The Chrome Horn News



    Looking at the talented racing field assembled at the Oswego Speedway Saturday night for the Richie Evans Memorial. Not many people would have predicted that one driver would be able to sweep the evenings’ racing activity, which was the first race in the Race of Champions Dart Asphalt Modified Tour. As over 1,000 feature wins by the drivers in attendance were represented along with close to 50 career track / series championships as well in the Oswego Speedway Parts Plus sponsored Modified Series.
   All of this talent assembled didn’t bother second generation driver Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pennsylvania. Matt just simply went out and showed that he had the fastest racecar on Saturday night. As he led all of the laps in the heat race for a win and promptly redrew the pole for the 100 lap feature.
   Hirschman had a trio of challengers in Dave Wollaber, Sege Fidanza and finally Jan Leaty that all took a shot at taking the win away. But each time Hirschman would turn up the wick in his self owned Troyer chassis, Bob Bruneau Engine Research powered, Hirschman’s Garage sponsored car.
   Hirschman claimed his first Richie Evans Memorial win worth $3,000 by a half a straightaway over the 18th place starting Jan Leaty of Williamson, New York. Neptune, New Jersey hot shoe Tommy Farrell III, who started sixth excited the crowd during the late stages of the race in the Jim Wolff Racing Modified as he charged from deep in the field after a lap 68 pit stop for a tire change to end up a fast closing third. Fidanza of Lockport, New York who started eighth ran as high as second from laps 69 to 72 slipped back to fourth. While defending RoC Dart Tour champion Pete Brittain of Oakhurst, New Jersey nipped Wollaber at the line for fifth.
   “Luck I think is an overused term in this sport but you still got to have the car to do it and you as a driver have to get the job done. We don’t need to start from the pole to win but when you do we have that kind of car “ said the smiling race winner.
   Since Matt has taken over the ownership of this car two years ago he’s really been on a roll at the Oswego Speedway.“ The last two years and going into the third year now we’re either a first or second place car here every time we’re here“ said Matt. “Some times it might not work out and you don’t finish first or second but we’re really a first or second place car here. I really run strong here, I just got it figured out and I like coming here.“
   Matt spoke on the talented field assembled for the first race of the season.“ There were an impressive field of cars here today, bottom line. There were a lot of fast, well prepared, and pretty race cars here today and all of us should be proud of that. There were a few incidents but no one got torn up that bad and in the end it came down to me and Jan Leaty. It’s come down to me and Jan Leaty a lot lately and it’s carried over into this year. Their program hasn’t fallen off any and my program hasn’t fallen off any and I expect to be battling him more than one time this year.“
   Despite starting on the pole Matt knew that just in case anyone was going to challenge him for the lead late in the race. He would need something in the reserve tank to keep him out in front. Matt proved that he had plenty in the reserve tank after the fourth yellow of the race when Sege Fidanza moved into second and then for the final 28 laps of the race when Jan Leaty was in second.
   “Good competition will bring the best out in you“ said Matt.“ When Jan Leaty got into second and in the back of your mind before the race even started you have an idea of who is going to challenge you. Jan Leaty is number one on that list and when they tell you Jan is in second and he’s catching you, you’re going to dig for everything you got and I did. I dug down and we were more than able to hold him off.“
   Matt finished up by talking about the importance of winning the Richie Evans Memorial at the Oswego Speedway on the same night they ran a memorial race in memory of Jimmy Shampine. “The win is very high on my list “ said Matt. “Here at Oswego they’re honoring not only Richie Evans but also Jimmy Shampine this weekend. I have no memory of either of them racing but I have read their books and I have a lot of respect for both of them even though I have no memory of them. The respect that both of them have in this sport and to have a memorial races named after them and to win that memorial race, it means a lot to me. Richie Evans is known as the greatest Modified driver of all time and Jimmy Shampine is probably known as the greatest driver in the history of the Oswego Speedway. I think it’s great that the track honors them and on Memorial Day weekend, that’s fantastic.“
   Jan Leaty the defending Race of Champions winner had an up and down day with many things happening to him but in the end wound up with a satisfied second place finish.
   “I’m satisfied with the finish and coming here I was hoping for a top five run because a lot of guys run good here“ said the multi time track and series champion. “I wanted to get a good finish as I plan on running the entire Tour this year right now. But it seemed the hill was awful high to climb today.“
   Jan’s day of highs and lows started in the heat race. “Very simple, no names need to be mentioned. It was just a simple honest mistake as both cars were fueled up at the same time and both caps were left off“ recalled Jan. “Then I got black flagged for the 3 car for running into the inside wall and that wasn’t real cool. So then I said I’m going to run the consi so I can get two tires for the feature. We did that a couple of years ago here and won a race that way. Then that idea didn’t work either ( with a big laugh ) as Mike’s car was light due to the fuel he lost. Then after getting into the wreck ( lap 14 ) in the feature the car was never quite right after that. The guys in the pits did their best to get it back to where it was and we didn’t want to pit again. The car was just a little too free and if you’re going to run with Matt Hirschman for the win you need to be right on the money and we weren’t at the end of the race. It’s still a good night “
   “I burned the tires up real bad during the first 50 laps“ said new Oswego fan favorite Tommy Farrell III, who finished third.“ I figured if I could get to the lead I would be all right, but we were just a little bit too free. Once we pitted and put the new right rear on it really woke the car up.“
   Tommy spoke about his finish, “I’m very happy with a third. We got some good notes to use when we come back next time to give the guys who race all the time a run for their money.“
   Qualifying races for the 35 Modifieds on hand saw heat wins go to Hirschman, Farrell, Jim Storace, and Fidanza while Ronnie Silk captured the B Main.

