Starting Defense: Matt Hirschman Wins First NAPA Spring Sizzler Duel At Stafford 

Matt Hirschman celebrates after winning the first NAPA Spring Sizzler Duel qualifying race Friday at Stafford (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – The defending champion of the NAPA Spring Sizzler showed Friday night that he has the goods to make it two in a row. 

Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa. dominated on the way to victory in the first of two 40-lap NAPA Spring Sizzler Duel qualifying events Friday at Stafford. 

The caution marred event took 52 minutes to complete. Ten of the 19 cars that started the event were on track at the finish. 

“I just wasn’t expecting to run a feature tonight,” Hirschman said. “I thought we were running a Duel qualifying race. That was an awful long time to do that. … We’ve got a good piece for tomorrow. We’ll sleep on it and try to come back and defend our win.” 

Woody Pitkat of Stafford was second and Marcello Rufrano of North Haven third. 

Hirschman started sixth and rocked to the front early, passing Pitkat for the lead on lap four and leading the rest of the way. 

“We had a good strong start,” said Hirschman, who earned $3,500 for the qualifying race victory. “I knew Pitkat’s always had a good long run car. Getting him early was definitely going to be our best chance.”

Said Pitkat: It was tough there on the outside. With this being the first race of the year, there isn’t much rubber out there right now. I was just doing my best to get back in line [on restarts] and try to put some laps down. It was like cautions breed cautions out there. … I’m happy with this. Second place finish gives a good start in the feature. It’s in one piece.” 

The top-10 in the duel qualified into Saturday’s 100-lap main event. 

“I’m really excited for tomorrow. We didn’t adjust it enough. If anything this was like a test and tune for what we’re going to be dealing with tomorrow. We had two really good cars we were trying to beat. [Hirschman] is at the top of his game right and [Pitkat] is the same deal. I just got what I could out of it. Maintained there a little bit through the middle and then toward the end I just really started to let it eat. At least I know what I’ve got to do for tomorrow.” 


  1. David Fisher says

    About as painful of an event as I have ever watched. Bet the 79 never thought he would run out of fuel in a 40 lapper

  2. Shawn, I really like the addition of the Race Monitor screen shots. Thanks!

  3. Hillary 2024 says

    Did anyone else have a seizure while watching on flo racing last night?

  4. yeah, that one was ugly, but what was the worst was that it was everybody, not just one division or another, made it tough to watch.

  5. The only buffering issues I had were with the tour mods especially bad in the first Duel.

  6. Big T Lovin says

    These comments ignore the obvious. It is a One groove track. When they repaved it in the mid 90s they ruined the place. Watch some vids from the early 90s and see the mods run side by side…. all the way around the track.
    The eyes don’t lie.

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