Classic Collector: Matt Hirschman Wins Monaco Modified 50th NAPA Fall Final At Stafford; Claims 8th Series Title 

Matt Hirschman celebrates victory in the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series 50th NAPA Fall Final Saturday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – On April 24, 2022 Matt Hirschman scored his first career Modified win at Stafford and did it in style in scoring victory in the 50th NAPA Spring Sizzler at the historic half-mile. 

Saturday the Northampton, Pa. driver added another all-time classic event to his to his collection of Stafford victories. 

Hirschman drove away from the field late to win the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series 50th NAPA Fall Final Saturday at Stafford. 

“That’s incredible to win the 50th at both events,” Hirschman said. “I don’t know what my future holds here at Stafford, there’s been a lot of drivers that are far better than I have been in a career at Stafford, but I’ll go down in the record books as winning the 50th Spring Sizzler and the 50th Fall Final. That’s just incredible. Hopefully we’ve got more wins in us here. This has always been a tough place. It took my dad a long time until he won his first race here and then wins came for him.”

Hirschman took home $15,000 for the victory.

“I don’t know if I can really put anything above the Spring Sizzler win from last year in my whole career, and this is going to be pretty high ranking as well,” Hirschman said. “A lot of history in both of these events.”

Ron Silk, of Norwalk – winner of the 2022 Fall Final and 2023 Spring Sizzer – was second. Matt Galko of Meriden was third. 

It was Hirschman’s third consecutive Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series victory – he won at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Aug. 12 and again at Waterford last Saturday – and his all-time series leading 19th win overall.

Hirschman also clinched his eighth Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series championship. Hirschman has won the division’s championship every season the series has been in existence besides 2014 (Jon McKennedy) and 2019 (Ronnie Williams).

“It’s incredible,” Hirschman said. “I was the biggest supporter of the idea of this from the beginning. I really have stayed loyal to it. I ended up missing one race in the history of this series. I was at the race but it ended up getting postponed to the next day and I had to leave. There was hardship there and I had to leave. Otherwise I’ve supported every race from the beginning. It’s been really good to me. 

“I agreed with the principals and the ideas of it from the beginning. And I still do to day. It’s changed some. Even with the news of going to Thompson next year. I always thought of preferred Tri-Track on the bullrings, but it’s working even on the bigger tracks. And from a scheduling standpoint, they do such a good job of racing about once a month, so where else are you going to put another race other than April. It makes total sense for the series going to the Icebreaker. We’ve had a great career in the series. It’s been around for 10 years and from the founders to the passing on to different owners, there’s probably some people that didn’t think it would make it past year one and it’s ten years in. I hope it’s here for another ten years and beyond.” 

Silk was coming off clinching his second NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship Thursday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Silk got by Craig Lutz for second on lap 63, but couldn’t find a way to cut into Hirschman’s lead over the final 16 laps. 

“I was going pretty good and I think [Hirschman] was kind of cruising,” Silk said. “We weren’t our 100 percent on our game today. We just missed a little bit. I don’t know if it was track conditions with the weather or what. We just didn’t have the same feel that we had at last year’s Fall Final or the Spring Sizzler this year. At times it was a struggle, but when you struggle and come home second that’s a good thing.” 

Woody Pitkat fended off the charges of Glen Reen over the opening lap before Galko went by Reen for second on lap two. 

The first caution of the event flew on lap four for the stopped car of David Arute in turn three.

On the lap four restart it was Galko getting by Pitkat for the lead with Marcello Rufrano following into second place. With Galko leading, Rufrano second and Pitkat third, caution flew on lap 27 for a stopped car. 

On the restart Galko held the top spot. Behind him third place Pitkat and fourth place Hirschman bounced off each other twice before caution was back out on the next lap for a spinning car in turn four. The race restarted on lap 28, but it was another short green flag run. The yellow was back out on lap 30 for the stopped car of George Bessette Jr. on the frontstretch and another issue in turn four. 

