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Good Old Modified Days
Return to Star Speedway

by Denise DuPont

As a youngster, Hirschman was in the pits watching his father, Tony Hirschman, race and win many an “Open Show”. Since then he has gone forward to build a name of his own in modified racing, particularly in the Race of Champion (RoC) series. “I grew up going to these races with my dad,” said Hirschman after the victory. “And it was not just him. I was here tonight with Mario as I was back in the eighties or nineties. Then there were a lot of good paying shows throughout the whole year. Those drivers and teams were money racers and back then there was a lot there to win. Unfortunately we do not have that many races any more with shows like this where the money is raised and people put into it.”

Hirschman was able to come from the rear of the field back to the lead after a pit stop. His team had a strategy and they all executed it as planned. “I came here tonight on a mission. I felt that I had something to prove tonight and this is a good statement for the team and especially for myself. I wanted to real bad tonight and I came here bound and determined to do it and we definitely earned it. It was not easy. We got out front early but then we ended up pitting and coming back and winning it. It was hard earned and well deserved. I think that everybody on this team here put a good effort here into this race and it paid off. I am really happy.”

Ryan Preece never gave up when the black flag flew for his car dumping fluid on the track. He was running with the leaders and the last thing he wanted to do was head to the pits. But luck was on his side when a caution flew giving his crew time to regroup and recover. “We were overheating a little bit. The fan on the radiator blew a fuse and then it was not running. The way that short tracks are you really need a fan to keep it cool. Just when it looked like we were not getting out, another caution came out and we kept working at it (#40 car). We found the fuse and changed it.”

Changing the fuse and returning to the race was a move that earned the Preece team a second place finish. Not bad for a driver who had been almost ruled out of the race. “We got back out there and kind of rode around picking off spots when we could. Then everything just worked in our favor. I am really happy for a second right now. I am happy for my dad and mom and my family, because this is out of our own pocket. So every time that we can go out and run well, we pay the bills by where we finish. It really helps a lot.”

Bringing car home in one piece was the goal of all cars competing in the SBM 125. Piloting the family car, Preece ran to win while keeping the tires on the car. “I am just happy that the car is in one piece and it was a lot of fun. This race was awesome. I just have to thank Kevin Rice, Jim Schaefer and Bill Webber for putting this show on. It takes a lot to put a show on like this. It takes a lot of money put up front. To be able to do this and be able to draw all the modifieds it really shows that they are doing something right.”

Star track champion, Josh Cantara, used his track experience to find his way to the front of the field. Once there he ran lap after lap with the leaders holding on for a podium finish. “The race was awesome. Competing with all these guys is a lot of fun and to say that we got a top three is great. What helped was that we already knew the basic setup. Running their tour tires though kind of messed us up a little bit. But we got use to it.” During the ending laps Cantara passed modified champion Mike Stefanik and continued his charge forward. He had saved his car and was ready for more racing when the checkers flew. “I was hoping the race was 150 laps at the end.”

The Star Speedway “Open Show” was nostalgic for those who lived through the legendary times of modified racing. And just like then, teams and fans left the race with the urge for more. Winner Matt Hirschman had words that expressed it best: “There were some quality teams and drivers here tonight. What I like about the “Open Shows” is that you get a mix of different guys from different places that do not race together all the time. I wish there were a lot more shows like this. The open show, no matter how few there are, are still a throwback to probably the best days that this division has had. And I certainly wish there was more of them. I am going to support the ones that there are because these are good nights. ”

“I really enjoy these open shows. The next one will be Seekonk with “Open Wheel Wednesday “and that is going to be a fun night. I hope that the fans come out and I appreciate the effort that people take to put these shows on.” Thanks Matt.

So place Wednesday, July 18th on your calendars for the next modified “Open Show” at Seekonk Speedway with $10,000 on the line to win!

Source: Denise DuPont/ TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: June 17, 2012

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