Mo Money: Matt Hirschman Scores Big Payday In Tri-Track Mods Haunted Hundred At Seekonk

Matt Hirschman celebrates victory in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series Haunted Hundred Saturday at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway. The victory completed a season sweep of all four Tri-Track Series events this year for Hirschman (Photo: Tri-Track Open Modified Series/Dale Wolbrink)

Around the Modified racing scene, Matt Hirschman is known typically for stepping up big when the bigger paydays are on the line.

Saturday at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway the Northampton, Pa. driver showed once again that the extra bucks can light a bigger fire for him.

The organizers of the Northeast Race Cars & Parts Tri-Track Open Modified Series decided to give the competition a little more incentive in their fourth and final event of the season Saturday, putting up a $1,500 bounty to anyone that could win the race while Hirschman still finished on the lead lap.

It also meant the bounty was up for grabs for Hirschman if he could score the victory.

And that extra cash had Hirschman putting on a show.

In a full contact battle at the front, Hirschman lost the lead to Anthony Nocella on lap 98, but then used a lap 99 pass of Nocella to score victory in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series Haunted Hundred Saturday at Seekonk, completing the sweep of the four Tri-Track events this year.

“What a show for the fans,” said Hirschman, who collected a $6,000 winner’s purse in addition to the bounty money. “You guys got your money’s worth today. … Awesome show. You kind of had that feeling coming into this, the whole thing with the bounty and the money that was up for grabs and when it came down to the end it was going to get a little rough. That’s what it did.”

Nocella, of Woburn, Mass., held on to finish second and Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. was third.

“We kind of joked around a little bit,” Nocella said of his conversation with Hirschman after the event. “I said ‘I used you up the lap before, you used me up the second time. So it’s even.’ Neither of us wrecked each other.”

Ron Silk started on the pole and he and second place running Steve Masse were able to quickly check out from third place on back.

The first caution flew on lap 16 for a Woody Pitkat spin after Pitkat had a tire go down while running sixth.

On the restart it was Masse looking to make a bid for the lead on Silk. On lap 17 Masse tried to get under Silk and contact between the two had Masse spinning and collecting quite a few cars, including Bobby Santos III, Keith Rocco and Richard Savary.

Silk got the jump on the ensuing restart with Derek Ramstrom moving past Russ Hersey for second. But on lap 23 Hersey was able to claw back to the runner-up spot by Ramstrom and his move forward didn’t slow there.

On lap 29 Hersey got under Silk for the first lead change of the race. A lap later caution was back out again for the spinning car of Savary.

After the race resumed Hersey continued to show his dominance through multiple restarts.

On laps 79-81 Hirschman tried multiple times to pressure his way by Hersey for the lead., with no luck.

On lap 85 Nocella moved to third by Rowan Pennink.

Caution flew on lap 91. On the ensuing restart, third place running Nocella tried to make a bold move under Hersey for the lead. Nocella made contact with Hersey in turn three, sending him spinning from the top spot. Caution flew with Hirschman inheriting the top spot.

Hirschman got a good jump on the restart, but Nocella clawed back to his bumper.

On lap 98 Nocella was able to get under Hirschman and take over the top spot.

“I knew it was going to be tough down to the end there,” Nocella said. “Our right rear was kind of going away. We got turned around early in the race and had to work our way up pretty hard all the way through and use up our tires. He got the luxury of kind of somewhat staying up toward the front the whole race. We were running the same lap times as him. I said ‘If I get a good restart I can give him a shot here.’ … He left the bottom open a little there and I sailed it in. … He got sideways and I moved him up.”

Hirschman came firing right back, answering Nocella’s aggressive ways with his own feistiness. Hirschman made contact with Nocella through turn three and drove off turn four with the lead coming to the white flag.

“He got right back to my bumper, which I knew that was definitely going to happen,” Nocella said. “… He did what he had to do and didn’t lift until I was up into the second groove again and he got by. That’s hard racing. You can’t expect anything different for putting up this much money.”

