Matt Hirschman Wins Pole For Whelen Mod Tour Season Opener At Myrtle Beach

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

Matt Hirschman (left) celebrates winning the Fan’s Pole Award for Saturday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season opener at Myrtle Beach with Doug Dunleavy (Photo: Jim DuPont)

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — For the sixth time in his career, Matt Hirschman captured a pole on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on Saturday.

The Northampton, Pennsylvania, driver posted a fast time of 20.065 seconds (96.526 mph) in the final round, knocking Jon McKennedy from the top of the speed charts in the final minute of the group qualifying session, which was in preparation for the season-opening Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen at Myrtle Beach Speedway.

McKennedy stayed second in the final rundown, posting a lap of 20.089 seconds (96.411 mph), although he was in the first group. Kyle Bonsignore was third with a lap of 20.091 seconds (96.401 mph).

Rob Summers, who entered the race as the defending pole winner, qualified fourth, while defending race winner Timmy Solomito rounded out the top five.

Justin Bonsignore was sixth, followed by Chase Dowling, Dave Sapienza, Doug Coby and Jimmy Blewett.

Coby was fastest in the only practice session on Saturday afternoon.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track for the Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen at 5:30 p.m. The race will air on NBCSN Wednesday, March 21, at 6 p.m.

Whelen Modified Tour Qualifying Results At Myrtle Beach Speedway


  1. Liz Cherokee says

    Good job by Melissa getting her backup car into the top 25! Happy St Patrick’s Day to all of you!

  2. So did we see a changing of the guard in the NWMT. Maybe not so much. What we may have seen is a mixing of the established with the new. I can’t say enough how significant it has been to see Tommy Baldwin and Rob Fuller come back regional racing.

  3. The 7ny was around last year. Was it not significant last year or only this year because now you are paying attention to the tour???

  4. Fair point since I conflated two thoughts. The first is regardless of when they came back having them involved in NWMT racing is a huge plus. . These are guys with national reps and resources. Most people would agree with that
    The other point is more a question. Are we seeing a muddling of the top echelon so many complained was too distinct last year. 3 teams won 12 races last year. This year all the teams we expect to win are back and they’ll be strong. But now we have seen McKennedy break the mold right out of the gate and Dowling for sure will be a winner at some point one would think. Dave Sapienza always in the hunt may break through this year. Hirschman who many mocked for not being a winner on the Tour looks like he’ll be competing for wins. Emerling will visit and this time no one will take him lightly. Blewett did well in not just the 6 everyone knows as Preece’s win wagon. It was a Blewett, Partridge combined effort so what does that mean over the course of the season for Blewett and Preece. I still think Carrol is on the rise, well funded and may be a few races away from cracking the top echelon.
    You’re right I am fired up this year and no I am not saying I’m right. I’m just asking will we see a significant uptick in competition and excitement with a good dose of surprises this year? Are any of the hardened, long time followers of the Tour feeling anything different or is it pretty much the same?

  5. darealgoodfella says

    NH Mark, the 7NY ran 5 races last season. It earned a 4th place and four races >20th. Three crashes, an engine problem, and the 4P. Didn’t really put itself on the radar. So I’d say it was not significant last year.

  6. WeldingWonders says

    Great article in Speed51 about the race. You think it’s about the best funded teams, the speed they’re equipment buys and it surely is. But in the closing laps the best car doesn’t always win. It’s about strategy both on track and pit, tire conservation, track position and luck. To hear McKennedy tell it his pit crew and tire strategy won the race. Dowling was fast but his tire strategy was a tic off and he faded. To hear Hirschman after winning the Speedweeks championship or in this race no one agonizes and second guesses himself more then he after a race. He thinks it was all the decisions that were made. Mainly applicable to Myrtle Beach because it is so abrasive. The buzz is Coby was a non factor but was he not fast? Or was it more about his driving style and decisions on tires. Hirschman and maybe others will do a post race analysis to see what everyone did and how it helped or hurt them and note it for the future. There is so much to this no fan can truly understand.

  7. Speed51 had a great article and comments from the drivers. You think it’s about the best equipment and the speed it buys and it sure is. But in the end it comes down to decisions, driving style and luck. To hear McKennedy tell it he won based on tire conservation strategy and his pit team. Dowling was maybe faster but was a tic off on tire strategy and faded. Whether it’s just after winning the Speedweeks championship or this race no one second guesses himself more then Matt. Hirschman and maybe others with do a post race analysis to see what every team did and how is helped or hurt them. The buzz is Coby was a non factor. Or was he as fast as anyone but had neither the strategy or driving style to compete for the win.
    The track was very abrasive and the game plan apparently was as important as the lap times. Maybe this race the top of the field was comprised of the best thinkers. Baldwin, Blewett/Partridge, Hirschman,Fuller and Massa.

