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   The Chrome Horn - Modified News


Hirschman Finally Seals The Deal!
by Denise DuPont

With a compressed race week the tour type modifieds had two good shoot out races and two longer feature events. JR Bertuccio started the week off winning a 50 lap race. The next night, Tyler Rypkema won his first race at New Smyrna Speedway in a 35 lap short track shootout style race. Ryan Preece then captured the tenth annual John Blewett III 76 Memorial race on Wednesday night. Matt Hirschman finally broke his second place streak and won Friday night’s 100 lap Richie Evans Memorial 100.

The coveted race for the World Series of Asphalt Stock car Racing has been a 100 lap feature event that ends the modifieds race week. Over the years several different drivers have taken some the trophy and prestige rights to say that they have won the “Richie Evans Memorial 100” feature race. Among these are Jimmy Spencer, Tony Jankowiak, Tom Baldwin, Mike Ewanitsko, Rick Fuller, Steve Park, Jamie Tomaino, John Blewett III and Ryan Preece. Tonight’s winner, Matt Hirschman, added his name to the impressive list.

Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA. was second fastest in qualifying and started the race sixth. He quickly made his move and was in the lead by lap 20. Hirschman briefly led until Ron Silk from Norwalk, CT. went by him for the top spot. On lap 44, the yellow flag flew for a modified spinning jus at the entrance to pit road in turn four (Jimmy Blewett). All but five drivers pitted for tires and adjustments. Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, MA was the first car out followed by JR Bertuccio and then Silk. Hirschman returned to the field almost mid-pack. By the Half-way marker, Hirschman was in fourth while Silk led the field followed in second by McKennedy. From lap 70 onward it was the Silk- Hirschman show as they ran lap after lap competing for the top position.

A lap 84 late race caution gave Hirschman a chance to go under Silk in turn two. As they rounded the corner, Hirschman road Silk up high and secured the lead. “I have been fighting from behind all the time trying to make the pass. I have never being the one leading and trying to hold somebody off. It has been hard to do and everybody has been protecting. A lot of guys took from me all week and hardly gave a little. That is not how I like to race if I did move him (Ron Silk) up a little there, we did it.” Hirschman confessed at the end of the race. There was no contact between Silk and him but bringing Silk up high on the track stopped his forward momentum enough to give Hirschman the lead.

From there it was Hirschman’s race to win. He held off Silk for the final laps and took home his first 2017 race win.

So with race week winding down for the modifieds, Matt Hirschman was finally able to zero in on a victory at New Smyrna Speedway. “We worked hard for it all week. My crew worked really hard. This could have been multiple wins this week but things just did not work out, “exclaimed Hirschman. “But finally tonight we closed the deal. My guys worked hard all week and I am glad that we finished the week with a win and especially with the biggest win of the week here.”

Silk once again dominated the modified race but the end was not what he planned. On the last restart Hirschman passed Silk for the lead and he dropped to second for a runner up finish. “Matt had a good car. I started to get a little free at the end. The car was not terrible but he was just a little better,” stated Silk about his run. “We drove down into turn one real hard and he kind of got my right sides high up into the marbles. And it was easy pickings from there. Congratulations to them, they did a great job. I would like to that my car owner, Danny Watts, my crew that worked hard all week and Brad Lafontaine. The car was not good when we unloaded and Brad did a lot of work the last two nights and we made a lot of gains. We will take the positives out of here and roll on.”

Jon McKennedy was in the top five all night long. He made it up to second but he was never able to get to the front spot. Being there all week long, McKennedy wanted just one win under his belt to start off the 2017 race year.

“I am just a little disappointed. All week we had just a great car and we were a serious contender. All practices, qualifying and race runs we were a top five car every single night. We were unable to get that win. We had top fives and threes but no wins. That is just disappointing not to get that win. It was a good effort on everyone’s end. They knew we were here and they knew we ran up front all week.” And with the new Race work’s Chassis Exit Realty modified McKennedy definitely made his presence on the track known.

Every night McKennedy was racing with the leader but was just a little shy of the lead. “Come night time is seemed like we were a little too loose every night and we could not get it tightened up so we will move on,” McKennedy said about his car. “When you race with the group of guys that we have down here you pretty much have to be spot on. It was close to the toughest competition that this track has seen in a decade. There were eight or ten cars that could have won on any night. Like I said it was a great effort by everyone. I want to thank my crew and sponsors.’

So as another race week in Florida ends, race teams are packing their haulers and will make the ride home to prepare for the 2017 race season. Teams may all head in their own direction but for one week they were all united as race week competitors. See you at the track!

Notes from New Smyrna Speedway:

Matt Hirschman received the "Going the distance Award" in Honor of Kathy and Keith Goodale, a bonus to the highest finishing car that also raced at Bronson Speedway last Saturday night. Ann and Chris Young from Bronson Speedway were at New Smyrna to present the award for the Goodale family.

Matt Hirschman was the top finishing driver Saturday night so he was given the "Going the distance Award”.

Ann Young

“Matt congratulations on your win tonight. I want to thank you for going to Bronson Speedway and supporting our racing. Hopefully you will be back next year. This is a special award from the Goodale family. The award is being given to you for the distance you went tonight. Thank you for going the distance.” “I want to invite all the modified drivers to Bronson Speedway next year. We will have the modified race there again in 2018.”

Matt Hirschman
“Thank you. Bronson Speedway did a lot of nice things to try to bring modifieds to Florida at Bronson last Saturday. It was not the end result we want at the Bronson race. But it was a good show and a fun little track. Everyone should check it out.”
“I appreciate this award from the Goodale family and it makes it a little more rewarding that we made the trip.”

Would have done anything different this week?

Matt Hirschman

“Hindsight is 20-20. I wish that I could do some things over again this week and we would have multiple wins. We came here and the main objective was a learning experience. This is a new team with a relatively new car and we needed to learn and we did. We had a fast car and finally we closed the deal with a win tonight.”
Race 4 - Richie Evans Memorial 100 Finish:
    1. Matt Hirschman 60
  2. Ron Silk 82
  3. Jon McKennedy 29
  4. Ryan Preece 6
  5. Justin Bonsignore 51
  6. Timmy Solomito 16
  7. Chuck Hossfeld 22
  8. Spencer Davis 82x
  9. JR Bertuccio 2
10. Richie Pallai 17
11. Tommy Catalano 54
12. Ricky Moxley 33
13. Matt Montineri 71M
14. Tyler Rypkema 32
15. Calvin Carroll 40
16. Paul Hartwig, Jr. 73
17. Jimmy Zacharias 23D
18. Amy Catalano 64
19. Shawn Balluzzo 70G
20. Jimmy Blewett 45
21. Matt Gallo 6x
22. Jeremy Gerstner 70
23. DJ Wagner 39
24. Al Ermmarino 2x
Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
: February 24, 2017

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