Checked Box: Matt Hirschman Wins Islip 300 At Riverhead Raceway 

Matt Hirschman (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

Matt Hirschman continued on a torrid late season run Saturday at Riverhead Raceway.

On Oct. 28 Hirschman won the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series NAPA Final at Stafford. On Nov. 4 Hirschman won the Tour Type Modified feature at the North-South Shootout at Caraway Speedway in Sophia, N.C. 

Saturday Hirschman made it three weekends in a row of celebrating victories in historic events. 

And Saturday proved to be a big day in accomplishing personal history for Hirschman. 

Hirschman scored the $7,000 first place payday in winning the Islip 300 Saturday at Riverhead Raceway. 

“This thing was just fast out of the box today,” Hirschman said. “I always thought I didn’t like the track. I guess I just didn’t like the cars I was driving. This thing was good today. I could do what I wanted with it and I never had a car here that did that.” 

It was the first career victory for the Northampton, Pa. driver at the historic Long Island bullring. 

“I think the Hirschman’s have been coming here since I think 1989 and we’ve never here left with a trophy,” Hirschman said. “A lot of times we left here cursing that Indian out at the street. This is one that a lot of people thought I’d never check off the list. I’m really thankful for the opportunity.”

Mark Stewart of Riverhead, N.Y. was second. 

“We had a fantastic car,” Stewart said. “… This thing was a rocket tonight.” 

Timmy Solomito of Islip, N.Y. was third. 

“We gave it all we had,” Solimito said. “I fought hard up front all night. Our balance was just a little off at the start.”

Islip 300 Results: 1. Matt Hirschman 2. Mark Stewart 3. Timmy Solomito 4. Roger Turbush 5. Kyle Ellwood 6. Owen Grennan 7. Paulie Hartwig 8. Dylan Slepian 9. Jack Handley Jr. 10. Dave Sapienza 11. Justin Brown 12. Matt Brode 13. JR Bertuccio 14. Justin Bonsignore 15. Craig Lutz 16. Chris Young 17. JB Fortin 18. Chase Grennan 19. John Beatty Jr. 20. Lou Strohl 21. Andy Jankowiak 22. Allan Pedersen 23. Walter Sutcliffe 24. Tom Rogers Jr.


  1. How is this possible? Mr know it all about racing watching on Flo Doug said he wouldnt even be a factor in this race.

  2. “It was the first career victory for the Northampton, Pa. driver at the historic Long Island bullring. ”

    Took long enough.

  3. He actually said this was not that good a year can you believe it?

    Sorry Mr. Hirschman not buying it. Not that or throwing all the accolades to the Elite Towing team. They earned most of it for sure. But are you saying you drove up from Pa, hoped in the car and it was perfect from the start?
    See this is why Hirschman is who he is. This makes three separate teams he’s made winning caliber and if you’re saying that’s coincidence I’m having a hard time believing it. Providing components, advising on components, doing the setup or giving the parameters for the setup who knows. The bottom hasn’t worked most of the year at Riverhead and he’s going anywhere he dad gum pleases with lots of power to motor out.
    Yah, I know that Richie Evans deal is planted in all your heads and you salivate every time the guys name is mentioned. This thing with the Hirschman clan and what they do is really special. Seems we should appreciate it for more then checkered flags and “Big Money”.

  4. Money just keeps getting 🏁💰

  5. Bigorange61 says


    I believe he was referring to just the races in that car which he ran Richmond and thompson

  6. how many realistic boxes are left for him to check off at this point.

  7. The big one says

    New Hampshire ? Don’t believe he’s won there but could be wrong…

  8. Open wheel Fan says

    We decided not to travel the 2 1/2 hours to riverhead as we already knew he had them all covered. There was no question about that. We attended the previous races and witnessed his victories. Was the car count as high as 40? Was the attendance nearly a full house ? Looking forward to the spring sizzler come April.

