Big Cash And Prizes: Matt Hirschman Hits Payday With Victory In 50th NAPA Spring Sizzler At Stafford

Matt Hirschman celebrates in victory lane after winning the 50th NAPA Spring Sizzler Sunday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – Over the last two decades Matt Hirschman has established himself as one of the power players of his generation when it comes to Modified racing.

But one of the big holes in the racing resume for the Northampton, Pa. driver was the lack of a victory at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Sunday Hirschman checked that box off in the hugest of ways and in the most dramatic style.

Hirschman came out on top of an intense late race battle with Ryan Preece to win the 50th NAPA Spring Sizzler 100 Sunday at Stafford Speedway.

“You wanted the best, you got the best right there,” Hirschman said. “… What a race. Ryan and me have had so many races like that and we don’t even race that often anymore. … Just another classic between us. Just two of us going for it, for everything. We ran each other clean.”

Preece, of Berlin, was second and Ron Silk of Norwalk third.

It was the first victory career victory at Stafford for Hirschman, who had previously made 22 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour starts and one Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series start at the historic half-mile.

Hirschman earned $15,000 for the victory. He also made $4,000 in contingency bonuses and $6,450 in lap money for leading 43 laps for a total of $25,450 for the event. He also earned $1,150 for his third place finish in his qualifying race Saturday to kick his weekend total to $26,600.

He also earned a starting spot with the SRX Series when the division runs its second event at Stafford on July 2.

“Just incredible,” Hirschman said. “Unbelievable job by Stafford Speedway with what they did. I’m here because of what they did. The win and you’re in thing for the SRX [Series] is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I just couldn’t pass up this chance. To be a Sizzler winner now, me and my dad are the first father-son combo to ever do that. … I’m just so glad to be a part of this and for Stafford to do what they did.”

The SRX Series ran the first event in its history on June 12, 2021 at Stafford. Former Stafford Speedway regular and six-time Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby won the event.

“I don’t know if I’m going to sleep until then. It’s going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of that. The short track racer being included in the SRX was what drew me in as a viewer [in 2021]. I watched every one of them. [Doug Coby] represented the Modifieds well by winning. … To think about guys that won Daytona 500’s, Indy 500’s, [NASCAR Cup Series] championships, IndyCar championships, to be able to share the track with them will be an absolute honor and something I greatly look forward to. I’m going to have a lot of sleepless nights just thinking about it.”

On a lap 58 restart it was Preece getting by Doug Coby for second with Hirschman following to third. Preece went by Jimmy Blewett for the lead on lap 59 with the caution flying a lap later.

On the ensuing restart Hirschman was able to get by Blewett for second.

By lap 65 Hirschman was stalking all over the bumper of Preece as the pair checked out from third place Blewett. Hirschman pestered Preece until getting under him in turn one on lap 77. The pair came off turn four side-by-side to complete the lap, with Preece leading at the line. But Hirschman was able to clear Preece for the lead off of turn two on lap 78.

With Hirschman driving away from the field, caution came out on lap 95 for the spinning cars of Buddy Charette and Jack Ely. On the restart Preece stayed in line with Hirschman on the outside. The two came to the line to complete the lap with Preece edging Hirschman for the lead. A multi-car wreck on the frontstretch brought the caution out again on lap 97.

On the restart it was Preece initially getting the jump on Hirschman, but Hirschman came back on the outside and powered by Preece to retake the lead off of turn two. The 12th caution flew on lap 98 setting up another showdown between Hirschman and Preece.

On the final restart Preece was able to stay to the outside of Hirschman for most of lap 98, but Hirschman was able clear Preece off of turn four. Hirschman completed the last two laps unchallenged to take the checkered.

“We left it all on the track tonight,” Preece said. “We gave it our best. … We had a really fast race car, just not fast enough. Matt’s got his program – him [and his father] do a really good job with it. … It was good to be back in Ole Blue. Great to be back at the Sizzler. Congratulations to that whole 60 team.”

Silk led the opening lap, but the first caution of the event came quickly with a pileup at the rear of the field in turn one on lap two.

Following the lap two restart it was Woody Pitkat getting by Silk to take over the lead on lap three.

Caution flew again on lap seven. On the restart Hirschman got by Silk for second place. The yellow flew on lap 13. Pitkat held the lead on the restart. Hirschman was able to overtake Pitkat on lap 14 through turn one but the pass was negated by a wreck at the rear of the field.

On lap 21 Matt Galko was able to get by Hirschman for second. After stalking Pitkat for a number of laps, Galko got by him to take over the top spot on lap 36.

Caution flew on lap 38 for the spinning car of Mike Christopher Jr., who was running eighth. On the restart it was Hirschman getting under Galko for the lead off of turn two, with Pitkat following to second. Galko was able to retake second from Pitkat, but by lap 50 Hirschman had opened a whopping lead over the field.

The yellow reappeared on lap 57 for the spun car of Marcello Rufrano off of turn two. The caution sent most of the leaders to the pits, with Blewett and Coby staying out.

