Matt Hirschman Tops Field In Claremont Speedway Open Modified Show

Matt Hirschman (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

The moniker “Money” Matt Hirschman once again fits like a glove. 

When it’s an open show in Modified racing with big dollars on the line Hirschman can typically be counted as a favorite, and that was once again the case Friday at Claremont (NH) Speedway. 

The event may have been quietly promoted, but Hirschman made big noise in winning the 100-lap event Open Modified feature at Claremont and taking home the $10,000 first place prize. 

Hirschman, of Northampton, Pa., recovered from an encounter with the wall in his heat race and used the consolation heat to qualify for the feature. 

Matt Kimball of Bennington, NH was second and Les Hinckley III of Windsor Locks third.

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  1. Credit to Money Matt. He sandbagged at half throttle for half the race and the leaders handed him the win. Silk and the other leaders should have stayed out. The 60 would not have caught them.

    Andy J and the Kimball kid continue to impress in 2020. I thought Hinkley drove as hard as I’ve seen him drive in a while. Willis lost his mind and wrecked the 06 and himself for no good reason.

    Bob A is dead to me. I didn’t get home until 1am. No need for a five car B feature or podium interviews of all three drivers in every division. Keep the show moving.

    The track needs to fix their lap board. Please get those camera guys out of the infield too. Those guys are walking around with no protection. Someone is going to get hit. I’ve seen it happen before. I don’t want to see it happen again.

    I need a nap

  2. Race Notes
    -first caution lap 16 Hirschman into pits.
    -lap 27 2nd caution from Willis failed retaliation on Lutz. Collects Kimball. Kimball, Hinckley, Jankowiak, Hirschman to pits. That’s pretty much the race right there.
    -lap 36 caution for Diego Monahan. Hirschman still 6th from last.
    –lap 36 to 56 Kimball and Hinckley moving through traffic nicely. Hirschman still way back cruising trying to stay spaced from other cars and saving tires.
    -38 to go Hinckley 5, Kimball 6, Hirschman still cruising in 15th.
    -caution with 34 to go. Top 5 pit. Hinckley, Kimball, Jankowiak, Hirschman1,2,3,4. . Jankowiak doinks Hinckley on restart, Kimball takes the lead.
    -Hinckley turns Kimball but saved by caution thrown for earlier incident.
    -Hirschman takes the lead with 29 to go.
    -22 to go nice run by Hossfeld in the 25 ends when he doinks Hinckley and throws out front end
    -best finish for worst race of the day was Vigeant. Responsible for several cautions a couple by himself.
    -fastest laps for early leaders in the first 30 laps. Fastest laps for the guys in the real money in the last 20 laps with Hirschman over 2 tenths faster then the next fastest car on lap 94.

    Might have some details wrong but most are correct.
    A ton of good racing and movement from top quality cars but Hirschman wasn’t racing. He was winning.Even in 15th place.
    Surprise of the race Kimball. Not just the finish but moving through traffic.

  3. Baffling that the top group came in with 34 to go. I believe TC won a 125 lap tour race at Thompson without pitting. Good run by Hirschman against many tour regulars and considering the damage he sustained in the heat race.

  4. First visit to Claremont and loved the clean racy little bullring and the mod race was entertaining. Weekly divisions were way too time consuming with lots of wasted time on interviews and races way too long. Money Matt gave a very impressive display of an excellent race strategy played to perfection.

  5. getserious says

    Doug, thanks for the detailed explanation of what went down.It’s good to know.
    And you nailed it; he’s not racing, he’s winning. I would add, Thinking.

  6. Yeah it was the latest I’ve gotten out of the track this year by far, they are starting next week at 5pm and it seems they should’ve this week too. They did a bunch of stuff different to try to move the program along faster but I think it backfired. They didn’t run any heat races for the local divisions but they added extra laps to the features and somehow that made the night longer, the “b-main” was a bit of a time waster for 5 cars and they waited longer for the winner to get back on the track than the race was.

    I agree with JD about the photographers, always thought it was sketchy having people on foot in the infield. Those cars are moving fast and they could end up anywhere and the best athletes in the world wouldn’t be able to dodge them let alone a photographer with their eye in their viewfinder. I think that the kart track flag stand needs to go, that’s just a tragedy waiting to happen. They could find another solution for a kart flag stand that could be portable.

    Still it was a great night of racing with my favorite cars on my favorite track and I was glad to be there to see it. Hirschman really showed how he got his nickname, it was a real struggle all night and he’s there right when it matters with fresher tires than anyone. Kimball was so impressive, kid was driving mini-stocks not long ago and there he was in contention to win with all those talented modified drivers.

  7. Did Hirschman race hard in the feature? The heat, repairs and the consi for sure. Remarkable actually. He said it. Showed how his team could not only fix it but fix it good enough to win. It’s not the first time.
    Didn’t appear he raced hard in the feature like at all. In fact the only racing was with 34 to go he had three cars to beat that he pretty much made short work of. The contrast was Kimball and Hinckley that were racing their butts off that in the end didn’t net them much more in terms of track position then Hirschman got by cruising.
    That’s not an insult. The best work is smart work not necessarily hard work. Getserious is right. He was thinking while others were racing their butts off.
    So my question is will Hirschman race in the TTOMS race at Stafford? It’s big money. If he does will he race in the NWMT race before that to reacquaint himself with the track he has chosen to avoid.

