Feisty Fight: Matt Hirschman Wins Again At New Smyrna, But Drama Simmers With Patrick Emerling

Patrick Emerling gets into the wall on a lap 40 restart after contact with leader Matt Hirschman during Thursday’s Tour Type Modified feature at New Smyrna Speedway (Image: FloRacing)

Groundhog Day continued at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway Thursday in the Tour Type Modified division. Like Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the top-two was the same again, Matt Hirschman winning and Patrick Emerling finishing second. 

But it was a night where some slight drama from Wednesday between Hirschman and Emerling turned into a feisty fight on track for the final restart and some spicy words after it was all done. 

Hirschman’s perfect run in the Tour Type Modified division this week continued with the Northampton, Pa. driver leading every lap on the way to victory in the 50-lap feature for the division. 

Hirschman also won the 50-lap features for the division on Monday and Tuesday and the John Blewett III Memorial 76 on Wednesday. Hirschman became the first driver since Richie Evans in 1981 to win four consecutive Tour Type Modified events at one World Series. 

It was Hirschman’s seventh consecutive World Series victory dating back to 2022 when he won the final three events of the week. It was the 17th Tour Type Modified New Smryna World Series victory overall for Hirschman. 

Emerling, of Orchard Park, N.Y. was second and Teddy Hodgdon IV of Danbury was third. 

Hirschman started from the pole and had no challengers for the first 39 laps, but when caution flew on lap 40 for the spinning car of JR Bertuccio it set up Hirschman and Emerling on the front row for a restart. 

Matt Hirschman celebrates victory in the Tour Type Modified feature Thursday at New Smyrna Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

In Wednesday’s feature, Hirschman chose the outside for a lap 56 restart against Emerling. On the restart there was contact between the two and Emerling pushed Hirschman up in the corner. Hirschman dropped to fourth while Emerling pulled away out front. Before the lap was completed the caution flew for a slowing car, resetting the field back to the previous running order. On the ensuing restart Emerling powered into turn one again, but Hirschman completed the cross-over off of turn two and drove to victory. 

Hirschman wouldn’t comment about the contact after the race on Wednesday. Emerling made reference Wednesday to owing Hirschman for other incidents. 

When the pair lined up for the lap 40 restart on Thursday Hirschman took the inside lane. On the first attempt at the restart Emerling got out in front of Hirschman into turn one, but the start was called back and Emerling was warned for jumping it. On the next attempt, heading into turn one contact between the two put Emerling hard into the outside wall before they got into the corner. Both drivers were able to drive away from the contact, but Emerling never challenged Hirschman the rest of the way. 

“I obviously couldn’t trust him after [Wednesday] night to take the top like you normally would,” Hirschman said. “I took the bottom and he was into my side the whole way down the straightaway so I couldn’t even turn my car to the left until I got to the corner. I don’t want to race that way.”

Said Emerling: “We were just racing hard and he turned right on me at the end of the straightaway. We’re both doing what we can to win races here.” 

In his postrace comments Hirschman eluded to Emerling saying on Wednesday that he owed Hirschman. 

“We as a team don’t even know what he was talking about last night that he owed me that more,” Hirschman said. “I watched the video, he was never even turning his wheels to the left until he middle of the corner. I ended up in Pat’s Clam Stand last night. So it wasn’t happening tonight.” 

Emerling chuckled at Hirschman’s claim of not knowing what he was talking about. 

“It would be Spencer Speedway,” Emerling said, of an incident last year between the two at the New York short track. “He knows that. I don’t know if his memory is that short. I don’t know if he has memory problems. There’s a few little things there. And also like little things, like he’ll have a car that’s two-tenths faster than mine and just drive into me in the middle of a straight-away. Stuff like that. Running into you on restarts.” 

Emerling also pointed to a lap 21 restart in Thursday’s event where Hirschman brought the field to the green at a very slow pace and multiple cars spun behind the leaders before getting out of turn four and to the green flag. 

“His restart tactics, wrecking probably three or four cars there on one of the last restarts,” Emerling said. “Just stuff like that. A lot of the competitors just get a little bit annoyed. His car is fast enough where he doesn’t have to do that. Stuff like that just irritates people.” 

Patrick Emerling (back to the camera) and Tony Hirschman III talk after Thursday’s Tour Type Modified feature at New Smyrna Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

Hirschman started on the pole and quickly cleared second place starter Ronnie Williams after the drop of the green flag to start the event. 

The first caution of the event flew on lap 21 when Caleb Heady stopped on the track with motor issues. The caution saw Hirschman leading Williams with Tyler Rypkema in second and Emerling in third. 

On the ensuing restart Rypkema, got hit from behind and spun in turn four coming to green, collecting fifth place running Anthony Bello and also Tommy Catalano and Eddie McCarthy. 

The second attempt at a lap 21 restart went bad quickly once again when seventh place running Burt Myers ended up hard into the turn two wall. 

The third attempt at a lap 21 restart finally held, with Hirschman quickly checking out on the field. Behind him Emerling moved past Williams for second place. 

Caution flew on lap 40 when Bertuccio spun while battling for fifth place with Anthony Nocella. Under caution Williams went to pit road leaking fluid. 

Hodgdon recovered from a blown motor earlier in the week for his first podium finish. 

“We’ve had a lot of struggles to say the least this week,” Hodgson said. “A blown engine on Monday, sidelined us then and Tuesday. Just to be out on track with these guys is a miracle for this team. We were in a great spot to be in a podium finish here, which is something I haven’t done for a long time. I put it all on the line.” 


