Count ‘Em: Debating Matt Hirschman’s Historic Stats In Richie Evans Memorial 100 At New Smyrna

(The article below is a RaceDayCT column – The views expressed in this column are solely the opinion of the writer)

Matt Hirschman (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)
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On Friday Matt Hirschman closed out a week of Tour Type Modified competition at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway by winning the Richie Evans Memorial 100. 

It was Hirschman’s fifth consecutive win in the event and his seventh win overall in the race. 

Or wait, was it his sixth consecutive win in the event and his eighth win overall in the race? 

It’s apparently a topic worthy of questioning. 

During Friday’s broadcast of the event on FloRacing a commentator called the victory Hirschman’s sixth consecutive Richie Evans Memorial win. And on social media, some argued that incorrect fact to be true. 

This much is certain, there will be people who read this column and will certainly say: “What’s the point of writing this?” Well, because the Richie Evans Memorial 100 at New Smyrna is one of the marquee historic events remaining on the Modified racing landscape, and for the sake of accurate history, there shouldn’t be any argument about the statistical data involved, most especially involving total wins. 

What throws a curveball into the mix of the debate is 2023 the World Series at New Smyrna. 

Last year Hirschman won the first four Tour Type Modified events to start the week at the World Series. But on Friday night of the 2023 World Series, rains came early in the racing card and the decision was made, long before the Tour Type Modifieds even got on the track for their feature, that the Richie Evans Memorial would be cancelled. 

When it came to the matter of points for the week, track officials made the decision to award points for the Tour Type Modified division for the Friday night event based on qualifying results for the night. The decision was also made to pay the purse for the event, also basing those payouts on the qualifying results. 

And then here’s where it gets sort of murky. If you go through the results archives on the New Smyrna Speedway website and check the results for Feb. 17, 2023 there is a listing for the “feature” results for the Tour Type Modified event, even though the race never even took a green flag to start. The “feature” results listed are simply a carbon copy of the qualifying results from that night listed just below. Nowhere on the results page does it note that the Tour Type Modified feature was actually cancelled due to rain and there was never an attempt made to start it. 

So for someone viewing the track’s own matter of public record for the event, it’s understandable they might look at it and say: “Matt Hirschman won the 2023 Richie Evans Memorial 100.” 

That matter was made confusing during the FloRacing broadcast on Friday. When Hirschman pulled into victory lane FloRacing announcer Adam Mackey said: “Matt Hirschman, his sixth Richie Evans Memorial in a row.” 

Hirschman got his first Richie Evans Memorial 100 victory at New Smyrna in 2010. His second win in the event came in 2017. Ryan Preece won the race in 2018 followed by Hirschman winning the event in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. 

So if you go by Mackey’s call of Hirschman winning his sixth in a row – apparently counting a victory for the 2023 Richie Evans Memorial – that would give Hirschman eight victories in the event. 

But later, in an interview following the race, FloRacing commentator Matt Dillner called it Hirschman’s seventh win in the event. So somewhere the FloRacing math isn’t adding up. If it was his sixth win a row then it can’t be his seventh win in the event. 

The fact is, it was Hirschman’s fifth consecutive win in the event and seventh win overall. Arguing that Hirschman should be counted as “winning” the event in 2023 is quite ludicrous. Deciding someone “won” the event based on two laps of qualifying is simply nonsensical. And it’s highly doubtful that a driver as a competitive as Hirschman, and also as appreciative of Modified history, would want it any other way. 

The problem with the confusion created this week is in many cases confusion today somehow morphs into invented fact in years forward. And that’s especially even more true these days in a world of social media where if 20 people online say something is true, then 2,000 others believe it because why wouldn’t you believe it, it’s on Facebook, it must be true. 

Accurately preserving the history and records of major events in sports is a must and that holds true for short track racing. And the accurate designation is that Hirschman won his fifth consecutive Richie Evans Memorial 100 on Friday and got his seventh win overall in the event. And there should be no further debate of that fact. 


  1. They said on Flo it was Matt’s 20th win, ranking him 4th on the modified wins list behind TC, Ritchie and Reggie Ruggiero, is there a list available online?

  2. Seems like the conversation should begin and end with however the track wants to count it. Pretty easy question to ask.

    It’s their race. Whatever they say goes.

  3. “This much is certain, there will be people who read this column and will certainly say: “What’s the point of writing this?”

    It took exactly two comments to have that prediction fulfilled.

    “Seems like the conversation should begin and end with however the track wants to count it.”

    From the 2023 Results web page:
    1. 2-11 Sat New Smyrna 200 WMT PD TT-Rain F-3rd (17)
    2. 2-13 Mon New Smyrna 50 World Series PD TT-6th F-1st (6)
    3. 2-14 Tues New Smyrna 50 World Series PD TT-1st F-1st (4)
    4. 2-15 Wed New Smyrna 76 World Series PD TT-2nd F-1st (4)
    5. 2-16 Thur New Smyrna 50 World Series PD TT-3rd F-1st (1)
    6. 3-4 Sat Florence 99 SMART PD TT-3rd F-1st (3)

    Hirschman himself sure didn’t count 2023 as a win and I’m pretty sure I heard him reference the fact there was no race in an interview.
    This feels like an oversight that may have gained momentum because of the herd mentality on social media. Annoying but doesn’t rise to the level of purposeful misinformation that’s run amok in other segments of our society where truth no longer exists as an absolute for a large part of the population.

  4. If there wasn’t even a green flag to start it, how can it possibly be considered a race? That’s like saying Joey Logano already won today’s Daytona 500!! Any stats on that “event” should have approprite notes to explain the results.

  5. Follow the science for the solution.

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