Speed51.com's Leftovers: SnoWaterGo All-Star Challenge Series by Denise Dupont and Mike Twist
The Stories From The Third Round of a Four-Race Open Mod Series
still learning. We'll keep trying it and see if I can pick up rides here and there and maybe make a name for myself in the Modifieds.”
A PODIUM FOR PASTERYAK
Chris Pasteryak may not have the wins that Matt Hirschman has this year but he has been on a roll of his own this year with consistent racing. He leads the True Value Series in points and came in third in the third All-Star Mod Showdown Race.
“We had a great show tonight,” said Pasteryak after the race. “I was actually really good compared to everybody else but I was a tick off compared to Matt. He was really on his game tonight I think that I was a little bit better then him though the center of the corner and definitely better than him through turn three and four. But here you really have to get off turn two good and hard and that was where he could pull me every time.”
Chris Pasteryak's #15 (Jim Dupont Photo)
ALL-STAR ISN'T EXACTLY A “SUPER” RACE FOR ORDWAY
Mike Ordway, Jr. is known for his prowess in Supermodifieds (big and small blocks) and midgets, but at All-Star Speedway, he shed the wings to take part in the 125-lap Modified event. Ordway has been dabbling in the weekly Modified Series at the track and jumped at a chance to drive Gary Casella's #25 in the third race of the WaterSnoGo All-Star Challenge Series.
“I didn't know anything about this until Monday or Tuesday,” said Ordway. “Matt Hirschman put in a good word for me and [spotter] Brian Crowley helped put the deal together. I came over this morning and got fitted up for it and we ran pretty good.”
Ordway made the most of the opportunity by finishing a solid seventh.
“This was only the fourth time that I've driven a Modified,” said Ordway. “Everyone keeps giving me crap that I can't race anything without a wing, so I'm trying to change that.”
Not racing with a wing was a bit of an adjustment though.
“It's a lot different. You can't really dive it in there. You just have to ease it in there.”
Plus, Ordway could have been the only driver in the field who actually found a Modified racing around the All-Star quarter mile to be slow.
“Yeah, they are pretty slow compared to a Super. The Modifieds are definitely harder to race though.”
All in all, the night was a good experience for Ordway - one that he hopes to repeat in the future.
“Gary and the guys gave me a good car and I have to thank them for that. It was a lot different. I got a little impatient a few times racing with Mike Stefanik and Ken Barry, but I'm
Mike Ordway, Jr. stands by the #25 Modified. (51 Photo)
Pasteryak made his way up to second and chased Hirschman around the track until he ran out of steam with only 25 laps to go.
“I was good until lap 100 and then after that it was a tick free and Jon was a tick better. We were still better than every body else though. Everyone else backed up a ton. We were going to be in heavy lapped traffic in a couple. It was the rest of the field it felt like.”
At Seekonk Speedway's Open Mod Show Chris Pasteryak severely damaged his main car. The team worked hard and got the car ready for racing and their efforts were rewarded with a solid third place finish.
“It was a good night. It was good to get the car back and run it. Seven days later the car damaged at Seekonk was back together with another race at Oxford in between to prepare for.”
Ronnie Silk's #79. (Jim Dupont Photo)
BARRY HAS A SOLID EFFORT AT ALL-STAR
Ken Barry had a steady night at All-Star Speedway. He came in sixth in his heat race, started the third All-Star Modified race of 2008 from the middle of the pack and went on to finish the feature in the sixth position.
“We made a mistake in the heat race that cost ourselves from being able to start up front. So we had to stop pretty far back and about five to go, she (the car) had had enough. That was the end of her.”
But things looked up for the feature.
“We got the wheels in the right direction for a change. We have not had good luck here the last couple of races so we will come back next time and tighten her up a little bit more and we will be good.”
SILK GETS NEAR THE FRONT, BUT SLIDES BACK FROM THERE
Driving the #79 Modified, Ronnie Silk started fifth and made his way up to second place early on at All-Star. But by lap 75, his car started to fade and loose positions. At the end of the race, Silk fall back to the bottom half of the top 10.
“We needed a few more laps for sure,” said McKennedy. “Matt was pretty fast. He started right up on the front row and let most of the race. We did a good job. I rode for half of the race and got into second. Matt was pretty far ahead there. We were slowly catching up to him and we ran out of time. It would have been nice to get a yellow but that did not happen.”
McKennedy started the race in tenth and finished the race on the leader's rear bumper.
“The car ran great and we ended up second. We came from the middle of the field so we cannot complain about that.”
At the end of the race McKennedy was like the Energizer Bunny and wanted to keep on going, but the race came to an end.
“We had plenty of tire left at the end of the race. We rode for over half the race. When we raced Chris [Pasteryak], it was tough to get by him. When I was able to get by him I was able to pull right away. We were catching Matt, but we needed more time or laps. Congratulations to Matt. He did a good job. He is on a roll right now, that is for sure.”
McKennedy is also on a bit of a streak of his own. Although he hasn't won a race in the SnoWaterGo All-Star Challenge Series yet, he is probably the most consistent of the drivers who have been racing in it.
“This is three races here now and I think we ran in the top three each time. But in racing, you need some luck and a few breaks to go your way. This year we haven't had many of those go our way. We've had a lot of top five runs, but haven't had the breaks that we need to win yet.”
KUHN HANGS ON FOR TOP FIVE FINISH
Jimmy Kuhn, Jr started the race third and ran hard up there until the car started to fade back. He finished fourth.