Said Hirschman: “I’m just fortunate the way it swapped out we were able to come back and take the lead back. But it was a pretty crazy, pretty wild finish.”


  1. Best driver in vermont

  2. I don’t know how he does it. Courchesne integrates the action on the track with historical context and remembrances and paints a picture of excitement for those not there. All free of charge and then has to approve inane comments from people like me in his spare time. I don’t know how much you get for all this but I know it ain’t nearly what it’s worth.

  3. Good show today. I was skeptical of this event on Halloween weekend but it was a good one. My comments the other day stand, the 92 and 25 are really the only cars that can hang with Matt. In a bit of a reversal, I found myself pulling for Matt. It hit me today that he reminds me of Richie. Smooth through the turns, never too aggressive and always there at the end.

    Does Hersey not know how to restart? Wow, he was out too lunch on them final restarts. I had no idea what he was doing. Neither did Matt or the officials. As TC use to say, he is a 13 second driver in a 12 second car. He got big leagued at the end.

    My only negative, with the weather so nice they should have moved things along so the show didn’t end after sunset and temps dropped. Rolling starts in Oct are a must. 20 minutes for driver introductions???

    Rocco and his “cheated up” late model was a none factor against Seekonk regulars. He isn’t all that against a good field of cars.

  4. Once again he takes them to school

  5. Crazy in NY says

    In my opinion Russ Hersey threw this race for himself. He was fast all day and instead of concentrating on racing his line and keeping Matt from sneaking under him he had to play games on the restarts and drove Matty all over the track. Hey world, your NOT going to intimidate MH with that stuff, He’s way to cool and experienced to be bothered by it. Hersey runs Matt up and Nocella pounces. Hersey comes down and loops himself and the 92 finishes him off. Nocella’s over done brake check in turn 2 after getting the lead from Matt killed his forward momentum and the 60’s incredible forward drive off was all he needed to retake. One fantastic race that ‘s for sure and if you missed it… lost. Tri Track rules!!!

  6. How many tour wins does he have?………

  7. Is it me or is this article written with complete disregard of all conventions of gramar

  8. Great race but Hersey had the race won if not for a late race caution. Nocella first spins Hersey and then attempts the same low class move on Hirchman. He is not a real “champion”, just another rich kid without the talent to win fair and square. Any loser can “Punt the Leader.” It takes a real driver to pass without contact.

  9. Great way to end the season. That late model feature was pretty good too one they got out of that caution fest in the middle of the race.

  10. Rich, your last two sentences sum up the WMT race at Seekonk this year when Coby punted MH early in the event.

  11. Rich, I can’t imagine how you think Nocella intentionally spun Hersey. After watching countless races at Seekonk over the years, there is a 100% chance if the leader runs the second place car up into the third groove that the third place car is going to fill the inside line under them. I had never had a had problem with Hersey’s driving before, but some of the stuff he did near the end was baffling. As mentioned by others, if he ran his own race, he probably would have won the thing.
    One of the highlights of my day was after the race was over a guy in the section next to me stood up and tried to give a double thumbs down to either Hirschman or Nocella. However the guy was either too uncoordinated or too drunk to actually really extend his thumbs!

  12. So richO, if ” It takes a real driver to pass without contact.”, what did Hersey do to Matt that left the whole bottom open and opened the door for Nocella? Hersey tried to turn back down, Nocella was there, and Russ took himself out.

  13. I agree with crazy above, if the 88 focuses on running his line and not running the 60 up, he wins the race. I even read on another site, Hirschman said he had a 2nd or 3rd place car, and was lucky to win.

    26 cars start and Preece finishes 21st………. be interesting to see if there is as much interest in him as Ray Evernham claims on every NBC sports broadcast. We saw how honestly the network covered that phantom spin at Thompson when the 6 got together with a lap car.

