Adjusting To Victory: Matt Hirschman Rolls To SBM 125 Victory At Star Speedway

Matt Hirschman celebrates victory in the Northeast Race Cars & Parts Tri-Track Open Modified Series SBM 125 Saturday at Star Speedway in Epping, N.H. (Photo: Tri-Track Open Modified Series) 

EPPING, N.H. – It’s become an almost cliché story around the Modified ranks of the Northeast. Big money show, and Big Money Matt is on and rolling.

But the wrinkle Saturday for Matt Hirschman was that when the green flag fell, he knew with what he had at the start he was more likely to be an also ran than a celebrated victor.

Hirschman and his team used some finely calculated adjustments, and a flawless pit stop to help lift them to where they needed to be, and the song remained the same, with the Northampton, Pa. driver in tune perfectly when the big money was on the line.

Hirschman cruised over the late stages and won the Northeast Race Cars & Parts Tri-Track Open Modified Series SMB 125 at Star Speedway in Epping, N.H.

Hirschman took home a $6,000 winner’s purse for the event. It was his fourth in the event in its six-year history.

Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. was second and Josh Cantara of Saco, Me. third.

Hirschman won in the last Tri-Track event on June 28, the $10,000 to win Open Wheel Wednesday at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway.

“It’s an incredible roll we’ve been on,” Hirschman said. “I’m just speechless really. To put together this many wins that we have is definitely, by far, the best streak of my career and maybe the best I’ll ever have really.”

Hirschman started 14th in the 28-car field for the event, which attracted 33 entries. He spent much of the first 73 laps running around 10th place before all the leaders pitted on lap 73.

Matt Galko led the field to green for the lap 73 restart with Hirschman restarting fourth. He made his way quickly to third then got by Chris Pasteryak for second on lap 77. A lap later Hirschman made a diving move under Galko to take over the lead for good.

Hirschman was left to drive away watching Pennink battle with a host of drivers for second over the closing stages. Cantara got by Les Hinckley III for third on lap 86.

“Tonight, I don’t really know what it is and I’m going to try to see if I can figure it out, but my car was not good at the beginning of this race and I owe a lot to my guys because when we came in for the pit stop, not only did we change a tire, I had about five guys who all made adjustments and everybody executed everything and we gained spots,” Hirschman said. “We beat all the guys that I was going to have beat on the race track. So I really owe a big part to them. And then the adjustments we did make did bring the car in so that I had a good car at the finish. But I wouldn’t have sniffed a top-five if we had the car that we had at the start at the finish. They would have been coming around to lap me, we were that bad. I’m going to see if I can figure out why, but we definitely dialed it in for the finish.”

Said Pennink: “We had a good car. After we pitted we got stuck in a couple bad lanes and we kind of got dragged further back than we should have and we had to make that up. We definitely had a second place car. We had nothing for Matt. He had an unbelievable car. He could just pick it up and drive right away from us whenever he needed to. Congrats to him. That’s two Tri-Track races in a row that he’s had an unbelievable race car.”


  1. crazylarry says

    He’s wins ! (NO Tech) lets see him win a tour race! Call it what is BS

  2. Must have forgot to hook up the TC, pit stop attached and Bingo!

  3. It was a good event. I’m glad I decided to go. Successful event for Star and Tri Track no doubt. I actually waited until after the heats to go. I wanted to make sure Matt wasn’t going to start upfront. Imagine my shock when the entire field pitted at lap 73 and Matt came out second. Game, set, match. Race over. The field knew it too because all hell broke loose after that. Everyone knew it was over and just did what they wanted to do. Good drivers making bonehead decisions. Good call officials to go to single file restart. It took about an hour to run laps 75-85.

    I agree with Crazy Larry, The 60 would take the field to green in 4 and have cleared the 2nd place car by the start finish. Can’t help but think he has a little Joe Gibbs something something in the drivetrain. He blew away fast cars like the 15, 13 and 25 like they weren’t there. That car is on another playing field on restarts. Reminds me of when Newman was dominating NHMS until… Might be time for a bounty or something.