  1. Having read over 60 comments on social media it doesn’t seem to me anyone is grasping the significance of what happened last night. Hirschman clearly had the field covered and is on his way to the fourth win in a row. If he can pull off a win tonight does something no one has done before sweeping in the current era 5 feature format. But for some reason decides to make a point, clearly moving hard right putting Emerling into the wall risking losing the race and causing a major wreck in the process. Judging from his emotion exiting the car he clearly knew he may have over reacted and dodged a bullet in my view.
    In the end it was welcome drama from a fan standpoint. Emerling seemed to take it about a well as any driver could and we’re all enjoying the controversy. Especially after Emerling expanded on his view of Hirschman’s tactics opening up yet another can of worms. Are cars piling up on a restart the 60’s fault because Hirschman is going too slow? Not as far as I’m concerned but you can bet a lot of people will think otherwise.
    I can’t judge the right or wrong of any of it but in my view seeing what Hirschman did, what he had on the line, what the consequences could have been was absolutely jaw dropping. I chalk it up to the intense consecutive event format with little time to cool off. Hopefully they can smoke the peace pipe before tonight’s big race or at lease call a truce. Lest a momentous accomplishment for PeeDee get’s turned into a bunch or wrecked cars and fertile ground for more grudge settling going forward.

  2. If Muffy was spotting, I’m sure he would have instructed Matt to give Emerling plenty of room …

  3. the battle for the lead in the 602 race was awesome… Congratulations to these guys for putting on a show.

  4. It is so nice to see competitors eager to repay their debts. Keep hope alive. This is so encouraging.

    But Emerling had some very good, sage points in his interview. In summary, Hirschman has a car that is superior to the field, yet he drives as if it is a 4P car at best, and he drives like a schmuck doing what he can to throw the field off. He should just drive away. It is reasons like this he will never be embraced by the fans.

    That restart where he slowed the field down was a perfect example. He caused that stack up. I was watching that form and thinking WTF is that balloon knot doing????? He was in the control position, has the best car by far, yet he pulls a slowdown on the restart. A very unpopular, unsportsmanlike, and nasty move. And he wonders why nobody likes him.


  5. Sal Harpton says

    If Muffy was spotting he would have called Emerling the n-word repeatedly over the radio.

  6. Hirschman is a very experienced driver… putting Emerling in the wall was a bush league move. He drifted up, squeezed Emerling against the wall. This is an example of the things he does that irritates others. He brings it onto himself.


  7. Track Historian says

    Matt is weird. Extremely talented driver who also buys into the “He’s the greatest ever” hype from his cult fanbase. His ego has gotten so big that he loses his mind if anyone tries to race him hard or get in his way. Last night it was clear he drove Emerling into the wall on purpose on the last restart to send a message. After the race you could see Matt was still out of his mind angry even after walling Emerling and winning the race. It was reminiscent of the 2019 Haunted Hundred at Seekonk when Matt went through the grass to purposely wreck Ron Silk in turn 3 on the final lap just because Silk passed him for the lead half a lap before that. This is a guy who has 5 Whelen tour wins in 114 tries. He’s not the greatest ever. He’s not even the best driver of his generation.

  8. If I had to guess, walling the 14 last night will almost certainly guarantee Matt doesn’t sweep the series.

  9. The 60 can’t be caught, so it will survive tonight. If it is hobbled, it will be a completely different story.

    If the 60 is not outperforming, it could have a hard time in traffic. But then, I’m sure Matt sent out memos letting everyone know they are supposed to let him go by unopposed.

    Track Historian made some great comments, as Matt goes berserk when someone actually races him. The Seekonk meltdown is a perfect example.

    But I do think the rest of the field is winning by showing they have class and will not lower themselves to the level of taking someone out. Matt looks like a jerk all by himself, while the rest of the field races respectfully.

    Points are very close. If the 60 is hobbled, Emerling can take the championship. That is something to watch. Perhaps there are others that would like to see Emerling prevail.

  10. Are you not entertained? At the end of the day that is what this is all about. I am looking forward to tonight’s crescendo.

  11. csg, indeed I am entertained, but the psycho drama is not entertaining.

    Overall, this has been an outstanding event. All classes put on great shows. I’m very impressed with the 602 Mods, SLMs, and Florida mods. And of course, the Tour Mods.

    Winning by superior performance is what it is all about. Taking cars out, screwing up a restart, are not entertaining, it’s poor sportsmanship.

    The way Matt likes to play the victim card, the more I want to make sure he is not touched, and left to his own. If he is involved in any kind of incident, he will play that out forever like he is a perennial victim and use it for substantiating his modus operandi. It’s a vicious cycle with these types.

  12. Replays Don't Lie says

    I don’t have issues with guys having some give and take or pushing and shoving for some action. Problem I have with Hirschman is he lies and always acts like he’s the innocent victim. Emerling owned what he did on Wednesday and didn’t deny what he was trying to do. Last night Hirschman totally lied about the last restart when he put Emerling in the wall. The quote from Hirschman from this story was: “I took the bottom and he was into my side the whole way down the straightaway so I couldn’t even turn my car to the left until I got to the corner. I don’t want to race that way.”
    Went back and watched the replay on Flo this afternoon and it was clear that it was Hirschman going into Emerling’s side, not the other way around. Go back and watch the full replay from last night and it looks like this on that restart.

