Dave Sapienza Offering Matt Hirschman Bonus To Win Islip 300 Saturday At Riverhead Raceway

Dave Sapienza (left) is offering Matt Hirschman (right) a $2,000 bonus to win the Islip 300 Saturday at Riverhead Raceway (Photos: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

Saturday at the John Blewett III Memorial North-South Shootout at Caraway Speedway an anonymous donor offered a $2,000 bonus if the pole-winner for the event opted to start at the rear of the field and went on to win the race.

Matt Hirschman gladly took the challenge and ended up putting the extra two large in his pocket for the ride home from Sophia, N.C. to Northampton, Pa.

Well now there’s another $2,000 up for grabs for the driver dubbed “Money Matt.”

This time it’s no anonymous donor though.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular and Islip 300 entrant Dave Sapienza wants Hirschman to run in Saturday’s Islip 300 Tour Type Open Modified event at Riverhead Raceway. So much so that he’s ready to challenge him to do it.

“Everybody always says Matt will never show up at Riverhead,” Sapienza told RaceDayCT Monday. “I want to see Matt at Riverhead. I miss him. I’m not being a wise-ass. I’m just saying, everybody is always complaining that Matt doesn’t show up at races at Riverhead. Well, I’ll give him an extra $2,000 to show up and win the race.”

Saturday’s 300-lap Tour Type Modified event at Riverhead pays $7,000 to the winner. Hirschman is not currently on the entry list for the event.

“I’m not trying to bash the kid because he’s very good at what he does,” Sapienza said. “But everybody always says Hirschman won’t race at Riverhead. How about I offer him $2,000 out of my personal savings? Right out of my right front pocket. I’m going to be there. And I promise I won’t wreck him. Come to Riverhead, win the race and I’ll pay him. He can bring any one of his open cars, his Tour cars, whatever he wants to bring. He comes there and wins I’ll give him $2,000 extra out of my pocket.”

Stay tuned to find out if Hirschman will step up to the Sapienza Challenge.


  1. No, I think you are being a wise ass. In fact that’s part of the reason you’re so popular because you are the designated rocker of the boat. That’s boat rocking as an idiom and not your actual boat.
    I’m fundamentally against this mainly because is rewards a person that does not support the race or track and disrespectful to the teams already committed.
    That said it is a Jim dandy of a gimmick. Were Hirschman to show up with or without the amount of razzle-dazzle needed to win the race it would make a great race even better.

  2. I love Sap!

  3. Not sure which one we could classify sap as….Barnum or Bailey! However, I give him credit to try and draw interest to a modified event. I certainly understand the point of maybe it’s disrespect to regulars. But alas, business is business, and everybody knows money talks! And yes, I do think sap likes to upset the apple cart! At times tedious, at times refreshing.

  4. FUN = SAP Love it… Be careful what you wish for . Matt is Super fast on the Bullrings…

  5. Stuart A Fearn says

    This is why Sapienza is a BOSS! He puts his money where his mouth is, I think it’s great actually. Ads an extra level of excitement so now we just have to wait!
    Went last year but have a previous engagement this year otherwise would have loved to go. First time there last year for this race and it was really a great time, just gonna take the ferry next time I believe. Long drive around

  6. I am one of five children my mother raised all by herself . Who told us as teenagers every morning you look in the mirror comb your hair and brush your teeth you have a moral obligation to bee all you can bee anything less is on you. After 37 years of self employment ,loving what I do like the day I started. It is an honor and a pleasure to watch ANYONE like Matt who is dedicated and has pure passion for what he does . For anyone that doesnt know Matt started racing at Evergreen raceway and in the heats would almost get lapped .Congrats Matt, amazing what u can do when u have a MORAL obligation to bee all you can bee.

