MATT HIRSCHMAN WINS U.S. OPEN 125 AT LANCASTER
Earns Fourth Career Win U.S. Open Modified Victory
Hirschman of Northampton, PA topped a field of 27 Modifieds to
capture the 27th annual U.S. Open 125 Race of Champions Modified
Tour event at Lancaster National Speedway on Sunday.
In other action from the final day of U.S. Open weekend, Dave
Russell of Clarence, N.Y. won the 30-lap X-Press Signs Late Model
feature presented by Abbott Rd Pizza. Jake Wylie of Blasdell, N.Y.
was victorious in the 25-lap Super Stock feature.
Hirschman passed Mike Leaty for the lead with 18 laps to go and
drove on to earn his fourth career U.S. Open win. He had to rally
back after being caught up in a spin by Daren Scherer on lap 84 that
forced him to the rear of the field.
Nick Pecko and Patrick Emerling the field to the initial green flag
in front of a large crowd of Western New York race fans on a
sun-splashed day. Pecko would develop troubles on the race’s second
lap as he slowed on the backstretch. Rusty Smith ran into the back
of Pecko has he lost power, which cut down Smith’s right front tire.
Smith would return after a pit stop, but Pecko was done for the day.
This moved Emerling and T.J. Potrzebowski to the front row for the
restart. Potrzebowski took command of the field on the race’s second
lap, and he quickly established command over the rest of the field.
The race’s first 21 laps were plagued by four cautions, but then the
field settled in for a long run of green flag laps. Potrzebowski ran
away from the pack during this time while many competitors were
concentrating on tire strategy.
One driver that wasn’t worried about tire wear was John Wilber of
Elmira, N.Y. Wilber worked his way through the field to the
runner-up spot on lap 36. He then chased down Potrzebowski who had
built a sizable lead, but Potrzebowski began to develop a vibration
in his left fire tire as the race approached lap 50. Wilber caught
and passed Potrzebowski for the lead on lap 54 as Potrzebowski
struggled to control his car.
As the green flag run wore on, Wilber extended his lead over the
rest of the field to more than a straightaway. Wilber, however, gave
up that margin when he spun in turn one on lap 63. The caution flag
put an end to the green flag run that lasted 42 laps. The large
majority of the field took the opportunity during the caution period
to make a pit stop, with just Rusty Smith and Amy Catalano remaining
on the speedway.
Chuck Hossfeld beat the rest of the cars off pit road to fill in
behind Smith and Catalnao in third with Andy Jankowiak in fourth and
Mike Leaty in fifth.
2014 U.S. Open winner, Tony Hanbury, brought out the race’s next
caution when he stopped on the track with mechanical problems on lap
74. Smith and Catalano gave up their track position at this point to
come down pit road. This moved Leaty into the lead followed by Bobby
Holmes, Daren Scherer, Rick Kluth and Andy Jankowiak.
Holmes pressured Leaty for the lead as the race went back to green.
On lap 80, Holmes drove too hard into turn one and nearly crashed
into the wall. He managed to save the car, but gave up five
positions in the process.
Four laps later Scherer was being challenged by Jankowiak for second
when he spun in turn one. Hirschman had to stop on the track to
avoid crashing into Scherer, and was forced to fall to the rear of
Hirschman started 20th and spent the first half of the race
conserving his tires. He nearly fell off the lead lap during the
long green flag run as Potrzebowski was a few car lengths away from
putting him a lap down. Potrzebowski's handling problems allowed him
to stay on the lead lap, and he pitted with the majority of the
field on lap 64.
During the caution period Patrick Emerling stopped on the track with
mechanical problems. He would eventually return to action, but lost
two laps in the pits while making repairs.
Hirschman had worked his way back to seventh on lap 97 when the
caution flag flew for Bryan Sherwood stopping on the track. Seven
laps later he was up to third, and then Hirschman set his sights on
Leaty for the lead. Hirschman drove under Leaty in turn two on lap
107 to take over first place.
That pass proved to be the race winning one as Hirschman cruised the
rest of the way for the victory. It was Hirschman’s first win of the
year on the Race of Champions Modified Tour.
“It’s been over a year since we won an RoC race,” said Hirschman,
“it’s been tough, there were some opportunities this year where
things didn’t work out.” “I was really focused in on this, I
prepared hard for this, even with the stopping for that caution I
was just determined to get it done.”
