Matt Hirschman Dominates In Tri-Track Open Modified Series At Oxford Plains Speedway

(Press release from the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series)

Matt Hirschman (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

The Tri-Track Open Modified Series (TTOMS) made their debut at Oxford Plains Speedway (OPS) on Saturday night as part of the Oxford 250 weekend.  And, while Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA, had never raced at the Oxford, ME, oval his ‘inexperience’ at the track proved to be inconsequential for the experienced veteran who dominated the race to take down the victory.

Ronnie Williams of Ellington, CT chased Hirschman to the checkers and Andy Jankowiak of Tonawanda, NY, put on quite a show to complete the podium. Andy Shaw of Center Conway, NH, a multi-time winner at OPS in both Late Models and PASS Modifieds, was fourth followed by Brian Robie of Sunapee, NH. 

Hirschman officially led all the laps of competition. The race; however, was not without some tense moments for the eventual winner. 

By virtue of his heat race victory and a good pull during the redraw, Hirschman started the 100- lap event from the pole. He jumped out to the lead from the drop of the green with Anthony Nocella of Berlin, MA, taking chase. Woody Pitkat of Bellingham, MA, and Brad Babb of Windham, ME, were looking racy in the early going; running inside the top-five.  

Johnny Kievman, of Deerfield Beach, FL, who had started fifth, was falling back through the field. In the early going, contenders like Matt Swanson were struggling to make headway. Up front, Nocella began to falter losing positions to Pitkat and Babb.  Babb immediately went in search of second. Williams had moved up a few positions and into fifth. Ron Silk of Norwalk, CT, too, was making slow progress. Gaining two positions to move into seventh.  

By lap 20, Babb got by Pitkat to take over the runner-up spot. A bit deeper in the pack, Shaw was keeping pace with Silk as the two worked their way toward the front.  Leader Hirschman could not get any breathing room over Babb during the green flag run. Pitkat and Nocella ran nose-to-tail as Williams took chase in fifth. 

At lap 30, the battle was heating up between Pitkat, Nocella, and Williams while Shaw continued to shadow Silk. Nocella was able to take the spot away from Pitkat on lap 37. Just outside of the top-five, Robie, Jankowiak, Matt Galko of Meriden, CT, Les Hinckley of Windsor Locks, CT and Russ Hersey of Swanzey, NH, were locked in a battle of their own. 

By lap 40, Williams had also gotten by Pitkat. A few laps later Pitkat lost ground to Shaw and Silk; falling further down in the running order. Up front it was all Hirschman and Babb. Just shy of halfway, Nocella showed a surge. Passing Babb for second on lap 49 and bringing others along for the ride.

At the halfway marker Hirschman now led Nocella, Williams, Shaw, and Babb inside the top-five. Silk, Pitkat, Robie, Jankowiak and Hinckley comprised the top-ten at the crossed flags.   

Williams begin to look low on Nocella for second with Shaw right in his tire tracks. He made the pass stick on lap 55. Shaw followed suit. Williams immediately caught Hirschman. Robie began to pressure Silk for sixth. This allowed Jankowiak, Hersey and Hinckley to join the fray. 

Up front, Hirschman had a mirror full of Williams who, in turn, had to contend with Andy Shaw. The lead pack was in heavy lapped traffic before the first caution flew on lap 71 for a single car spin by Calvin Carroll of Andover, NJ. Tommy Barrett of Millis, MA, was put to the rear of the field for his involvement in the incident. 

Under the caution everyone headed to pit road except for four cars – of which Jankowiak and Hersey where only on the lead lap. After quick service from his crew, Hirschman came off pit road first followed by Nocella, Williams, Swanson, Silk, Richard Savary of Canton, MA, Robie, Babb, Hinckley and others. Shaw lost the most ground on pit road and was relegated to restarting outside of the top ten.  

The ensuing restart found Jankowiak and Hersey on the front row. What could have been a race-winning strategy was for naught; especially for Hersey. Contact between the lead duo sent both cars sliding and the second caution flag flying.  With contact, Hirschman got hooked together with Jankowiak. Showing veteran prowess, the duo continued driving and eventually became dislodged. When the dust settled Galko, Nocella and Savary were also collected. Under caution, Hersey, Jankowiak, Galko, Nocella and Savary headed to pit road. All but Savary were able to continue. 

