Big Daddy: Matt Hirschman Still Mapping Out Racing Schedule For 2015 Season

Matt Hirschman (52) chases race winner Justin Bonsignore to the checkered in a Whelen Modified Tour event last August at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Matt Hirschman (52) chases race winner Justin Bonsignore to the checkered in a Whelen Modified Tour event last August at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Matt Hirschman can’t be blamed for not being quite sure just where his racing endeavors will be taking him for the 2015 season.

As of right now the focus for the Northampton, Pa. driver is more on racing to change diapers rather than set a schedule

His son, Matthew Hirschman Jr. was born on January 14.

“Right now I don’t really have any set plans,” We had a baby boy last week. I knew that was coming so that was kind of the first priority of the new year. My plans aren’t set but I have a general idea of what I’m looking at and we just haven’t really got together as a group and nailed down exactly what we’re going to do.”

What Hirschman does know is that, as of now, the 2015 season will not see him returning to full-time competition on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

Hirschman ran the Whelen Modified Tour last year in a combination effort with team owner Wayne Darling. Hirschman started 12 of 13 events in 2015. He ran his own car for five of the events and Darling’s car for seven races.

It wasn’t the first time Hirschman has done the combination plan. In 2008 he finished second in the Modified Tour standings running a collaborative effort between Darling and team owner Ed Bennett.

Last year Hirschman finished 13th in the series standings after missing one event, with two top-five finishes and six top-10’s.

“Doing that with Wayne again is off the table,” Hirschman said. “He decided that his interests weren’t to do any [Whelen Modified Tour] races this year. We didn’t have any type of fallout or anything like that. We got along great. It just wasn’t going to work out for him to continue doing the Tour stuff. Doing what we tried to do is tough. We did something similar years ago and had success with it, but to compete with the elite Whelen Tour teams today, I’m not sure that I’ve put myself in the best position to compete with those teams in recent years.”

Hirschman isn’t ruling out competing in select Whelen Modified Tour events in his own equipment in 2015, but he said financially it’s not the best idea.

“Right now a few [Whelen Modified Tour] races are possible with my own equipment, but I’m just not sure that it makes sense financially for me to only do a partial schedule,” Hirschman said. “Without doing all the races, you’re losing out on the point fund money, there’s bonus money you’re losing and there’s been tires going to the top-15 in points. So if you don’t run the full season or put some type of partnership together like I did last year, it makes it a lot tougher financially. I’m not sure that it really makes sense for me to do that. But I’m not ruling out a few races.”

What Hirschman is committing to is running again in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series once again. The Tri-Track Series will run events this year at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. (May 17), Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. (June 13) and Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway (July 1).

Hirschman was victorious in the first ever Tri-Track Series event last year at Lee USA Speedway. He has earned his nickname “Big Money Matt” for his success throughout the Northeast when the big money is on the line for Open Modified events.

“I’ll definitely do those races,” Hirschman said. “That type of format is definitely where I feel I have the most fun racing, at those short track type venues where those races at. And they come with a good purse.”

Hirschman said he’ll likely fill out his schedule running ROC Tour events, select events at Mahoning Valley Speedway in Lehighton, Pa. and doing some select events in Modifieds and SK Modifieds for Connecticut team owners Rob Gallear and Bob Horn.

“I don’t mind travelling to the New England states, but it is a lot more difficult towing out of where we are in Pennsyvlania to head in that direction,” Hirschman said. “We find our travels much easier and enjoyable heading into New York state. And it is nice when there’s a special race close to home, to be able to compete there. I’ve had some success right here at our closest track to home at Mahoning Valley Speedway. They have about a five special races throughout the year that range from [$3,000 to $6,000] to win and it’s only 25 minutes from home. It’s really hard to pass up events like that to go travel four or five or six hours away – a lot of times for a multi-day event – when I can do just as well, if not better, right in my backyard.

“I’m definitely going to try to put myself in the best position for not only to have success but to also have fun and really enjoy it. That’s going to be my goal for the year. But I think the ROC Tour, the open shows and racing special events close to home is probably what I enjoy to do the most. If a few [Whelen Modified Tour] races fit into that schedule then great, but if it doesn’t it really won’t bother me at all.”

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  1. Matt is a great competitor(like his Dad) and is welcome at any race in New England.I hope he continues to make it to the many races held in CT.Matt is always a threat.

  2. Andy Boright says

    Someone please remind me why the Whelen Modified Tour is in good shape?

  3. Barry Westman says

    As a big modified fan living in Ontario,Canada …I have watched them ( Oswego N.Y.) since the 70’s ….. I would like to see a better working relationship between the Nascar Whelan Modified Tour and the Sunoco Race of Champions Tour ….. (I believe this has been an issue for years) …. drivers like Matt Hirschman,and Chuck Hossfeld do well to run both series, but bigger car counts in both as well as quality of drivers would make it a win I believe,for everybody if race dates (and rules) were strategized together. Just wishing …… Fan ….. Barry Westman

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