Modified Speedweek Notes From Florida: Matt Hirschman Seals The Deal at Bronson Speedway

Matt Hirschman celebrates victory Saturday at Bronson Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont)

By Shawn Courchesne & Denise DuPont

ARCHER, Fla. – Tour Type Modifieds came to Bronson Speedway to start the 2020 racing season following winter break. 

Making the trip to the warm and sunny Florida weather, six teams came to support Ann Young and her Bronson Speedway. Fans paid $8 to $12 and saw a 50 lap modified shootout. There were only six Modifieds on the track, but there was enough action that fans were on their feet.

Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa. had luck on his side as he pulled the No. 1 spot in the draw to start on the pole. Jimmy Blewett pulled No.2 for the outside pole. 

Hirschman led all 50 laps to take home his second career win at Bronson Speedway. 

“Starting on the pole made it easier than it would have been with more cars,” Hirschman said. “We had a good car and we will take it. It is a good start to the week. We had an issue in practice and it is good that we got it out of the way. Now we will go on to New Smyrna for the week.”

Blewett from Howell, N.J., finished where he start the race. In second. 

For a portion of the race, he was moved back to third after Jeremy Gerstner of Wesley Chapel, Fla. passed him for position. But before race end, Blewett regrouped and gained his spot back. 

“It would have been more fun if Matt and I started at the back and had to race our way up through the pack,” Blewett said. “Maybe next year we can put some kind of money up, get some people together and come down and have some fun. And do something like that – starting from the rear.” 

Said Gerstner, who started last: “The car was really good. We just did not need to start so deep. We used a lot coming up through the field. Track position means a lot here. We hurt the right rear a little rolling off the corner trying to get around the field.  But the car has great speed and it is going to be really good at New Smyrna. I am looking forward to next week.”

On lap 16, Brian Robie’s car started spewing fluid coming out of turn two. Robie’s car was towed in and the first restart of the night was staged. Gerstner was able to gain enough momentum to pass Blewett for second on lap 18 and start a pursuit of the leader.  

“I got around Jimmy on that restart and ran a pace where I kept appearing to catch Matt,” Gerstner said. 

With ten laps to remaining Blewett made his move to retake second. 

Blewett tapped Gerstner’s rear bumper to indicate that he was coming get out of the way. 

“That is Jimmy,” Gerstner said. “He is kind of like TC, he wants to let you know he is back there. I am going to be honest that he hit me a little harder than he needed to, almost enough to rip the bumper off of it. I will keep that in my memory bank and move on to race better. It was a good hard race and yes this is short track racing and you are going to have contact like that.” 

Drivers will now make the ride southeast to New Smyrna Speedway for five nights of modified racing. Join us back for live updates all week as we take you through the action both on and off the track.

Notes from Bronson Speedway

We asked the top three finishers their thoughts on only six Modfied teams coming to Bronson Speedway?

Matt Hirschman

“The obvious thing is the lack of cars. Six cars that is a heat race. You double that on a track this size and you have a field where you could have a good show. We had as many as fourteen mods here and an emphasis needs to be done on how we can swing it back into that direction. … Everyone can give their opinions and then listen. Maybe we can work together and get the car count back up. It is a fun little track to run on. You do not need twenty cars here to make it look like a field but you need more than six. So we would like to have more cars.”

Jimmy Blewett

“It is a fun little race track. It is a good little race track. It is a shame that we cannot get the car count here. Ann [Young] runs this place in the memory of her husband. This was something that he bought and he had a vision and a dream to build it. As long as I am racing and I have the opportunity I will come down and give my support to her and her family, we are going to do it. It is just tough to get people out here. It is a good place and it puts on a good show. … My guess is that it is still early in the week and people do not want to come down and wreck their stuff. Maybe next week they can have it the Saturday after and we can get more cars.”

Jeremy Gerstner

“Maybe we all need to take a step back and look at the day that this race is scheduled. I was thinking if we moved the Bronson Speedway to the Saturday after Speedweeks at New Smyrna we would have a larger car count catching modified teams on their way home. Either way we may have to rethink the date to get teams here.”


