Fueled Fire: Matt Hirschman Wins Tri-Track Open Series SBM 121 At Star Speedway





Matt Hirschman celebrates victory in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series SBM 121 Saturday at Star Speedway (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

EPPING, N.H. – It’s fair to say at most Tri-Track Open Modified Series events since the division’s inception the road to victory lane more often than not means beating Matt Hirschman. 

Hirschman has been the dominant force of the series since its introduction in 2014. 

But on July 5 in the 2020 season opener for the series at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H., Hirschman wasn’t even so much as a contender for a top-five finish. 

Hirschman finished seventh at Monadnock and never cracked the top-five in the event. It was a performance that lit a fire under the Northampton, PA Modified veteran. 

Saturday at Star Speedway Hirschman showed the result of stoking that fire within. 

Hirschman passed Matt Swanson for the lead on a lap 113 restart and went on to win the Tri-Track Open Modified Series SBM 121 at Star Speedway. 

“Monadnock, to never even crack the top-five, I knew I had to get to work,” Hirschman said. “I’ve had success the last few weeks in Pennsylvania and part of that is because I went to work. But I needed to win here and kind of redeem myself a little bit and get back to feeling where I put the effort in and the results show on the track. I’ve been in that spot before and I just had to go to work.” 

Swanson, of Acton, Mass., was second and Andy Jankowiak of Tonawanda, N.Y. third. NASCAR Cup Series regular Ryan Preece of Berlin was sixth. 

Hirschman showed he was stout in the early going, getting by Craig Lutz for the lead on lap 25. Hirschman held that top spot until a caution on lap 85 sent most of the lead lap cars to the pits. 

Swanson, who had pitted under caution on lap 58, assumed the lead for the lap 85 restart with Hirschman restarting seventh. 

Hirschman was up to fourth by lap 98. He got by Jankowiak for third on lap 104 and a lap later made easy work of Eric Goodale for second place. By lap 112 Hirschman was looking on the high side against Swanson but caution flew again on lap 113. 

On the ensuing restart Swanson got sideways coming to the green allowing Hirschman to easily jump out front. The caution flew again on lap 114, but Hirschman was able to hold off Swanson on the final restart of the event. 

“Even myself having the fresher tires, I didn’t have that much more grip,” Hirschman said. “I think everybody really lost grip in the second half of the race. And the guys that pitted 20-something laps before me, they really showed it at the end. I didn’t have near as good a car at the end as I did about mid-race. But everybody fell off.” 

After having issues in both his heat race and consolation heat, Swanson used a promoter’s option to get into the feature, starting last in the 27-car field. 

“To come from the [consolation], we short pitted, we went through every hoop we could possibly go through today and my [Boehler Racing Enterprises] guys stuck with me and they believed in me and they never gave up on me and we almost got ourselves one there,” Swanson said. “[Hirschman], he’s won everything there is to win in an asphalt Modified. If I’m here at my home track banging bars with him with 10 laps to go that’s pretty cool. 

“It was such a wreckfest in the beginning. It was just one of those deals where you’re like ‘What the heck is going on here?’ You just had to keep your nose clean and be there at the end. We tried that and short pitted and just ran out of tires at the end.” 

Jankowiak recovered from an early race issue to rally to third late. 

“Not much fun at all,” Jankowiak said. “I’m tired. We had such a good car and we got in a little jingle there early. Just racing, I don’t know if it was my fault or the other guy’s. It happens. I’m sure neither one of us wanted it to. And it kind of just got us all goofed up. We got hit in the left front so we had to come in and fix that. We got forced into the short pit strategy. … We were within a car length of getting lapped at one point. I had drive pretty hard just to stay on the lead lap in the middle part before the pit stops. We just got out of our strategy. We should be happy to be third. I’m just itching to win one of these things. We keep tiptoeing over there. We’re gonna get there. It’s a little discouraging because I think today we had the car to do it.” 