    Timestamp 3:01:54 – Coming out of turn four to take the green, Hirschman has already gone up a full lane on the track toward Emerling coming off the corner onto the front straight. Emerling is already moving up to avoid getting hit.
    3:01:55 – Cars coming onto the front stretch, can clearly see that Hirschman is already almost a whole lane higher than the other cars on the inside row. Also can see that Emerling is trying to go higher on the track and is already almost in the wall well before the start-finish line.
    3:01:56 – Clear from still shot with track lines in view that Hirschman is more than a half a lane higher on the track than the rest of the cars on the inside row coming to the start-finish line. Rest of the inside row cars are straddling the white lines, Hirschman’s car is fully above the white lines and into the lane of the outside row.
    3:01:57 – Just after the start finish line Hirschman can clearly be seen turning the car right even further toward Emerling, who is directly against the wall.
    3:01:58 – As Emerling makes contact with the wall it can be clearly seen that Hirschman’s car is pushing into Emerling’s car. Also clear that Hirschman’s car is nearly a full lane higher on the track than the cars behind him on the inside row.

    So why can’t Hirschman just own it and say he was getting Emerling back for the night before instead of giving the bull sperm line about Emerling getting into his side all the way down the straightaway? Hirschman wants to be the bad boy but then acts like he’s a boy scout who never does anything wrong.

  13. Well said “Replays Don’t Lie”. I’d have less of a problem with Matt if he’d exited his car for the interview, looked down towards the 14 and said “Are we done now?” or something to that effect. Everyone knew what it was, no amount of spin can change it and you make yourself look dumb denying it. Even ignoring the reporter’s questions and speaking on another subject would have been better than what was said.

  14. Monopoly Matt and Muffy don't like NY says

    LOL doesn’t matter what Hirschman thinks.. He`s cashing the checks. why not teach Emerling a lesson? He`s a never was ,never will be crybaby. Almost as bas as the spoiled rotten Goodales No one likes a winner. Geoff Bodine didn`t care either when he drove a mod. yeah I will make the comparison! too bad ! second is losing !… I wish Hirschman has said the spotter told him “he was clear”.. “didn’t see him up there”. If money Matt wasn’t there another group would be bashing Emerling for his monopoly. LOL. Hey DAREAL you’re just upset an old Troyer car is beating the huge dollar chassis these morons ran to buy after Coby and Bonsignore were dominating.. tell “sap” he would be better served sending his car to Hirschman for service than having the ‘golden child” put a setup in his overpriced lead sled… LOL go cry in your empty coin jars.. Hirschman’s is FULL. LOL

  15. Take another look. Emerling nudges Hirschman first before the 60 walls him. Call it justified to get himself more space or not but it was a provocative move.

  16. Monopoly Matt and Muffy don’t like NY wrote, “No one likes a winner.”

    Now there’s some sour grapes.

    Here’s a few winners that fans admire, maybe you heard of some of them:

    Richie Evans is still cherished.

    Jarzombeck is idolized.

    Stefanik is worshipped.

    Bobby Santos III is adored.

    Ron Silk is respected.

    Others that are well liked and respected are Jerry Cook, Jimmy Spencer, George Kent, The Reg, Geoff Bodine, and others.

    Nobody likes Matt. No matter how much he wins.

  17. Replays Don't Lie says

    Doug I wouldn’t call that a move of provocation, it was a move to save himself from being plastered in the wall. Just a couple feet after the start-finish line Emerling comes off the wall slightly, and even when he does that, he’s still a half a lane higher on the track than the outside lane cars behind him, because Hirschman was so far up on the track on his inside. And at the moment Emerling turns down from the wall, Hirschman is clearly turning right and the first contact between them happens. Instead of pulling down to the left to an entirely clear track, Hirschman’s reaction to the contact was to turn aggressively to the right, which sent Emerling’s right front up the wall. And Hirschman’s declaration that: “he was into my side the whole way down the straightaway” is just a lie. Matt trying to play the victim of his own attempt to wreck someone. I think Matt was so angry in victory lane because his attempt to wreck Emerling failed and he finished in second again.

  18. I like Matt…. Doug is right – the 14 threw the first shot.

  19. What do Richie Evans, Justin Bonsignore, Jimmy Spencer, Mike Stefanik, Tony Hirschman, Ryan Preece, Jeff Fuller, Doug Coby, Bobby Santos III, Ted Christopher, Reggie Ruggiero, Mike Ewanitsko, Mike McLaughlin, Todd Szegedy, Jerry Marquis, Donny Lia, Steve Park, Ron Silk, Timmy Solomito, George Kent Jr., John Blewett III, Brian Ross, James Civali, Tim Connolly, Jimmy Blewett, Rick Fuller and Chuck Hossfeld all have in common?
    They all have a better winning percentage on the Whelen Modified Tour than Matt Hirschman. It’s laughable when anyone says he’s the best ever or one of the best ever. There’s a saying that goes, to be the best you must beat the best. Not sure how you say a guy is one of the best ever when there’s at least 27 other guys who have a better winning percentage than him on the oldest and most prestigious series there is for modifieds.

  20. Monopoly Matt and Muffy don't like NY says says

    keep talking DAREAL in your anger you failed to recognize the point of the entire post.. Hirschman doesn’t care, shouldn’t care .. He`s cashing checks left and right and making you and all your LFR/TRF/FURY big dollar over engineered mod guys look so bad.. had he not gotten the front end bent up he would have a prefect record this week . I know I know your going to say he did bad on the tour and he wont run the tour full time … who cares… he`s making bank .He`s making a living racing .. good for him. !!! Fuller, Stone and even your favorite Phil Moran cant win against him when its on the line. Baldwin is flummoxed after last years success. .. your outta luck DAREAL. Hirschman is a winner ,not a role model !!! .I know you and the afore mentioned crew chiefs are all losing sleep every time he shows up to race . there WAS a guy like that YOU FAILED to mention.. Ted Christopher… no one liked teddy til he hit a losing streak like Earnhardt, became an old curmudgeon and then won a few in the twilight of his career.DEAREAL, you are the hot air that escapes those illegal regulating PSI relief caps on Hirschman’s hot rod… BRING on the stagger boards and give the title to the master of the modifieds~

  21. Doug, I took another look, and again, and again, and again…

    I did not see the 14 hit the 60. The 60 hit the 14, the 60 turned up into the 14, and was turning up into the 14 before the 14 appeared to be moving down.

