Matt Hirschman Whips The Field In Whelen Mod Tour Granite State Derby At Lee USA 

Matt Hirschman celebrates after winning the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Granite State Derby Saturday at Lee USA Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

No horses were harmed in the running of this derby, but it’s fair to say Matt Hirschman put a full-on clobbering to the competition Saturday at the Granite State Derby. 

The Northampton, Pa driver put on a clinic out front on the way to a dominant victory in the 175-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Granite State Derby Saturday at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. 

It was the first Whelen Modified Tour victory in four series start this season for Hirschman. 

“We finally closed one,” Hirschman said. “… These races are tough to win. I think we should have had five or six of them in recent years. But when the car is good enough to win we didn’t have a good pit stop. Or when maybe the pit stop was better maybe the driver wasn’t good enough. We just finally put it all together. Complete performance right from the drop of the green. I just couldn’t be happier.” 

It was the the sixth career Whelen Modified Tour victory for Hirschman. 

“We needed this,” Hirschman said. “We deserve better than what the results have been, and a lot of that is on me. I take the most responsibility for that. But today we delivered.” 

Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, Mass. was second and Austin Beers of Northampton, Pa. third. 

Hirschman became the fifth different winner in five events this year on the Whelen Modified Tour. Other winners this year include Ron Silk (New Smyrna), Beers (Richmond), Doug Coby (Monadnock) and Justin Bonsignore (Riverhead). 

Hirschman became the seventh different winner in seven Whelen Modified Tour events at Lee USA Speedway since 1993. 

Sam Rameau of Westminster, Mass was fourth and Ron Silk of Norwalk fifth.

Hirschman started third and went by the pole-winner Coby for the lead on lap three. From there the field strung out for a tempered green flag run that lasted until Max Zachem spun to bring out the first and only caution of the event on lap 69. 

Hirschman came off pit road with the lead and it was clear sailing the rest of the way. 

“It seemed really good at the start,” Hirschman said. “I was just hoping it wasn’t too good too soon. But it really stayed with me.” 

By lap 148 Hirschman had built a 2.5 second lead over Beers and McKennedy battling for second place. McKennedy got by Beers for the position on lap 150. With Hirschman working lapped traffic, McKennedy was able to cut deeply into the lead over the final 20 laps, but Hirschman was ahead about just over a second at the checkered. 

“A yellow would have been nice,” McKennedy said. “I’m sure he had a little bit left. He was just maintaining that three to four car length lead the last 10 laps. Congratulations to Matt and his team.” 

For Beers, it was a quality bounce back after last Sunday’s rough ending at Riverhead. Beers saw a likely fourth place finish washed away in the final corner Sunday at Riverhead when he was put in the wall and had to settle for a 17th place. It marked the third top-five of the season for Beers. 

“I just wanted to have a good run tonight and rebound after a last week,” Beers said. “It feels good to get a third. I’m pretty proud of our effort.” 


  1. Steve Rosa Parks says

    Couldn’t miss seeing Muffy the racist was back with Hirschman at Lee. Guess posting on social media about the KKK and Bubba Wallace gets you a 3 race suspension from nascar.

  2. Very few cautions, very long runs. Surprising the tire wear (from the abrasive track and long runs) did not cause a wreck-mania, or a couple more cautions. Best tire management won the race.

    The 01 finished 20 laps down and will rocket up in the points. Great country this America.

    It was a very nice Memorial Day address. Nicely done.

    Looks like Silk is back on top.


    hey muffy AKA headband served his time.. the short track specialist cleaned up and DOMINATED the mod tour regulars. I am laughing with him all the way to the bank much he earn today with lap money dareal??? LOL. Fifield most popular driver. Wendell Scott has more NASCAR wins than the the way isn’t the 01 a racist number?

  4. Ghost of Chad Little says

    This was bad. 21 car field and about 8 cars had any real chance of competing up front? One lead change, on the third lap of the race? Leader checked out the entire race? Sorry, people can keep saying this is the best Modified division out there, but this is crap. Overpriced crap. $45 for that today? Come on? It was $35 for the Spring Sizzler. It’s $30 for Thunder Road on Sunday for the Tri-Track opener. 3/4 empty grandstands at Lee today and Monadnock a few weeks ago show nobody wants to pay $45 to watch this series spin down the toilet. Wonder if nascar notices or cares that the grandstands have been about 25 percent full at the last three races? Good luck finding a seat at Thunder Road Sunday.

  5. Was that a good race? Was for me in fact it was outstanding. Love qualifying on shorty tracks. They rip right through it, track position extremely important in these races. See who is hot vs not of the favorites is dramatic. Bonsignor and Rameau yesterdays surprises under performing and over performing. Even Fifield has a role. She didn’t qualify last in 2022 every race. So far no luck this year but it is something to look forward to. The race itself loved the strategery dealing with the 60 grit racing surface. The cars with drivers that preserved the egg between their foot and the accelerator tended to have the best days. But the best part was the presentation.
    Tell you what you can put Vanada and JDV Productions in charge of every NWMT event and all it would do is elevate every race. Obviously the presence of the Gold Star families recognizing those that paid the ultimate sacrifice was poignant. Otherwise the announcing was outstanding, production great with a working running order graphic. Previously maligned Jacklyn Drake in a more limited role was prepared and complimented the announcers perfectly.
    The cherry on top was Hirschman winning. A lot of the NWMT regulars are outstanding with a mic in front of them post race but none could do what Hirschman did. Making his usual insightful comments on the race itself and being happy to have put it all together this race. More importantly weaving the importance of the holiday through his commentary, what it means, the roll tracks all across the country play, the Gold Star families, fallen heroes and those that made the ultimate sacrifice. He hit all the right chords perfectly prioritizing the meaning of the holiday.