Without a lap complete, it was once again Hirschman and Williams at the head of the field for the ensuing restart. Swanson and Silk made up row two. Back under green, there was three-wide action deeper in the pack with Carl Medeiros, Jr., of Westport, MA, Pitkat and Hinckley vying for position. Medeiros got the short end of the exchange; falling back several positions. A spin by Babb on lap 75 brought out the third caution. 

When racing resumed it was Hirschman once again showing the way with Williams taking chase. Swanson ran a distance back in third with Shaw and Robie in tow. Silk was experiencing some woes having faltered and falling back toward the rear of the field. He would soon retire from the event.  

The front duo had worked their way out to a half-straightaway advantage, but Hirschman had no real pressure from Williams. The best battle on the field was for fourth between Shaw and Jankowiak. Robie and Nocella were locked in a heated battle as well. 

Jankowiak got by Shaw on lap 88 and immediately hunted down Swanson. The complexion of the race changed for several drivers on lap 90. Jankowiak was looking to get by Swanson for the third when the two made contact. Jankowiak went spinning also collecting Swanson and Nocella. The caution was the fourth and final of the event 

The new running order inside the top -five with 10 to go was Hirschman, Williams, Shaw, Robie, and Pitkat. The likes of Carroll, Joey Jarvis of Ascutney, VT, and Jacob Dore of Sanford, ME, were setting up to have strong nights restarting inside the top-ten with the dash to the checkers. 

On the ensuing restart Hirschman began to check out on the field. Williams ran a distant second. Shaw and Pitkat were duking it out for third. Robie headed a battle for fifth that included none-other than a recovered and fast Jankowiak, Hinckley and Babb. Jankowiak took over the position and was looking for more. He got by Robie, took a position from Pitkat.  Not done yet, the hard-charger took third position from Shaw with only a couple of laps left. 

With Hirschman handily taking the win over Williams. Jankowiak had a stout run to come home third. Coming to the checkers, contact found Pitkat spinning with Shaw running to a fourth-place finish over Robie. Hinckley, Babb and Carroll wound up in sixth through eighth. Pitkat, who took the checkered backward, was credited with ninth. Kirk Alexander of W. Swanzey, NH, completed the top-ten. 

Heat race victories went to Nocella, Hirschman, Swanson and Robie.  The consolation event was won by Alexander. The feature event was paced by two different era Modifieds owned by the late, great Bob Judkins, after the Series’ paid tribute to the Hall of Fame driver. 

Tri-Track Open Modified -Oxford 100 Official Finish – August 24, 2019 – Oxford Plains Speedway – Oxford, ME: 1. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA; 2. Ronnie Williams, Ellington, CT; 3. Andy Jankowiak, Tonawanda, NY; 4. Andy Shaw, Center Conway, NH; 5. Brian Robie, Sunapee, NH; 6. Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks, CT; 7. Brad Babb, Windham, ME; 8. Calvin Carroll, Andover, NJ; 9. Woody Pitkat, Bellingham, MA; 10. Kirk Alexander, W. Swanzey, NH; 11. Anthony Nocella, Berlin, MA; 12. Jacob Dore, Sanford, ME; 13. Matt Galko, Meriden, CT; 14. Matt Swanson, Acton, MA; 15. Joey Jarvis, Ascutney, VT; 16. Jon Kievman, Deerfield Beach, FL; 17. Larry Barnett, Moosup, CT; 18 .Geoff Rollins, Groton, MA; 19. Colbey Fournier, Berkley, MA; 20. Kurt Vigeant, Oxford, MA; 21. Russ Hersey, Swanzey, NH; 22. Tommy Barrett, Millis, MA; 23. Anthony Sesely, Matawah, NJ; 24. Ron Silk, Norwalk, NJ; 25. Carl Medeiros, Jr., Westport, MA; 26. Richard Savary, Canton, MA; 27. Kris Watson, Hermon, ME. DNQ: Andrew Charron, E. Greenwich, RI; Steven Dickey, Milford, NH; Derek Robie, Bellingham, MA; Bill Dixon N. Waterboro, ME; George Sherman, Framingham, MA. 

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  1. Congra’s to the Hirschman, formerly known as Big Money who now is second to Ronnie Williams but nonetheless is a guy we all agree is a great story in modified racing.
    Congra’s as well to the entire crew at TTOMS hands down the wizards of open modified racing. I believe I asked the question is Maine a bridge too far. Clearly not as it appears loyalty to teams and how they are treated by a tour management really counts.
    Congra’s once again to the TTOMS technical staff that somehow taking everything from an SK package to a NWMT spec engine and makeh it all competitive.
    Opening speculation on what will they do next year. Hmmmmm. I love schedule announcements.