    There was plenty of room between the 14 and 60, and the 60 moved up into the 60.

    Should be a very mundane 100 laps tonight.

  22. Rich Gourley says

    GhostCar , You know what those 27 drivers you mention don’t have in common with Hirshman, Hirshman builds, maintains and sets up his own equipment. Beside Stefanik and Evans none of the other drivers you listed can/could say the same. Why people got hate on Matt is beyond me, You may not like him but you have to respect him. .

  23. Who said I don’t respect him Rich? He’s a very good driver, a very good setup guy and a very talented car builder. No doubt about that. Just sick of hearing the constant chorus saying he’s the best ever or one of the best ever. He’s very good at what he does, but statistics don’t lie. Numbers don’t lie. He has 5 wins in 114 Whelen Tour races. You’re not one of the greatest ever in Modified racing if you could only win in 4.4 percent of your races in what is considered the most competitive division for Modified racing over the last 35 years. Do you think Mike Hessman is one of the greatest baseball players ever? Do you even know who Mike Hessman is? Probably not. He’s the all-time home run leader in minor league baseball. He hit 433 career home runs in the minor leagues. He hit 14 home runs in the major league in his career. Nobody knows who he is and nobody would ever say he’s one of the greatest baseball players ever because statistics don’t lie. He was very successful in the minor leagues, but when it came to playing against the best talent out there he couldn’t get the job done on a regular basis. Same thing with Matt when it comes to Modified racing.

  24. Duhreal LOL Duhhhhreal.

  25. Ghost- TC didn’t have a win in his first 90 starts, if money decided to go tour racing with a team that paid all the bills and a salary- I’m pretty sure he could get that winning % up

  26. If, if if, if. You know if my aunt had nuts she’d be my uncle Steve.

  27. Great thread. I love the back and forth. This is one of the most lively discussion I have seen on these boards in a long time..

    Its amazing how two people can watch the same video and have two different conclusions. Video shouldn’t lie, video should be conclusive. It just goes to show how perspective can sway one to see what they want to see. I haven’t watched the video a bunch of times. I saw it live and a whatever replays they showed. I came to my own conclusion last night. I came to another conclusion the night before. I think both competitors aren’t going to be awarded the Lady Byng award for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct if such an award was issued.

    Rivalries make sports better it injects some life into the fanbase. I am a firm believer that racing is better with good guys and bad guys to root for and against. Clearly here on this board, there are Team Hirschman supporters and adversaries. I don’t think we have really had that in the modified division since we lost TC. Honestly, I think its good for the sport. Lets just hope the rivalry doesn’t get out of hand.

    I am about 1.5 hour behind on the broadcast. I am seeing some weather delays even cancellations at the FL dirt tracks and I am really hoping there are no issues tonight at New Smyrna.

  28. Rich Gourley wrote, “GhostCar , You know what those 27 drivers you mention don’t have in common with Hirshman, Hirshman builds, maintains and sets up his own equipment. Beside Stefanik and Evans none of the other drivers you listed can/could say the same. Why people got hate on Matt is beyond me, You may not like him but you have to respect him. .”

    Rich, I have no idea why some of you are so fascinated with people that wrench their equipment. I’m not impressed at all. Good for them. But you have to also realize that Hirschman is a Troyer dealer. So nobody should be surprised or impressed that Hirschman can wrench cars. It’s his business.

    Big deal.

    The Reg, Flemke, Jarzombek and others wrenched their own cars.

  29. csg, to be clear and for full disclosure, I am not a Money Matt hater. He is not that good at all. He is not as good as his followers project. He primarily runs the off-off-off-off Broadway series, tracks and events. Like I said many times, he’s a bullring specialist. He gets lucky on bigger tracks once in a while, and his record on the NWMT simply sucks. He simply would not have a record if he regularly ran against the likes of JBon, Silk, Kolby, McKennedy, et al. He runs events that are relatively weak on talent, not NWMT caliber. When the NWMT stars invade these off-Broadway events, they usually dominate for good reason.

  30. “He simply would not have a record if he regularly ran against the likes of JBon, Silk, Kolby, McKennedy, et al. ”

    A lot of people feel that way. Hirschman started with PeeDee in 2016 so lets do a comparison of records starting in 2016 with some of the most well respected regular Tour drivers.

    Hirschman 24–3(16%)—19(79%)
    McKennedy 65—2(3%)—23(35%)
    Silk 88—9(10%)—66(58%)
    Bonsignor 89—27(30%)—69(77%)

    Draw your own conclusions.

  31. “Its amazing how two people can watch the same video and have two different conclusions. Video shouldn’t lie, video should be conclusive. It just goes to show how perspective can sway one to see what they want to see.”

    That is true. Then again if you watch NFL football the boys in the booth as well as the staff former official rendering an opinion don’t always agree. Rendering different conclusions even after seeing multiple angles at different speeds. Speed also affecting perception.

  32. Steve wrote, “Ghost- TC didn’t have a win in his first 90 starts, if money decided to go tour racing with a team that paid all the bills and a salary- I’m pretty sure he could get that winning % up”

    Well, it’s not money’s decision to go Tour racing with a team that pays the bills and a salary. Last I knew, a driver has to bring sponsorship, also known as his salary. 😝 Indeed, if a well funded team decided to have Matt drive, perhaps he could get that NWMT % up. But no NWMT owner wants him.

