SAINT JOHNS, Pa — Audio and recap by Race Chaser Online Northeast Correspondent Kyle Magda — Joyce Thompson photo —
In the past week, Matt Hirschman has done everything but win a Modified race in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
He finished runner-up three times in the last seven days, including another runner-up finish to Eric Beers last night at Mahoning Valley Speedway.
That all changed Sunday when the Northampton native took the lead from pole-sitter Jason Hearne on lap 22 and never looked back in Sunday’s Tour-Type Modified feature at Evergreen Raceway. After nearly pulling off a trip to victory lane in the last week, he finally came through Sunday.
“It would’ve been great to sweep the weekend because it was a big weekend here in Pennsylvania,”Hirschman said. “It’s been a long time we had double like this with the two tracks with big races, so it would’ve been nice, but unfortunately we came up a little short last night. Today, good car, good run, good race for us. A little bit long, too many cautions with the guys back further and the broom crew sure got a work-out today. Good to get one after three-straight seconds, getting a little frustrating, good to get a win and now we just kept moving on.”
“Hopefully, we get a lot more this year.”
Hirschman’s strong showings early in the season might show the competition what to expect in 2016, but he will drive a third-different car in as many races in next weekend’s Ferris Mowers Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series race at Chemung Speedrome. He returned to Evergreen for the first time in nearly two years last week before finishing runner-up to Paul Hartwig Jr. on Opening Day.
“It’s actually getting a little bit better than last week, but really the same old Evergreen to me that we’ve always had here,” Hirschman said. “I’ve always enjoyed racing here. I certainly could drive the place blind-folded probably. I’ve been running here a long time and it’s changed over the years, but it’s really no different than it was a few years ago when we were running here, so it’s good to see it open with race cars back on the track. You never want to see tracks close or shut down because you never know if they’ll ever re-open. Glad Jason and his staff here got it going, I hope they can keep it going. I wish them the best.”
Evergreen Raceway re-opened this season after a year-and-a-half hiatus and the opening Tour-Type Modified Series race Sunday was part of a double-header with RoC running at Mahoning the previous night.
New Jersey driver Anthony Sesely made the Evergreen trip and hung with Hirschman during his heat race. But, the 2016 Atlantic City Gambler’s Classic winner spun in the feature and re-bounded to finish runner-up to the No. 50 machine. Sesely held off a hard-charging Brandon Oltra to get a second-place finish/
“Typical Matt Hirschman at the end,” Sesely said. “He lets you play the whole race and then at the end, he shows you what he’s got. He had a hell of a race car at the end. We struggled all day, Brandon had a better car than me at the end. I was waiting for him to put it on the outside and get around it, but luckily we held on.”
Hirschman was in his own zip code in the closing laps but third-place Brandon Oltra began to breathe down Sesely’s neck, trying to grab the runner-up spot from the Matawan, New Jersey native. Oltra spun out twice during the feature to come back for the podium finish.
“We had a really good car today. It was quick off the truck, can’t thank my guys enough for giving me such an awesome car. We were quick. We definitely had a second-place car there. I don’t know if anybody was going to get around Matt, but we definitely had a second-place car today. Anthony held me off and I did what could to salvage a finish. I’m happy, but at the same time, I’m a little disappointed because we had a better car than this today.”
“I still haven’t won a race in a modified, and that bumper’s a little torn up. I’m not saying I would’ve put it to him, but it was a good chance I would’ve made it interesting.”
Brian DeFebo and Alan Creveling completed the top-five in the 50-lap feature. Caution laps didn’t count as a rash of yellow fever was imminent during the race.
Two weeks at Evergreen Raceway, two different winners to start off the 2016 season there. The Tour-Type Modifieds weren’t the only ones to tackle the track Sunday.
Moe Hunsinger survived late-race charges from Tom Casagrande and Stephanie Moyer to score his first Factory Stock win in a car once piloted by track regular Matt Mattern Jr.
Sam Ryan made a last-lap pass in the Four-Cylinder feature to win, while Randy Schlenker added another Street Stock victory at Evergreen in the 25-lap feature. CJ Lehman won the Pro-Stock race.
Racing resumes there next weekend with five divisions of racing for the track’s “Pack the Track Day” with half-price admission, weather permitting.
Audio with race-winner Matt Hirschman:
Audio with runner-up Anthony Sesely:
Audio with third-place Brandon Oltra:
RESULTS: Tour-Type Modifieds Round 1 of 7; 50-lap Feature; Evergreen Raceway; April 24, 2016
- Matt Hirschman
- Anthony Sesely
- Brandon Oltra
- Brian DeFebo
- Alan Creveling
- Earl Paules
- Amber Fortin
- DJ Wagner
- Levi Arthur
- Jim Dolan
- Terry Markovic
- Tommy Rought
- Brandon Pressler
- Brock Brown
- Jason Hearne
- Wayne Szerencsits
- Chris Ridsdale
- Harry Buchman
- Brian Sones
About the Writer
Kyle Magda is a Northeast Correspondent for Race Chaser Online and a co-host of both Motorsports Madness and the Stock Car Steel/SRI Motorsports Show, airing at 7 p.m. ET on Monday and Thursday nights, respectively, on the Performance Motorsports Network. Magda broke into racing in mid-2001 as the sport’s tide was beginning to change towards the current modern-era formula, but still has an affinity for the history of NASCAR’s earlier days.
The 23-year-old is a graduate of Penn State University and can be found traveling to numerous tracks across the country, covering everything from NASCAR and the ARCA Racing Series to the UNOH All-Stars Circuit of Champions and the Super Cup Stock Car Series.
Email Kyle at: [email protected]
Follow on Twitter: @KyleMagda
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