  2. Crazy in NY says

    As an adjustment to the story Matt HAS raced OPS before in the Casella 25 filling in for Rowan Pennick who had a prior commitment on the Tour. This was maybe ten years ago but essentially the story line is correct. He did not have any notes on the place. We worked hard for two days as he refined a good set up for the place while trying to guess how the track would race once the sun went down and some due set in.
    To say he nailed it is an understatement. If there is a better owner/driver/crew chief racer out there I’d love to know who it is. Trails Ronnie Williams by just two points going into the last two TTOM events so this battle should go down to Seekonk in Oct. Team MH off to Spencer for the MT 60 Fri and the Whelen Tour Sat in Pee Dee. Can’t wait.

  3. James Schaefer says

    1. Matt Hirschman $6000 + $2602 lap money =$8602 + $150 Waddell Communications credit from Meadowbrook Farm = $8752
    2. Ronnie Williams $3500
    3. Andy Jankowiak $3000
    4. Andy Shaw $2500
    5. Brian Robie $2000
    6. Les Hinckley $1500
    7. Brad Babb $1450
    8. Calvin Carroll $1400
    9. Woody Pitkat $1350
    10. Kirk Alexander $1300
    11. Anthony Nocella $1250 + $150 Sunoco credit from Meadowbrook Farm = $1400
    12. Jacob Dore $1200 + $150 Hoosier credit from Meadowbrook Farm =$1350
    13. Matt Galko $1200
    14. Matt Swanson $1200
    15. Joey Jarvis $1200
    16. Jon Kievman $1200
    17. Larry Barnett $1200
    18 .Geoff Rollins $1200
    19. Colbey Fournier $1200
    20. Kurt Vigeant $1200 +$200 bonus Maurice Enterprises = $1400
    21. Russ Hersey $1200
    22. Tommy Barrett $1200
    23. Anthony Sesely $1200
    24. Ron Silk $1200
    25. Carl Medeiros $1200
    26 Richard Savary $1200
    27. Kris Watson $1200
    Andrew Charron $700 + $200 bonus Maurice Enterprises = $900
    Steven Dickey $500
    Derek Robie $500
    Bill Dixon $500
    George Sherman $500

    Totals – $47,150 purse + $2602 lap money +$450 Meadowbrook Farm bonus + $400 Maurice Enterprises bonus = $50,602 ( plus free pit pass for all pre registered car owners from Maurice Enterprises.

  4. How can you beat this, 27th $1,200.00 and those that were DNQ at least $500.00. Andy J great run. Congrats Jim and the entire TTOMS staff for a great show and taking care of the competitors.

  5. Good show, I was wrong on car count guess, so really good job to TTOMS to get cars that far North. That was long day I’m still tired

  6. James Schaefer says

    Andy J was the show! He rode the outside to get up to 3rd.. Only guy to throw it out there like he was doing.. Then took a ride in the dirt and dropped back to tenth or so with like ten laps to go.. And he threw it up on the outside again and brought it up to 3rd again at the end. I was literally standing up, screaming at him , cheering him on. He’s such a fun guy to have as part of the tour.. But unfortunately he has a tough decision ahead of him . Monadnock race Sept 14 is up against the Lancaster big weekend where he usually drives in like 5 divisions. So we might lose him for our next race..Total bummer but totally understand his dilemma. I’ll have a talk with him this weekend as we present the hard charger award to him in person on the Whirlpool Jet Power Boat ride in Lewiston NY..

  7. Fast Eddie says

    Glad to find out this race was a success! Hopefully this is the only TriTrack event I miss this year.