  1. Bill Realist says

    Gerstner used his car up gaining 3 spots. Lol. Glad I went to NS instead

  2. It’s to bad so few cars , also feel real bad for Gerstner who had to come from Way Back

  3. wmass01013 says

    Interesting comments about the lack of Cars, I think speed weeks always hit n miss as its so early and some teams don’t want to run 6 races with chance of wrecking and spending $$$ so early in the year, maybe moving 1 week later would help but I like the OPEN DISCUSSION, seems getting the opinions from drivers and owners about things to me cant be anything but HELPFULL anytime of the year!!!

  4. Got it. One of the best modified drivers starts on the pole with few cars, wins the money and is guaranteed a good starting position for the Richie Evan Memorial race and maybe another $1000. I’m really liking Gerstner and his memory that may bite Blewett in the ………………
    So what’s the deal with Stenhouse. On the pole, are you kidding me. Our man Ryan qualified 17th that’s actually good and his team mate gets the brass ring. Should we be jealous or should we be happy the team cars can actually compete this year. Will Ryan have a shot on Thursday of a good finish? Color me conflicted.

  5. Well doug, I watched qualifying as well. Happy for stenhouse, bummed for preece, even though respectable qualifying run.
    Had to keep reminding myself that the stenhouse and pattie pairing, has always been stout at daytona and dega. Stenhouse always a threat on super-speedways. Id go so far as to say it is his strength.
    As for ryan, biggest challenge is it is a new crew chief pairing.
    I could not tell you if the cars are the same or not. For sure, the pressure will be on ryan to perform this year, particularly if the 47 leads the 37 in positioning/performance. Name of the game. What have you done lately, as the saying goes.
    Too early to tell, havent even ran 1 race yet. Ryan is a professional, as long as no one panics, maybe, he will have a better season. We will all know come november (or maybe sooner) what it will look like. I guess the only take away i have, is ryan qualified 17th, and buescher and his new team qualified 19th.
    I have no answer for why Bronson turnout so low.
    Maybe with all the new symrna hype this year in modified turnout to be there, most wanted to save their piece? East coast travel issues? I dont know. Disappointing for sure.

  6. Hillary 2020 says

    Congratulations on the win starting on the pole of a six car “feature”. How many left at the end, 4? Just as prestigious as winning a championship at Thompson.🤣

  7. Wow, Hillary, you read my mind. Gerstner couldn’t have had that great of a car if he used it up passing 4 cars. Sad turnout indeed.

  8. It is not any drivers fault that only six cars showed up, They put on the best show they could, What would you want them to do? Not go out and race? And do not worry Stenhouse will take out half the field at one point and hopefully Ryan is not one of them

  9. Look it’s ugly but the fact is the car count at Bronson has been going down. If you’re asking for team and fan support based on emotional pleas that amount to modified patriotism you’re fighting a losing battle. Owners and fans look for value and for whatever reason it’s not at Bronson for tour modifieds.
    Your cooler head has prevailed Bob. You mentioned Buescher this year but last year he qualified at 22. Stenhouse last year was at 18. Preece at 17 is just fine considering everything and a huge improvement from last years 28th fastest.
    So good for Stenhouse and good for JTG Daugherty Racing. I was watching the ghost car analysis and they implied Stenhouse got the pole based on wind gusts or the absence of them implying a top tier team was deprived based on luck. The unexpected happened. Actually a shock and in the stayed world of Cup racing where the pecking order is so predictable Stenhouse winning was a great thing. They say the race setup is nothing like the qualifying setup but just maybe the pecking order will get shaken up just a little bit without wrecks needed to make it happen.

  10. So for me doug, im interested in seeing how the 37 goes in the duel. But no matter how the duels or the 500 ends, i always remember, its restrictor plate racing. Dale earnhart always said, hey, you wanna race? This style aint racing.
    He was mostly right, as we all know, stuff happens in a hurry at the plate tracks, and you need to be both lucky and good to avoid the big one. For me, the season for ryan starts after daytona, being a fan. Jmo.

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