learning all week. We have a pair of seconds now and have one more opportunity to hopefully close the deal.” So a master a short track racing, Hirschman will cross off this race and get ready for the next. Third place finisher, Silk led the 75 lap feature race for a dominate portion but was unable to hold off Preece’s hard charge on the last restart to secure the win. “It was a good effort. We made some big improvement from the last race (Tuesday night) to tonight. I think that we know a little bit more for tomorrow night. We will work hard on it and try to get a win tomorrow.” The tour type modifieds will cap off their week with the Richie Evans100 Friday at New Smyrna Speedway. See you there or back here for some great side by side racing from the groundpounders.
Notes From New Smyrna Speedway:
What went through your mind when you came around turn four on the last lap and Jon McKennedy was sitting on the track while you raced for the finish?
“Last lap just after turn four Yes my spotted had let me know where he was and he was out of the groove.” McKennedy had been running with the leaders when his came out from under him as he rounded turn four on lap 75. He was able to move from across the track so he did not block the leaders charge for the win. A disappointing finish after such a strong run for McKennedy.
Race 3 Finish:
1. Ryan Preece 6
2. Matt Hirschman 60
3. Ron Silk 82
4. Justin Bonsignore 51
5. Jimmy Blewett 45
6. Timmy Solomito 16
7. Richie Pallai 17
8. Chuck Hossfeld 22
9. JR Bertuccio 2
10. Calvin Carroll 40
11. Tommy Catalano 54
12. Jeremy Gerstner 70
13. Jon McKennedy 29
14. Tyler Rypkema 32
15. Shawn Balluzzo 70G
16. Jimmy Zacharias 71
17. Matt Montineri 71M
18. Austin Pickens 63
19. Paul Hartwig, Jr. 73
20. Ricky Moxley 33
21. Spencer Davis 82x
22. Amy Catalano 64
23. DJ Wagner 39
24. Al Emmarino 2x
25. Matt Gallo 6x
26. Joe DeGarcia 23D
FEB 21 - NEW SMYRNA - NIGHT 2 - 8th
On night two of modified racing at The World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing it was another shake up night as Tyler Rypkema led from green to checker to take the win. If you had made a bet on who would win the race there were a lot of heavy hitter that you may have selected before Rypkema. Speedweeks has proven to be a year of surprises so far this year “I knew I just had to drive my line and don’t get loose.” Said Rypkema in victory lane. “I knew I just have to keep the car under me and I would be alright. I knew that it would be hard for him to get under me. I was doing really good and eft him out there at the end. I have to thank all my sponsors. It was unbelievable and this is awesome”. Jimmy Zacharias fell right behind Rypkema for second and that was how the race ran, one-two. Lap after lap Zacharias was there shadowing Rypkema waiting for his chance to pass but It never happened. So Zacharias had to settle for a second place finish. What did Zacharias need to get around the #32? “I just needed maybe five more laps,” Zacharias said at race end. “Last night I went too early and I burned it up a little bit and tonight I want to play a little bit safe. You do not want to take it off too early because you do not know when a caution is going to fall or what is going to happen or when it is going to happen.” The modified race ran 35 green laps and if a driver had a car that was off beat at all there was just not a yellow for a pit window. There was also not an opportunity for a restart challenge. This meant drivers had to take their starting position and go forward. Zacharias had a good car but it was just one position short of a win. “There was just not a caution and I let Tyler get a little bit ahead.” Confessed Zacharias. “I was hoping that my car was going to free up a little bit. We started a little too tight and it stayed tight. He started neutral and got real free at the end. Just maybe two or three more laps and we would have been sitting up there. I am happy for Tyler and the Rypkema family. We grew up racing together back home. I am just happy that the top three standing here are built and not that spec motor for once and that feels good. They equalized us out with the spec motors so we are strong and we can run with them.” Valenti Modified Racing Series Champion, Jon McKennedy, has had two consistent finishes after two consistent race runs in the #29 Exit Realty sponsored modified. McKennedy started the race sixth and passed JR Bertuccio on lap 26 for third. Once there he followed the two lead cars maintaining a strong third place position. “I would like to thank my crew. Everyone has worked hard. It is a cool deal but it is a lot of work.” McKennedy said after the race. “We are close. Night two and we have been a top five both nights. Track position is key. It seems like you have about eight or ten cars that could win. You know starting up front is nice.”We now have two nights of modified racing completed and three more nights to go. Join us on TheChromeHorn for more racing action this weeks as 2017 modified racing continues to heat up.Notes from New Smyrna Speedway:
Do you think that a yellow would have helped you get by him?