NAPA Spring Sizzler 100: 1. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, Pa.; 2. Ryan Preece, Berlin; 3. Ron Silk, Norwalk; 4. Ronnie Williams, Tolland; 5. Jimmy Blewett, Howell, N.J.; 6. Matt Galko, Meriden; 7. Chase Dowling, Roxbury; 8. Michael Christopher Jr., Wolcott; 9. Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, Mass.; 10. Craig Lutz, Miller Place, N.Y.; 11. Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y.; 12. Matt Swanson, Acton, Mass.; 13. Chuck Hossfeld, Ransomville, N.Y.; 14. Todd Owen, Somers; 15. Stephen Kopcik, Newtown; 16. Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury; 17. Doug Coby, Milford; 18. Buddy Charette, Woodstock; 19. Brian Robie, Sunapee, N.H.; 20. Andrew Molleur, Shelton; 21. Dave Etheridge, Portland; 22. Jack Ely, Wall, N.J.; 23. Jeffrey Gallup, Agawam, Mass.; 24. Woody Pitkat, Stafford; 25. Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon; 26. Noah Korner, Canton; 27. Bobby Labonte, High Point, N.C.; 28. Anthony Nocella, Woburn, Mass.; 29. Marcello Rufrano, North Haven; 30. Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, N.Y.; 31. Mikey Flynn, Hampden; 32. Anthony Flannery, East Hampton; 33. Anthony Bello, Newtown.


  1. Ok race. Not my favorite format. No real surprises up front.

    The day was absurdly too long, though. They blew by their expected start time by over two hours for the mod race. Feel very bad for any of the islanders that expected to catch boats home. Going to have a hard time convincing me this is better than the 40 lap SK, 30 lap LM and 200 lap tour race format from a few years ago. On the way home by 530 most years. Even Saturday was too long. I noticed a lot of seats emptying early from some Flo views.

    One major complaint I have is how Stafford can continue to use that pit road in good conscience. That pit road is entirely too tight to have 30 cars come down at the same time and make a live pit stop. Someone will get hurt eventually.

  2. Way back on March 13 some fool said Hirschman had absolutely no chance and he knew it and would not even be at the Sizzler , I think it might be the same fool who said Coby couldn’t win at Riverhead ,cha ching see you July 2nd

  3. Carnage was the word of the day and I mean carnage. The only vehicles that were endanger of running out of fuel were the wreckers 😂.

    Matt and Ryan put on a show at the end and who ever would have won deserved it.

    A successful 50th Sizzler and big pay day for money Matt. I wonder what they’ll do for the 75th?

  4. Rich Gourley says

    Where’s all the Hirshman haters, ya know the ones who always brought up crap like no tech BS , can only run the bullrings BS, afraid of competition BS. Matt proved once again that he is one of the best, if not he best, modified drivers in the modern era

  5. Where are all the haters now. Admit, Matt can really wheea car. AND set it up. Old school heart


    60, 3, 16,50, 02

    Doug….9ct, 7ny, 60,57,16….10….31&34…Home Team…Pitkat…Pettit
    Jake…..60, 9ct, 3, 10, 79…..7ny…44ma&57..Invaders….Preece…Bob Bruneau
    Eddie…16, 79, 7ny, 60, 10…44ma..25nc&25nh..Invaders..Pitkat…Bob Bruneau
    CSG….9ct, 60, 10, 7ny, 57…44ma…57&81..Invaders…Blewett…Billy the Kid
    wmass..58, 7ny,10, 3, 82…..16….25nc&02….Invaders…Pitkat….RYR

    Winner(3)+Correct Top 5 Picks (1ea)+Most Top 5 Picks(2)+LCQ Pick 2(1 ea plus 2 for highest finisher)+Home Team vs Invaders (2)+Engine Builder(1)

    Doug . 0+2+2+(LCQ 1)+0+0=5
    Jake…..3+2+2+(LCQ 0)+2+1=10
    Eddie….0+2+2+(LCQ 3)+2+1=10
    CSG….0+1+0+(LCQ 0)+2+0=3
    Wmass..0+1+0+(LCQ 0)+2+0=3

    Two cars qualified for the LCQ Pick 2, they were the 31 and 25nh. Fast Eddie picks up one point for picking 25nh and an added 2 because they finished ahead of the 31.
    34 and 81 not scored because they were provisional entries.

    Home Team vs Invaders using RaceDayCt Pick-em scoring worth 2 points.
    Home Team 90 points, Invaders 34. Low score wins

    Engine Builder Bonus using RaceDayCt Pick-em scoring worth 1 point. Low score wins.
    Bob Bruneau (60,7ny,79)=18
    Pettit (57,25,92)=74
    RYR (10,82,88)=51
    Billy the Kid (9ct, 44ma,6)=47

    Fast Eddie and Suitcase Jake tied and the result goes to the tie breaker.
    RaceDayCt Pick-em scoring, low score wins

    Suitcase Jake…60(1)+9ct(7)+3(2)+10(17)+79(9)=(36) WINNER!!!!
    Fast Eddie…16(3)+79(9)+7ny(8)+60(1)+10(17)=38

    Thank you to the 4 that joined in this Pick-em. In the end it came down to two heavy hitters that got to the tie breaker taking different routes with Suitcase Jake winning it in a squeaker.

  7. Rafter fan says

    Great racing at Stafford! Interesting to see a “bull ring specialist” win at a big track like Stafford. Only downside was the Bowl-like attempt to jam too much racing into an afternoon/early evening.

  8. I thought the sizzler (sunday) was a really good show – you can’t plan on delays for wall repairs – reason for two hour off schedule. SK race was the best of the day IMO. Open mods race was good also, came down to the wire – not sure why lapped cars don’t get out of the way when leaders are coming…? A lot of really good racing the whole day. Money is the best – he is just pure talent in every aspect

  9. Zig 13 you are absolutely right, 2 very long days , haven’t heard anyone complain when a good show gets over early , can’t believe any new fans would be in a rush to come back for another marathon like this weekend

  10. James Hemingway says

    Stafford really needed to fix its failing guardrail system. It is unfair to the fans to have to sit through long delays every time they get hit hard and are damaged. It happened several times last year. Also Sunday show show was way too long with heats and at least combine the consis to 1 for each division.TV screen, ticket booth and new paving are welcome improvements though..

