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Matt Hirschman Collects $5000 In Season Ending Race
It comes as no surprise that whenever there is an extra distance high paying race at Mahoning Valley Speedway, you can expect Matt Hirschman to be vying for the win.

And, when the checkered flag waved on the Gary Lee’s Brown-Daub KIA Octoberfast Modified 130, sure enough there was Hirschman gracing Victory Lane, something that the Northampton driving star has turned into an art form at the paved ¼-mile Lehighton oval.

Fresh off a 100 lap win three weeks earlier, Hirschman drove his J & J Motorsports No. 59 to a rousing $5000 triumph, giving him $9000 in that same span. He has become the career wins leader in 100-plus features at the track with 11 total. In July he won a 100 lapper and another $4000.

Hirschman, who started ninth, drove by defending Octoberfast winner Zane Zeiner with 17 laps to go and after several side-by-side laps, went to the front uncontested over the final 10 circuits and then onward to score his second win in the season ending racing.

“What a way to finish the season here. I wasn’t here much this year but we sure made it count the last three or four times. It was a great run and a great way to finish the season,” said 31-year old Hirschman, who won the inaugural Octoberfast 130 in 2012.

“I don’t know if I had the best strategy or even the best car today but it worked out that we won.”

For the first 99 laps Eric Beers was far and away the car to beat. From the drop of Bobby Stull’s race commencing green he quickly put everyone in his dust as the Dave and Laura DeLange owned No. 45 had loads of power and Beers wasn’t shy in showing it.

There were several who tried to make a challenge such as John Bennett, Nevin George and Earl Paules but none could come close enough to attempt a pass.

Then after a restart on lap 44, Austin Kochenash showed his face after putting on a fine run through the pack. He was in second and stuck right with Beers in a stretch of 46 nonstop laps. Although they ran very close, the leader still demonstrated he wasn’t ready to relinquish his stop spot.

On lap 90 the action slowed when Kyle Strohl spun in turn two. That yellow would also trigger the start of several more over slowdown periods over the next nine laps that produced drastic changes to the running order.

On the restart Kochenash’s hopes of winning where dashed when he got tagged by then third place running Todd Baer and spun.

Anthony Sesely had come from 17th and took over second after the demise of Kochenash. Hot on his tail was Zeiner and Hirschman.

A few more yellows would wave for minor incidents but then came the game changer on lap 99. Shawna Ingraham had come to a halt on the back straight. As the leaders where coming full steam off turn two the caution was then displayed. With Ingraham sitting idle on the inside lane, Beers had to quickly move up in order to avoid hitting her. In second at that point was Zeiner with Hirschman third.

For Zeiner there was little time to react and he made contact with Beers who then spun. Hirschman got caught in as well. Unfortunately for Beers he had to relinquish the lead due to a flat tire.

When the action resumed Zeiner was the new pace setter with Hirschman second. They would then go into a torrid dogfight for a number of laps in side-by-side formation. With laps running out Hirschman knew the time to make his move was at hand and after the race winning pass on lap 114, there would be no looking back.

“We survived a close call on the back straight with that stack-up. My front bumper is all smashed in and that could have easily been a radiator and we would have been done. I was fortunate that it all worked out,” said Hirschman.

“I had to be patient and slowly work our way to the front. I got to about fifth and there was still about 40 laps to go and that’s plenty of time here. We had swapped it back and forth before that and it was good racing against Zane (Zeiner).”

Beers drove back to a solid third with Sesely and Don Wagner completing out the top five. Baer, Strohl, Dave Sapienza, Kochenash and George rounded out the top 10.

“I slipped up and Matt (Hirschman) got a run underneath us,” said Zeiner.

Reflecting on the back straight incident that took out Beers he added, “I really do feel bad for Eric (Beers). That wasn’t supposed to happen. You have a spit-second decision to make and I made a decision and it probably was the wrong decision at the time and hey, I have to live with it.”

For the third time in the Octoberfast race Beers had to settle for third. He led last year but was passed by Zeiner with a dozen laps to go.

“We had the car to beat tonight,” bottom lined Beers. “I gave him (Zeiner) enough room to see that lapped car and he drove into my left rear and that’s basically what happened. I think I had the field covered tonight but it was just one of those unfortunate things.”

Heat wins went to Chip Santee, Beers, Ingraham and Paules. Sesely annexed the consi.

Modified Feature Finish (130 Laps): 1. Matt Hirschman, 2. Zane Zeiner, 3. Eric Beers, 4. Anthony Sesely,
5. Don Wagner 6. Todd Baer, 7. Kyle Strohl, 8. Dave Sapienza, 9. Austin Kochenash, 10. Nevin George, 11. John Markovic,
12. Bobby Jones, 13. Jimmy Zacharias, 14. John Bennett, 15. Roger Coss, 16. Shawna Ingraham, 17. Rusty Smith,
18. Earl Paules, 19. Andrew Krause, 20. Terry Markovic, 21. Brandon Oltra, 21. Chip Santee, 22. TJ Zacharias
DNQ: Wilton Nickerson, Barry Callavini, Pat Verwys, Brent Wentz, Chip Wanamaker

  Source: Dino Oberto / Mahoning Valley Speedway
Posted: October 26, 2014

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