  9. Matt is eyeing the NASCAR Modified Tour now since the competition has gotten so narrow. Silk/Moran and JBon/Stone are way ahead and the only competition Matt could encounter. Those are the two power teams and as long as they stay together, the champ will be one of those teams.

    Eric Goodale is still getting better, if he continues, I see him doing well.

    Matt runs events with weak rosters. Until he runs the entire NMT for several years and does so competitively and dominantly, he can never be a HoF contender, or that upper echelon of Modified drivers.

    Matt cherry picks events, not a champion.

  10. Just Saying says

    Hey Shawn, by any chance do you have a rundown of the finish?

  11. First he could only win on a bull ring now it took to long to win at riverhead,wow what next from the village idiot

  12. Suitcase Jake says

    Just an unreal Driver…. The odds of Winning all those big races IN A ROW ARE ASTRONOMICAL….Appreciate what you are seeing …. Total Domination of the Competition…Super Talented Driver and set up man along with a solid teams in the pits .. It is just amazing how he can grab all these Wins every year… He will keep his streak alive in February at New Smyrna … Where he also Dominates the Fields…It’s rare and special in the Modern Modified Era… Enjoy it while you can… Big Money is riding the wave all the way to the BANK$$$$$$ WOW !!!!!

  13. How about a national title???? His Ol’ Man Won 5!!!

  14. Just Saying,
    Full results added to the story.

  15. “We decided not to travel the 2 1/2 hours to riverhead as we already knew he had them all covered. There was no question about that. We attended the previous races and witnessed his victories. Was the car count as high as 40? Was the attendance nearly a full house ? Looking forward to the spring sizzler come April.”

    As long as I live I’ll never understand the sentiment expressed above. (already knew the outcome?) How did you “know” that? Did you know a 12 year old who’s NEVER seen Riverhead before would best Matt in TT by .149 seconds? I didn’t. Did you “know” last year Nocella was going to plunk Matt out of the lead late in the race? I didn’t. You knew Matt was going to not get run over by one of the Riverhead regulars during the 300 circuits of that tight bullring?
    You are amazing. News flash!! Matt pretty much has a good handle on Stafford now how could you be looking forward to the Sizzler? We all know he’s going to win it. btw no the cc was not even close to 40 and the crowd was ,in my view, disappointing. And then there is this>>>

    From Mr da insight
    Matt is eyeing the NASCAR Modified Tour now since the competition has gotten so narrow.

    Oh really? he called and cleared that up with you?
    Another genius that “knows” stuff.
    As I said in another thread Dafool will never give Matt credit because he hasn’t won a NASCAR title. Like Bodine Maynard Bouchard Hendricks Kent Flemke………… ( and the beat goes on). Crazy I know..

  16. chevelledude says

    He still ain’t no Coby, Bonsignore,or Silk., and they are still running! Closet he came, my “TC” beat his butt. Since Then He Faded Out Of Tour.

  17. chevelledude says

    I forgot to mention “The Reg”. Matt could”nt come to him either

  18. So I’m seeing the kid drive past Hirschman probably congratulating him and then making his way to victory lane to personally chat with Matt and thinking how ridiculous is this? It was just so incongruous seeing this child who doesn’t even shave yet seemingly trying to share a piece of the limelight with a guy that’s is widely recognized as the best tour modified mind in the current era like he was a peer.
    I wonder if the NWMT is that important now to a drivers legacy. It was at one time actually the only standard for establishing a rep but now not so much. Prior to 1985 NASCAR awarded a championship for racing all over that was Jerry Cooks and what’s his name’s primary claim on greatness and a spot in the Hall of Fame. That’s what Hirschman is doing is it not? NASCAR is the Hall of Fame but as far as tour modifieds go it’s not even a quarter of the population at this point. Drivers competing for a championship not a fraction of the population. Why hold greatness back to be defined by a relic.
    We need a new definition of greatness that has nothing to do with NASCAR because that’s pretty much over as far as defining greatness.
    I nominate Matt Hirschman for whatever that new Hall of Fame is.