  7. Man alive that deal with Sapienza’s bonus that only one car qualifies for has generated a whole lot of buzz on social media. Mission accomplished Dave you got the attention you crave and what did you risk to get it?
    Could Sapienza and Hirschman be any different. One a stream of consciousness type of guy and not that successful on the track. The other a human calculator constantly running risk/reward scenario’s rarely not on the podium. .How does the guy that rarely reaches the podium gain parity with the perennial winner and what is he risking to get the attention?
    Tires and associated expenses probably puts the cost to run the 300 at $3000 plus. Anything but a win is a losing day monetarily. So what are the odds of winning for Hirschman?
    -no extensive notes or experience on the track
    -a strong contingent of A list cars including the 51, 6ny, 07, 57, 82, 79.
    -a strong contingent of Riverhead regulars that captured positions 4 through 8 last year
    -300 laps with 25 plus cars on a tiny track. A lot to go wrong and you may go home not only losing money but with a wrecked car.
    -not really sure on this but this is a spec engine kind of race isn’t it? That means Pee Dee and not in the Pee Dee wheel house at all.

    Be it the Musket races or Thompson 300 Hirschman has shown no appetite for extra distance big dollar to win races.
    He very well could opt to run the Islip 300. However in my view it would be completely out of character for him to do it. His primary motive would have to be for the challenge and not the money.
    So what did Sapienza risk to get all this attention? Hirschman has to show and those are long odds. Then he has to win and under the circumstances those odds are longer then the typical race Hirschman enters.
    I’m thinking the $2000 if it’s paid is a great value. In my view the odds of it being paid are closer to zero making it the most cost effective promotional tool of the year.

  8. Maybe they should rename this race “The Sapienza Invitational”

  9. Doug, I totally agree! a better offer would have been the $2000, simply to show!!

  10. Henry Lecomte says

    Look Matt Is an Awesome Modified competitor. Will Money Matt Show up my answer is no he is not going to go race at Riverhead and possibly destroy the PEE DEE #60 we will see him in Florida were again he will be the Champion of Speedweek. Love U Matt.

  11. I thought race cars were built to be raced? Not to sit home and look pretty. Destroy the car? That’s the risk you take every time you race. Don’t make excuses for him.

    Matt doesn’t have the best opportunity to win at Riverhead, don’t care what car he brings. That’s why he probably won’t go.

    If he doesn’t show he’s not living up to his name Big Money Matt. 9k is a nice pay day!

  12. Stuart I’m surprised you went to long island for a modified race , I see you walking down the pit stands after 25 laps of mod racing at Stafford , is it that much better on the island if it is I might have to check it out

  13. Stephen Snow says

    Spaz let Matt use the 63 for added incentive, no risk to his stuff.

  14. Doug – good post.
    I don’t think Matt will show, those are really stacked odds against him there. He’s had another banner year (I marvel at his stats). That said, Matt can show up anywhere without ever turning a lap and contend.

    Sap is a character and I appreciate him being himself, full of gusto, nobody on tour like him. He’s had a noticeable down year after a nice rise to the top tier. Regardless, not a bad idea from Snow here, let him drive your back up car… I do like his promotional angle here though, creative, apparently has spun up social media, similar to bounties, lap monies, extra incentives – we need more of that! Perhaps Sap has a future as a social media influencer..

    I’ll be pulling for Ryan here anyway… or any Riverhead regular who would consider this race an honor of a lifetime to win.

  15. I like spending other people’s money… make the challenge even better… throw in another $2k to start from the rear and win!!!!

    MH is a bullring guy, but being an invader going to itty-bitty teenie-weenie Riverhead is like walking unarmed into a giant pack of starving hyenas.

    Anybody know how many times MH has run at Riverhead? And his record there?

    Sap is awesome… our racing scene would be so boring without him. 😝😝😝

  16. Imagine taking money out of your own pocket to bring a strong competitor to race against you. It doesnt make a lot of sense to me…….But I absolutely love it. I havent read all the comments yet but i am hoping Hirschman takes him up on the offer.

  17. Will valve stem caps be required?

  18. This is why Matt Hirschman does not want to run the Islip 300:


    MH has run Riverhead 6 times and not done well at all. Simply ain’t worth it.

  19. Given the stats for Hirschman at Riverhead, Sap can safely increase the bounty to $10,000 and have no concern he will have to pay out.

  20. This reminds me of Reg Dunlop (Paul Newman) putting a bounty on a guy in “Slap Shot”. It’s great!

  21. Coby was never going to win either

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