    Quick shout out to Josh Cantara. Back to back third places finishes in this event on older equipment. One of these days he will pull off the upset at Star. Well done. They do it again Wed Aug 23rd a Star.

  4. Marc kemick says

    Really hardcore racer you should be privileged to watch him


    Bingo, to all the above. If races like this, and the series over here in New York won’t check the cars over (i.e. cubic inches, compression ratio, carbs, and other things) he’ll win every time. I spend a lot of time in the pits at these races (and more so in N.Y.) and you can tell that team is glad nobody looks at that car. Don’t forget the series here in N.Y. thrived off engines that were large. The former series owner thought he would lose cars if he stuck to a certain set of rules, even though they were in print. It is no different now, from what I see. I’m a firm believer that is why this series popularity in the poll on this site is is around half what the NASCAR tour came out at.

  6. Does anybody know what set of rules he claims that car legal for? Spec motor nascar,18deg Nascar, Steel Head ROC? There are a lot of little rules you can get away with at these open shows. They ask you what combo you have, they don’t really check it. I can say I have 358 but really be 377ci and save the weight penalty.

  7. It is interesting he only runs the red 60 in the open shows where they don’t tech. That tells me something!

  8. Bill Realist says

    HUGE forward bite on that car HUGE. He drives that thing like it’s got an on-of switch instead of a gas pedal.

  9. I completely agree with Utica Mike.
    No rule enforcement at all. They should just let U run anything you want.
    Only rule should be is a 2500 lb. race car.
    Anybody that’s been around racing knows what is going on.
    The 60 and the 29 at Seekonk had a little extra going on. TC ?

  10. crazylarry says


  11. Like I said above, could it be traction control and when there is no tech no one will ever know. Big engine, huge forward bite and the car is on rails. Or was he just hanging out, not using his equipment up and when it was time to go he took tires and went.

  12. I haven’t seen the 60 passed by one car yet this season. That tells you something. The real question should be why the other guys aren’t cheating it up. Why not? Seriously. If you can’t beat them, join them.

    He went into the pits 10th and came out 2nd. That set everything up.

  13. Crazy in NY says

    Fools talking smack. Weight and cubic inch is set by rules. The 60 , the 25 and the 71 ALL had their
    cube and carbs checked after the race. all passed.
    So lets follow this
    60 12.806 in first practice TC on
    everybody else in the 8’s are OK?
    Savary 12. 675 in final prac,,,was his TC on?
    the 60 was 6th fastest with a 12.785 was his TC off?

    Is it possible the 60 in consultation with his 5 time NASCAR titled father over the radio
    call to the crew some air pressure and wedge adjustments, along with the tire change everybody else was doing ,and they got their work done quicker resulting in a p4 restart? Possible?

    Naw /// much easier for the intellectually lazy to just make a cheating accusation .

  14. Crazy in New York, do you honestly believe he is that much better than everybody else at these open shows? That other teams are not making adjustments? Since you seem to have inside knowledge of their operations, why doesn’t he bring that car out on the Tour or anywhere they might Tech? I’d love the hear your reasoning why a Dominant Car and Dominant Driver and Crew would choose to not race Nascar. Its definitely not the Schedule, he runs all those places now for most part, its definitely not the costs hes travels all over already and spends plenty of money, its not the Competition some may argue Tri Track is even tougher than the Tour, Its not the Purse, Tour pays way more than a ROC does.
    I just don’t believe that every race the 60 shows up they hit on some magical set up and are way faster than everybody else, he gapped the 2nd place car by 7-8 car lengths in a lap and half once he got to the lead then just rode around with no pressure from anybody.

  15. Dick Williams says

    Do any of you have a clue? The Series says Tri Track Open Modified Series (Open Modified) . Whatever series you belong to, you can race that car as long as it meets safety standards .The motors are controlled by weight,side weight and tires. The motors are pumped and must meet the weight for their cubit inches contrary to what everyone believes . The series was formed so every modified car could compete regardless of what group you race with. It is suppose to be a fun series for the competitors and the fans,plus a good race for the tracks. We want to thank everyone involved , The tracks,competitors,officials, and fans for their support.