  19. You can deny it all you want, but the NMT is the cream of the crop, the best Modified racing has to offer. There’s a good reason why when the NMT Modified teams show up, they own the top placements.

    Matt runs the off-off-off-Broadway (non-NMT) races, that do not have NMT caliber teams and talent, and he wins. Stealing candy from babies.

    Matt does not do as well against NMT talent.

    Where was Dug Colby? He still own a car? Couldn’t get a team together?

    And where was that R&D car?

    Why won’t a top caliber NMT team owner take on Dug Colby or Matt full-time?

    🤔 🤔 🤔 🤔 🤔

    So we have Turkey Derby, then we can all speculate and deny what is and isn’t going on with the ‘Bowl until the ’24 season starts.

    🦃 🦃 🦃 🦃 🦃 🦃 🦃 🦃 🦃

  20. Dareal, may I remind you Matt had 3 WMT wins this year? Not bad for a team running part-time on the WMT! And why were guys like Flemke, Richie, Jerry, and others traveling all over the place? They were looking for a WIN! Why wouldn’t they? They raced for a living, much like Matt does, gotta pay the bills. Not a huge fan, but I completely respect the talent. I go to the races rooting for everyone BUT Hirschman, hoping for different winners. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Jake Johnson and Matt Swanson did it this year at TriTrack events.

  21. Fast Eddie, Matt had 3 wins… 2 were at bullrings, his specialty. One of those was at Seekonk, his home-away-from-home home track. The other win was at North Wilksboro, where Silk and JBon were 2nd and 3rd place right behind him. Followed by Goodale and Emerling.

    He is clearly a contender at tracks he has plenty of experience, or tracks like those. He runs bullrings, momentum tracks, almost exclusively, so he is expected to be competitive on those tracks.

    He is getting better away from the momentum tracks.

    As the NMT moves away from horsepower tracks and to bullrings/momentum tracks, Matt will appear to do better when he runs those tracks on the NMT.

    If the NMT still had 8+ races at Stafford and Thompson, and 2 at NHMS, Matt would rarely be seen running a NMT event, as has been shown by the record.

  22. Hillary 2024 says

    Let’s be real here. A child won the pole. And I don’t see that child being able to waltz right into Waterford Thompson or Stafford and do the same thing. Never mind being allowed to do so. I don’t think we need to set a precedent and have little children racing tour mods around here.

  23. Well, if Dug Colby and Missy showed up, there would be no need to have a 12 year old in the race.

    When Dug Colby wins a pole, you can also say a child won the pole.

  24. Hirschman also has two wins and a second in four modified starts at stafford along with a recent win at oswego, both 1/2 mile tracks. Let’s see what happens at the Icebreaker…

  25. Crazy in NY says

    “Let’s be real here. A child won the pole. And I don’t see that child being able to waltz right into Waterford Thompson or Stafford and do the same thing”

    Hillary 2024 apparently suffered the same oxygen deprivation in the birth canal as did Dafreak. Real you say? Not impressed a 12 year old beat the best in the Mod game right now by .149 in a TT? Tell me Hill how is it that the Head regulars couldn’t top that effort with a jillion laps around that place under their belts? After beating Matt to the line (under green) one lap early in the race to coming back after their horrendous pitstop and going tail avoiding the Riverhead late race sh**show to finish P7 was phenomenal in my book.’s “only”a bullring. Piece of cake right?

    Shawn keep this blog’s better than the Comedy channel .

  26. Just Saying says

    There is way better talent in the open modified‘s races than the modified tour and whatever idiot said Matt is not a champion come on really,

  27. Hey Matt just keep doing what your doing. (KEEP GETTING LUCKY) .You ‘ve only been lucky around 240 times . More important hope your wife is feeling better GOD BLESS …

  28. Hillary 2024 says

    Crazy, I don’t care if the child is the second coming of Christ. I don’t think children should be driving tour mods. If that opinion makes me weird or strange then oh well.