  11. Stafford was pretty soft this weekend,reminded me of Old Thompson,Stafford bragged of the new improvements at the ticket windows…1 hour to get in the pits then on Sunday pretty long spectator line,get to the window and 3 ticket windows closed,food prices out of this world.Families will not come back and the track didn’t notice the long ticket lines all weekend and could not get more help.Racing and car counts were very good,no way the late models should have been on the Sunday card.Money Matt showed the world who’s the King.

  12. Fast Eddie says

    If I’m second to Suitcase in a tiebreaker, I’ll consider that a win for me to be that close!! To all complaining about the long day, you’re all used to 3 or 4 featurse on Sizzler Sunday. This year’s schedule additions were practice for all plus heat races and LCQ’s for SK,SKL, & LM. The huge tv screen that replaced the old scoreboard was AWESOME! PA system sounded better as well. Maybe they can add walls to replace the guardrails somewhere down the road. Stafford has no control over overanxious drivers causing crashes and cleanups, but I thought they did a really good job of cleaning up; they were pretty busy all weekend. Great car counts and racing overall. Modified heats, LCQ’s and features for 3 different classes? I have to call that the best Modified race I ever went to!

  13. That was brutal… too long. Blew right by the schedule. I thought my clocks ⏰ 🕰 were broken. Place was clearing out early. Not good when people leave long before the end of the feature event. Hope those that stayed had proper clothing, it got rather cool.

    Nice pick ’em… though it was advertised as little chance of a tie. But then, if these results were recalculated, the results would be different every time. As has happened before. With so many having such confidence that MH would prevail, it would appear there should have been many more participants, with the 60 being picked by all to place very, very well. None of that happened.

    Well, well, well… looks like MH is finally growing into a well rounded racer, stepping out from the safe space of bullrings. Interestingly, those participating in the pick ’em didn’t have high hopes for MH in this event. After the event, lots of Fairweather Johnsons and lots of folks suddenly appearing like they predicted the outcome. 😝 🤣 🤣. I was surprised MH entered, even more so at the outcome.

    But when there was racing, it was quite good. Just a couple cars up front, a feisty mid pack, and the rest.

    The recognition of the old timers/originals was nice. Good to see all those folks together.

  14. So, it was a fun race and was cool to see the legends/previous winners get interviewed.

    The only changes they need is to bring back the 10 am pit party, only have a 12 pm: half hour practice for the Open Modifieds. Then, get rid of the heat races and do it on Saturday- like it always was for the past 20 years. LCQ’s are fine for Sunday but, go right into features. Fence repairs didn’t delay it too much. They fit them in during the intros/interviews. 100 Green only laps was perfect for the Sizzler.

    That purple SK Light is a perfect example of what can happen when you are too slow to keep pace and wreck the leaders- yes, one of the leaders could have let off but, not will 11 laps to go side-by-side for the win lol.

    Side note: Stafford please get rid of your, “Clear/see-through bag only” policy. Be like Thompson and let me bring in one bigger shopping bag or whatever bag and have a bag check when you walk in- like it used to be- no issues with that policy.

  15. Those were 2 full days of racing and a celebration of the sport. Great on track action both days. Matt Hirshman is one smooth and fast driver. Congratulations to him and I hope he wins the SRX race.
    The walls are a problem in the corners. From my guess, the wood holding the barrier is probably the issue causing replacement. They are held there by wood, and when the wood starts to rot, things move and break. With all the major improvements there I suggest there next big improvement is soft walls in the corners.
    Again Stafford Speedway would lead the way in short track advancements!
    All in all a great weekend!

  16. Was worth the price of admission just to see ole blue be a serious contender again! Awesome mod and sk racing. Impressive car counts too.
    Maybe better to run the lights on Saturday or at least get some qualifying in on Saturday. Delays or not that was a very long Sunday show!

  17. One last thing. I thought Hirshman was in trouble with McKennedy backing into him pitting. They must have hit bumper to nerf bar. Really close call for the 60.

  18. Fast Eddie says

    I couldn’t decide what shocked me more, rocco having to go into the lcq, or that he still didn’t make the feature. And tyler, definitely! It would be nice to have my sodas in a real cooler so they’re not warm shortly after i get there. I’ll open it and show them anything they want, but please let us bring coolers!! I’ve had ice 1/2 gone in the summer waiting to get in the track!

  19. Steve, were exactly would you like the lapped cars to go? Maybe you’d like it if they just stay home and we watch the two best cars go at it. BORING!!! God forbid a guy racing for the lead needs to tuck back in line to avoid a lapped car. I guess it’s better to just drive thru em than around em.

  20. Old man racer says

    I did notice that there was new guardrail in turn1, right after the pit gate. Looks like 2×4 square tubing. No problems there. Now they just need to do the same in 3.

  21. Tyler are you serious? Only 11 laps left? That’s a lot of laps left to make a move if you simply tuck back in line. I’m not in the car and from the midway point down the back stretch it was obvious that a slower car was going to be on the inside so if you couldn’t clear the outside car before you hit the corner just tuck in. Simple really.

  22. Tyler and Wow,
    Just for facts sake with the debate, the incident that took place in the SK Light Modified feature involving Alexander Pearl, George Bessette Jr. and Todd Clark took place on lap 14 of the 20-lap feature. So saying there was 11 laps left is not correct. There was about six and a half laps remaining when the crash took place.

