(LEHIGHTON, PA 10-4-14) What a day it was Saturday for Matt
Hirschman. He was up bright an early and headed to upstate New York
with the intention of competing in the U.S. Open at Lancaster
Raceway Park, however, when that show, an R.O.C. Asphalt Modified
Tour Series race was canceled due to rain, Hirschman did an
about-face back to Pennsylvania and proceeded to Mahoning Valley
100-lap, $4000 paying Modified feature on tap it was a decision well
worth the nearly 600 mile round trip journey. A true master when it
comes to extra distance, big money races at Mahoning Valley,
Hirschman capped off his arduous trek by taking the checkered flag
in a spectacular 20th to first place run. "I just needed
a chance. Mother Nature helped us and we had a lot of miles to come
from near Buffalo and back to here. But I was confident the whole
time as long as I got in the show I could start last and win. Itís
been a long day but Iím glad everyone put the effort in," said
Hirschman, who won his second straight Mahoning 100-lapper and 10th overall.
Hirschman may not have started last but it was close to it. Once he
learned that the Lancaster race was canceled, he immediately called
down to Mahoning to say he would be heading their way. Hirschman,
who lives just 25 miles from the track, had his Mahoning car already
loaded and thanks to a few extra hands, the car was hauled to the
speedway waiting his arrival.
it just as the heats where getting underway and although there was
time to run in his qualifier, he opted out and did not get on track
until the consolation race. Starting last, he advanced to fifth and
was safely in the show.
100-lap feature he would line up in row 10. Once the race began he
carefully strategized his every move. Going against a solid field of
contenders, making his way to the front would be no easy task. His
first big break came on a lap 20 caution as several cars in front of
him went pit-side and Hirschman methodically moved up a few spots.
Another yellow on lap 33 and another break as several more cars
pitted, allowing advances with the J & J Motorsports No. 59, this
time reaching into the top 10.
while Hirschman was working his way to the front, Nevin George was
turning in a superb performance as the race leader, building a
comfortable lead over such challengers as Earl Paules and Zane
Zeiner. On lap 49 Georgeís commanding lead was wiped out when Don
Wagner spun and prompted a caution. At that point Hirschman was
running sixth and on the restart he would begin to take action on
chasing down the leaders. One by one he picked off cars, taking
Roger Coss, Kyle Strohl and Zeiner in succession and was now third
by lap 57 and racing closely behind Paules. Meanwhile George
continued to cruise out-front and looked invincible.
Noticeably, though, Hirschman was on a mission. After a 10 lap duel
with Paules he secured second spot and set his sights on George who
by that time had a half track lead.
Hirschman would get some help from Eric Beers who came to a halt on
lap 72 and brought out a caution. When the race got back underway it
was a matter of a few laps before he would make his race winning
move, taking the lead on the 77th circuit. Once in the
lead he effortlessly pulled away and went on to a convincing
3.170-second margin of victory over George. Zeiner, Paules and
Strohl completed the top five.
been fortunate enough to win some of these 100 lap races but this
one will be special just because of the day we had and how it worked
out. Itís amazing and I love being close to home. We probably put on
about 600 miles today but itís going to be a nice 10 miles to home
tonight," said Hirschman.
did a great job holding off a number of heavy hitters and running
one of his best races of the season. However, he admitted that his
downfall in the end was tire wear which cost him his shot at
winning. "We were really good and we got to the front first soon
enough where we had to set the pace and maybe I should have slowed
it down a bit. He (Hirschman) clearly had better tires than me in
the end. I really think that him being stuck in the back for the
first 20 or 30 laps, he was able to capitalize on that with his
tires and that was the difference," said George.
sixth place finish, Kris Graver becomes the 2014 track champion and
at 21 years of age he is the youngest driver to win a Modified title
at Mahoning Valley.
some late race heroics Mike Sweeney made a daring pass on Paul
Koehler Jr. and race leader Earl Paules with two laps to go and went
on to win his fourth Late Model feature of the season. Second
wasnít a total loss for Paules as he sewed up his third consecutive
survived a caution plague Street Stock race and scored his second
win of the year. Brown had an early tussle with Zach Graver as they
swapped the lead several times. After a lap 10 caution Brown was
out-front for good and held on for the victory. On the final
lap TJ Gursky passed Jason Kuhn and earned his third class and fifth
career track driving crown.
Modified feature was well in the hands of Billy Lowden Jr., who was
holding his own over second Ricky Yetter and JP Curry. However, with
just under 10 laps to go, Lowden encountered motors issues and
slowed, allowing Yetter to take the lead and go on for the win, his
third feature of 2014. Curry was second and í14 champ Kevin Graver
Jr., third. Earlier in the night Yetter set a new track record at
10.039-seconds during his heat.
For Nick Baer
it was a fitting ending to a great year. After claiming the Pro 4
title a week earlier, Bear put the punctuation mark on his awesome
season by leading every lap and going on to a division high seven
In what has
become one of the most remarkable headlines of the year, Rich
Mutarelli took drove to his seventh straight Hobby Stock win. Making
a knack for late race passes, Mutarelli slipped by race long leader
Tim Oswald on the final tour en route to continuing his incredible