  29. I come in on the side of Hillary. There’s an awful lot of good reasons why there are age limits in all forms of racing. Preventing parents with more money then good judgement from using their children to fulfill whatever unfulfilled fantasies they themselves may have had while too impatient to let the child mature first.
    A lot of safety improvements have been made in tour modified in recent years but they’re still 600 plus horsepower rocket sleds and dangerous.

  30. Crazy, although the Head regulars are running Tour Type mods, and have run a bazillion laps at the Head as regulars, they aren’t as good as you might think, say perhaps the NMT regulars. When the NMT is at the Head, they almost always dominate the Head regulars. Rarely does a Head regular prevail in a NMT race. It’s like a normal NMT race with a bunch of Head cars.

    But I must say Crazy, you are okay with a 12 year old running in a Tour Mod, and that seems to be an extremely liberal, permissive position, clearly goes against conventional wisdom and history. Probably not the safest thing a 12 year old child could be involved in.

  31. Hillary, I agree. But then you look at Mat Swanson and Andrew Moellur who started at 14 and 13 running Modifieds, and they’re doing well. The learning curve for racing has changed a tremendous amount due to go-karts, bandaleros, 1/4 midgets, legend cars, and “young gun” racing now being so commonplace. However talented as the kids may be, if they don’t have a conventional drivers license, I don’t think they should be in a full-sized car.

  32. The off-season is going to be fun!

  33. chevelledude says


  34. I don’t know how anyone can infer from my words I was for 12 year olds running Modifieds. I’m actually against it but I was simply stating facts. He DID TT fastest. He DID pass Matt under green after a restart and he did do a good job coming back up thru the field later in the race. His record speaks for itself for such a young age but that is a wholly different issue as to what he should be doing. Opinions vary. NJ agrees as he’s not even allowed in the pits at Wall ,can’t drive a Sportsman till 16 and a full Mod till 17. He’s clearly a talent and he’s pretty well spoken for a kid of 12 as well. Because of his track position after the terrible stop we won’t know how he would have faired late in the race battling with Matt and the cream of the Riverhead crop. All I know is that 11.445 was damn impressive for anybody there.

  35. In three NWMT races at Riverhead in 2023 the top qualifying times were 11.56, 11.87 & 11.66. In two extra distance Riverhead non Tour specials the fast times were 11.41 and 11.70. In the case of the 11.41 several cars were in the same range. In 300 qualifying 4 cars including Hirschman, Solomito and 2023 Riverhead champ Beatty are all in the 11.59 to 11.67 range. The boy is 1.3% faster, a huge differential on a tiny track and that’s all based on the 12 year olds pure talent??
    Doesn’t seem that anyone inferred anything inappropriately. My initial interpretation of the rave reviews that were being cast upon the child racer was unabashedly implying that the end justified the means so it was OK. For me this was about poor parenting choices not talent. Put your 12, 13 year old child in a 600 plus horsepower rocket ship, letting him race in packs against grown ass men not responsible parenting. Setting the precedent for any parent with more money then good judgement that allows them to put their child in a race such as this a really bad idea.
    Regardless of the safety improvements that have been made racing and especially tour modified racing can be a dangerous sport. Regardless of talent age restrictions are the responsible thing to do. What Riverhead did was not responsible. What the parents did and the extent to which Riverhead promoted the boy before and during the event was not what responsible adults do.
    Forgetting all that exactly how impressive was that qualifying time. Exactly what went into a time that absolutely blew away the field. If you’re saying it was the pure talent of a child I’d be skeptical. It’s an open, who knows what was in that 73 car. Racing is all about the car first and foremost. Great drivers can do great things with great cars but they can’t make mediocre cars great. Forget Hirschman, what was in the 73 car that allowed it to be that much faster then guys like Solomito who had a great year part time at Riverhead and Bonsignor who’s always fast in the 51 in NWMT races? If you’re saying it’s the pure talent of a child I would not agree with that at all.

