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   The Chrome Horn - News




by Denise DuPont

The eight annual Tour Type Modified 2010 North-South Shootout ended up being a long, tough race for everyone involved. There were eleven cautions and two red flags during the race. And in the end haulers container a lot of damaged race cars, but luckily no one was hurt.

The track itself also endured a lot of damage throughout the day. During the SK modified race, Steven Reed road the outside wall on the backstretch and nearly left the track. This incident tore down approximately 40 feet of catch fence. Then water barrels that lined the entry to pit road were rearranged when Jimmy Zacharias hit them head on sending water spewing in the air and on to the track. Then to top off the day’s event, the front stretch gate was bent in half during a crash in the CRA race.

Matt Hirschman survived all in the end for his third victory in the prestigious event. This win returned the trophy to the north and ended the two-year southern domination of Burt Myers. “We did everything right all day,” said Hirschman as he summarized his day. “I mean the car was good, pit strategy I think was good, and pit stop was good - first out.”

Hirschman started third and ran with the top five cars during most of the 125 lap race. There was a brief hiccup for him though on lap 89. He was running second behind leader James Civali when the two made contact. Then third-place Ryan Preece sent all three spinning. Ted Christopher who was running in fourth inherited the lead. “I was behind Civali and I was not sure if he had pitted yet at that point. I asked my guys and they never gave me an answer. I was not sure how to race him or how aggressive to be. And I was not aggressive enough. And it almost cost me, no it did cost me. I got into him (Civali) with my right front. I got off of him and we straightened out. It seemed like he slowed or stopped in front of me and then I hit him and Preece hammered me from behind and that was what caused the wreck. I am not sure if he did not have it collected yet. I really do not know. It was my fault because I should have been more aggressive. Anybody else would have done it to me. If the hole was there they would have filled it.” And yes, TC took the opportunity to charge forward and fill the leader’s space.

“The whole race I was just being smart and at some point there I had to go. I probably should have gone. After that I thought I took it (the #60 car) out of it.” Hirschman contemplated. “Obviously that big wreck was a gift. It put us back in it. We still had to earn it. I never gave up. My guys fixed the car and we came back and won it. It worked out in the end but it could have been a lot smoother ride. But I can work on that.”

Hirschman’s crew fixed his car which allowed him to rejoin the field and get back in the lead in less than 20 laps. On lap 113 he took the lead from George Brunnhoelzl, III. Hirschman then went on for the win.

Pole sitter, Chuck Hossfeld led the field at the race start and then switched strategies holding back a little bit to let the hard chargers fight one another for the lead.

Taking a more conservative approach allowed Hossfeld to escape major damage and rebound back to finish second. “I think that we had a great race. We had some highs and lows. We started out trying just to ride so that we could have a good finish. I should not say ride because we were racing hard. I was not aware of many laps were left and there was a crash in front of me and we bent the car up. These guys fix the car. They are about the best team around. They were the reason that we were able to come back around and finish second. They really saved the day, I am really proud of them.”

George Brunnhoelzl,III started nineteenth, dodge all the major mayhem on the track and even inherited the lead after the major caution on lap 89 took out then leader Ted Christopher. But bad luck was waiting in the wings for Brunnhoelzl.. With only two laps to go, his right front went flat. He held on but Hossfeld passed him on the last lap. Brunnhoelzl had to settle for third spot in the end. “It was a good race and we had a really good car. Right there at the end again I got a right front flat. That is two years in a row that I got a right front flat. I had a really great car and I hung on for third. It was too bad that that (flat) happened because I had a chance at the win. Hopefully we will come back next year.”

Eric Beers went to the top of the charts during the mods last practice. When it came to race time though, the car was not ready for the endurance race that was to follow. A good pitting plan helped the team get back on track. “We had a couple of issues there in the beginning and we had to pit a couple of times to straighten the car out. We kept adjusting and adjusting trying to get it better. We ended up finding that the left rear had a slow leak. It (the car) kept getting tighter and tighter until we got that fixed. We finally took our tires late. Then we got up there in ninth and the big wreck with Ted cleaned out our new tires.”

So even though Beers was not involved in the big wreck, evasive moves to avoid the caution impacted his tires. “So I had to put practice rubber on in the end and we drove it all the way from the back all the way up to third. Then we lost a spot to Chuck (Hossfeld) at the end because I could not hang on to it any more. Hats off to the crew, they did an awesome job. I mean all the calls of when to pit and when not to pit, they did a great job. Spotter, crew and everybody did a great job. The team that I had down here is probably the best that I have had down here in a while. They did a great job and everybody worked hard together.”

Tour regular, Ron Silk started the race thirteenth after his qualifying was not up to par and heat races were cancelled. He managed to run up in the front and survive all the wrecks and round off the top five in the end. “We were really, really loose and we did not wreck and had a fifth place finish so I suppose that it good. We just missed it a little bit. The guys did a good job all weekend. It was fun. Now we will get ready for New Smyrna.”
Modified Racing Series driver Les Hinckley had a tough qualifying day on Friday. “The car just did not stick the way he needed it to for qualifying.”

On Saturday morning the team managed to get the car within the top fifteen in practice. During the race Hinckley managed stayed out of trouble until he got caught up in the big wreck on lap 89. The #06 team recovered from the accident quickly though and went forward to finish the race with an eighth.

