A Pair of Hirschmans Beats a Reg in Sizzler Qualifying by Denise DuPont
Matt Hirschman Edges His Father for the Pole, Sets Record in Process
Matt Hirschman shows off his first Bud Pole award of the 2007 season.  (Jim DuPont Photos)
Qualifying for the 36th Annual Spring Sizzler for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) finished with Matt Hirschman taking the pole award.  Hirschman also broke the track record. This is the second week in a row that a young gun on the Whelen Tour took the pole and broke a track record. Last week, Todd Szegedy broke the track record at Thompson’s Icebreaker. Hirschman’s record lap was close to a 100mph average speed.
“That was a good lap,” said Hirschman.  “The track was real fast all day, so I knew whoever got the pole was going to have a track record. We turned a really good lap. At the time we did not know that it would be enough to be the pole. I am really happy for everyone one associated with the team. We are all looking forward to a good race tomorrow.”

This was Hirschman’s second pole on the Whelen Modified Tour.

“Last year at Holland we got our first pole,” Hirschman recalled.  “Stafford though is known as being a notoriously tough track, especially for the younger or more inexperienced drivers. I have a pretty good feel for the place already last year. We have had some good finishing laps here and we will start out with a good one here tomorrow.”

Last year Tony Hirschman won the Stafford Spring Sizzler. This year Tony timed second behind his son Matt. How did Tony feel coming in second behind his son who also broke a track record?

“I would have been sure proud of taking a track record myself,” said the elder Hirschman.  “But at least one of us got it. I am real proud of him. I tried hard. My first lap was my best lap. The second lap I tried a little too hard. The car slipped away on me a little bit. We did not get it done. I am real proud about everything, him and my team. I hope that we have a good day tomorrow.”  

Does a pair of Hirschmans beat A Reg and a Stefanik?  They did today, but whether that will be the case in Sunday’s feature event remains to be seen.

“Hopefully one day we will be both battling for the win and we can hold them off behind us.” Tony said.
Tony Hirschman has had plenty of success at Stafford in the past.  His resume has five previous career wins at Stafford on it.

Reggie Ruggiero had the third fastest car on the track for time trials and had to settle, qualifying behind the Hirschman father-son combination. Reg has nine wins at Stafford notched on to his belt.
Mike Stefanik has the record for the most wins at Stafford Speedway with trophies for eighteen wins. Stefanik, who won his first modified tour race at Stafford in the spring of 1995, did not make it out for qualifying. The #16 car had a problem that kept them on the sidelines. The car had water in the fuel cell. The Flamingo Motorsports crew team was busy draining the fluid from the fuel cell while cars were on the track qualifying.

Sunday’s Spring Sizzler is set to go green at approximately 2:30pm ET.

Stafford Motor Speedway       
Whelen Modified Tour Qualifying Results  

1.  59Matt Hirschman, Northhampton, PA18.009
2.  48Tony Hirschman, Northhampton, PA18.054
3.  14Reggie Ruggiero, Rocky Hill, CT18.059
4.  28James Civali, Meriden, CT 18.100
5.  36Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT18.149
6.  0Danny Sammons, Trenton, NJ18.167
7.  19Ronnie Silk, Norwalk,CT18.172
8.  4Donny Lia, Jericho, NY18.177
9.  3Bobby Santos, III18.184
10.  00Jerry Marquis, Broad Brook, CT18.207
11.  13Rick Fuller18.207
12.  12Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ18.214
13.  77Zach Sylvester, Lebanon, CT18.220
14.  91Frank Ruocco18.222
15.  21Richard Savary, Canton, MA18.227
16.  66John Blewett, Howell, NJ18.249
17.  46Dick Houlihan, Bridgewater, MA18.259
18.  79Chuck Hossfield, Buffalo, NY18.260
19.  06Billy Pauch, Jr.18.261
20.  1Rob Summers, Manchester, CT18.278
21.  6Ron Yuhas, Jr, Groton, CT18.314
22.  2Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield, CT18.321
23.  10Eddie Flemke, Southington, CT18.323
24.  75Carl Pateryak, Lisbon, CT18.325
25.  99Jamie Tomaino, Howell, NJ18.330
26.  90Renee Dupuis, Glastonbury, CT18.346
27.  09Bobby Grigas, Marshfield, MA18.348
28.  16Mike Stefanik, Coventry, RIProvisional 
29.  11Anthony Sesely, Metawan, NJProvisional 
30.  94Eric Beers, Northhampton, PAProvisional 
31.  47Jimmy Storace, Kingston, NHProvisional 
32.  33Wade Cole, Riverton, CTProvisional 

Drivers that did not qualify:
Kevin Goodale, Jon McKennedy, Chris Pastryak, Dlenn Tyler, Rowan Pennink, Dave Etherridge, Joe Hartmann, Ryan Preece, Gary Jackson and Jake Marosz.


Hirschman looks over his ride.  (51 Photo)