  8. darealgoodfella says

    Sybil? Is Sybil in the house? How many personalities does Sybil have here?


    David Dennison? Is David Dennison here?

    John Miller? Is John Miller here?

    Melania plagiarized Michelle Obama’s speech.

  9. The 7ny was lightning fast last year. No luck at all though. The 44 had the same horrible luck in 2016. I’d say the 44 rebounded quite well in 2017. I would argue that Coby had bad luck last year too and still won the championship. At least compared to his other championship seasons. Nobody had worse luck than the 7ny last year though. There are always one or two teams that are snakebitten during a season. Lady luck is a big part of this.

  10. WeldingWonders says

    Tried to be cleaver but may have been ham handed. My old account as Doug is no more. Welding Wonders is my ID now. For those that wish to address mockery and other tomfoolery at me please address to WeldingWonders. Otherwise I thought my point was pretty good on the dynamic that some of these races entail and would be interested to hear others thoughts.

  11. WeldingWonders says

    Luck, preparation, attention to detail. Who knows where one begins and another takes over.Baldwin experimented last year. 5 races with Lia, one with Pitkat. Qualified 1,2 & 3 in three of the races. That’s fast. So the car was fast anyway and maybe McKennedy is the secret sauce. That’s the past. This is the future and it holds a great deal of promise for the 7NY as well as a bunch of other teams not intimately familiar with victory lane as Coby, Preece and Solomito.

  12. darealgoodfella says

    Didn’t Doug accuse many others of multiple handles? Multiple times!!!

    🤡 🤡 🤣 🤣 🏴 🏴

    That’s okay… it’s easy to pickup on his accent.

  13. darealgoodfella says

    NH Mark, the 7ny was wicked fast in practice and qual, then it crashed in races. Worse than no luck. Coby had a rough start and had to claw his way back. Then Coby had great good luck… Preece took off to get married and ran in the xfinity series. That handed the championship to Coby. I hope Coby sent the Preeces a very nice wedding present.

  14. darealgoodfella says

    Didn’t Doug ridicule others for not using their ‘real’ name? Like ‘Doug’ is unique. WeldingWonders is about as real as can be expected from faux Doug, aka: WeldingWonders. So Doug, how far back in your family tree does the name WeldingWonders go back? How many generations?

  15. Doug/weldingwonders can’t even spell clever.Shawn wouldn’t allow me to address him in the appropriate
    manner on these threads.He’ll always be mealy mouthed Dougie no matter what he calls himself.

  16. darealgoodfella says

    art, I thought Doug was trying to be a cleaver with his ham hands.

    🤡 🤣 😝

    weldingwonders will have to find a new name soon enough.

  17. WeldingWonders says

    Thanks Art for once again letting me know how you feel. I learned my lesson last year for sure. Getting into a tit for tat with you or anyone else for that matter and have it devolve into a personal attack is a losing proposition. No one wins and the other contributors to the thread don’t like it. My policy now is about information, building the thread and being positive. I find that it actually makes the experience and exchanging information incredibly more enjoyable. I may slip at times but that’s what I strive for. No personal attacks, civility, and racing, racing, racing.
    You of course will do as you will and I accept that. For quite some time I have not engaged with you and have no intention of doing so in the future regardless of your hostility toward me. Please address all slurs, insults, mockery and taunts to WeldingWonders and have a nice day.

  18. darealgoodfella says

    Doug aka: WeldingWonders, you are incredibly disingenuous and expect to be treated as racing royalty. Ain’t gonna happen. You disrespect these forums and participants with your multiple handles. You think supporting the NLWSB and it’s owner is positive and good for the victims. That isn’t positive, it’s self-serving for your favorite track. You are getting what you deserve. Good luck Doug aka: WeldingWonders.

  19. Doug should have multiple accounts and try like mad to disguise himself, then it wouldn’t look like his comments average half of the total.Not just a thread that juices him.It seems like every one.Doug,Doug, Doug,it will be just as insipid with the new handle

  20. darealgoodfella says

    Doug (aka: WeldingWonders) needs someone to talk with, so he is creating these other handles to talk with and agree with himself.

  21. Crazy in NY says

    If we could get back to actually talking about the racing for a moment, yes the 7NY team was spot on
    but the Goodale guys were excellent on their stops as well. The car wasn’t up to it I guess but I enjoyed watching some fine pit work at MB. Pee Dee’s next Tour race will be Seekonk in June and
    please keep the “Coby’s done” comments coming. I love the comedy.