“It was not a bad run,” said Kuhn. “You run a pretty fast pace at the beginning and I knew if we tried to run that hard that early we were not going to make it just the way the car felt As the run went on we got loose and backed up a little bit. We had one opportunity to pit and tighten it up a little bit and we did. We came back out and there was room for a little more. We pretty much were waiting until the end of the race.”
Using his racing skills and going into the race with a plan gave Kuhn a top five finish
in the end.
“Consistency was the safe thing tonight. I did not think that we had a real fast car to
run up front all night but we knew we could wear them down and just save what we had
to be there at the end then we could make a charge. That was pretty much the whole
game plan right from the start of the race so that was what we did. We made the best
of what we had and tried to run as hard as we could right at the end. I was hoping for
a caution right at the end because we were pretty good right at the very end.”
In 2008, Kuhn has cut back his schedule and concentrated on the races that the team
can have fun at without looking at points.
“This year we are going to run the four shows here. Plus we ran a regular show that
they ran here. After this circuit we are then going to run Thompson, the DAV show at Seekonk, Oktoberfest and then maybe a couple of other ones. After Thompson, we will probably run quite a few there. We were kind of bouncing around we did not have any specific plans to run anything this year other than bouncing around and have some fun that is all. I cut back the schedule a little bit to spend some more family time.”
HARD WORK BY MANY IS KEY TO HIRSCHMAN'S ROLL
The race at All-Star was Matt Hirschman's fourth race victory in a row. For that, he is very appreciative to the three different race teams that he drives for.
“It takes a total team effort and everybody is putting in the effort,” said Hirschman. “Winning the races for the other teams I can gain the confidence of everybody. I am not just winning in my own car. I am winning in all the team's cars.
“That is just an amazing roll to be on. Who knows when it is going to stop.”
And end the winning streak did this weekend when Hirschman did not win the ROC or NWMT races at Spencer and Riverhead respectively.
“I know that we are not going to win every race, but to already to have eight at this point in the year. There are a lot of races left and the sky is the limit. Hopefully it is going to be a career year when it is over.”
Is the Hirschman family proud of Matt's Accomplishments?
“Yes, they have to be proud of me. They actually went to the last couple of races with me but they did not come up here. Everybody should be. I know that I am truly honored to do this and to be winning I certainly appreciate it. It is not as easy as it looks. You really have to enjoy it while you are on top because there are tough nights ahead and hopefully more just like this. Some good nights like this too.
Before going racing, Hirschman usually has some time to sit down, put up his feet and turn on the VCR to watch a race.
“I like some of the older stuff. I mean right now it is a busy season and I have just been racing and working on cars and then more racing. Before we came here for the first time I went back and found a tape from when my dad ran here. I do like to watch the older videos particularly the older ones from when he was young. The stuff that I might not even remember, I like to watch.”
2008 has been a busy year for Hirschman full of preparing cars and then racing one event at a time.
“Right now I have been just so busy and the month of August is just jam packed. There are ten races just in August. So there is a lot more racing to go and we will take them one at a time. Just keep picking them off and we will try to keep winning.”
“We got up to second and then it just got really, really free. We lost the stagger. We came in with way more stagger then we needed and that was the problem. The car is in one piece. We will come back for the last one (race) and hopefully we will try to get the tires under control.”
Silk also competed at the Stafford Speedway's 150 lap SK race the night before and had a good run.
“Woody [Pitkat] looked awfully good at the end. We had a problem with the motor towards the end of the race. I was probably a sitting duck for him but we would not have finished sixth but we could have finished somewhere about second or third last night but it has kind of been the story for the weekend. Run well for a good chunk of the race and then fade at the end. “
McKENNEDY IS A MAN ON A MISSION AT ALL-STAR
The hard charger of the third All-Star Modified Showdown Race was definitely Jon McKennedy, who started deep in the field but got up to second behind race winner Matt Hirschman at the finish.
ONE HOT NIGHT FOR SEUSS
Andy Seuss is used to having a hot racecar at All-Star Speedway (NH). He's battled for victories with Mike Stefanik and Ted Christopher there in the past and hoped to be doing the same thing Saturday night for round three of the WaterSnoGo All-Star Challenge Series.
Unfortunately, his racecar was hot in a bad way during the event. Overheating problems with the #70 Modified kept Seuss to a 12th-place finish.
“We pulled off the nose and it still ran 200 [degrees],” said Seuss. “It got up to 230 early on and cut the nose up. We thought that was more than enough to allow airflow. It's too bad because that caused us to keep coming in and we had to pass the same half dozen cars. This car is fairly new to us on the short tracks, so I think we did a good job with it. We are really learning with it and after a few more weeks, we'll know it well.”
Jimmy Kuhn (#72) looks to the outside of Bobby Grigas, Jr.'s #09 during heat race action at All-Star Speedway. (Jim Dupont Photo)
Andy Seuss' #70 races at All-Star - minus its hood. (Jim Dupont Photo)
ALL-STAR ENDS ONE LONG WEEK FOR GRIGAS
In racing, like life, there are just some weeks where no matter what you do or how hard you work, everything just seems to go wrong. This past week, Bobby Grigas, III had exactly that sort of thing happen to him.
On Thursday night, Grigas' Sunoco Modified event at Thompson International Speedway (CT) was rained out.
On Saturday night, Grigas headed to All-Star Speedway for the third round of that track's WaterSnoGo All-Star Challenge Series. Things were looking good early on for Grigas. He finished second in his heat race and started the feature event in the fourth position. He moved into the top three just five laps into the race, but soon after that things went South for Grigas and the #09 team. A mechanical problem dropped him out of the race early and kept him from posting a strong finish.
“The steering shaft busted,” said Grigas. “We had a great car. I wasn't even racing that hard. I was just riding around. Oh well. It is what it is.”