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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




When the green flag falls on the 43rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, one of the favorites for the checkered flag will be the combination of Matt Hirschman and the #52 Furnace and Duct Supply team owned by Wayne Darling. The Darling team has won 4 of the last 8 races at Stafford with Doug Coby behind the wheel and Hirschman has 4 top-5 and 13 top-10 finishes at Stafford in 19 career starts. While the combination of the two is new for the 2014 season, they are rekindling a connection that was in existence on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour from 2006-2009.

"It's good to know I'm going to be in a car that has a good setup for Stafford," said Hirschman. "It's obvious that they've been the car to beat the last couple years at Stafford so that gives me a lot of confidence going into the race. We've raced together before and I believe we have a great group of people from top to bottom, from the ownership and leadership right on down through the crew and our supporting staff. Our results at Thompson didn't show what type of performance we were capable of. We were a top-5 car and things just didn't work out at the end and before you know it the race was over and we finished 11th. We were as high as second and we were still in fifth with 12 laps to go so we're looking forward to putting that mediocre start behind us and have a strong run at Stafford."

Although Hirschman is winless in 19 career starts at Stafford, he has been close to victory lane on several occasions. Hirschman's father Tony was the Sizzler winner in 2005 and Matt would like nothing more than to make his first victory at Stafford a Sizzler victory.

"I've always gotten around Stafford well and I've had good finishes there," said Hirschman. "I've been as high as second, but I haven't won a race there yet on the Tour. I've been close both on the Tour and the MRS so it would be nice to get a win at Stafford this year. I've had a couple of tough losses and Stafford is a place with a lot of history and I always seem to get good finishes, just not a win. I'd especially like to win the Sizzler. I've been fortunate with the run of success I've had the last couple years and I've been able to win a lot of races that have a lot of history and significance to them. The Sizzler at Stafford is a race that I haven't been a part of in quite a few years but it would mean a lot to me to add the Sizzler to the list of races that I've won in my career."

While Hirschman may still be in search of his first career victory at Stafford, he is confident regarding his chances at winning the race based on the Darling team's record at the Connecticut half-mile. Hirschman says the key to victory will be making the right decisions during the 200-lap race and the longer distance will also play into his hands.

"I like the longer races because there is some strategy involved," said Hirschman. "200 laps is a long race and the longer races probably suit me better than the shorter races. This is the biggest race of the season at Stafford so it'll be important to have a good run. I think it's just a matter of us getting the right package and communicating. I know they've had a good package at Stafford before but every driver is different and the weather can change things. We just have to be on the same page and make the right decisions and I have to do a good job behind the wheel and we have to have a good pit stop. There's a lot of things that factor into having a good run and hopefully we can all be on top of our game. If we can all be on top of our games, then I think the sky is the limit for us."

In addition to the four NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races at Stafford, the possibility of Hirschman taking part in the Inaugural SK 5k Presented by NAPA is something that he is looking into.

"I have a SK ride for a few special races every year but we haven't really determined our schedule yet," said Hirschman. "That race at Stafford is a race that could be on our radar."

The 43rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler gets underway Friday, April 25 with a practice session for Stafford's weekly divisions. The practice session will be open to the public at no charge. The run for the Coors Light Pole position gets underway on Saturday, April 26 with time trials for the Whelen Modified Tour cars, along with heat and consolation races for Stafford's weekly divisions. Saturday's action wraps up with feature events for the SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions as well as a feature event for the Northeast Mini Stocks. The Sizzler continues on Sunday, April 27 with the NAPA Auto Parts Pit Party followed by Stafford's SK Modifieds® and Late Models joining the Whelen Modified Tour in feature action.

Tickets for the "Greatest Race in the History of Spring" are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $38.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.

For more information on the 43rd annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.

  Source: Scott Running / Stafford Motor Speedway
Posted: April 18, 2014

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