  22. Hey Crazy, serious question. With ROC only running 12 races why do they always schedule events up against the Loudon races? I’m know there arent a ton of teams that come east but there are some.

    Coby/Money Matt/ Seekonk is a can’t miss event.

  23. WeldingWonders says

    Goodale. Didn’t he shelve the new SPAFCO at Speedweeks cause he couldn’t get it to turn and roll out an old Troyer. What did he run at Myrtle Beach?

  24. Crazy in NY says

    NH Mark, In any real sense the ROC and the Tour are not competitors. Too far apart in distance and the Tour doesn’t race in upstate NY outside of the non NASCAR (curious) Oswego Speedway. There are only so many weekends available and only Patrick Emerling would be impacted with the conflict with our Holland race. I don’t talk to them off season but I’d wager they are chasing the ROC title again but I don’t know that for sure. Also..the track owners here outside of Lancaster are a NOT promoters. ( a whole other topic could start on that). Plus….we have dirt pressure you don’t have in NE. You could also ask why the Tour scheduled the Langley race against the VMRS Loudon race. Last years race ( on You Tube btw) was a dandy but i’d bet Woody and Rowan who put on a great show last year will be with the Tour. The ROC promoter could fill in more I’m sure but I doubt he reads here. FYI the 60 is TTOM focused since it’s inception, ROC for fill in and the Tour with Pee Dee on a limited basis. Believe me it’s big bucks to race on the Tour and not every team has those Pacific Ocean deep pockets to do so. If you’re looking for the 60 to get back at the 2 at Seekonk it will be only by stepping up his game with a better car. Not Matt’s style to do the traditional “revenge” thing. I won’t be there.

  25. WeldingWonders, you should ask Doug about that.

  26. WeldingWonders

    Eric ran the Troyer. Says he needs more testing with the SPAFCO.

  27. WeldingWonders says

    Thanks Jim. Yikes, still tuning on the SPAFCO. That’s got to be a disappointment. Goodale was brilliant in the Fall Final last year. Was hoping that would carry over but alas it’s looking less likely.
    So what do you think about Danica’s chances at Indy Crazy. Looks like she’ll have an Ed Carpenter Racing ride.That’s good isn’t it? Not as good as one of those bombs John Force straps his daughter into and tells her to step on the gas but it’s pretty good aye?
    Outstanding entry there Crazy with a lot of good information. Hirschman is a Tri Track focused guy and still manages to come in 6th in the ROC. Impressive. Three Tour races last year with mixed results. This year a pole and a second place finish right out of the gate. Just three races again this year or could his strategy change. Is he a spec motor guy and if not will he perhaps race at the Stafford Open events? Are they big money enough?
    Tommy Catalono on the entry list for Myrtle but not in the field. What happened?
    Track owners outside of Lancaster not promoters. Did they give up in going against dirt. Did the war with dirt end and the asphalt promoters simply give up? To hear some people talk here it isn’t a battle. Asphalt already lost.
    60 get back at the 2. How about the 2 get back at the 16 for Riverhead. Agreed not happening. These guys are pros and know pay back is for the Street Stocks and the mafia. Coby and Hischman more then any other drivers are cerebral and make every decision based on the long game.
    Sidebar question from the novice: Kyle Stober is a Riverhead specialist and drove the 15 for Wayne Anderson at Riverhead to a 3rd place finish last year. Chase Dowling driving for Rob Fuller is the 15. What’s up with that?
    Wish we could get more articles on the ROC. Based on their Speedweeks performance they are second only to the NWMT for great racing it would appear.

  28. Crazy in NY says

    WeldingWonders/ Doug/ whatever? ( is this RaceDay’s equivalent of Me, Myself & Irene? )

    Quickly ..not hug up on Danica…couldn’t care less about her Indy ride
    Are you discounting what it takes to get a Fuel Funny down the 1000 ft?
    bottom line Courtney wins…Danica doesn’t ( do we need to go on with this?)
    btw the 60’s pole was his third in a row and oh he finished third not second.
    ( what exactly is a “spec motor guy” ? Pee Dee has one because that’s what it takes to run up front on the Tour. Maybe you mean the owner is a spec guy. Matt races to win….is NOT chasing a point title unless TT. Tommy Cat no show at MB info on that
    asphalt here in NY is not healthy. also not news…
    The final schedule for 18 is not yet finished so flip a coin on the SMS Opens…don’t know .
    3 Tour for sure…… more?……. I want to do Langley. He does what he wants.
    ROC racing is like any other series. Good and not so on any given day.
    I like and dislike things about all the series but the TTOM has it the best IMHO.
    agree or don’t….. no difference to me. Any more Hank?…or is it Charlie?