  33. Listen to the two participants, Emerling and Hirschman, and they have diabolically, diametrically opposed views of the same incident. Only one can be right.

  34. Monopoly Matt and Muffy don't like NY says says

    DAREAL,DAREAL again your anger and inability to control yourself. “But no NWMT owner wants him” …TOTALLY FALSE STATEMENT MADE BY A MORON ! .HIRSCHMAN has stated he doesn’t wish to run the tour full time. he has a racing business and a family and he decides when and where he is going to compete . why not ?.. stop lying fella ..stop embarrassing yourself. your continued effort to save face and win (in your mind) the Hirschman debate just proves how pathetic and desperate you are .

  35. I think DaReals 5th booster shot has him a little more delusional then he normally is.

  36. Monopoly Matt and Muffy don’t like NY says,

    “DAREAL,DAREAL again your anger and inability to control yourself. “But no NWMT owner wants him” …TOTALLY FALSE STATEMENT MADE BY A MORON ! .HIRSCHMAN has stated he doesn’t wish to run the tour full time. he has a racing business and a family and he decides when and where he is going to compete . why not ?.. stop lying fella ..stop embarrassing yourself. your continued effort to save face and win (in your mind) the Hirschman debate just proves how pathetic and desperate you are .”

    See, there you have it… Hirschy has a racing business. That business is located in bullring territory, Northampton, PA, no real horsepower tracks. That business influences where he runs. That also means his customers run primarily or even exclusively bullrings, no horsepower tracks. He is effectively running a house car, marketing for his racing business. Targeting bullring racers. Look over his schedules and results… overwhelmingly bullrings in his home territory, rarely traveling out of that area. And rarely running anything other than a bullring.

    Your comment about not wanting to run the Tour full time as if to spend more time at home is laughable… he runs far more events in a season than are on the Tour. Far more.

    If he was that good, an owner would have signed him, decades ago. If he had a chance at winning on the NWMT, he would have been running it. If no owner will use you, you have to run your own operation.

    I’m having fun watching the zombies.


  37. Tell you one thing, rightly or wrongly I admire the heck out of what Hirschman has accomplished and what he means to tour modified racing. Every event he’s in makes the event more meaningful in my view. Couldn’t have been more happy about his entry last year in the Sizzler, the win and his righteous qualification for the SRX event. Otherwise in most events I root for the underdog which in every case is anyone else but the 60.
    Does he accumulate a lot of wins against lesser competition? That would be an unqualified yes in my view. Then again both Jerry Cook and Richie Evans won NASCAR championships prior to 1985 running around to every track running races and winning against lesser competition.
    Does Hirschman lose it every now and then and do something out of character? For sure. Like what we just saw this week and his petulant take out of Silk at Seekonk who had just snookered him on a pass. Does that make him a dirty racer? Again that’s in the eyes of the fan but for me it makes him human and a typical racer.
    FloRacing’s Matthew Dillner has the best interviews of Hirschman and Emerling. Touching on the bigger picture but also addressing the dust ups the two have had. I’ve read a comment saying Hirschman lied about what precipitated the walling of Emerling. As the great George Costanza of the Seinfield show said, it’s not a lie if you believe it. I don’t believe Hirschman is lying. Perhaps incorrect in his perception but I don’t believe he’s totally wrong. Emerling poo pooed the Hirschies Kiss he received with a smile and deflection saying it was just hard racing. It’s out of character for Hirschman to simply turn right without some kind of trigger. Were Emerling to be an innocent victim he certainly would have been more angry then the guy with a Cheshire cat smile.
    Does Hirschman warrant consideration for being one of the best drivers in modified history? For me it’s an enthusiastic yes. He’s unique carving out his own niche and won at a level that nobody else could conceive was possible let alone try. Being relatively young I’d bet he’ll be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame conversation at some point in the future.
    It’s disappointing that the race last night was not run. The rain shot down the culminating event like the F-22 shot down the Chinese balloon off the coast of South Carolina. Fitting in a way as we fans are left wondering what would have happened and perhaps looking forward to seeing if and how the beef is revisited at some future race.
    All the teams get paid and all the cars scheduled to start get to drive home with their cars fully in tact. Not the worst thing that could happen.

  38. I don’t think Hirschman gets into the Nascar hall of fame without a Whelen modified tour title or two.  Since he seems reluctant to follow the Nascar tour over his pick and choose schedule, I doubt he gets that hardware, and Nascar will never vote him in. Regional tour drivers generally have a difficult time being elected to the Nascar Hall of Fame.  You really need to be dominant to the point where you have to be recognized and then have a few vocal supporters.  He doesn’t run Nascar weekly tracks, so there is no chance of accumulating state/ regional, or national weekly roots championships. Nascar is not going to pin credentials on a driver who snubbed their series in favor of a competing series.  They are too proud to do that. At the end of the day, I don’t think it matters.  When it is all said and done, he may still be looked at as one of the best modified drivers from this era, even without Nascar’s recognition.  

    Doug hit on something; Matt Hirschman is a draw for fans. maybe more of a draw than any other driver racing right now.  I know I am more interested in a race Matt Hirschman is in than other modified races. Honestly, there isn’t a single race where you are going to find all the best mod racers competing against each other.  I believe New Smyrna and possibly the turkey derby are about as good as it gets. Modifieds need a crown jewel event where the purse is so good it entices anyone with a modified to run, It will probably never happen as the rules have become somewhat differentiated from series to series.  It’s a shame because without all the best drivers competing in a single race or series of races, we will never know who is the best right now.  We can speculate, argue, and voice our opinions on who is the best, but without direct competition, we will never really know.