  23. Old Man Racer, soft wall was put there about 20 yrs ago. And honestly they did do some work there. They replaced one foam block. It took 15 seconds.

  24. a 200 lap tour race would’ve been better?! are you crazy?

  25. Suitcase Jake says

    Yellow flags Ruled the Day …. No less than 50 cars on the HOOK of the wreckers … Wrecker Crews were the STARS of the DAY …. They are the best in the Track Crew World… BIG MONEY proves all the doubters WRONG ….. More than a Bullring Driver.. Yes Big MONEY CAN WIN ANYWHERE !!!!! WOW what a Finish with OLD BLUE in the mix it was only Fitting … SRX for BIG MONEY … Well deserved WIN … HE earned IT… YOU got the BEST … BE careful what you ask for .. Bounced it off the wall on the final PASS… WOW If you watch the replay He bounced it off the wall and still Won … That doesn’t happen too often . That Car is built super STRONG nerf bars and those Hardened Chrome rims are Strong too… Goodfella I do Believe I picked Big Money to WIN… Fast Ed it was really a fun Pick’em . Doug you did a great job !! Hopefully we can do the next Tour Race and go back to the Simple Top 5 Pick’em and more people will jump in the pool with the format they are used to.. I understand we tried to make it special for the 50th Sizzler..People don’t like change…. It’s cool … Have Fun = Be Happy it was a real marathon day…I think Stafford should give the Track Crew’s a Bonus for how quickly they get to the Crash scenes & How quickly they remove cars off the track.. It would be fun to watch the replay and COUNT the number of cars that got the Hook or Push in the 8 HOUR SHOW ???….. if this was Florida it would have been 10 HOUR SHOW …. The real Winners are the Parts Suppliers and Chassis Shops… Carnage Bill must be up around Half a Million dollars to fix all the cars that were destroyed and bolt on parts to fix them..Maybe safe barrier walls all the way around will be in the cards for Stafford in the near future.. Really surprised to see Rocco struggle at Thompson and Stafford early in the Season…

  26. Was the 44 and 57 beyond repair for provisionals? That 34 got one and he did not get low when 60 and 3 came up on him. Actually stayed in the groove then moved up. Coulda been another sk light outcome there!

  27. I guess I am addicted to responding today. All of the Pearls have been class act drivers. That family tries to be easy on equipment. The Mad dog family, not so much. Pearl was there. He assumed Jr. would give home something. He got nothing. He was driven into a lapped car when he had no options!

  28. I don’t go to the first few shows at Stafford. they are always way too long and crash fests. In my opinion, you need to kind of thin the herd a bit before you get a good show at Stafford. I watch on Flo where you can bop in and out pause the action and fast forward through some of the clean ups. You miss a lot of the action back in the pack watching online but overall it is an enjoyable experience especially when the days become nights and the temperature turns cold..

    With all the improvements at Stafford I don’t know why they continue with the armco steel barriers in the corners. Every year there are at least a couple of nights that have long delays because of necessary repairs. Those delays absolutely kill the night. Did they run some highlights on the new jumbotron during the delays. At least they have that to help mitigate the boredom during the delay. Not sure why they don’t go with safer barrier or cement walls in the corners if cost is the issue.

    With Staffords new pricing structure of charging separate admissions for Saturday and Sunday they are kind of forced into running heats for the local divisions on the day they run their feature. It would be a pretty big money grab if they ran heats on Saturday for the lates sk light and SK on Saturday forcing them to buy another 50 dollar pit pass. Stafford didn’t offer a weekend pass from what I saw for either the grandstand or pits. The Spring sizzler was a 40-45 dollar for the weekend with camping a few years ago. The last time I went in person. It was 115= 65 + 50 for camping this year. Thats a big increase over 2 or 3 years.

    It was too long but overall, I thought the format was interesting and provided some additional drama in the mods. I enjoyed the race at the end between Preece and Matt. That has to be a season long highlight. I missed a lot of the local divisions but saw the car count was good in the Sk and SK light divisions. The fulll fendered divisions weren’t too bad either. The crowd looked great at the beginning of Sunday when I first tuned in. I was planning on watching the replay last night at 7pm and was surprised I got to see the modified feature live. I am sure the crowd must have thinned out as they went into the 6 or 7+ hour mark. That is just a long day especially for kids. I haven’t talked to anyone who went in person yet. I look forward to hearing what they thought of the show. I believe we have Tri track at Monadnock Saturday and Seekonk opener Sunday.

  29. Kayman,
    I have no favorite on either side of this argument, so I’ll say this. I think Alexander Pearl is one of the smartest and most calculating competitors on the track when he’s out there, much like his father and grandfather were. But I think saying George Bessette Jr. should have given way is wrong. That’s my opinion based on what I could see live and from replays, and I’ll explain why. George and Alexander are running essentially side-by-side down the backstretch, with George outside and Alexander inside. They very clearly see there’s a slower car they’re coming up on occupying the inside lane. At that point I don’t think the outside lane driver should feel it necessary to back out or make room just because the car on this inside of him will have nowhere to go when they reach the slower car. I mean, we’ve seen guys use lapped traffic to set the pick on the other drivers forever in racing. It’s part of the sport. You have to take every advantage you can get. George Bessette sees Alexander Pearl is going to get picked by the slower car, why on earth should he back out and basically give up his opportunity at the lead, so that Alexander Pearl doesn’t have to slow down? Obviously a very unfortunate situation for all involved, but I have a hard time saying one person who has an opportunity to win the race should back off to help the person they’re competing with get out of a bad lane.