Hirschman inherited the series points lead following Emerling’s
mechanical woes. Emerling led by 14 points at the start of the U.S.
Open 125, but now Hirschman leads by 37 going into the season finale
next weekend at Chemung for the Race of Champions 200.
Jankowiak finished second followed by Hossfeld, Holmes and Smith.
Dave Russell earned his first career U.S Open feature win as he won
the 30-lap X-Press Signs Late Model feature presented by Abbott Rd
Pizza. Russell passed Jeff Brown for the lead on lap 17 and drove
away for the win.
Bobby Weber was denied a perfect season in the Late Models at
Lancaster as he was involved in two incidents early on in the race.
He received damaged when he tangled with Matt Alix on the race’s
second lap. He then developed mechanical issues on lap nine, which
eliminated him from competition.
Jake Wylie won the 25-lap Super Stock feature for his second win of
the season at Lancaster. Wylie was running third on lap three when
race leader Tommy Krawczyk slid up the race track in turn four.
Wylie was able to dive under Krawczyk and second place Lee
Sharpsteen to take over the top spot.
Wylie becomes the third member of his family to win an U.S. Open
feature. Wylie’s father, Rick, is a three-time Late Model Pro Stock
winner while his brother, Scott, has won twice in the Cup Lites and
once in the IMCA-Style Modifieds.
Lancaster National Speedway has announced they will open the 2016
season on April 16 & 17. Sunday, April 17 will be the opener for the
stock car program which will be headlined by the Sunoco Race of
Champions Modified Tour. The RoC Modified Tour will make four visits
to Lancaster in 2016 with the Ol’ Boy Cup 60, Tommy Druar/Tony
Jankowiak Memorial 110 and U.S. Open 125 on next year’s schedule.
Lancaster closes the 2015 season with Pro Mod-A-Palooza on Saturday,
October 10 for the Franco’s Pizza IHRA Drag Racing Series. We will
crown our remaining dragway track champions with the final points
races for all weekly classes and Quick 16. Plus, there will be a
shootout between some of the top Pro Modified teams in the region.
The Buffalo Street Outlaws will be part of this amazing show as
well.. For more information log on to www.promodapalooza.com.
Founded in 1959, Lancaster National Speedway is a multi-use facility
located on 77 acres just outside of metropolitan Buffalo, NY. The
facility features a 1/8-mile drag, a 5/8-mile oval track and hosts
several non-motorsports events such as car shows and concerts. For
the latest information on Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway
check out our all-new website www.lancasternationalspeedway.com.
Additional information for racers and fans can be found on our
Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LancasterSpeedway) and on Twitter (@LancasterSpdwy).
RACE OF CHAMPIONS MODIFIED TOUR
Heat Winners: T.J. Potrzebowski, Partick Emerling, Chuck
Feature: MATT HIRSCHMAN, Andy Jankowiak, Chuck Hossfeld,
Bobby Holmes, Rusty Smith, Karl Hehr, Will Thomas, George Skora III,
Kevin Timmerman, T.J. Potrzebowski, Daren Scherer, Mike Leaty, Rick
Kluth, Patrick Emerling, Dave Rigan, Amy Catalano, Bryan Sherwood,
Kirk Totten, Sam Fullone, John Wilber, Tony Hanbury, Chris Ridsdale,
Daryl Lewis, Jr., Donny Hartzell, Nick Pecko, Tommy Catalano, Bill
X-PRESS SIGNS LATE MODELS
Heat Winners: Bobby Weber, Dave Russell
Feature: DAVE RUSSELL, Jeff Brown, Dave Whittaker, Matt Alix,
Sam Fullone, Ron Nurmi, Frank Batista, Jerry Dineen, JD Roberts,
Billy Osborn, Nick Crassi, Ron Richter, Bobby Weber, Eldon King III,
Terry Weldy, Dave Rigan
Heat Winners: Eric Brown, Mitchell Wright, Jake Wylie
Feature: JAKE WYLIE, Eric Brown, Joe Mancuso, Tommy Krawczyk,
Bobby Schosek, Robert Fink, Nate Peckham, Lee Sharpsteen, Vern
Headdrick, Chuck Tripp, Tom Zacharias, Pete Pieczysnki, Mike
Nichols, Josh Hunter, Jason Dieter, Gary Now, Bill Frisbee, Jr.,
DNS: Brandon Sherwood
Dave Buchanan /
Lancaster National Speedway