  8. If MH runs the Fall Final it will be in the Pee Dee 60. The red 60 will never see a Nascar event. I won’t be in the pits tomorrow but maybe someone can ask them about their Sept plans.

    Its not like MH doesn’t have a notebook full of notes for Stafford. He has run there plenty of times. He dominates at New Smyrna. Shouldn’t be an issue.

    I seem to recall Showtime sending MH into the turn 1 wall on purpose a number of years ago. I think Showtime got suspended or fined afterwards. It wasnt pretty.

  9. Fast Eddie says

    Doug, great race summary, and I agree with you and getserious. Matt is like a scientist out there; knows his best options where to race, and once racing when to conserve, when to go, and definitely how to win. The $6,000 question is: Will he go “outside of his winning formulas” to run Stafford and support an event his father-in-law promotes at a bigger track he hasn’t run at in quite awhile? Or, are there any economically better opportunities at a bullring close to home? My guess is he’ll be at Stafford, but I think the “locals” will have the advantage.

  10. I have been to a few races where the first half of the race you say something is wrong with Hirschman. He just doesnt have it tonight. He is almost about to get lapped. Then with 20 to 25 to go he is battling for the lead or in the lead running away with it. He is a master of conservation and strategy. I would love to see all out racing every lap but these strategies seem to be successful more often than not. How can you argue against it. Most of these races pay out for leading only one lap, the last lap and that is the only lap you need to lead to get the big check. Congrats to Matt Hirschman and team. Chalk up another one for them.

    Doug that is a nice breakdown. Thanks for providing that, I appreciate it.

  11. Wedding Bells says

    Is Matt Hirschman legally married? I thought that was is his girlfriend.

  12. Perhaps it’s making to much of it but it seems like Hirschman at Stafford after such a long absence is a big deal. Sure he has notes but since he’s been to the track Rob Fuller and LFR have changed everything.
    New Smyrna is like Stafford only in distance.
    Will the Stafford gang have an advantage in the TTOMS race? Not unless they make some significant rule changes in my view. Unlike the shorter tracks it’s seems it would be a spec engine race dominated by all the NWMT guys that struggle on the shorter tracks. The entire dynamic that has made Tri Track so special upended for one race anyway.
    Last comment on Claremont I promise. Saw the race Friday, thought it was something special but didn’t know why and believe re watching it confirmed it. Sure Hirschman cruises in races to conserve then charges at the right time. This appeared to be different. If we’re talking about coming from the rear of the field I believe Hirschman won the race from the rear making merely a handful of competitive passes. The most perfectly executed strategic modified feature win I can ever recall against premier competition.

  13. These TT/Open teams need to have a strategy for MH and not just for tires. He is outsmarting them at almost every race.

    No need to research anything. As soon as the line of leaders came in for a tire change everyone in the crowd knew it was over. We were all talking about it in the grandstands. Honestly, everyone in the stands knew what MH was doing from the drop of the green. It was pretty obvious he was half speed for the first 50 laps. He wasn’t even trying. Twenty minutes later he is $10k richer.

    MH won’t outsmart anyone today. Off to Monadnock.

  14. It’s so exciting watching cars racing tires.

  15. Of course the red 60 will never see a NASCAR WMT event, it will never pass inspection. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

  16. wmass01013 says

    Big Money Matt was Mediocre Matt Today

  17. Weatherman says

    Doug says: “The most perfectly executed strategic modified feature win I can ever recall against premier competition.”
    Fair enough, but I’m going with Ed Flemke’s 1977 Thompson 300 victory. 🤣🤣🤣

  18. “Honestly, everyone in the stands knew what MH was doing from the drop of the green. It was pretty obvious he was half speed for the first 50 laps. ”

    I watched Rowan Pennink do the same in an MRS race. He cruised around about 500 feet behind the field for a good half of the race.

    He won too… ;^)

  19. Can somebody please please tech the Red 60 car!!! Its been far too long of this crazy dominance against same drivers he’s mediocre against on WMT, he didn’t forget to set up the other WMT cars he has driven or pick bad tires yada yada or not have enough motor. In years past guys have been torn down that have dominated, he has never been, Roc, Tri Trak, Pa Tracks won’t do it, what if all these wins are garbage and he’s been not legit this whole time and all that money he has taken from these guys? I am sorry folks he is not elite of a driver his stats prove it, that car is elite and has 2-3 tenths on the field at lap 94 without ever pitting!!!!! He has same wins as Lutz or Goodale in Nascar it pisses me off he is mentioned as a great like Richie Evans. Put up a questionnaire to his competition and all will say he’s got something in that car.

  20. Hirschman did pit on lap 16 and 27.

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