  30. I was surprised the 57 didnt get a provisional. Keith Rocco had a tough weekend. 26th in the SK and a DNQ in the Open mods.. The 34, I believe supported all the stafford Opens last year so I understand Etheridge over Santos 44 Not sure why Keith Rocco wouldnt get one. He may have missed an open show last year maybe that is why or perhaps the car wasnt repairable in time for the feature..

  31. Mod fan baby! says

    Attended yesterdays race, few comments:
    Great racing all day long.
    The weather was biploar and cold as hell mostly from sitting around with a million caution laps during the night time hours. Stafford and Thompson defy the weather predictions. Bring your snowsuit and hand warmers.
    Matt hirshman.. Love him or hate him, fun to watch him drive. Preece and money matt were going at It all night. It’s not surprising because both have the most cash. I thought Ron Silk ran very well on longer runs and just didn’t have enough speed. Great run for Galko. Love those engines roaring. Nice to see Labonte there
    Michael Bennett is a hell of a driver
    SK light and sk finish were great.
    Not a huge fan of the qualifying formats per say but ill open up to it

    Packed crowd. Love to see it

  32. Rocco was in only one Stafford Open last year. Then there was the punch and suspension that might influence a more magnanimous gesture like a promoters privilege provisional. Etheridge 3 of 4.

  33. “George Bessette sees Alexander Pearl is going to get picked by the slower car, why on earth should he back out and basically give up his opportunity at the lead, so that Alexander Pearl doesn’t have to slow down? Obviously a very unfortunate situation for all involved, but I have a hard time saying one person who has an opportunity to win the race should back off to help the person they’re competing with get out of a bad lane.”

    I didn’t see it happen, but the guy driving the lapped car in that incident has been running for years and has never hesitated to let faster cars pass. Both George and Alexander are experienced drivers who have been in similar situations before and can make their own decisions.

    Perhaps spotters may have helped?

  34. Bobby Santos as a past Sizzler winner was granted the first provisional but declined the provisional due to car issues. Todd Owen then took the next spot as he was the only one not to qualify that competed in all four Open events last year. Etheridge and Flynn were the next in line due to their 1st and 2nd alternate position as non-qualifiers from the LCQ.

  35. Regarding the Pick-ems:
    In the New Smyrna NWMT opener 11 people made 5 choices each for a total of 55 total points accumulated slots and delivered correct drivers on only 18 of the picks with no one getting over 2 correct.
    For Richmond 10 people made 6 points accumulating choices for a total of 60 total points accumulating slots and were successful only on 11 with no one getting over 1 correct.
    In the Sizzler only 5 participants but again no one scoring more the 2 drivers correctly given 6 slots to make picks.

    Watching the choices evolve over the two days was a lot of fun and it worked out quite well in my view. On the other hand I get that most aren’t nerding out on this stuff and the Sizzler Pick-em was never meant to be more then a one off anyway considering the affort it takes to score it.
    The old system isn’t working that great based on the numbers and it goes to a tie breaker far to often.
    Why not give some thought to just using the RaceDayCt format and be done with it. Each choice will always have an impact and it’s simple. Maybe consider dropping the worst score to mitigate the affects of wrecks and equipment failures.
    Give it some thought.

  36. Fast Eddie says

    Hey Doug, how about pick 6, best 5 to your score? Gives everyone a ‘mulligan”, score by position (ie. 1st place =1 point, 2nd = 2 pts. etc.). low score wins. Every driver picked will be worth points, so maybe less tiebreakers? If if you do need a tiebreaker best finishes determine the winer. 3 spot example: 1st, 3rd, & 7th =11 pts. 2nd, 4th, & 5th =11 pts. 1st place best pick beats 2nd place pick. Just a thought…

  37. Hillary 2024 says

    Having so many heat races and consis’s is a good problem to have I suppose. But 7-1/2 hours for four divisions was brutal. The food and drink prices were outrageous but that’s the new covid world we’re living in. Love the new big screen. I think the days of having the sizzler and other big shows a true 2 day event with all qualifying on Saturday and only features on Sunday are over. Another result of covid or just the track making money hand over fist?

  38. I understand your point Mr. C. But if you are running for the lead there, there needs to be a little give and take. Still 6 laps to go, correct?
    He is right there, and the driver outside gives me no room and tries to pick me into a car. Plenty of time for both of them.
    I have seen that move only when the other driver is clearly behind the leader. That was not the case.

    I saw Matt Hirshman be super conservative basically all race.

    But I saw a lot of really aggressive drivers in the 15 late model/pro stock. TC, and Perley from the Super Modifieds.

    Do you believe me or have you seen different things.

  39. I said me a few times. Unfortunate but real. So I understand Mr. C.

  40. Jimmy King says

    Although the show ran way too long by any measure, it was still a great event. We got to see today’s best go head to head for an extended amount of laps; racing each other extremely hard, but clean and with respect, for a historic and HUGE event win. None of the “did what I had to do”nonsense becoming more acceptable for some. Think Bonsignore on Hirschman and Lutz on Hinckley on the same weekend in New Hampshire a couple years back. Or almost any NASCAR national series race. Preece and Hirschman could have “moved” the other at any time but chose to actually race instead…Mike Stefanik style. That battle for the 50th Sizzler will be remembered. Glad I was able to witness it. Hats off to both Ryan and Matt!

  41. Thanks for the information on the Provisionals Russ. I was really wondering how they decided who received them.. I thought I remember reading that they had provisional spots for Smart, ROC and tri track competitors. I dont think any of them came into play.