  8. James Schaefer says

    1. Ronnie Williams, Ellington, CT; 186
    2. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA; 184
    3. Matt Swanson, Acton, MA; 152
    4. Andy Jankowiak, Tonawanda, NY; 146
    5. Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks, CT; 129
    6. Woody Pitkat, Stafford Springs, CT; 128
    7. Calvin Carroll, Andover, NJ; 125
    8. Tommy Barrett, Millis, MA; 120
    9. Brian Robie, Sunapee, NH; 117
    10. Ron Silk, Norwalk, CT; 115
    11. Russ Hersey, Swanzey, NH; 114
    12. Anthony Sesely, Matawah, NJ; 110
    13. Mike Holdridge, Madison, CT; 88
    14. Richard Savary, Canton, MA; 85
    15. Kirk Alexander, W. Swanzey, NH;80
    16. Matt Galko, Meriden, CT. 77
    17. Colbey Fournier, Berkley, MA; 75
    18. Geoff Rollins, Groton, MA; 74
    19. Kurt Vigeant – 66
    20. Carl Medeiros, Westport, MA; 61
    21 Andrew Charron, E. Greenwich, RI; 51

    $15,000 Point Fund You must run all six races to remain eligible for the point fund. Top 20 teams would earn back their pre entry cost.

    1 – $3000
    2 – $1500
    3 – $1250
    4 – $1000
    5 – $750
    6 – $700
    7 – $650
    8 – $600
    9 – $550
    10 $500
    11 $450
    12 $450
    13 $450
    14 $450
    15 $450
    16 $450
    17 $450
    18 $450
    19 $450
    20 $450

  9. Can anyone give a breakdown of the different engine combos each car has? It seems no or very few cars running the spec motor? Is one combo out performing others?

  10. James Schaefer says

    I’ll see what I can find on that Mike. I do know we’ve had e different winners in four different cars ( Hirschman has won two races with two different cars. The first one at Claremont was in the Pee Dee Motorsports 60 with a Spec motor.)

  11. I certainly haven’t looked under the hood of each but would like to take a shot at the engines each uses based on the series each car participates in as well as information gleaned from stories here and Facebook entries. For simplicity I’ll simply say spec, iron referring to the block of VMRS rule engines or SK referring to the SK package.
    The 25 (iron), Hirschman (spec), Swanson 3MA (spec), Jankowiak (spec), Hinkley (iron), Pitkat 6 (SK), Carrol (spec), Barrett (iron), Robie (iron), 50S (?), Hersey (iron), Sesely (?) , Savary, (iron), Alexander (iron), Galko (iron), Nocella (spec or iron), Shaw (iron).
    Some like Nocella may have both.
    That’s my starting point so those in the know can correct and inform should they choose.
    The beauty of what the TTOMS has created is combining all the different engine packages, nuancing the rules to make them each competitive and not wrecking the formula by putting them on a big track.
    I personally believe the trend is toward more cars opting for the traditional VMRS rules engines to give them greater flexibility in picking races and the spec retreating more to the NWMT. at least in greater New England. Get’s them into the VMRS and Stafford Opens and is still competitive in the TTOMS.

  12. It’s real tough to look under the hood of any race car when you view the race from the stands. Hint Doug, check out the headers. You are definitely priceless……….

  13. I just pinch myself every day as a reminder of how lucky I am to be able to comment in a forum with such great racing minds such as yourself.

  14. You bring it on yourself my friend, lol……;..

  15. Crazy in NY says

    Jankowiak (spec) ???

    Speculation or know fact Doug?

    I do know the answer.

  16. Crazy, is Andy J related to the late great Tony J?

  17. Old Observer says

    I agree with Crazy, Doug you don’t have a clue.
    Not sure what everyone has but I know Doug is wrong in several cases.

  18. wmass01013 says

    Andy J is Tony Jankowiak’s son
    No spec for Andy J, he runs some ROC, some open comp, tri track and Bowman Gray shows

  19. I don’t see why some of you get so confrontational about my innocent, completely non official attempt to identify engines. I took a shot. What’s the harm. At the least it gave you a chance to puff you chests, tell me how ignorant I am and provide corrections which was that goal in the first place. Except Earl of course who is still checking the headers but I’m sure will say something meaningful at some point.
    I wrote the thing before Mr. Schaefer’s entry appeared whereby he said he may try to identify the engines. That’s kind of a big deal and given his reputation I’m betting it happens. Over the years we’ve speculated on different cars and argued , badgered, insulted each other kind of like now. But no one has come up with a comprehensive list. A list that can change obviously based on the race and the fact that teams could have both style of engines but in any event has not appeared to my knowledge.
    So Earl is checking headers, the Porcupiine is being his usual combative, all knowing self, Old Observer know’s I’m wrong in several cases but won’t say who. Come on people, it’s just a comment? Lighten up.
    North Korea building a ballistic missile submarine is a big deal. Doug taking a shot on the base metal of engine blocks is supposed to be just racing banter.
    I definitely have more then a clue. At the very least an inkling.