Galko held the top spot on the lap 30 restart. Behind him Hirschman went from fifth to third and then got by Rufrano for second. 

With Galko still leading Hirschman and Williams up to third, caution was back out on lap 49 for the spinning car of Reen in the frontstretch grass. 

Most of the lead lap cars pitted under caution with Hirschman winning the race off pit road, followed by Joey Cipriano, Eric Goodale, Williams, Pitkat and Silk. Lutz assumed the lead after staying out, with Stephen Kopcik in second, Jake Johnson third and Noah Korner in fourth. Hirschman restarted seventh to lead the cars that had just pitted. 

Within two laps Hirschman was back up to third and he passed Kopick for second on lap 53. On lap 55 Hirschman made a diving move under Lutz into turn three to take over the lead. 

Silk went by Kopcik for third place on lap 61 and then got by Lutz for second place two laps later. By the time Silk got to second Hirschman had built up a three-quarters of a second lead. By lap 70 Hirschman had extended his lead to 1.3 seconds over Silk. 


1) Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA 

2) Ronnie Silk, Norwalk, CT 

3) Matt Galko, Meriden, CT

4) Craig Lutz, Miller Place, NY

5) Woody Pitkat, Bellingham, MA

6) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven

7) Eric Goodale, Calverton, NY

8) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown

9) Jake Johnson, Rehoboth, MA

10) Bryan Narducci, Colchester

11) Ronnie Williams, Ellington, CT

12) Michael Christopher, Jr., Bolton, CT 

13) Matt Swanson, Harvard

14) Chris Pasteryak, Moosup, CT 

15) Tyler Hines, North Haven 

16) RJ Marcotte, Millville, MA

17) Brett Meservey, Brewster, MA

18) Noah Korner, Canton

19) Joey Cipriano, Plymouth

20) Anthony Flannery, East Hampton, CT 

21) Eric Berndt, Cromwell

22) Tommy Barrett, Jr., Millis, MA 

23) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, MA 

24) David Arute, Stafford Springs

25) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, MA

26) Max Zachem, Oakdale, CT

27) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury, CT 

28) Joey Mucciacciaro, Wolcott

29) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury, CT

30) Anthony Bello, Newtown, CT


  1. Beautiful day at Stafford. Stafford picked a great postponement date. 78 near November. Doesn’t get better. Great crowd of the usual Stafford goer’s. Racing was pretty good. Galko had the best car but unfortunately one bad pit stop cost him. Silk was much better after the pit stop and was making a charge but Hirschman was a tick faster and did a good job not using up his equipment early. Fantastic year of modified racing. Stafford doesn’t need Nascar.

  2. It’s a shame he can only run well on bull rings!

  3. What the heck is it about Hirschman that makes me root for the guy? I normally love rooting for underdogs. Galko was the perfect underdog, knew he had the car to beat the 60 and yet I’m still rooting for Hirschman.
    Must be his aura. There’s something about the guy. Laser focused on the race at hand. Like the shark in jaws., even when he’s lurking back in the field you just know he’s dangerous. Not charismatic or warm in any respect but tries his darnedest to relate to fans in his commentary. Or is it the fact he never seems to have any interest in advancing to a higher level? A pure modified guy that has his niche, does it better then anyone and intends to continue to do it for the foreseeable future. That’s very Richie Evans like is it not?
    May the aura have something to do with his shop. The Hirschman compound his legendary dad owns on Mud Lane filled with rusting cars from the 60’s and 70’s, buses and storage containers. All lined up in apple pie order and very Hirschman like. Humble, country surroundings where endless wins are hatched in cars that are always fast and always reliable.
    Seriously what’s there to like he makes races boring like this one. Get to the front in the heat ASAP to be near the front in the feature. Making laps in third or forth then the light switch goes on around lap thirty. Get to the front and be prepared. No caution, use the preferred line to save rubber or if there is a caution in the best position to get in and out of the pit fast. Then cruise to to win….again. Hirschman is the Barry Manilow of racing. Has a formula for turning out hits, sticks to it but it can only work because he has the talent.
    I think I get the love affair so many of you have with Richie Evans. Thought he was over rated, rooted against him and hated fans slobbering all over the guy. Now I’m slobbering all over Hrischman and don’t get it at all.