“I think that it would have been a good race, a good run. Tyler and I go way back. We have had problems but we can usually race side by side clean. If he took the top I knew that I probably would have got him because he was getting real free up there trying to run. I had a stout car and I could drive up out the corner. I did not care if a caution came out or not. .But like I said 2 or 3 more laps and I would have gotten him and it would have been a different story.”
Race 2 Finish:
1. Tyler Rypkema 32
2. Jimmy Zacharias 71
3. Jon McKennedy 29
4. Ryan Preece 6
5. Jimmy Blewett 45
6. Ron Silk 82
7. Chuck Hossfeld 22H
8. Matt Hirschman 60
9. Timmy Solomito 16
10. Tommy Catalano 54
11. Ricky Moxley 33
12. Amy Catalano 64
13. Austin Pickens 63
14. Matt Montineri 71M
15. Jeremy Gerstner 70
16. JR Bertuccio 2
17. Calvin Carroll 40
18. Al Emmarino 2x
19. Joe DeGarcia 23D
20. Shawn Balluzzo 70G
21. Justin Bonsignore 51
22. Tom Tohn 10T
23. Paul Hartwig, Jr. 73
24. Spencer Davis 82x
25. Matt Gallo 6x
26. DJ Wagner 39
FEB 20 - NEW SMYRNA - NIGHT 1 - 2nd
On Monday, February 20th the tour type modifieds starred in their first night of ground pounding racing at New Smyrna Speedway. Twenty-four modifieds were scheduled to take the green flag and grandstands were packed with fans ready for racing. So the night was staged for a great night of racing. JR Bertuccio was fastest in practice, third fastest in qualifying and started the race fourth after a redraw. He proved that he was going to be a strong contender for the first night’s victory when he jumped into second position at race start. He remained in the second spot until he passed for the lead after a caution on lap 31. From there he held off Ryan Preece and later Matt Hirschman to pass the finish line and take the checkers.Bertuccio was excited about his win and expressed his excitement after the race. ” We just had a great car. From the time that we unloaded the car was just on rails. I told the guys to leave it alone. They did not believe me they wanted to change the car. And I guess that I should them last night.” It has been a while since Bertuccio has been in victory lane at New Smyrna Speedway, but it sure did not show. “We won here at New Smyrna over ten years ago. They guys are happy and we now have enough motivation for the rest of the week.” Going into tonight’s race Bertuccio and his team were ready to make it two for two. “We will see what happens. The car is running good again today. We will get upfront in time and go from there.” When he was asked what it would take to win the championship this week Bertuccio stated: “We just have to finish each night.” Matt Hirschman was fastest in the first night of qualifying and the redraw for inversion of the field was the number six so Hirschman fell into that slot for the race start. When the green flag flew Hirschman jumped to third and remained there for most of the race. “We had a good run. We were fast in time but with the invert we got the best possible that we could sixth,” stated Hirschman. “We ran in third for most of the race. I think at one point we lost a spot on the restart and feel back to fourth. We then rebound back to second for the finish it.”At the end of the Hirschman summarized the night. “We were equal and I was maybe closed in on JR a little bit. There were good last night. JR had a good car. So I take my hat off to them.” Hirschman himself has not participated in Speedweeks modified racing. And when he has raced here in the past he has not had the best of luck. So a second place at the end of the night was a great start for the PeeDee #60 team. “Last night was the best opening night that I ever had here. I have only done this a few times, maybe two or three times. It was the best first night that we have had and I hope that that carries threw.” So we have the first night of racing in the books for the tour type modifieds. We are looking forward to four more nights of ground pounding excitement.