  20. Doug, all you have to do is walk around the pits and see for yourself. Do you know how to identify the different engines?

    Doing this survey only demonstrates you don’t go to the track, and hence don’t have a chance at a clue.

  21. Crazy in NY says

    Good God I’m agreeing with DaGoddy. Doug peel off 40 and buy a pit pass. Andy J ( for sure son of Tony J) is a regular guy and will answer any question if asked. Hell he’ll show you the engine if you want. Maybe you could get the inside dope on his Z-link rear set up as well. He loves talking about that
    and while you’re there you can count the number of Dzus fasteners in his body and other minutia you so crave. The magnetic pull of Stafford is strong I know but try and break away buddy if you can.

  22. So lets sum up. The porcupine knows stuff but won’t say, Old Observer and Earl as well. DGF knows how to determine what the engines are as does Earl but won’t say either.
    My,my all this incredible expertise and not a fact to be had.
    Except wmass. The only guy to actually go on record with a fact.
    So I guess the goal is infighting isn’t guys, not providing information? Not for fun saying what your best guess is then when Mr Schaefer provides a list seeing how you fair. Showing how stupid I am, claiming you know stuff but holding those cards so close to your vest no one will ever see them. That appears to be the goal.
    I don’t see any value or fun to that.

  23. In spite of the fact you took an innocent little bit on engines and made it a personal attack, I couldn’t be happier I’ve united the Porcupine and DGF. I will of course as in the past ignore all your self absorbed meanderings of what a person should and should not do in following racing. And I will continue to go to and love the racing at Stafford including the VMRS race tomorrow night and remain blissfully ignorant of all the high standards the Porcupine and DGF set.
    I will confess however that the idea of bringing to two smartest, most universally respected contributors in the RaceDayCt universe together in a common cause beating my brains in is actually causing me the mist up a bit.

  24. Value? Hit the pits. Get the info you seek for yourself. Great value. Great fun. And the lines for the fryolator and porta potties are shorter in the pits. Make an effort to help yourself.

    Hoods are almost always off the cars in the pits and you can easily see who is running what.

  25. Updated list of engines
    .The 25 (iron), Hirschman (spec), Swanson 3MA (spec), Jankowiak (iron), Hinkley (iron), Pitkat 6 (SK), Carrol (spec), Barrett (iron), Robie (iron), 50S (?), Hersey (iron), Sesely (?) , Savary, (iron), Alexander (iron), Galko (iron), Nocella (spec or iron), Shaw (iron).
    Andy updates from those in the know are appreciated.
    We’ll see how it compares to an official list should the TTOMS provide one.
    Thanks guys.

  26. Crazy in NY says

    A box of tissue with your name on it will be at the next SMS event…on me buddy. Hate to have anybody mist up on me LOL. but….” Hirschman (spec)” are you sure about that?
    oh the intrigue…. ( eyes rolling)

  27. Hirschman spec? Which car is that in the 60 or the 60? This keeps getting better and better………

  28. Hey I tried. Mike asked the question about engines, I thought it would be fun to see if we could build a data base and it was a big fat fail on my part. The only ones that wanted to join in wanted to make it personal, only wmass contributed information in good faith and the tug of war was on.
    In the anonymous comment game these things will happen. You try something and it can go up or down hill. We’ve had some really good threads where a lot of folks shared some really insightful things. In this one the big upshot is Mr. Schaefer may put together a list of engines used so that’s pretty cool.
    I’ve been watching with amazement what is going on in the tire soaking thread. Now that is a real food fight. Personal attacks, politics, accusations, insults and almost no real facts except those provided by Mr. Courchesne. Even he having to fend off claims that are beyond bizarre by a few participants with only limited success..
    Sometimes for various reasons threads go rotten. It just becomes a series of petty back and forth school yard stuff. Fun with identifying engines was an epic fail and that tire soaking thread is rotten to the core. Sometimes you have to cut your loses and move on.

  29. Crazy in NY says left out a 60. LOL.. The NASCAR Tour legal and (many times checked) is the Pee Dee 60
    in black paint. The red car(s) are his own. The displacement is on the hood (per the rules) and the
    builder ( Bob Bruneau) is proudly displayed as well.

  30. That’s right, forgot there are 2 red 60’s but what de we know. You guys give it hell this weekend!

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