  4. Where was Dug Colby?

    Haven’t seen him race lately.

  5. Not a stacked field. Mediocre names finishing well back. Typical Sri-Track entry list.

    Seriously… is anyone surprised it was Hirschman and Silk at the top? Everyone else was running for 3rd, it they were lucky.

    But it is so gratifying to see him growing up and running well outside of the safety of bullrings.

  6. BigOrange61 says

    Doug, you had me until you said Richie was overrated. Richie is/was the goat, Matt is the best of this generation and one of the best ever.

  7. Concur Doug. But for me (I must be older) it was Ed Flemke Sr. One of the east Coast Bandits. We all have our favorites of our generation. Wont argue who was better. Both great. Just slightly different eras.

  8. Matty can win on any size track.Seems like a fire was lit under his behind since the debacle at Star.43k in winnings in the 3 tri track races….pretty good

  9. “Concur Doug. But for me (I must be older) it was Ed Flemke Sr. One of the east Coast Bandits.”

    Not older, my home track was Danbury RaceArena, Chick Stockwell your Flemke in the same era.

    “BigOrange61” I completely respect what you’re saying. We’re fans, we have our favorites. You say Evan’s is the best you’re in the majority. For me it will always be Chick Stockwell. As for the Hirschman vs Evans comparison let’s agree to put that on the back burner and re visit it at some point in the future.

  10. Drunkinirishman says

    Now that the modified touring series have concluded… and there is “slobbering” over Matt Hirschman, I’d propose a question…
    In a previous post, Dareal inaccurately insinuated that possibly, the 60 had no choice in whether to run the WMT fulltime…
    With the fantastic success of Austin Beers and Mr Murphy’s 64, hypothetically, would any owners propose to hire Hirschman fulltime for the WMT?
    It would leave the 60 to compete in the other races he bookmarks…
    Would old blue take him on for the WMT?
    Maybe Mr Sapienza would benefit as he did with Santos?
    How about Hirschman in the 7ny?
    Or could he take the 01 to a winning level!
    It’s silly season so anything may be possible…

  11. Hirschman is very successful with PeeDee. Why would he abandon that winning combination in which he has complete control of setup decision making with really good guys for any full time ride? Moreover if Hirschman is his own touring series that we call “Big Money” for a reason why would he change anything?
    That said it would be outstanding were he to run full time on the NWMT.

  12. Drunkinirishman says

    In my hypothetical proposal… He would not abandon pee dee…he would still run tri track, smart, roc and opens as he sees fit… His “own touring series” would still remain…
    He would gain the opportunity to compete for a NASCAR championship… Many might say that who cares? Well that’s one thing he hasn’t won…
    It has been established by some in this forum that he is the best driver of the era…
    And geez, Hirschman commonly refers to his big wins anytime he sees a mic…
    It would be nice to see a WMT title on that resume…
    My question Doug isn’t why would he, it’s why wouldn’t he?
    A chance to win away from pee dee would be a true show of talent!
    What else is there to accomplish for the 60 team, they’ve won everything… The 60 is already on the Mt Rushmore of modifieds…
    Tony Hirschman won titles with different teams, it would be fun and interesting to see Matt hirschman take a new team to the height of success!