Comments

  1. Good show put on by Star and TT. I enjoyed myself. Glad to hear the SBM 125 X is already a go for next July. Really would love to see two at Star every year. Something to maybe consider this year if Seekonk doesn’t open.

    Now the cons. TT ran the race as if rain was coming. No driver introductions. Poor Hinkley, he fixed his flat tire but they wouldn’t let him out of the pits. The pace truck was still on the backstretch. They let him sit there for 30 laps. Ended his day. I thought that was uncalled for and unprofessional on TT’s part.

    The sun was brutal. I know Star is all about the early starts now but push the event back an hour (5pm) when TT is in town. Also, maybe add the 350 supers. This crowd would enjoy that. Those slingshots were tough to watch.

    Patrick was saying something about he can’t watch the WMT because the same guys keep winning?? Umm…please continue.

    I couldn’t help but notice RaceDayCT (and everyone else) enjoying some mask free time. Like old times tonight.

    Back to my original remark, is the TT season over in three weeks if Seekonk doesn’t open?? Those discussions must be happening now.

    Best moment of the night, I saw an old timer in a wheelchair stand up (with assistance) and hold on to the fence for balance during the national anthem. God bless Sir. You are a fine American. Race fans get it.

  2. getserious says

    I appreciate reading your take on the day, JD.

  3. patrick tetreault jr says

    Cmon JD you seriously think the Whelen tour is anything like this series cause Hirschman wins some? Serious contenders for wins in this series Hirschman,Silk,Dowling,Williams,Lutz,Hinkley,Swanson,Pitkat,Barrett,Nocella, and on the right night with the right circumstance about 5 others are moderate contenders! Now in the Whelen tour you can’t name 5 drivers on any night given almost any circumstance that can win heck I can predict the top 3 for every race and be right 80% of the time Bonehead Coby and Lutz! Hirschman does not dominate this series he is the best but he has major competition and if he has a DNF he will not have enough points to win the championship because the other 9 are competitive and finish around the top 5 every race. Nobody in their honest to God right mind could possibly enjoy the Whelen tour over this series!

  4. It’s always funny reading your spin of the facts, 🌈JD🌈.

  5. The big winner is always the competition caution. Safe and the reshuffle turns a boring finish into a nail biter. “Silky” and “Hirschy” were the announcers drivers to watch going in, Silky took a tire early was smart they said and the car to watch after the reshuffle then fizzled. The fastest, bestest car and driver won but was made to earn it.. The guy that had the best race coming from a potential seat in the stands to second was Swanson. Preece exits the heat, still snake bit as we fans groan not again, escapes the consi and drives a terrific race getting the best finish for the car he had that was slower then a few he beat. Hirschy gave Lutz a lesson in tire preservation. Between the SK’s at Stafford and TTOMS Narducci is getting a lot of lessons in fending off cars as opposed to charging to the front in the Lights. Family and friends got to see their driver of interest in the support division in the big show at the track or on the tube. Love New Hampshiire tracks that support grass roots, stock configuration classes especially the Six Shooters and Mini’s that give young drivers a chance to compete at a lower entry point and feed the sport with new blood.
    Pandemic, what pandemic? How envious are we that the New Hampshire tracks and New Hampshire itself is a haven from the current realities to just about everyone to their south. Hearing the announcer pushing TTOMS tee shirts and hoodies and not safety reminders. Drivers and interviewer close enough to tell what each other had for lunch. Were it not for the reduced capacity you’d never know anything was different. There’s been a lot of racing up there with no blow back from unexpected infections so good for New Hampshire.
    Why is it that of all the touring divisions and opens one has to be the best? One pays more money, another has the best drivers, another has the best organization and management. Headliners, car counts, good racing and surprises are what matter and they’ve all done well. They’re all different, all unique and all entertaining is some way. NWMT, Stafford Open, TTOMS races this year and can anyone say they didn’t get their money’s worth? The Racing Guys event as well to look forward to.

