Epping, NH (August 24, 2017): Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA turned in a dominating performance in NorthEast Race Cars Tri-Track Open Modified Series action to score the victory in Wednesday night’s Flamingo Motorsports 100 at Star Speedway in Epping, NH. In a controversial finish, Les Hinckley of Windsor Locks, CT, and Jon McKennedy of Chelsmford, MA, joined Hirschman on the podium. It was his third win in the three races held so far for the Tri-Track Series (TTOMS) this season. It also cements Hirschman’s stronghold on Star Speedway’s victory lane.
“This is my best track,” said Hirschman in victory lane. “I hate to sound cocky but I will be hard to beat when I am out front here.”
That was certainly the case on Wednesday night as Hirschman led every lap en route to the victory.
“I think the guys may be tired of following me around here,” added Hirschman.
With modified aces Hirschman and Ryan Preece qualifying through heat races on the front row, Series managing partner Wayne Darling posed a challenge to the duo – start tail of the field, win and pocket an extra $1,000 cash. Series point leader Hirschman opted to remain on the front row. A showman, Preece started scratch on the field.
From the drop of the green flag Hirschman was dogged by Max Zachem and Richard Savary. Immediately the field lined up nose to tail with Hirschman, Zachem, Savary, Hinckley and Pennink making up the top five.
On lap 6, Hinckley was all over the back bumper of Savary. He was able to make the pass but went wide exiting turn three and shoving Savary out of the groove. Savary lost several positions. Finding himself now locked in battle with Woody Pitkat. The pair went side-by-side for several laps before Savary went spinning off the race track’s backstretch on lap 10 to bring out the first caution. Preece was still mired deep in the field.
On the restart, Zachem tucked in behind Hirschman. Pennink looked to be making the outside groove work; taking third away from Hinckley and charging to the outside of Zachem. Preece and McKennedy, who started at the back of the pack after suffering mechanical woes in qualifying, began picking their way through the field.
Hinckley was, once again, moving in the positive direction advancing positions over Pennink and Zachem. He continued his forward progress and began to reel in Hirschman.
Hirschman and Hinckley enjoyed a bit of breathing room over Pennink in third. Pitkat joined the fray getting by Zachem and headed for Pennink. Youngster Blake Barney was having a solid night running in sixth. Preece’s progress had stalled-out in tenth position.
Preece was getting pressure from McKennedy, who made the pass look easy on lap 44. Savary was gaining ground following his earlier incident to run mid-pack as well.
Just as the lead duo of Hirschman and Hinckley hit heavy lapped traffic, a caution flew on lap 46 for a single-car spin by Dylan Rock. Under the caution, the entire field headed to the pit area for service with the exception of Tommy Barrett.
The restart on lap 46 pitted Tommy Barrett against Hirschman. Hirschman got a great run on the outside and was able to get the lead away from Barrett before the completion of the lap. Cars inside the top-ten went scrambling when third-running Hinckley washed-up the track in turn two. Several cars were collected including Anthony Nocella and Zachem to bring out the third caution of the event on lap 47. All were able to continue; however, Zachem was penalized for intentionally bringing out the yellow.
Hirschman looked like he was shot out of cannon the on lap 47 restart. Barrett fell back losing several positions and Preece was making his presence known; breaking into the top five.
At halfway, Hirschman continued to lead Pennink and now Pitkat in third and Preece in fourth. The lead duo extended their lead as the battle for third heated up between Pitkat, Preece, and Andy Jankowiak. Jon Kievman and Brian Robie also joined the fray.
Jankowiak dogged Preece for fourth. Making a run on Preece, the two made contact. Jankowiak spun and collected Preece to bring out the fourth caution on lap 60. Kievman and Brian Robie were also involved. Jankowiak and Robie remained on track while Preece and Kievman returned to the event after pitting. Following the incident, Preece would not be a factor in the outcome of the race; ending his bid for the $1,000 bonus.
Lap 60 Hirschman took control of the event once again with Pennink in second followed by Pitkat. Barney continued his strong run in fourth with Hinckley back inside the top five. Inside the top-ten, Kurt Vigeant had his hands full with McKennedy. He was able to hold him off for a couple of laps before giving up the spot. A fully-recovered Savary followed through.
After staying out on the lap 46, Barrett had taken advantage of the lap 60 caution and was slicing through the field with the new fresher tires. Hinckley was beginning to look racy once again as well; passing Pitkat for third. John McKennedy dogged Barney and took the position away on lap 74. Barrett was back to sixth. Up front, Hinckley was right on Pennink while Hirschman got a few car-length advantage.
The caution flew on lap 80 for spin by Jankowiak in turn four. Hirschman, Pennink, Hinckley were again the top-three on the restart. Hinckley peeked to the inside of Pennink looking for second. Barrett was right with Hinckley as well. The three cars ran in a tight pack a few car lengths behind leader Hirschman.
Thing got dicey on lap 89 when Hinckley got sideways coming out of turn four. The door opened for Barrett but he could not make the pass. All the action cooled when the sixth and final caution of the event flew on lap 90 for a single-car spin by Savary.
The caution set up a 10 lap shootout for the checkers. Again, it was Hirschman pitted against Pennink. The two went side by side for a single lap before Pennink settled back in line in second. Sparks were flying off the Pennink’s 25 from contact from Barrett, who had gotten by Hinckley. All cars were able to continue without changing positions.
With the heated battle for second, now between Pennink and Barrett, Hirschman enjoyed the largest advantage of the night. Barrett was letting it all hang out over the final few laps. Coming to the checkers, a distance behind winner Hirschman, Barrett and Pennink made contact; sending Pennink spinning. Barrett was penalized for his actions and scored as the final car on the lead lap. Pennink, whose frustration boiled over, was issued a fine for contact after the race.
When the dust settled, Hirschman sat patiently in victory lane joined by family and friends. Hinckley and McKennedy rode their roller coaster nights to podium finishes. Pitkat and Kievman completed the top-five. Nocella, Barney, Vigeant, Jankowiak and Matt Galko rounded out the top-ten.
There is only one TTOMS race left for competitors to try to stop Hirschman’s winning ways. The final race of the 2017 TTOMS season is scheduled for Saturday, October 28 at Seekonk Speedway with the running of the Haunted Hundred. In the meantime, fans of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series can visit the series on social media – on Facebook at facebook.com/tritrackmods and on Twitter @tritrackmods.
NorthEast Racecars Tri-Track Open Modified Series – August 23, 2017 – Flamingo Motorsports 100- Star Speedway Official Finish: 1. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA; 2. Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks, CT; 3. Jon McKennedy, Chelsmford, MA; 4. Woody Pitkat, Stafford, CT; 5. Jon Kievman, Deerfield Beach, FL; 6. Anthony Nocella, Woburn, MA; 7. Blake Barney, Lakewood, NJ; 8. Kurt Vigeant, Oxford, MA; 9. Andy Jankowiak, Tonawanda, NY; 10. Matt Galko, Meriden, CT; 11. Josh Cantara, Saco, ME; 12. Dana Smith, Sunapee, NH; 13. Richard Savary, Canton, MA; 14. Ryan Preece, Berlin, CT; 15. Michael Douglas Jr., Auburn, NH; 16. Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, PA; 17. Tommy Barrett, Millis, MA; 18. Dylan Rock, Enfield, NH; 19. Sal Accardi, Jr., Deer Park, NY; 20. Brian Robie, Sunapee, NH; 21 Max Zachem, Preston, CT.