  14. So Brian, if you don’t have any TOUR wins, you’re not a great driver? I’m sure Matt could handle THE TOUR as well or better than any of them. Maybe the THE TOUR drivers should be glad Matt’s not on THE TOUR.

  15. Brian, Matt has 2 career wins on the tour, both in 2008 running the Bennett 59 car (Apple Valley and Chemung). 93 career WMT starts, 2 wins, 19 top 5’s, 49 top 10’s

  16. darealgoodfella says

    Bob Npt, Hirschman has run the Tour and has not been dominant, nor very successful.

    How did Colbee do?

  17. Preece has a good deal going either way. Hopefully he gets a high end truck or xfinite ride. But if not he gets to work on and drive a modified for a living. Pretty sweet deal.

  18. Hirschman on the tour full time would be awesome. Would make the 2 bunch nervous

  19. I’m just going to state the obvious that the 60 car as it sits probably wouldn’t pass the tour inspection. There’s no question that Matt is a good driver but there’s definitely a reason that car never races on tour. If Matt truly wanted to measure how good he and his team are they would show up for a few races with the teams widely considered at the top of the modified racing game. I know I sure would like to see it.

  20. crazylarry says

    RUN THE TOUR ! TILL THEN SHUT UP, GOOD LUCK ( CHAMPIONS ZERO!)WINS 0 SEEMS TO BE A TECH ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????? RACES MEAN CHAP TILL HE WIN A TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP LIKE DAD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING AND HE KNOW IT ASK DAD HE CANT FILL THAT SHOE !! LEGALLY WITH TECH ! AND HE KNOWS IT ! THAT’S WHY HE SHIRT RACES, REAL MEN RUN THE TOUR !!! COME ON” $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  21. darealgoodfella says

    That 60 car has one heck of a flux capacitor!!!! 🔆

  22. Crazy in NY says

    Brian n, When was the last time a 18* engine won a Tour race? The Pee Dee 60 does have a spec, is fully within the rules and Matt set fast time with it both times out in 17. Fastest doesn’t always win does it?
    Ran second to Preece at Oswego and got dumped by Coby at Seekonk and was the fastest there at the end. He also didn’t have the fastest car at the end of this TT race and Hersey and Nocella both did themselves in. Did Matt’s flux capacitor cause Preece to be a non factor? Did his traction control keep all those other Whelen stars at from running up front and contending for the win? Matt manages to be there at the end because he’s smart, uses only enough car as the situation warrants and races with respect. Please name another WMT driver/team from Pa that competes on the Tour. Hell not all the Ct teams do that. But…only the Tour counts right? Fools.. You missed yesterday you cheated yourself to some great Modified racing.

  23. Crazy, what engine does Matt have in the red 60? You seem to know a lot about him.

  24. knucklesmahoney says

    I think the show was Hinckley. Just so you know, he was fastest in practice, but as usual he drew a crap number and started 9th in his heat. Started 20th in the main and got stuck on the outside with some cars that don’t even belong there. Once he cleared them, he passed cars at will. Making his way up to 4th. By then the tires were worn out. No respect for a great driver with crap luck.

  25. Crazy in NY says

    A Bob Bruneau 18* NASCAR 390 carb engine that came out of the J&J 59.

  26. I stand by my original comment. Nocella, in his interview mentions, “Using Him Up.” He definitely was not up to Hersey’s door and he was the race leader for many laps. Maybe Hersey should have just waved Nocella by on the inside. I am a fan that has been coming to Seekonk for 40+ years. The greats of Flemke, Bouchard, Summers, Cleary and many other raced fairly and sometimes had to settle for second. There was a code between drivers that you did not cross or you paid the price. As I said originally, it takes no talent to “Punt the Leader.” Contact in racing is expected and entertaining to watch. “Using Someone Up” has become way too fashionable of a technique for those not capable of passing cleanly.