   STEEL PALACE EVANS MEMORIAL NOTES; Many thought with the brisk wind and chilly temperatures that passing would be at a premium. But it certainly was not the case as during the century grind there were many occasions where side by side racing was the norm instead. All of this passing led to an extremely exciting feature event. Pre – race favorite Eric Beers was done for the day after the first hot lap session on Saturday afternoon, the culprit was a spun bearing in the motor. Hilton , New York veteran driver Dick Kluth made his return to the Modified racing wars running a second entry as a team mate to his son Rick. After hot lap session one Dick’s day was over with as engine woes developed on his car. The loss of fuel on the Mike Leaty car in the heat race, due to the fuel cap being left off ended up costing him dearly. As after pitting and having the problem fixed Mike raced his way into a qualifying spot only to come up light at the scales and that put his father Jan who missed transferring by one position into the feature field. Hard luck once again struck Jim Storace as the Kingston , New Hampshire driver had to scratch from the feature field where he was slated to start fourth due to a broken push arm on the engine rocker arm. Many pit side observers enjoyed the rear panel of the Pete Brittain car which said, “ Support your local Speedway before it’s too late. “
   The Race of Champions Dart Asphalt Modified Tour is sponsored by; Dart Machinery, Hoosier Racing Tires, Sunoco Race Fuels, PBM Performance Products, Total Seal Piston Rings, Dura – Bond, Competition Engineering by Moroso, Dynatech, Xceldyne, Afco, CV Products, and LA Sleeve.


FINISH; Matt Hirschman, Jan Leaty, Tommy Farrell III, Sege Fidanza, Pete Brittain, Dave Wollaber, Daren Scherer, Ronnie Silk, Ryan Preece, John Markovic, Rusty Smith, Tommy Kinsella, Billy Putney, Dean Rypkema, Rowan Pennink, Steven Reed, Rick Kluth, Mike Leaty, Jimmy Zacharias, Todd Smith, TJ Potrzebowski, Lee Sherwood, Vern LaFave, Doug Reaume, Wilbur Hebing.
DNS; Jim Storace
DNQ’S; JR Swansbrough, Bobby Jones, Todd Baer, Chris Risdale, Ken Canestrari, Matt Clemens, Mark Tychoniewicz, Eric Beers, Dick Kluth.
LAP LEADERS; Hirschman ( 1 – 100 ).
Sherwood ( 4th to 22nd ).

NEXT RACE; Mahoning Valley Speedway Saturday June 7th 75 laps $3,000 to win.


Source: JR’S Motorsports Media / RoC Dart Asphalt Modified Tour PR
Posted:  May 25, 2008

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