    I liked the format. It was something different. I hope they stick with it. I do think a couple of cars made it in the show and a couple didnt due entirely to the format change over single car qualifying laps. I have seen a similar format used for some of the big dirt shows. They are pretty entertaining and it builds excitement for the final night when all the preliminary night top runners face off in the big feature finale. Not sure there are enough pavement mods to pull it off to the same success but I thought it was entertaining. Watching online it had a bigger event feel compared to a regular modified tour race or open. At least I thought it did. There really arent any crown jewel pavement modified events. I would argue this formatted sizzler if probably the best we have in pavement modifieds these days. Seekonks OWW, Stars SBM 125, riverheads Islip 300, the Turkey Derby, the Thompson 300 and the race of champions are probably in contention for some of our bigger modified races. NH has to be up there too.

  42. Fenway Park charges about 6.00 for a hot dog. How much was it at Stafford?

  43. Pick 6 and drop the highest score(worst).
    It may add more strategy and creativity. Having the mulligan encourages risk taking.
    I’m in. Lets see what other reactions we get.

  44. Not sure if it was pay back but not a word in the journal inquirer Monday edition which always coverd it in the past , for those that aren’t familiar Matt Buckler is a associate editor , and after listening to some of the blunders from infield reporters I think I would have been at Matt’s door Monday morn.

  45. Surprised by a lot of No Show’s for the sizzler. This is the Crown Jewel for Modified racing. For some reason Money doesn’t draw like it used to. I maybe wrong but I believe the last Tri Track event at Stafford drew more cars and more people

  46. -Being a premier track Stafford needed the most successful modified driver in the current era, The part about most successful modified driver Preece’s observation not mine. Hirschman needed a win at the premier track in a big event. It was a match made in heaven and the result couldn’t have been more ideal as Tony Hirschman ran to victory lane to congratulate his fellow Sizzler winner and son.
    -excepting the SRX event when was the last time Ben Dodge was encouraging seated fans to waive to people coming in to indicate the availability of empty seats? Moreover does anyone actually do it electing to make their surrounding more congested.
    -7 and a half hours, yikes that’s a long time. Stand up, make some noise to express appreciation for the drivers a couple times. Do the waive this way and then back the announcers say. Waive to the camera you’re on diamond vision and FloRacing so make your presence known. So many instructions going into hour 4, 5 and 6 but the crowd seemed to be making allowances to their credit.
    -There are wrecks and carnage that prevent the best cars from finishing at the front. Then there are events with a high number of wrecks that cause more cautions that do not prevent the best cars from competing for the top positions. With regard to the top two divisions it was the latter case thank goodness with very satisfying endings.
    -that diamond vision may be a bigger deal then cool new tech. Aside from all the useful things it can do it allows fans to interact with the greater racing audience at the track and across cyber space. The fans clearly were into it waiving away. Then go home and see themselves on the FloRacing replay. Relative at home looking for people they know at the track. Hard to say early on but that engagement with fans and interconnectivity with the greater racing audience may prove to be greater then the sum of it’s parts.
    -Stafford has had overtime issue’s in the past, they listened and made adjustments. This was a special new format that got out of control. Yellow flags, fence mending kind of hard to adjust to on the fly once it starts going south. Part of the delay was a bounty of SK’s and SK Lights with 4 LCQ races. The teams put a lot into fielding cars and regardless of how far south the time schedule is going there is a duty to them to run their events in the manner intended they earned it.
    -the switch in the announcer’s booth raised some eyebrows and the reactions are now on the record. Moving on from that Kyle Rickey was just terrific calling the race with Dodge in my view. Ben has his cymbals, magic and other colorful go catch words and phrases there is not doubt about that. Rickey just a good old fashioned, no frills call. Not trying to be part of the entertainment but competently and quietly enhancing the race viewing experience. Rickey has a high ceiling as a multi tasker doing promo’s, driver interviews and other specials that will more and more be a part of Stafford’s greater promotional outreach.
    -you can’t overstate how good a job Stafford does with regard to their race streaming production. A few glitches to iron out but they get more of the action on the track televised then virtually every other track complete with multi angle replays. It all comes back to the announcers as well. Unlike in the past a lot of people virtually anywhere are hearing every word they say. They have to engage that audience as well as the one at the track and be correct in their observations. For their first race of the season that turned into a marathon with that new screen to integrate in the program the Dodge/Rickey team did very well on that score.
    -if you are a NWMT fan first you shouldn’t be viewing this event as a competition or in any kind of negative light in my view. What NASCAR is learning and what this event proves is that all modified racing now is primarily about Opens not points racing or championships. The best teams and in greater numbers go to the events that offer good competition and most importantly pay well. It’s been changing for a few years and the success of the Sizzler from car counts to the best crowd attendance in recent memory is evidence that the open format has arrived as the dominant model for events.
    -The top three drivers in paddock interviews were eloquent having time to reflect on the race. Hirschman, Preece and Silk. It would be hard to argue that is not an ideal podium line up. Preece already has national exposure, Silk perhaps not ideal for national exposure being understated by nature leaving an engaged, thoughtful talent in Hirschman the best choice for the SRX on paper and now in fact.
    -perhaps under the radar is the fact Preece is currently building an open car with his dad and some of the Partridge gang and plans to compete in big money races ala the Hirschman model. Preece’s reference not mine. How he can do it given his schedule who knows but it’s something additional to look forward to.