  27. Unfortunately when you get comparable cars with guys that want to win, something has to give. Nocella stated in the post race interview that he “used up” Hirschman to get by him and Hirschman returned the favor on the next lap; just hard racing by two guys that both wanted to win.
    I think the Hersey deal was a case of him using up his car too soon. He was blocking at one point, trying to hang on and Nocella gave him the chrome horn a few times. Nocella had an opening which Hersey tried to close but was a little too late. I’m sure Nocella was also trying to get Hirschman out of his back pocket as well.

  28. Matt is smart not to run the tour. Racing cost money. It all comes down to percentage. Run the tour where you have to buy twice the tires, cost the crews more with all their NASCAR mandated gear and licenses, more travel expenses with all the two day shows and only run half the laps many weeks do to counting all the yellows. Or run the open shows which tend to be 1 days. Run all the advertised laps only need a small crew. Less tire expense. When you take the money needed to run the tour compared to open shows then the money won between the two, percentage wise it makes more sense to run the open shows.
    From a racers side not a financial side it makes sense too. You tend to race more green flag laps in a tri track 125 then a whelen 150. If the tour boys are so great then why can’t they beat matt in the opens. If it’s lack of tech then its lack of tech for all the others as well. Tour drivers can’t seem to conserve tires or equipment. Doesn’t take a lot of talent to win with new rubber.

  29. Not sure why Matt thought he had a 3rd place car. He was wheel to wheel with the 28 when the 92 took out the 28. He may have won even without the help. Also, did the 92 get a new tire when he pitted early on?

    Now the drama builds all winter before Money Matt goes for six in a row next summer.

  30. crazylarry says “real men run the tour”, well you have the right name because you sure are crazy! it’s not “real” men that run the WMT, it’s people with $ to burn. the WMT will cost you 150-200k to run the season. most teams dont make 60k back in purse money. thats not a money wise decision. the nascar tour is for the rich people. roc, tri track, open comp races etc are for the real racers! of the 15 best asphalt modified drivers in the USA today, probably only 3 (Preece, Emerling and Santos) race the tour full time or semi full time. give me Hinckley, McKennedy, Hirschman, Blewett, Hossfeld, Jankowiak, Beers, Myers, Bohn any day of the week over the field fillers that run the WMT because they have the $ to burn!!

  31. “A Bob Bruneau 18* NASCAR 390 carb engine that came out of the J&J 59”
    Absolutely right. That since being run in that car on the NASCAR tour, has had the cylinders “hogged out”, given a “bloated compression ratio”, and finally had the carb “gutted”, so it hasn’t flowed 390 cfms since being removed from the box Holley sent it out in. The engine is among other things that just ain’t kosher with the red 60 car.
    People don’t believe you over here, anymore than they do in N.Y. Mike. Maybe you can explain why the tech couldn’t look at the car at Evergreen? It has been confirmed by a few, that the 60 team wouldn’t let tech look at the car there. And must of whined to the owner/promoter. Another win, another “no-tech”.
    Coby didn’t dump your boy at Seekonk either. He did it to himself. I was there, and the blocking and chopping started very early, somewhere in the first ten laps, and continued to around lap 60. Coby gave him plenty of enough time to realize the 2 car was faster and turning better than the 60 car. Go to the NASCAR website, and look at the race recap for Seekonk. The blocking and chopping is memoialized in black and white, and on numerous instances. Coby was more patient than what I would have expected him to be. Bottom line a superior driver and car won both the races at Seekonk and Oswego. Remember, the race is important, not the qualifying.
    M.H. Is no where near the driver most modified drivers are, especially Coby ( and I don’t care much about Coby). Lets talk about the 2012 through 2014 seasons. Coby won the title in 2012, finished 2nd in 2013. M.H. took over that seat in 2014, and drove to an astonishing 13th place finish in the points with that championship winning team. He killed that team.
    Lastly, I have bee going to races since the 50s (I’ll be 70 early next year). And“rinky-dink” attempts to outdo the NASCAR modified program have been going on for decades. And none have been successful. For instance, when Richie Evans is mentioned, it is as a nine time NASCAR modified champion. No mention of his success with NEARA. I’ll bet most if not all of you know little about NEARA and its’ short life span. NASCAR modifieds have been around since the beginning, and the tour has been around since 1985. It is not going anywhere. But, you can bank on your “rinky-dink” not hanging around that long.