  13. Mediocre names ? Really, who are the great tour drivers out there to fill the field? There Justin B , who else? Beers,Sesely, Fifield? Compared the August tour race (no schedule conflict) at Thompson to Sunday at Stafford. Thompson had only 4 drivers who were Stafford regulars at one time. Sunday had 21 with Stafford roots, 11 were regulars this year and about 4 or 5 more who have been in a tour type mod this year. Why can’t the Tour get any of these guys? So darealgoodfella between these 2 races is much of the future of modified racing, if you find them mediocre I guess its time you look for some new entertainment. I guess you young folks now say “it is what it is”

  14. My observation over the years and please correct me if it’s wrong is Pee Dee out of South Carolina supplies the black 60 Hirschman has driven to almost all of his Tour success in recent history. The only non Tour races I can recall Pee Dee supplying the car for are the New Smyrna open races over 5 days in February and a few selected early SMART races.
    There is also the Baker red and yellow 60 Hirschman has raced in Tour events on occasion but that effort has not been that successful for the most part.
    What we see at the Sizzler, MMTTS and most of the non Tour events is Hirschman’s own red 60.
    So if all that is substantially true then I ask why would Hirschman abandon the Pee Dee team that wins in tour races? That car is in the class of the 16, 51 and 64 teams something really hard to duplicate.
    You ask why not and that’s a fair question. I don’t know he wouldn’t do it they could announce a deal next week that would knock our socks off. I suspect however the formula he has, his comfort with it, loyalty to a bunch of great guys at Pee Dee will keep things as they are. Then there’s controlling his own operation, not having to split huge checks or credit for that matter with any owner when the red 60 wins. Finally the Hirschman tradition on Mud Lane in North Hampton, Pa. A road they could rename “Winner Lane” considering both Tony’s and Matt’s success.
    I exchanged emails with Pee Dee a couple years ago and they were very forthcoming. They were explaining what they had to do to switch out their car from the Tour opener to the open races that follow at New Smyrna necessary because of different rules. They also added that Matt makes all the set up and in race change calls and they’re happy to let him do it. That’s a lot of control that would be hard to duplicate with any other team.

  15. Suitcase Jake says

    Doug , you hit on something…. Richie did it all Himself with his crew and Dewitt’s bankroll… Big Money Matt does it all himself with his crew and Pee Dee’s bankroll…. Big Difference is Richie did Win 9 Nascar Titles and too many Track Championships and OPEN SHOWS to count …Matt chooses and is loyal to Tri- Track and his Traveling Circus of Fans and Track Tours up and down the East Coast … PLEASE DON”T CHANGE A THING!!!!!! It’s just fine the way it is and WE KNOW where to mark our CALENDARS to watch you WIN RACES with every STRATEGY KNOWN TO MAN ….. Richie was also a TRAVELING CIRCUS of FANS and Track Tour up and down the EAST COAST…..REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO SEE IF MATT CAN FINALLY SLAY THE DRAGON OF THOMPSON HIGH BANKS…. I wouldn’t bet against it in 2024….He may decide to run the High Banks more to get ready for Tri- Track and WMT shows…. I can’t be happier to see WMT and Tri- Track & Open Modifieds at the big T…..

  16. Hirshmans red car just about never misses the set up anywhere never goes out too practice until the last minute then runs almost the fastest time of the day for the last 2 years then blows the field away everywhere he will go down in history just for his best lap of the race is with 10 to go,

  17. Shawn , plain and simple get an interview with Matt and all these questions can bee answered . He would definitely bee an asset to the tour.

  18. At the cost of seeming to be argumentative what questions? One contributor to the forum speculated on a idea as part of silly season and we’re just fans exchanging ideas and opinions also as part of silly season.
    An interview with Hirschman always welcome but if the dots are coming from this forum I know I wouldn’t want to be the one to ask him to help connect dots that don’t exist.
    He’s not even done yet. Maybe the Islip 300 he turned in a credible 11th place finish in the 12 car last November. This year November 11th at 5 on FloRacing for those interested. Saturday, November 25th the Wall Turkey Derby with $15,000 to win so he should be there in his red 60 if the tradition continues.

  19. Rich Gourley says

    Matt is also a business owner and family man and that plays into how he constructs his schedule

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