  47. Fast Eddie says

    Steve, I’m guessing you’re referring to WMT teams. It seems if you’re chasing the tour in ernest, there is no time, $$, or desire to do other races. I think that Stafford TriTrack race was the last big Modified race of the year and the WMT season was all done at that point. No risk of causing yourself problems to make the next WMT race if the TriTrack event doesn’t go well. You’ll always see a bunch of teams at TriTrack and Open events who won’t be a a WMT race as well, just as you’ll see the field difference between the bigger track vs. the bullrings.

  48. Suitcase Jake says

    Fast ED , Doug … The Top 5 Pick’em moving to Pick 6 lowest point total sounds good. One thing i would like to KEEP is a Bonus for picking the Winner as we all know is HARD to do…So i would say whoever picks the WINNER gets a ZERO on the points …
    pick the winner 0 points , 2nd – 2 points 3rd – 3points etc etc … With one mulligan tossing out your worst pick … I knew there would be tweaks along the way so let’s keep it simple so as many people as possible can understand it and play along …. the TOUR races seem to draw the most entries.. Once the new balance of quality teams rises to the top the Pickers will be able to pick more cars in their TOP 6 …..
    Have Fun – Be Happy ….

  49. I like the pick 6 lowest total format. then for time trial events go with a -1 for picking the fastest qualifier. zero for first then points for corresponding finish position. I like the drop the highest finisher. What do we do if you pick someone who doesnt qualify or show up to the event. They need to be assigned a point total perhaps +1 over the number of starters.
    Should be much simpler to follow and total. I think the reason participation was so low for the sizzler is it was too complicated. I had to read Dougs post twice then basically pick each category using his picks as an example. I honestly dont know who runs what engine. It was fun for a one off special event and we had a pretty good entry list for Stafford but I dont think it should be that complicated..

  50. How about this. Let’s put the qualifying wrinkle in our back pocket to pull out after we see how the new format goes.

    Revised Forum Pick 6

    First Place………0 points
    Second Place….2 points
    Third Place……..3 points
    Fourth through the final finisher assigned points equal to their finishing position.

    “Mulligan”-Worst finish (aka highest score) dropped from scoring leaving your 5 best counting toward your final score.

    Any car that doesn’t show, has an equipment failure or otherwise doesn’t make the feature to be assigned a score equal to the number of feature starters plus one and can be dropped via the mulligan.

    Lowest point total wins.

    Tie breaker- Fast Eddie’s rule. Best effort at getting the finishing order correctly with the highest finishing position having priority. If it’s not perfectly evident it remains a tie.

    Sound about right? I’m assuming Mr. Courchesne will not be pressing any copywrite infringement issues having swiped his formula.

  51. Fast Eddie says

    Suitcase, like the winner bonus idea. CSG, good idea for the non qualifier picks as well. If you pick someone not in the show and there’s 28 starters, then that pick would be worth 29, another good reason for the “mulligan” factor.

  52. Fast Eddie says

    CSG, forgot, timetrial idea is a good twist as well, would work for WMT races.

  53. A better idea for the tie breaker might be to score all 6 picks. Not ideal but at least no judgement involved. Deciding who has the order more correct sounds good but as we’ve seen it can boil down to interpretation.

  54. Suitcase Jake says

    I LIKE IT …. PICK 6 …. easy as pie ….

  55. Fast Eddie says

    Any of my input that may be the same as Shawn’s was purely coincidental. If he printed it here before then I’m sure I read it and forgot it untill now, one of those “old guy” things. Sorry Shawn!!

  56. And everyone said Hirshman couldn’t win at Stafford.

  57. Rob P. I didn’t say it, I know he is capable of winning any where and if anyone thought he couldn’t is a knucklehead…. I have been to almost everyone since 1974, got to compete in one them and this one ranks up high in this era. Hopefully they keep the same Sunday format just cut the feature back to 80 laps. Great to see everyone at the best Modified Spring Race #50 years and counting

  58. Open wheel fan says

    The bottom line just way too look long of a program. The one division that was not good was the late model. Took forever to run and sure they did not to leave them out of show. The SK feature was the best ever and great field of cars both SK divisions. Surprised that a good number of modified tour cars a no show for the biggest modified race purse in the country. Can not figure that out to say the least. I remember the Tri Track show someone mentioned regarding more cars in pits and the huge crowd. That was a night to remember. I was in attendance !!

  59. I do not understand a few things. First Kayman. I will start out by saying I did NOT see any of the race due to previous commitments, BUT I do not agree in principle your notion that the car on the top has to give way for the bottom car about to be “picked”. 6 laps , that may be his last chance so no way am I backing off.

    As far as Buckler is concerned, I do not see the reason for his defense. His best days are WAY passed him. And dare I say the same may be true for Ben. Same old tired cliches.

  60. Suitcase Jake says

    OH i forgot to mention, Showtime Jimmy Blewett was Excellent in the Sizzler. He held off many many cars that had fresh RUBBER .. He was on OLDER tires and Man he drove the wheels off that car and finished 5TH.. Wow all those top notch Drivers on FRESH rubber and SHOWTIME held them off… He gets more out of less than anyone I have
    seen …. Wow he just manhandles and ADJUSTS his line as a DRIVER to get the most out of it…He was IMPRESSIVE in the SK RACE coming from the back twice until the car got damage.. WOW you knew He was in the Races Sunday…Kyle Rickey was great as usual He was great on MRN and local tracks too. Matt Buckler will continue on and keep up His great work also at many Tracks in the Northeast… One door closes … Another door opens…. Look at Joe Coss.. He is the VOICE of many NASCAR TRACKS on the CALL… He seems to be at every NASCAR Track lately …. Many Guys have gone on to big things from the local tracks.. Jack Arute .. Mike Joy.. Kyle Rickey .. Joe Coss…Alan Bestwick ..Dick Bergeron …Ken Squier ….and many more …??