  6. knuckles Mahoney says

    JD, you’re right, especially about Hinckley. Goes from 13th to 3rd in 40 laps. He would have again been a contender. Unfortunately gets a flat on a restart. What the hell was the rush when you give a guy 2 caution laps to change out a tire, then they make him sit there at the track entrance, when he could have easily entered the track. This is twice now that TTOMS screwed him this year. At least when Schaeffer was running things, he would come on here and defend their position, these donkeys are too good for us now???

  7. Rhea Levasseur says

    Congrats to Matt!

  8. Doug- what event are The Racing Guys putting on? Easy to loose track amid all the changing schedules

  9. Doug, you are right. There doesn’t have to be a best or second best. I had a great time last night. I will have a great time next Saturday. It irks me when people come on here with factually incorrect information to say one series is best.

    Take Patrick for example, MH and Silk have won 17 TT races between them. You listed a bunch of guys who never won as an example of “contenders”. In what world does that make sense. Yes, I know Lutz won a few weeks ago. Barrett has a win at Seekonk years ago. Not exactly a contender recently. MH and Coby have started on the front row of many WMT races these last few years too. MH winning last night was never in doubt. He won going away. It was so obvious sitting there how much quicker his car was. That car goes on restarts and is on rails in the turns. There is only one man who could and does change the outcome of both series. No, its not superman. ‘ll give you a hint. He lives in Indiana. Always a contender when he shows up. Somebody needs to give him a ride, even if it’s only a for few races.

    Is MH running the full WMT this year? He is up there in points

    Also, when Nascar does the competition yellow people go nuts. Not a peep when TT does it. Hmm….

  10. Pepsi vs Coke?

    Fact, Pepsi is superior.

  11. Eric, I believe it’s the $10k to win open mod show at Claremont on Aug 28th. It’s the night before the WMT at Monadnock.

    I mostly agree with most of what JD said. A little later start and the 350 Supers would make it an absolutely perfect day. The local guys and gals seemed to be thrilled to get the chance to race in front of all the extra people. Even with the treacherous and scary grandstands Star is one of my favorite places I’ve been to watch a race. There’s just something magical about the place.

  12. 🌈🦄2020 says

    Was the whole program over before the sun went down? Why would you want to sit in the heat all day in the middle of summer on a Saturday. Do they not have lights?

  13. 🌈🦄 2020,
    Yes the entire card was done before dark. They have lights they’re just not using them this year as a cost saving measure.

  14. Patrick Tetreault Jr says

    JD funny you’ll argue your point when you know your wrong you claim Silk And Hirschman run away with it in TT like I claim Coby and Bonehead run away with it in WMT! So simple way to prove who is right I’ll take Coby and Boner against the field for $1000 a race you take Hirschman and Silk against the field for $1000 a race and i’ll thank you for your money in advance because my guys will score wins 75% of the time yours might get you 35% if your lucky and that is simply because of the difference in the 2 series it has nothing to do with anything other than that you can show up to a Tri Track race with a decent car and good talent and have a shot at the win on the WMT you have no chance if you arent a top flight team!

  15. wmass01013 says

    1st as DOUG said why does anyone have to say 1 series is better than the other?, they all are modifieds, They all have pros and cons, all have good and bad races and good and bad calls by officials, Matt Hirschman dominates TRI TRACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he has won 12 of 28 races in history LOOK IT UP sometime if u can read while on THE WMT the 2 and 51 dominate but silk,emerling, pitkat Lutz, K bonsignore, goodale, santos, Mckennedy preece, Solomito and Matt Hirschman HAVE ALLL WON races the last 3 yrs,
    AGAIN enjoy the races whether its WMT, TRI TRACK, MRS, ROC, STAFFORD OPEN, RACING GUYS

  16. Patrick, MH and Silk’s combined winning % BEFORE last night was 61%. Almost double your 35% assertion. It’s higher now. It would be even higher than that had MH not lost his mind on the final lap at Seekonk last October. Only one other driver has won more than once. It’s Dowling with two wins. Yes I know Coby and JB win a ton. But no more than MH and Silk in TT which was my only point all along. Game, set, match to JD. Don’t forget to buy a ticket for Aug 15th. MH likes big crowds watching him win.