  36. Doug said the quiet part. He said it without saying it.

    Yeah, sure, a 12 year old has that much more talent to blow away the time trial, over extremely talented drivers, far more experienced drivers, drivers that have run a bazillion more laps, and Matt Hirschman who was having a good day.

    That was all made exclusively possible by superior talent???? Who was his crew chief team, Phil Moran and Ryan Stone?

    Millions of laps have been run by countless drivers at the Head, and Crazy wants us to believe that the pure talent of a 12 year young juvenile was the secret sauce.

    To think that this juvenile passed Matt and time trialed the best by far was all due to pure talent leads me to believe that people from NY are getting crazier and dumber by the minute.

    Yeah, keep pointing to talent so the flock won’t think to look elsewhere. It really doesn’t work, not everyone is that gullible. Doug still has plenty of fishing tackle stuck in his throat and even he’s not buying it.

    Instead of Crazy in NY, it should be Dumb and Nuts in NY.

  37. Small point Doug, I would say comparing lap times between the tour and river head would have minimal benefit due to the tire compound differences. Even comparing among the tour times is difficult due to the mid-season compound change.

    Even comparing week to week there is hard because you never know what you’ll get with the track spray there either.

  38. Crazy in NY says

    Da Doug and Da real (fake) know ( there is that word again) what it wasn’t. A 12 year old couldn’t have enough talent to put up a number like he did and race near the front naw…that must have been a ruse I guess. What was it then? Riverhead cooked it up to make a story? He also races (and wins) at other venues you two snobs wouldn’t give credence to. He also races ( and wins on dirt). Again it must all be a ruse right. Tells us please what was it we witnessed. And one more time and I’ll type it slow so you can follow ….C r a z y in N Y d o e s n ‘ t t h i n k i t ‘ s a g o o d t h i n g f o r 1 2 y e a r o l d s t o b e i n f u l l s i z e r a c e c a r s. Carry on boys.

  39. My first remembrance of the Hartwig name came during the World Series at New Smyrna the first year they ran the 602/Crate modifieds. 2020 I think. During one of the 602 races (maybe the first one) the Hartwig father kept getting root hogged and shuffled backward. He finished out of the podium but asserted himself in victory lane interviews to call out the “non drivers” for no respect. He was misidentified by one or more of the announcers as Lee Sharpstien but I had someone who was there tell me later that it was Paul Hartwig and that he carried his childish rant about commanding respect to the post race tech. It was shortly after this tirade one of the longtime officials there had a heart attack and died. Shawn or anyone on this thread feel free to fact check me on this. This was my first impression of Paul Hartwig so my first gut when I heard about Paulie Hartwig III was negative. I don’t feel real strongly about this hunch but it is possible that they are lying about his age. He would certainly fall in the top ten percentile for size for an eleven year old. Unlike when some of my kinfolk lied about their age to go fight in WWII, nowadays after Jeff Gordon “Wonderboy” it would be more beneficial to fudge downward more so than upward especially to attract attention.
    I was more surprised that the car stayed underneath III as long as it did than I was that he qualified so good. For the record I am glad he did not break the track record. Was that car the one that Danny Watts had fielded for Craig Lutz couple months ago there at Riverhead? To me where he finished is not indicative of a skilled experienced march back to the top 10 as much as it was some dunderheads in front of him being dunderheads there in the last ten or so laps. Hadn’t Hartwig III been a dunderhead just a couple weeks ago at a big race at a track in PA? To each his own; but if I want to watch children compete I will go to my local youth sporting events If I want to watch children compete against adults in race cars I will go to Atlanta on Thursday nights or Charlotte on Tuesday nights and watch the legends cars. It would be cheaper than going to a short track but it does not interest me.

  40. Hillary 2024 says

    I remember that enduro 59. I also seem to remember the father getting interviewed somewhere after that and came across as a real nut job. I totally agree with Doug and Dafella on this one. It’s like saying oh well this little kid is such a good driver he should be able to race anything he wants. Or maybe he can make one hell of a mean hamburger. So of course he should be able to get a full time job at mcdonald’s. For now it’s just him but imagine a few more parents get the same dumb idea. Then how’s the track going to promote that. “Hey race fans, come see little children battle the likes of Matt Hirshman this coming weekend!!”