Race 1 Finish:
1. JR Bertuccio 2
2. Matt Hirschman 60
3. Ryan Preece 6
4. Jon McKennedy 29
5. Ron Silk 82
6. Tommy Catalano 54
7. Timmy Solomito 16
8. Jimmy Zacharias 71
9. Jimmy Blewett 45
10. Amy Catalano 64
11. Chuck Hossfeld 22
12. Jeremy Gerstner 70
13. Austin Pickens 63
14. Shawn Balluzzo 70G
15. Calvin Carroll 40
16. Ricky Moxley 33
17. Joe DeGarcia 23D
18. Tyler Rypkema 32
19. Paul Hartwig, Jr. 73
20. Justin Bonsignore 51
21. Tom Tohn 10T
22. TJ Zacharias 71M
23. Al Emmarino 2x
FEB 18 BRONSON SPEEDWAY - 6th
Saturday night’s second annual Kickoff to Speedweeks 50-lap Tour-Type Modified event at Bronson Speedway (FL) featured an unexpected turn of events in the closing laps that led to a winner who played the right strategy. Candor, New York’s Jimmy Zacharias led the race early, starting from the pole after a six-car invert from qualifying, but fell back to third in the second half of the distance when Modified heavyweights Ryan Preece and Matt Hirschman charged to the front. A caution bunched the field with 11 laps remaining and an incident ensued between the two champion Modified racers with five circuits to go. Zacharias, who was in the right place at the right time, took advantage of the contact between the two drivers to take the lead and pull away. “What to even say? We won the 50-lap race at Bronson Speedway tonight. Right place at the right time, but we’re bringing back the trophy,” Zacharias said on his Facebook page. “Best part about it, my son called me yesterday and told me ‘dad, you better bring me home a trophy. Don’t come home unless you got a trophy for me.’ Well buddy, we got you a trophy.” Zacharias, the New York state NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion, attributed the strategy of watching the events unfold from his front windshield to his spotter, Wayne Darling. “Can’t thank everyone enough who has helped make this possible,” Zacharias said. “Thanks to Wayne Darling for the awesome job on the radio and coaching me along during the race. I owe it al to him.” Preece and Hirschman were the fastest in qualifying and each did not take very long to make their way to the front to bid for the lead. While Preece admitted to going too hard early on, the Berlin, Connecticut driver fought with all his power to keep Hirschman behind him during the closing laps. The contact between the two talented drivers coming out of turn four resulted in both cars uncontrollably heading toward the front straightaway outside fence. Each driver involved talked after the race and deemed it a racing incident. “I was trying to hold him off and as soon as he got under me in three it was game over and just unfortunate,” Preece, who still plans to primarily compete in the Modified used at Bronson for New Smyrna this week as well, concluded. “Open wheel racecars; his right front hit my left front, we locked wheels, and we really couldn’t do anything after that. It’s just a product of open wheel racing and just unfortunate, but we will move on to New Smyrna on Monday.” Matt Hirschman’s opinion was much the same, although the Northampton, Pennsylvania critiqued his own driving style some when going for the win with numerous attempts to make a clean pass. “My right front hopped on his car and we were both just along for the ride,” Hirschman, whose lone PeeDee Motorsports ride will have to be repaired for the week at New Smyrna, explained. “There was no intent by either of us of wrecking each other or anything like that. I’ve just got to rethink how I handled it because most other guys wouldn’t be so nice and a lot of times I’m just too nice.” Finishing second in the final running order was Chris Young, who entered the event with a bit of a different strategy. Teams were given the opportunity to choose from the facility’s American Racer tire or the Hoosier compound that is being provided for the week in New Smyrna. Young was the only competitor that elected to run on the track tire and was ecstatic about the result. “To come out here and race with all the biggest names in Modified racing and to be competitive and come home second; I’m floored,” Young said. “The car was consistently a handful, but it was consistent. Once we got rolling my car was tight in, tight in the center, and loose off, and it stayed about the same level the whole race. “On the long run they heat up slower than the Hoosiers do, so they’re not as good on a two lap shot, but on a five lap shot they would come up to temperature and that’s when I could really get after (Zacharias). If the whole field was on them, it would have been a totally different race.” Chris’ mother Ann Young is the owner of Bronson Speedway and was a huge proponent to making this Kickoff to Speedweeks happen again. “The weeks leading up to it were a lot of work, but I knew if I got these guys here and they just tested the high banks once or twice they would come off smiling,” Ann Young commented. “They were beating and banging to get to the front and that’s what I wanted with a 50-lap race. I want them up on the wheel every lap so the fans have to go ‘oh my God, we’re standing up to watch too’.” The increase to get this event from small beginnings to a doubled car count had several hands involved. A crowdfunding campaign exceeded its goal to provide some additional incentive for the traveling racers and teams. “The staff, Bobby Finan, the sponsors that jumped on board, Sunoco Race Fuels,” Ann Young added. “They stand behind us at Bronson Speedway, they put money in the purse. All of the 42 people from GoFundMe jumped on, they brought it to Bronson and I’m just thrilled to be here.” Chris was also a pivotal part of the effort to have this second annual race occur and gave his concluding thoughts and a window into the future. “There was months of planning and blood, sweat, and tears and everything that goes into this race,” Chris Young continued. “Building on this event coming forward I know guys like Hossfeld and a bunch of others at New Smyrna said they wanted to come, but they hadn’t planned for it. Next year I know they are planning to be here, so I would look for the car count to go up. If the racing stays the same with more cars out there it’s going to be even more of an exciting show.”
-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Central NY & PA Editor – Twitter: @aaron_creed
Kickoff to Speedweeks Unofficial Results