  17. Ken Latham says

    RIGHT on wmass racing is racing enjoy it

  18. It was a great race at a pretty racy short track. Bad luck for Hinckley but I honestly don’t think that he was up to the track until way after the green was thrown. They had some confusion as to what needed to be done during the stop. I was home on the CT shore by 11:15. I agree the mods and 350 supers and nothing else would be a good show. My guess is that this would not create enough time between the TT heat races and the consi thus leading to some down time.

  19. Fast Eddie says

    As a fan of Modified racing, I don’t have any considerations for one series being better than the other. In each series, there are some RACES that are better than others; it all depends on how things play out at race time. I like all three options we have right now, but for different reasons. The WMT with qualifying and pit stops in a long race, and TriTrack that has heats and bull rings where maybe you pit and maybe you don’t during a shorter race. The Stafford Opens for me are Connecticut’s version of the PA Posse vs. the WOO. We have the local group of participants who know the track all too well, and the “invaders” coming in mostly from NY and NJ to try and take home some Connecticut Cash. To me the only commonality is the cars, but the three series are different enough that it’s tough to have a direct comparison. Pick “the best” if you must, but I’m very happy going to as many of all three as I can!

  20. The Supers at Star would be great wouldn’t it. So would seeing all five Stafford divisions in features at the Stafford opens. There is the reduced capacity limits however so we make allowances. Especially with the TTOMS that has that big fat, eye popping, pandemic or not, nut to cover first.

  21. Doug, Star’ 350 and Late Models only run about twice a month anyway. Usually not together either. Maybe a few times a year they are together. About 18 350s. Anywhere from 10-18 Late Models. Closer to 18 this year but that’s with a few Seekonk and Connecticut cars and some bonus money. The 350’s are getting a few cars from Oswego. A regular purse is far less than CT too. Star may have left them off the card as a virus precaution after they got the green light to open. I think Bobby Webber is going to make next year’s tenth anniversary 125 race something big so I’m not going to worry about it too much.

    Saturday was a big crowd. I’m sure they made a little cheese. Off to WMMP this weekend.

  22. Can’t believe it. Matt Hirshman wins and everyone gets their panties in a wad. Chill out already. Matt happens. Get over it already. If anything his so called dominance should prod others to up their game.the way I look at it, he’s the smart one, picking and choosing where to run, probably based on where he’s got the best chances of winning. Seems smart to me.

  23. Interesting comments on The Morning Bullring from Hirschman this morning.
    *He says the team has been flat out since things started up in mid June
    *Mentioned that he’s not avoiding the Open 80’s at Stafford but his schedule just makes it difficult for him to be in any of the shows.
    *Said he’d be concentrating on PA and New Hampshire for August. Did not mention White Mountain at all this Saturday nor was he asked about it.

    60 laps at Mahoning Saturday so maybe he’ll be there. As his site says “Stay Tuned”

  24. Hirschman is a bullring specialist. Don’t look for him on anything bigger than a bullring.

  25. wmass01013 says

    OK ROB P Nobody has any panties in a wad about Matt Hirschman winning! It was alll about Patricks foolish comments about WMT VS TRI TRACK AND That tri track has many more chances for drivers to win races than ONLY THE 51 AND 2 on the WMT, READ Everything before u speak

  26. Jimmy King says

    Oswego, Jennerstown, New Smyrna, etc. are not “bullrings.”