    Talk about a disappointment last night.  I was really looking forward to the Richie Evens 100 last night.  I will say the racing was good all week.  It really is impressive that the NE mods can bring a great field of cars all the way down to FL especially when compared to the FL mods.  Can someone tell me the difference between a 602 modified and a SK light modified.  I don’t recall seeing any Stafford cars out there.  It looks like the tire is smaller on the 602 compared to the SKL.  You would think, if it’s just tires, a few Stafford drivers would make the trip.

  39. Monopoly Matt and Muffy don't like NY says

    DA DUMMY ! Hirschman scored 28 wins, 41 podium finishes, 44 top-five finishes and 47 top-10s in 49 Modified starts IN 2022. did you forget DA DUMMY ? Hirschman won the spring sizzler at Stafford against the best! Hirschman earned $15,000 for the victory,$4,000 in contingency bonuses and $6,450 in lap money for leading 43 laps for a total of $25,450 …won the north south shootout and I believe finished second in the final SMART tour standings missing some events ??. Yeah your right Dareal hes a bum…. your slip is showing.. please take some NUERIVA

  40. You’re right of course about Hirschman and the Hall of Fame. What was I thinking of course he’d have to have NWMT championships at the very least. I got caught up in the moment so thanks for the reality check on that bit of bonehead logic.
    But a question on this observation. “Honestly, there isn’t a single race where you are going to find all the best mod racers competing against each other.” Where does the Sizzler fit in on that score? As far as I could see only the 51 failed to find any merit in appearing if we’re talking the best tour mod teams. The Turkey Derby coming close? A really cool race (pun intended) considering the time of year but I only count Hirschman and the 7ny in that one as far as the top teams are concerned.
    Like the perception of who’s at fault when there are dust ups in a race I doubt we all could agree who exactly are the ‘best mod racers”.

  41. I don’t get screen ID’s that are really comments. What exactly is the deal with “Monopoly Matt and Muffy don’t like NY”.
    Maybe I can help you fine tune that with some more information.
    Hirschman came in second at a 75 lapper at the Chemung, NY Speedrome on 8/20 last season. Won the big ROC finale at Lancaster. A fourth in the NWMT race at Oswego in 2022 and a win and second in 2021 in the two events at Oswego. Heck his web site even lists Oswego as his favorite track.
    I don’t know if he loves NY but he sure can’t hate it he goes there enough. Perhaps you mean “Monopoly Matt and Muffy don’t like Long Island” or “Monopoly Matt and Muffy don’t like Riverhead”. Oh but wait that might not be true he did after all race to an 11th place finish in the Islip 300 in the 12 car.
    How about this; “Muffy don’t like NY”. I don’t know if it’s true but at least it wouldn’t be obviously incorrect.
    Give it some thought.

  42. csg, I like your presentation. The part about Hirschy being a draw is an issue. He doesn’t show up to NWMT events. He has cherry-picked some NWMT bullrings, because that’s his specialty. I think all the TTOMS and the other non-NWMT series would do just fine if Hirschy never showed up. The NWMT is the top notch Tour league. When the NWMT talent shows up, they dominate. Look at the history between the North and South Tours… the North ruled. When northern Tour cars show up at southern tracks, the North ruled. TC did it all the time. Pissed off the southern folk. This carried on to the point that southern cars would not travel north. They knew there was no chance of survival.

    His record on the NWMT sucks. He can’t run with the best, so he cherry picks and steals candy from babies.

    Simply, his record is not built on wins against formidable competition. The cars Hirschy wins against at non-NWMT races would be NWMT mid-packers at best, and then back-markers. Somebody explained it earlier… the comparison of the really good minor league baseball player that never made an impact in the MLB. That’s Hirschy. He’s a AAA player running the Cape Cod league. And he’s a bullringer. He just isn’t that good on bigger, horsepower tracks. Sure, he gets lucky, and he spends plenty of time at New Smyrna and can develop there. But in general, he’s averse to the bigger, horsepower tracks. Statistics don’t lie.

    He would love to run the NWMT full-time. He dreams about it. But the risk of being relentlessly beaten by the hungry mid-pack cars is way too risky. He can’t run a competitive series… he’d go berserk too often. Remember Seekonk?

    He’s a garage & speed shop, a Troyer dealer. He better turn his own wrenches… it’s his damn job. When Troyer ran a house car, they ran the NWMT. Hirschy is a Troyer dealer, effectively runs his own “house” car, and goes and beats up the minor leagues, while evading competition. He must be so proud.

  43. Monopoly Matt and Muffy LOVE NY especially Oswego says

    Hirschman’s 13 victories is tied with NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour legend Richie Evans at the top of the modern day Modified win list at Oswego. I guess Oswego is a bullring ??? DOUG and DADUMMY you need to get your facts straight…LOL yup Matts cherry picking and racing his way all the way to fort knox… you morons !!! LOL next stop NASCAR HOF right after Bubba Wallace

  44. Hey Monopoly Matt and Muffy don’t like NY, here’s the facts

    These are the Big Leagues. Here’s your boy’s stats:

    NWMT: 16 years, 113 races, 5 wins.

    NWSMT: 4 races, 0 wins

    Your boy can’t compete in the Big Leagues.

    Your rage 😤 obvious.

  45. Monopoly Matt and Muffy LOVE NY especially Oswego wrote:

    “Hirschman’s 13 victories is tied with NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour legend Richie Evans at the top of the modern day Modified win list at Oswego. I guess Oswego is a bullring ??? DOUG and DADUMMY you need to get your facts straight…LOL yup Matts cherry picking and racing his way all the way to fort knox… you morons !!! LOL next stop NASCAR HOF right after Bubba Wallace”


    Too phunny!