  61. “Surprised that a good number of modified tour cars, a no show for the biggest modified race purse in the country”

    42 isn’t bad, I would be surprised if some lesser paying tri track races don’t beat it though. hell, some new Smyrna races almost had that many.

    It was also a pretty expensive race to do as well. At the end of the day you are only guaranteed $350 for a 14 tire, 2 day show with numerous chances to be in a wreck. Sure, if you showed up and lead a ton and win like Hirschman, you would make good money. How many people would realistically have an expectation of doing that, though. Per Stafford website, the average payout through the field was $3,806. Pretty good. The Average outside the top 5 was $2,586 though. Still not bad, but easier to see how it started making less sense for people that had to travel and get hotels and what not. Stafford isnt the kinda track you can bring anything other than the best either.

    If I’m realistically a mid-pack team, I can come here or I can go do a tour race and end up relatively the same. One has a lot less risk at the moment, though. I think that’s why there was a relative lack of riverhead, upstate NY, NJ and PA cars. For example, Jennerstown will pay a minimum of $15,300 to win (up to $16,300), and $2,300 for a 15th. With a ~$600 lower tire bill. Riverhead will pay at least $10,300 to win (up to $11,300) and $1,330 for a 15th with a ~$1,200 lower tire bill. If I’m local to either of those tracks I’m picking one of those over the sizzler.

    There is also risking what ever your season long goal is on a tour or local track’s points. Would be a very bad time to write one off now.

    None of this is intended to be downplaying what the sizzler paid. Just it gets to a point where you would have to pay so much to get a truly massive car count, it just doesn’t make business sense.

  62. I think I see the trend. The NWMT first boys are trying to take a little bloom off the rose. Creating a false expectation then concluding what happened didn’t meet the false expectation.
    Weeks ago a number of us made predictions on the car count. One person was optimistic at 50 plus but the majority came in at low 40’s. The final list after withdrawals was 43 and 40 cars participated in the Duels on Saturday. In reality if you consider all the hoops this event entailed the follow through from sign up to show up was remarkable. There was never an expectation that the Riverhead gang, ROC, New Jersey, PA or MRS regulars would enter en masse and why would they. Most were not built for the longer track and the two day commitment and expenses were prohibitive.
    This event and the purse were designed for one thing. Attracting the best modified teams with the biggest names and with one exception it was an overwhelming success. Representation from the top series and cars from all over the Northeast and beyond. Two Duels at 20 cars each with big names in each nearly ideal with a great showing on Sunday coming back to follow through in the LCQ races.
    Paul Arute in his Unmuffled interview said they were happy with the result of the format and would likely try something like it in the future. They may want to noodle that one carefully before pulling the trigger again. The two day commitment is an issue and a big one. The analysis shown in a previous comment is spot on with regard to all the reasons less well funded teams would decide to pass. Do you really want to spin the wheel one more time knowing you’re making it easy for dozens of teams to decide it’s too expensive?
    One day, group qualifying, Duels, LCQ races, big purse, minimal support divisions and a good purse in a B-Main might make it more attractive to some of the lesser funded teams.
    7.5 hours, fence mending delays, excessive cautions were points to criticize. The car count and more importantly the quality of those participating was more strength then anything in my view.

  63. zig13, thanks for that.

    And what folks also need to realize is that the winnings are taxed. It’s not trivial.

    When the racers went to Canada, they were paid in two checks, one to keep and one to hand over at the border.

  64. “And what folks also need to realize is that the winnings are taxed. It’s not trivial. ”

    True. However, taxes due are based on net profit, not gross revenue. I’ll bet a lot of racers who are keeping legit books don’t show a lot of taxable profit.

    The music industry is very similar.

  65. Ken L. When you are side by side with a driver on the backstretch and you get very little room and driving for the lead, whose line is it? The guy previously leading? Can the guy inside push him up? Or does the guy outside guy have the preference to do what he wants? Pearl tried to stay off of him as demonstrated by him flying off the lapped car. So everyone can take it how they want.

  66. Any racer keeping legit books is probably showing a net loss come tax day.

  67. Often wondered about the tax implications. Racing is an entertainment choice that virtually never produces a profit but there are exceptions.
    Like Rocco with KRR and Owen with Chassis Pro. The racing cost and revenue an integral part of the business.
    How about Dunleavy Truck and Trailer, Safeco Foam, Chapman Apartments and others. Owners get to write their net cost off as advertising within generally accepted accounting practices do they not? If it’s a profitable business it’s a pretty good way to go racing if that observation has any merit.

  68. “If it’s a profitable business it’s a pretty good way to go racing if that observation has any merit.”

    It has to be done carefully. There has to be a basic expectation and attempt at being profitable to avoid being labeled a hobby. There are certain activities the IRS looks at closer than others regarding hobby vs. business expense, of which race cars, personal aircraft, and horse ownership are examples. The hobby vs. business decision isn’t binary based off a single question, but a list of tests where various combinations can result in a decision, similar to the employee vs. contractor tests.

    It’s worth mentioning that hobby loss deductions are typically limited to the actual income received from the activity, while proper businesses can lose money and reduce overall income from other sources. I’ve had several side businesses over the years where some years the business was not profitable and it reduced the tax due from my “day gig”.

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