It will be reunion time in 2014 on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour for Matt Hirschman and team owner Wayne Darling.
Darling confirmed to RaceDayCT Monday that he will field a car for Hirschman on the Modified Tour in 2014. Darling will field his car for Hirschman for an unspecified portion of the 14- event schedule in 2014 with Hirschman fielding his own car for the remainder of the events.
Hirschman previously ran for Darling on the Modified Tour from 2006 to 2009. During that span Darling fielded a car for Hirschman for half of each season with Ed Bennett fielding a car for Hirschman for the other half of the season.
“I think the transition coming back together with them, it’s not going to be like starting with a new team,” Hirschman said. “I think things are going to click pretty quickly with them again. Their reputation and their results speak for themselves and the same can be said for my program. I go into this with 100 percent confidence in both sides.”
Hirschman, of Northampton, Pa., replaces Doug Coby in Darling’s No. 52 ride. Coby, after winning a series title in 2012 with Darling and finishing as the series runner-up with the team in 2013, will move to Mike Smeriglio Racing in 2014, replacing Todd Szegedy in the No. 2 ride.
Hirschman finished third in the Whelen Modified Tour standings in 2007 and second in 2008 but a falling out with Bennett at the end of the 2008 season dissolved the tandem team effort.
“We are teaming up to make things easier on both ends, and we’ll probably spread the races out and kind of go about it that way,” Hirschman said of the reunion with Darling. “ Obviously I’ve raced with them before and we always maintained a good relationship. I just, at that time when that split up happened, I wasn’t in the position that I’m in now to join up with [Darling] and field a car myself. But I can’t complain with the way things have gone for me. It’s a good chance for me to get back together with him again.”
The 31-year old Hirschman has two career Whelen Modified Tour victories, both coming during the 2008 season when he finished second in the series standings to Ted Christopher. Over 77 career starts dating back to 2005, Hirschman has 15 top-five’s and 40 top-10’s.
After running two events in 2009 and none in 2010, Hirschman returned to the series full-time with Boehler Racing Enterprises in 2011 and finished sixth in the standings. He has made two Whelen Modified Tour starts each of the last two seasons. The last two years have seen Hirschman establish himself as the driver to beat in the Northeast when it comes to Open Modified shows, earning him the moniker Big Money Matt for his knack for grabbing victories in high paying events. The 2013 season saw him win both the North-South Shootout at Caraway Speedway in Sophia, N.C. and the Turkey Derby at Wall (N.J.) Stadium among events on his schedule.
“I think it’s an opportunity to accomplish some things that I’d accomplish that I haven’t yet,” Hirschman said of going into the 2014 season running full-time on the Whelen Modified Tour once again. “The last few years have been incredible in terms of accomplishments in what we’ve been doing, but this presents a new challenge and an opportunity to accomplish some things that are there for me to get.”