    There is no comparison between Richie Evans and Hirschy.

    None. No matter how many times you repeat such nonsense.

    Oswego is a big bullring, one big left turn, no straightaways. The track has two long radius turns and two very long radius turns. Like a giant skidpad. No straightaways, hence a bullring, not a horsepower track, not a horsepower track like Thompson, Stafford, Loudon, etc. Hirschy considers Oswego his home track, so he knows how to get around that big bullring that doesn’t have straightaways.

    And if you only knew what it takes to field a car, you might know he ain’t netting Fort Knox.

    You’re gonna blow an aneurism, back off before you pop.

  46. Monopoly Matt and Muffy LOVE NY says

    tell Bentley Warren Oswego is a bull ring you moron AKA DADUMMY LOL

  47. Hum, loves NY now as opposed to not liking NY. You’re cranky for sure and the tacit recognition of the information I provided tepid but It’s pretty clear we’re connecting in a positive way. You’re going to want to read my facts again. If you’re saying they’re incorrect that would be diminishing Hirschman’s accomplishment in Tour races something I don’t think you may wish to do.

  48. Monopoly Matt and Muffy LOVE NY,

    Your boy walled Emerling, a genuine berzerkatoid move.

    You have been spewing distractions and diversions fast and furious, only bringing more attention to the wall job your boy did to Emerling.

  49. Monopoly Matt and Muffy LOVE NY says

    keep talking old news…..hail the champ !!!.. crybaby emerling has an entire season to pay him back?? LOL ..”payback patrick vs money matt “

  50. Looks like Monopoly Matt and Muffy LOVE NY is part of the Hirschman Klan, I mean crew. Monopoly, do you wash and press your white hood and robe yourself before team meetings or do you take it to a dry cleaner? Also, isn’t Matt the one known for payback? Ask Ron Silk and the other guys Matt intentionally wrecked on the last lap at the Haunted Hundred in 2019 because he was having a meltdown. Remember that, when Matt drove through the grass in the third turn to intentionally take out Silk, and also took out three other guys who had nothing to do with anything? And all because Matt was having a whiney crybaby tantrum because Silk passed him cleanly for the lead on the last lap.

  51. A good racer will put himself in the best position to win. Maybe it’s the ride around the back, saving tires for the first half of the race. Perhaps it is showing up at race tracks where you know you have a good setup and track record. I know everyone wants to see Hirschman on the Whelen tour, but there is so much travel involved with mid week races. Does the purse justify it when there is another race closer to home where you have a better chance of winning or finishing in the top 3? You say “cherry-picking.” I say he is a smart racer. an opportunist who tries to maximize the return on his race budget. When he does show up in the “Big Leagues,” he is usually in contention. He certainly is not a backmarker, out to lunch, and laps down. They usually know he is there. If he ran the entire series, I think he would be in the top 5 and more likely in the top 3 in points at the end of the year. It would be interesting to see, but then we would probably miss seeing him at other, more local events.  I will agree that he has had some moments where you shake your head. You mentioned two incidents, and I’d like to add the Star Speedway speeding on pit row incident. Thankfully, no one was hurt in any of them.  Everyone has done things they later regretted, sometimes emotions get the better of us.  No one is perfect all the time. Overall, the resume is a good one. It just stinks we don’t get all the best mod racers together for a bunch of races over the course of the year. With each new series the fields get more diluted, and we are left speculating who are the best drivers.

    Stafford’s Spring Sizzler is definitely one of our more prestigious and historic races. I hesitate to say it’s the best modified race of the year since it’s only been one year since the rebranding. I believe the changes made last year elevated it to the status of a major event.  The race had a big time feel to it for the first time in a long time.  The Sizzler has one issue: I don’t think it’s early enough to get all the modifieds chasing series and track points there. I believe Wall and Riverhead open right around then.  Whelen is two races into their season and has another race the week after, thankfully not the same week.  I did look at the finish from last year’s event.  They had 41 cars and a lot of big names.  For comparison, Stafford’s Tri-Track race at the end of the year had 46 cars. See, the calendar matters.  The Sizzler definitely drew a larger number of the best drivers.  You may be right, though.  I don’t think we saw a better field of quality drivers at any other race last year. It’s probably the closest thing we have to a crown jewel event for our modifieds.  I would like to see a higher lap count to more differentiate the Sizzler from other tour type modified events.  The 100-lap event is pretty common for tour type mods.

    Good discussion gentlemen

  52. Hey Monopoly Matt and Muffy LOVE NY, I’m talking about the wall job Matt gave Emerling in the latest race. Not old news, it’s current news. All you do is bring up Richie Evans, Bentley Warren, and tons more irrelevant nonsense.

    Matt walled Emerling.

    😝 😝

    Muffy = 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 🤪 🤪 🤪 🤪 🤪

    Oh that crew, and those signature haircuts.

  53. csg, great synopsis of Hirschman and the Sizzler. I think the last time he ran the full WMT season he was third, and that was going between 2 cars, the Darling 52 and the Bennet 59. Again, not a huge Hirschman fan, but you’ve got to respect what he does and why. More racing overall for him and more $$ in the bank account from it.
    I also think the Sizzler should be a little longer, maybe 125 laps. That would put the team lap totals that make the feature at 165-180 laps. Almost the same as the 200-lap version, but a LOT more exciting and entertaining format!