  29. WeldingWonders says

    I am both virtually certain you are in New York and not at all crazy. It’s only a screen ID. You want real people lobby for using facebook to register people that comment.
    Yes I know you don’t care about Danica. As for top fuel racing, different animal. Not a fan but went to Englishtown a couple times and it is like nothing anyone can imagine. Funny cars and top fuel shake the stands and your guts when they go down the track. The open pits, seeing the teams thrash, meeting drivers and test firing. Everyone should see one of these deals if they can. But no, I would say on average the skill set is way more advanced for top echelon NASCAR drivers but what do I know.
    Did Matt come in third? Points say he’s in second.Tomato, tomaato. Definitely a fan of Hirschman. Love the guy, his style of racing, interviews, everything. You saying not one team races a built motor that runs up front on the NWMT? That’s news.
    Roger that on the not caring what I think. But you did respond and any time I can get the prickly old curmudgeon from NY to elaborate on anything it’s a win.

  30. Hank or Charlie is the line of the day Crazy. Too funny

    I know Matty won’t dump the 2 (or will he) but I’m trying to build some drama here. Matt’s domination of Tri Track has happened while the 2 wasn’t there. Hmmm . The last time the 2 ran Tri Track, he won. The guy fans want to hate is the one guy who could end Money Matt’s domination of Tri Track. I want Hogan vs Andre the Giant. this summer. The headlines are all but sitting on a silver platter for someone to run with. The promotion of modified racing this summer is gift wrapped. Then you throw in the “incident” at Seekonk last August during the tour race. Round 2 of this epic WMT battle continues June 2nd at Seekonk. Then possibly again on June 27th if Coby will man up. One open show won’t kill ya Doug, just saying. Not sure what else a race fan could want in a racing season.

    As far as Langley goes, MRS scheduled their events before the WMT schedule came out. That’s on them. Last year the 3 WMT drivers dominated as expected. Glad to hear its on youtube because nobody was there in person to see it. I live 20 minutes away from NHMS and I’m not going to that snooze fast. I may make the trip to Langley instead actually.

    My own personal feeling is that ROC should not schedule against the Spring Sizzler or the Loudon races. At least give the opportunity for Hirshmann, Emerling, Hossfeld and Andy J amongst others to come east for the showcase events and not miss point races in NY. I say that hoping to see an open format Sizzler very soon. My guess is there are some western NY teams interested in the 250 this Sept. even if it is a week before the ROC 250.

  31. Crazy in NY says

    You’re “fairly certain” I’m in NY and My name is a screen one? Brilliant..boy the fine details just don’t escape you do they?
    Not saying ALL top teams run a spec. Most front runners do. Look it up.
    Way more advanced in stock cars than top fuel?…OK you’re the expert.
    Matt is ONE point ahead of Blewett based on leading the most laps. (77)
    prickly enough?

    NH Mark, did you watch the video of the 50 lap MRS race from last year?
    True nuff no one was there but was hardly a snoozefest. Massey ran with those guys
    with NH experience and could have won it.
    The ROC is not in conflict with the Sizzler and I doubt outside of Emerling you won’t see an ROC team there. The Holland date is a traditional one and the ROC needs all the tracks it can get.
    You don’t seem to get the two series are not really in conflict. and…..
    if WNY teams won’t travel to big paying TTOM races I highly doubt any (again outside of Emerling) will be at the NH 250 one week before our seasonal featured show at Lake Erie. but….maybe you can lobby some of the lessor Tour teams to come out a day early for the Oswego Tour event and run Friday ROC at Spencer. Or some of you NE fans. Goes both ways doesn’t it?
    Give up the 60 v 2 drama…ain’t happening.

  32. WeldingWonders says

    Most front runners run the spec engine, look it up. I agree they do and would love to look it up. Where?
    A question. The Sizzler is an icon and locked in based on history and the NWMT schedule. The audiences for the NWMT and ROC are mostly separate. What incentive is there for the ROC to make any modification to their schedule to make it convenient for their teams to come east. I would think there would be a greater incentive to keep them home.
    How cool would it be to see an ROC Contingent blow into town to disrupt the power structure at the Sizzler. Emerling, Hisrschman, any Catalono or maybe the entire Catalono clan.

  33. darealgoodfella says

    Just stroll through the pits and you can see for yourself what cars are running what engine. Do this for yourself. There is no place to look it up on the internet.

  34. darealgoodfella says

    Sybil???? Are you there?

    Is Sybil in the house????

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