  16. Hard to believe before the lap 73 caution Cantara was about to be lapped. He went in the pits 22 and came out 10th. Not a bad gain for the Hannaford team that hasn’t raced since last years race at star. Even after the pit stop he had fallen back to 14th. Kid kept his nude clean even around the yellow 06 car. That guy is nothing but a hack. Cantara and Norcela were the fastest 2 cars the last 5 laps.

  17. They build great race cars they do there homework.They come to the track prepared they have a great notebook.Why does someone have to be cheating.They don’t run the tour because these are all one day shows and they treat it like a business.

  18. Crazy in NY says

    Rich, Matt drives the PeeDee Motorsports entry in selected Tour events. He’ll be at Seekonk and Oswego with it. It’s built for Tour competition and his regular 60 has a Bruneau NASCAR legal 390
    ( but uncompetitive these days) motor in it. Lots of guys (preece, bonsignor, coby , goodale ) come to mind use a different car on the Tour that other races why don’t you apply the same standards to them?
    Tony and Matt have doing this for a long time and they eat, drink and breath asphalt Modifieds.
    It’s what they do for a living. They get lots of input into what works and what doesn’t and they never
    bring a less that 100 percent prepared car to the races. btw the 60 was Not the dominate car at Star
    but they adjusted on their stop while 13 and 99 ran the wheels off their cars. Matt is both smooth and patient which is plain enough to see for anybody who cares to watch him. For sure he’s a roll
    right now , the really goods ones can do that , but it can turn on you in an instant.
    and….Please stop with the NO tech thing……it’s just not true.

  19. So if he has the right motor and sounds like he does so be it . everyone can do the same thing if they choose to . That’s better than the Bateman series where they say oh yea you can run a steel head motor with a big carb than the day after practice they tell you oh by the way you are to fast put this plate on this should kill your engine and make the field fair . IMO thats is what a open show is and mat has it down .

  20. crazylarry says

    I like to know what cylinder is pumped just #1 or is it a random draw out of the eight and is it ,Techs choice?seen that BS where the team has pulled the plug they like and not tell me no !!!! I seen this BS before !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!been around a long time.

  21. Tri-Track dictates the cylinder,

  22. Thefullrack says

    The crazy part you got right. No tech? Why didn’t you hang around to see the tech guys check the car and tube the motor?

  23. Fast Eddie says

    The costs to run the tour when you and your crew live in Pennsylvania have got to be rather steep to say the least. However, a one-day open show with a big purse makes it worthwhile. This team wins because they’re about the best at what they do. I don’t think Matt has a “regular” job; he is a professional driver with a family. The team’s approach to me is pretty old school. Matt’s racing to put food on the table, so he goes where it’s most cost effective. The ROC is closer to home and mostly one-day shows. The TriTrack has big purses. This works for him. I’ve also seen him struggle at events and still end up winning. Star was a perfect example; he was lousy in practice and the heat. A little better in the first half of the race, but still not his usual run. The crew made the right calls on the pit stop, and the car came alive. The same thing happened a couple of years ago at Lee. They had to get in through the consi, and finally got it adjusted so it worked in the race and won it. You can say what you want, but you just can’t deny their preparation and setup skills or their on-track expertise, both in the pits and on the track.

  24. I checked the Tri track rules and nowhere does it say that traction control is illegal so I guess everything is fair game. Take note boys!!!!!!

  25. Oops, just found it, I stand corrected and their rules say it is illegal. Sorry about that……

  26. Dick Williams:
    The transmission rule reads in every Modified Touring Series WMT, ROC, MYS, MRS, SMRS, that you have to have a transmission that is 1 to 1.
    The 60 had a transmission in it that was not a 1 to 1.
    That’s why he has no competition on the ROC and the Tri-Track Series.
    It’s just to easy. Just like when Newman was illegal on the WMT. TO EASY.
    Dick just ask your tech guy and he will tell you just what I told you.
    The 60 was illegal at Star. You guys let him slide.
    That 60 car will never be run on the WMT as is.

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