  54. In 1984, the last year before NASCAR went to the modern era race format Richie Evans won the championship. He raced in 66 events according to Third Turn and won 14 of them. Only Jimmy Spencer(65) , George Kent (59)and Corky Cookman (57) could come close to matching Evans participation level. By the time we get to fifth place Brian Ross raced in “only” 49 events.
    To my knowledge both Richie Evans and Jerry Cook were near full time race drivers that dedicated the bulk of their time to hitting NASCAR sanctioned events for the purpose of chasing NASCAR points. One of my favorites Ray Miller a Stafford regular worked as a supervisor at Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, Ct, came in 9th in 1984 participating in 46 events, 70% of those Evans ran that year.
    Prior to 1985, the NASCAR championship was mostly organized chaos where every team had to make decisions on how many races to run as well as where. So when we use the term “cherry picking” with regard to Hirschman I don’t see that as a bad thing. Call it strategic, economic based selection if that sounds better. It’s essentially what every team had to do prior to 1985 and the roots of modified racing.
    One thing that doesn’t seem to get much attention is how Hirschman has molded his schedule in recent years. People see a black and red 60 but may or may not know they are completely different teams. Sharing a number and a various volunteer crew members but otherwise separated by a multi state geographical distance.
    Pee Dee, South Carolina based is the team that runs New Smyrna, Smart and selected NASCAR events. The Hirschman 60 pretty much everything else as far as I know.
    While separated geographically the one thing they share is the Hirschman clan mindset which means a unerring commitment to details. They use the Hirschman set up, Matt calls the shots on the car in race and the team accepts Matt as it’s unquestioned leader with regard to on track decision making.
    I’m thinking we tend to take the melding of two separate teams into one mind set both performing at near the same level of excellence for granted. Not just in finishes but think about all the times a 60 has had a non contact part failure excepting tires. That’s right it’s hard to near impossible isn’t it? Not one team mind you but two.
    For me the similarities in Evans and Hirschman are striking. Evans in his prime building and calling the shots on his cars and spending most of his time “cherry picking ” races. Matt Hirschman along with his brother and father setting up his cars, calling all the shots, “cherry picking” races not to mention molding partnerships much like Evans did with Gene DeWitt that makes it all possible.
    Add the PeeDee/Hirschman phenomenon to the list of Hirschman related superlatives in my view. Sure we all would like Hirschman to participate in a full NWMT schedule but he doesn’t need or care about that at all does he? The Hirschman clan combined with guys down in South Carolina that call themselves the Brown Dogs are their own tour. I don’t think it’s over stating how special that is because were it to be so easy and lucrative at least one other team would try to do it. That’s right, no one has because it’s too hard.

  55. Former Matt Fan says

    I have lost respect for Matt because of his temper and when he loses his temper he hurts other people who aren’t involved with why he’s mad and doesn’t seem to care about that. He’s a very talented guy for building, setting up and driving cars, but his ego is yuge. He thinks wherever he goes everything should revolve around him. That thing with Silk a few years ago at the Tri-track race at Seekonk opened my eyes what Matt was about. He deliberately took Silk out on the last lap just because he was mad Silk passed him, but he also took out other people who weren’t involved and ruined their days too. That was BS. And then at Star last year he tried to do his run at the back of the field for half the race thing then pit and blast to the front. And everybody pitted with him and he went speeding through the pits trying to beat people out. Came close to hitting people and intentionally hit another car he thought was going slow. Put crews and officials in danger and hit another car that had nothing to do with his bad day because he was mad his strategy didn’t work. And the deal last week on Thursday with Emerling. The leader of the race turns right to put the second place car into the wall on a restart? Where’s the respect for the rest of the field there? What if Emerling wasn’t able to drive away from getting put in the wall and the rest of the outside lane piles into him going into turn one because there’s nowhere to go? And all because Matt was angry and wanted to teach someone a lesson? I don’t think Matt even thought about how many cars he might wreck if he slammed Emerling on that restart? He doesn’t care. It’s sad to see a guy as talented as Matt who has no respect for anyone else with him on the track.

  56. Suitcase Jake says

    Well well let’s no re-write history… I was at Seekonk with a clear view of the Ron Silk pass … going into turn 1 Silk dove under the 60 on a last lap with his LF wheel in the grass and hopped over the berm and knocked the 60 off the bottom .. The 60 gathered it up and just floored it with revenge on his mind and dove through the grass with all 4 and made sure Silk couldn’t and wouldn’t Win either… So it seemed at the time tooth for tooth.. except the 60 took out other cars in the process which upped the ante so to speak, taking out innocent drivers which was not appreciated in the pits or grandstands… The 60 was dominating the race again , and Ronnie took the white flag with a shot at 10K so I don’t blame him for trying to shoot for the bottom in that situation.. Cool Hand Silk is one of my favorites, He showed his coolness winning at New sMYMERNA new way to say it … LOL with Justin really doing everything possible to get around him for the WIN… But cool hand Silk was up for the challenge to secure that all important 1ST WIN for the Team…You could see the weight come off his shoulders in Victory Lane and afterwards in the pits … He was super happy to finally end that conversation in the first race in 2023….I think the 16 may go on a roll early in the season….

  57. I don’t share the harsh judgement of Hirschman but the points are well made and the conclusion fair. I’m just wondering with regard to the incident last week where does Emerling’s move to push Hirschman up the track figure in all this? At the time that was a pretty dirty move was it not. Moving a car up is fair game but he moved him so far up and so far in the marbles the 60 lost numerous positions. Not in the class of the subsequent “right turn Clyde” but certainly provocative. He would have done it again were it not for Matt’s dandy dipsy doodle for the win.
    Does it make sense to judge Hirschman as an arrogant, unpopular driver prone to moments of dangerous impetuosity while Emerling having instigated the bad blood exits without much attention at all?

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