  41. “Root hogged” really? Tell you what, we that contribute a lot to this forum can get boring for sure using the same expressions and messaging. “Root hogged” a new one and for those like me that had not seen in before it is “the early colonial practice of turning pigs loose in the woods to fend for themselves, the term is an idiomatic expression for self-reliance” according to Wikipedia. So who is this guy Enduor59 because I have to say besides wishing you’d consider a paragraph here and there to help a ponderous reader like me the insights are a breath of fresh air.

    Sure I took the fact check challenge. The Hartwig Jr. incident not likely to have happened in 2020 since the first year for crate modifieds at New Smyrna was 2021. Can’t find anything about the incident mentioned but believe 100% that something bizarre happened.

    Hartwig not on my radar at all but this whole story line of the boy is fascinating so I dug for all the information I could get which isn’t much. Looks to me like Paul Hartwig Jr and wife Lisa are a paddock love story. Hartwig Jr. a racer since he was young in full bodied cars met Lisa, they both loved racing, got married and started raising a family. Young Paulie in a fire suit from the time he could walk probably an exaggeration but it was a racing family for sure in every sense.

    Hartwig Jr. a journeyman amateur racer who enjoyed successes from time to time but nothing the would gain widespread fame. One of the originals to race a 602 Crate Mod at New Smyrna in 2021 he’s returned two years since with some success. So the family was at New Smyrna last February racing competitively and that’s where it gets interesting. From February to the start of spring and summer racing the transition from Paul Hartwig Jr as the priority to Paulie Hartwig III took place. Groomed his entire young life to race this was his time. As they say young Paulie indeed a phenom racing all over with a lot of mediocre results but then the breakthrough wins that got magnified because of his age. Based on social media post looks like the family at that point went all in on Paulie Hartwig III from a promotional standpoint. Culminating in what we saw at Riverhead with the dominant pole win and endless references to the Paulie Hartwig III only being 12 years old.

    We all have opinions whether having a child compete in a tour mod is good or not but regardless it’s a big story. Fair game for dot connectors like me since Hartwig clan wants it to be a big story given the volume of their social media posts.

    The nomadic life they’ve lived through this racing season is breathtaking. The number of tracks competed at, geographic locations, asphalt/dirt, Crate mods to tour mod, the family has been on the gas full speed ahead it appears through this entire racing season. Paul Jr. perpetually promoting and scrounging for money for tires, engine rebuilds, travel whatever a fact that was turned into an announcing point of interest at Riverhead. Money tight it would appear and it would make sense it was tight but there is always money for a new tour modified if that’s where the opportunity lies. Followed by more pleas for contributions for young Paulie Hartwig III.

    One more race they say and since Wall has the good sense to prevent over jealous parents from using their 12 year old to gain a measure of fame they themselves couldn’t attain the team asking who would you like to see in the 73 car in the Turkey Derby?

    I was reading how children are going through puberty sooner. Girls more so and was thinking. What if there were parents that wanted grand children desperately. They encourage their barely teenage daughter to start dating, get married and have children which in their state happens to be legal. If both nature and the state approve would that be OK?

    Maybe you saw the news about two Congressmen having some kind of physical dust up and the Senator and union representative apparently ready to come to blows at a Senate committee hearing. Maybe that too is a bridge too far but I see a direct connection between that sort of thing, parents making bad choices and tracks using children vs adults to promote races. Adults as a whole need to act more like adults. Mainly because it’s their most important job and the children follow their lead.

    Did you see a child that was an exception get the pole at Riverhead? One in millions, the one youngster beyond his years in racing ability. Or is he one of hundreds or thousands of children with the ability. They just have parents that wait for the right time to let their offspring develop before they have them compete in extremely powerful cars against adults. While they mature competing against youngsters of their own age, enjoying the experience with their peers and developing social skills.

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