  6. wmass01013 says

    OK some thoughts for the Chad Little fan, the usual WMT post race hate, yes 21 cars this yr, 19 last yr at Lee, not a popular spot for teams, surface is bad and that leads to some non eventful racing, that’s the Reason MRS went from 100 laps to TWIN 50’s.
    While my aging eyez are not as good as once was i hardly think Mad Dog and Lee were 3/4 empty, not full houses but not as bad as the Ghost thinks, $45 for Mad dog and Lee is steep but that’s what Josh is charging, so be it. Add the Flo Racing option and many people might opt to watch online as opposed to sitting in Sun for 8-10 hours.

    Many people think Memorial day is just a 3 day weekend or time for cookouts and the beach but there is a Meaning behind the Holiday and i thought the pre race was very much honorable and enjoyed by Drivers and Gold Star Families
    I refuse to cut down other series to make a point, Stafford open 81 had 21 cars, Thunder Road has 27 entries, with the abundance of Tour Type racing in 2022-2023 that’s what you get 19 WMT, 6 TRI TRACK, JDV opens, Stafford OPENS, MRS, ROC, Mahonig, Evergreen, Riverhead weekly, Mayberry-Michaud opens, Racing guys, Wall Stadium.

  7. If anyone says that was a good race your rights to rate races are revoked haha Enjoy the weekend everyone!

  8. Forever Mod Fan says

    Prerace ceremony was great and the organizers should be applauded for that effort, but I don’t know anyone that buys a ticket for a prerace ceremony. NASCAR should have a limit on what a promoter can charge for a race. This was robbery. $45 to get into a run down track for a race with a short and weak field. Stuff like this is killing off what’s left of the fanbase for the series. Thunder Road is packed today.

  9. Turnstyles Don't Lie says

    700 fans at Lee for the Whelen Modified Tour, 7,000 fans at Thunder Road for the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series. Hmmm, wonder what the most popular Modified division is?

  10. I have a little tradition here on RaceDayCt. Mentioning a High School classmate that was killed in the Vietnam war. Watertown High class of 1968.
    Gerhard M. Rolfs. PFC First Class, killed by multiple fragmentation wounds.
    As it turned out died for nothing but perhaps that is the ultimate sacrifice. Losing your life in a war you did not believe in that ended in failure but doing your duty none the less.

  11. I was at lee, not at thunder road (thank god)… Lee was crowded… The front lot was full and they were diverting cars to a parking lot I’ve never been in…
    Not sure I understand why posters are trying to pit the tours against each other? Both have their place. Just love both! WMT has better equipment, more experienced teams, and better venues but ttms is awesome too. Heats! Short tracks! But it’s realistically the same group of drivers! Why not just love both?

  12. Race fans always say they want good old school racing. That’s what you got last night.

    Race fans don’t want to actually see old school racing anymore in most cases.

    Crowd seemed fine.

    Thunder road had the same crowd they would have at this event before they added the mods. Don’t think It’s a feather to put in tri tracks cap, particularly.

  13. 🥤🥤🥤 Liz Cherokee 🥤🥤🥤 says

    I was going to mention Melissa’s top 20 performance but you boys already did. Great to see her completing more laps in recent races. This will lead to better and better finishes. I’m sure at the end of the season you boys will be celebrating her third top 15 finish in the WMT standings! See the positive and your life might be more enjoyable!

  14. A few of us were chatting about this in the infield yesterday. Racing has a lot of competition these days, and I’m not talking about other racing. There are entertainment options that simply didn’t exist 30, 20…even ten years ago.

    But this is a holiday weekend, so add the other seasonal stresses: family gatherings on one of the three long weekends of the summer, opening up summer residences, high school and college graduations and sports. Or, having survived some of those the last three weeks, maybe staying home for a few days is a necessary option.

    That’s not just for the fans; it’s for the racers, too. Regional racing simply doesn’t pay enough to forsake real life.

    Maybe $45 is a little steep at the front gate. But that $88,000 purse doesn’t come cheap, nor does the effort and the staffing that JDV puts into that show. You can’t make it all up at the back gate. But $45 for five hours of feature racing seems like a decent value, per hour. A mid-level concert at a local venue is going to run you $50-75 for a two-hour show and a half-hour opening act. $45 for seven (!) feature races might be a lot for a race, but it’s not bad for entertainment.

  15. Seymour the Clown says

    Seven feature races? That’s great if you want actually want to watch seven divisions. I prefer 2 or 3. I still remember the days when the first heat at Stafford hit the track at 8:00 pm every Friday night. They ran three divisions and ran it off quickly. The track drew more fans in the stands because the start time allowed more people the time to travel to the track and see a complete show. Times sure have changed…

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