  32. Actually NASCAR modifieds predate NASCAR stock cars by 1 year. You’d of thunk it.

  33. darealgoodfella says

    So everybody going to Wall for the Turkey Trot race?

  34. it Is only cheating if you get caught ever great driver and team push the envelope.when someone comes prepared Time after time I don’t think he’s cheating I think him and his dad have forgotten more then most people out there know just say I got beat and do your homework

  35. sour grapes of wrath says

    hirshman with mods very much like rocco with sks .they do much better when they have more control over what they are driving.. smart not to run the tour.. both made some money this year and by the way it does a promoter no good to overlook ” cheating” as is alleged here.. why if I thought a premotor wouldn’t`tech a cheater I would never return to that track again.. whats the point.. both smart young guys who’s business is racing. and they are good at it.. as for the 2 team I would guess of all the mod tour teams they have spent the most over the past four years for their titles….sure they earned it but at what financial cost …people are mad why because someone can win and make some money too. or at the very least break even ??? haters all

  36. Crazy in NY says

    M.H. Is no where near the driver most modified drivers are………….

    You think most modified drivers would agree with that Ron?
    funniest thing you’ve ever written

  37. James McG says:

    For instance, when Richie Evans is mentioned, it is as a nine time NASCAR modified champion. No mention of his success with NEARA. I’ll bet most if not all of you know little about NEARA and its’ short life span. NASCAR modifieds have been around since the beginning, and the tour has been around since 1985. It is not going anywhere. But, you can bank on your “rinky-dink” not hanging around that long.

    just silly, thats all that is. so, u need the word NASCAR to remember the great modified drivers? Maynard Troyer, Geoff Bodine, JB3, Charlie J, Ronnie Bouchard… just a handful of great modified drivers that never felt the need to follow whatever NASCAR was doing and had great modified careers and are amongst the all time greatest short track racecar drivers of all time.

  38. Maybe that 390 carb has open boosters like they allow on the aluminum head 23’s in the MRS. Is that legal on an 18 degree?

  39. Crazy in NY says

    Phil A you left out probably the greatest Modified driver of all time Eddie Flemke . Who went and won everywhere and…btw…..has the same number of NASCAR Mod titles as MH.

  40. darealgoodfella says

    Tour rules prohibit altering the 390 carb boosters for 18º engines.

  41. Phil A. and Crazy, you both must be quite new to this sport. I like it when “newbies” are so wide-eyed and excited to learn about something. Makes old-timers like myself useful.
    All I can say is both of you need to go to Ultimate Racing History, and click on Drivers. Pick the names you both have mentioned here. You will see that the drivers you mention all have a word in front of the word modified in the third box from the left titled “Division” in more than 90% of the races they have documented. That word is “NASCAR. So, they made their name in modified racing under the NASCAR banner/sanction.
    And Ed Flemke never won a NASCAR modified title? Are you kidding? Do you know where Utica-Rome Speedway is? He won the NASCAR modified title there in I believe it was 1966.
    Wow, this was easy

  42. No kidding dareal, I was being sarcastic as like maybe that is what they my have and since sometime there is no tech who will ever know. It is called a performance advantage similar to a “flux capicator” on a spec engine!

  43. darealgoodfella says

    Sometimes the sarcasm doesn’t quite come through.

    Any car can use a flux capacitor, built or SPEC engine.

  44. Did everyone forget who his father is Tony was a real good shoe himself

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