  27. Wmass, seems to me, every time Matt wins the comments pile up, going back to last season.
    As far as Tri Track Series being a series your more likely to win in, that’s debatable. Although Coby and Jbon had their share of wins last season, others did win on WMT. Tri Track had a few different winners last season. Both have run 2 events this season producing different winners each event.
    I’ll admit I’ve seen 1 WMT race in the past 2 years, Stafford Fall Final ’19. But based on what I’ve read it seems that Tri Track Series has better racing.
    The way I look at it racing is racing, and most of the time the car that wins is the one that was best prepared, except for the occasional dump and run win. Enjoy the racing while you can, you never know what tommorow may bring

  28. Momentum tracks = bullrings. They are NOT horsepower tracks. MH doesn’t show up to the horsepower tracks too often, very rarely. It doesn’t look like MH has the engines to run a horsepower track.

  29. wmass01013 says

    MATT and the 60 teamssssssssss can race wherever they want but i do have a PROBLEM that the reason he cant come to CT or NHMS is that he is BUSY but isn’t BUSY to go to SEEKONK, STAR, MONADNOCK, MYTRLE BEACH, JENNERSTOWN, WMMP, ,Mahonig Valley, Evergreen.

  30. Torque, it’s all about Torque. Torque is what gives you the forward drive coming off the corners, horsepower gets you the speed at the end of the straights. Ask any good engine builder. It’s finding that delicate balance of high Torque and horsepower, along with reliability.

  31. WMASS took the words right out of mouth (again). Nobody has their shorts in a wad. In fact, I think most people expected MH to win on Saturday. I picked the 50 but could see right away MH had the field covered.

    Regardless of series, MH, Coby and JB are a step ahead of everyone. Bobby Santos too when he runs. Maybe it’s time for redraws to return on the WMT?? Just a thought.

    How does a radio show not ask MH where he is racing on Saturday?? Unless they were told not go ask ahead of time. Pee Dee Motorsports has been quiet this week so I’m guessing they are a no. Entry list should be out anytime now.

    This sport needs more Andy J interviews. I would love to see him in top notch equipment for a few races. I know he has an ARCA deal coming up soon.

  32. So it looks like Open Wheel Wednesday won’t be in August and more than likely not on a Wednesday anymore if at all now. What say you TT.

    Saturday was pretty successful. Just saying…

  33. “An analysis of CDC guidelines shows only 4 states trending well in controlling the spread of the coronavirus: Connecticut, Maine, New York and Vermont. @WSJ“

    🌈JD🌈, how is NH trending? 🌈

  34. Bob Dilner the owner of Speed51 and the host on The Morning Bullring grew up in modifieds but since has moved to North Carolina and the show is mostly about southern and midwest racing. Every time he has a modified guy on it ends up with him going through a bunch of nostalgia because he clearly is not paying attention to modifieds nor did they even frame the events at Star properly for Hirschman. That said Hirschman is a great interview answered the question about the race they should have asked and threw out more golden nuggets worth hearing mostly because he knows what fans find interesting. Go to the Morning Bullring and fast forward to the 2:15 mark for the interview. It will be worth your time.
    They did not ask Hirschman about White Mountain nor do I think they even knew about the race. They asked him what his plans were for August and he punted because I don’t think even he knows what his plans are.
    Dilner did not ask about Stafford Hirschman offered it because he apparently is asked about it a lot. It’s understandable why he passes on the opens there since he’s about winning and the $3500 to win isn’t that great. They bump it to 5 grand and I’m betting he finds the time.

  35. Looks like perfect weather for Saturday. Come on up and enjoy yourself some NH hospitality.

    I’m sure MH will be at Monadnock Aug 15th. I still don’t know how you don’t ask MH if he is running Saturday or is he running for the WMT championship given his current point standing? There are no other questions bigger than that to be asked.

    Not knowing about Seekonk or if Thompson is really a go may have made the August schedule question a little hard for MH. They, like everyone else might be waiting for clarification. I’ll give him that.

  36. Seems like Matt H. runs his race team like a business. He picks the races to run probably based on the purses offered. Smart move if you ask me. Risk VS reward.

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