“It was a tough race,” said Hinckley as he brushed dirt from his brow. “We did not start the race good. But we were definitely better than we were yesterday. We made a bunch of changes this morning and just kept adjusting on it during the race. It just seemed like there were a lot of cautions that helped us. It was pretty rough up front from what I gather. We ended up getting caught up in one of them around lap 90 or what ever it was. It twisted the spindles up on the car pretty good. But the guys were able to adjust it and get the toe straighten back out to where it was manageable. When then came back and did the best we could.”

And doing the best they could they did. Hinckley was able to come back from the back of the pack to finish the race in eighth. Hinckley received the John Blewett, III Hard Charger Award for his race performance. Hinckley was both surprised and ecstatic to receive the prestigious award. “Every race car driver likes to pass race cars. Winning it in John’s honor is important to me. I did not know John really at all. But I knew of him certainly and I know a lot of people that knew him well. He was a good guy. I do know Jimmy. I am proud to win the award it will be a special trophy.”

But the race was not as kind to race favorites Burt Myers and Ted Christopher. Myers was eliminated as a major race player after he was involved in a couple of cautions and then had an ignition wire came off. On lap 89, Christopher was leading the race when he made contact with second place runner, Rowan Pennink. The contact sent Christopher spinning into the turn one wall causing a melee that eventually included seven cars. Pennink was sent to the rear of the field for causing the crash.
Earlier in the afternoon, the SK Mod race was won by 2010 National Champion Keith Rocco.

Notes from the Eight Annual John Blewett, III Memorial North-South Shootout

The top Five Drivers thoughts on the caution laden race:

Matt Hirschman
“It (Concord Speedway) is a tough place. It is really, really fast. And there are spots on the track that get narrow. When you get guys with different strategies there is a big difference between fresh tires and old tires. Then you have a pretty big gap here with experience guys and some un-experienced, even styles of racing. The Whelen guys, some of them race differently then others. Sometimes that mix does not blend together. Even in my case I have not run the tour (Whelen) and I have not raced with Civali, Silk and some of those guys. It is a little bit different then how some of us race in the ROC. It is not that it is a bad ting. It is just that you have to race a little bit differently. When you mix all those guys together that might be part of the problem.”

Chuck Hossfeld
“The problem is that that is the way that modified racing is now. The bottom line is that there is only one lap that pays money and everyone races like it is the last lap. And that causes cautions. It is unfortunate because it does not need to happen. They should let the race pan out and know how many laps are left and run when you have to.”

George Brunnhoelzl III
“There were a lot of cautions. It is one of those races that it is good hard racing. So you are going to have some, but some of it was unnecessary obviously. It was good for the fans.”

Eric Beers
“It was tough. We never started the race that early in the daylight. That sun was brutal over there (Coming out of front stretch into turn one). That could have had something to do with it., The track temperature being a little bit warmer than normal. It sounds weird in November to have the track warmer than normal, but normally we are starting the race now (5 PM) when it is kind of damp out. I think that caused all of the cautions.”

Ron Silk
“I thought that we were running the BAHA 1000 out there – the race that would not end. It is a pretty hard track to pass at so when ever any one gets an opportunity and get they get a wheel under somebody, they have to take advantage of it. If you get out of the groove a little bit with all the marbles and stuff, you are going to get into the fence.”
“Everyone was just racing hard. The more yellows that you have, the more that everyone gets bunched up and the more wrecks that you are going to have. If we could have gotten a couple of good, decent length runs in there we would have been better off. But it was fun.”

Les Hinckley
“It just seemed like the guys were very aggressive at points in the race when it did not seem necessary. I do not know what started it all. I did not see too many of them happen. But from what I understood from what the guys were telling me and from a couple of the officials I spoke to, there was not a whole lot of patience in the front. I do not know who the players were. These types of events sometimes breed that type of activity. It is what it is. It just seemed like a rough race.”

The Tour Type Modifieds started their race earlier than they ever had this year. Usually the cars roll out to take the checkers when the sun has just fallen below the horizon. Did the sun impact their vision and was it a factor in the race?

Chuck Hossfeld
“It was nice that they started it (the race) early because it is going to be so cold tonight. The fans would not enjoy themselves so it was a smart move to do it for everybody. “

George Brunnhoelzl III
“Starting the race earlier affected it a little bit. Because you are going from the sunlight into the dark and you have the sun in your eyes. And secondly the track conditions change dramatically.”

Ron Silk
“I was going to put my clear shield on at the beginning of the race and I looked up and the sun was still pretty in the sky. So I had my dark shield on and the sun did not really bother me, but when it went down for the last 10 laps I could not see.”

Les Hinckley
“The visibility into turn one was bad until you got into the apex where it was OK. Turn one was tough, but I was not as bad as it was at Seekonk (MRS October 10th race) a couple of weeks ago.”
“This was one of those races where you could still see the car but you were going so fast. It was to the point that you were off the brakes and thinking about getting back to the throttle. You pretty much had an idea that you were going to be OK but it was tough during one point during the race. I will deal with that a whole lot better than starting the race at this time of the night. Normally we start the race at this time of night. And you do not get out of here until late and it gets cold. So that scenario is a whole lot better. There were some factors that played into it with the car count. There were no consi races. But if they could look into that and maybe get the day pushed up into the day a little bit, that would be a better event.”

Source: Denise DuPont/TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: November 9, 2010

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