Veteran Driver Stefanik Adds another Notch to His Belt With All-Star Victory  by Denise DuPont
Meanwhile, Matt Hirschman Wins Another Title This Year
Mike Stefanik (Top - Jim DuPont Photo) and his winning #66 Modified.  (Bottom - Rick Ibsen Photo)

Mike Stefanik took the #66 Modified to victory lane in the fourth and final race of the All-Star National Series at All-Star Speedway in Epping, NH on Saturday night.  Stefanik passed the then dominant race leader, Ronnie Silk, for the lead two-thirds into the race to take the lead and go forward to take the win.
“Yes, it was a great race,” said Stefanik, “I tried to pass Ronnie (Silk) on the inside then I tried on the outside.  He had a good car but he looked like he was a little tight when I got near him. I don't know if he adjusted his line doing what he had to do to keep the lead.  Once I got by I then got loose. He tried to come up on me and put some worry on me at the end.”

Stefanik started the race in fourth, but was involved in two incidents that forced him to go the rear. He then had to come back up through the pack twice to race with the leaders.

“Someone lost a hose and fluid and I hit the back of Matt Hirschman and then spun myself. The other time the guy on the inside just got aside of me and I spun and I got a left front flat.”

Ronnie Silk led the race for 66 laps. For his efforts, Silk took most of the lap money for the night's event, but he came up short and did not capture the win.

“At least we did get something,” said Silk.  “We did lead a lot of laps so it will help out a little bit. I just wish that we could have held him off there at the end. That probably would have won us the championship. He was just a little bit better there at the end and I kind of lost a little of the forward drive. We had a good car all weekend and we just came up a little short.”

Silk has also competed in the #79 Hillbilly Racing car this year with Stefanik on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.  They have been side-by-side more then once on the track.

“He (Mike Stefanik) is a good guy to race with,” said Silk. “He has a lot of laps and he knows what he is doing. That is for sure.  I try to watch what he does and learn as much as you can. We raced each other clean and had a good race. We just came out on the loosing side.”
Ronnie SIlk (#79), Jim Storace (#47) and Matt Hirschman (#59) run in tight formation.  (Ken Spring Photo)
Josh Ebersole  (Jim DuPont Photo)
The All-Star National race to the chase series at All-Star Speedway was won by Matt Hirschman with the small margin of only ten points.

“This was a fun little series that they have had here this year,” said Hirschman.  “They did something here for the Modifieds that nobody has done in a long time.  There is not a better place to race Modifieds than at this track. This is an awesome place. I wish we could get more people out to support it because it is just a fun place to come to.”

Hirschman raced in the top five all night but the top two spots eluded him all night. The best he could do was third.

“Tonight, we just missed on the corners a little bit. Collectively as a team we made a decision what to go with and we made the wrong move for tonight. We should have gone with what we did a year back when we won the last show down race here. But that it part of it. You learn and win as a team and loose as a team. Winning this championship here is a whole team effort for everybody so I am happy for these guys.”

Hirschman finished off his 2008 year of racing with a record that others could only strive for. He won the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Championship, came in second behind Ted Christopher for the NWMT Championship and won the four-race championship at All-Star Speedway. That is a pretty impressive year to add to his resume.
“That is a great season as far as points are concerned,” said Hirschman. “This championship is a good accomplishment for us as a group.  It is a bonus to what I have already done as far as the entire season goes. For this group of guys that came here. We had fun in the four races. We won one of them and ran at the front of all of them and to win the championship is a nice feather in our cap as a group together to win a little championship here. It is just good for every body involved.”

The top rookie at All-Star Speedway last night was Kyle Ebersole in the #5 Modified. He may have been new to the track but he showed that he has talent and is an up and coming Mod competitor.
“This is my first time running here”, said Ebersole, who was all smiles at the end of the race with his fourth place finish.

This was Ebersole's only the second time racing away from his home state of Pennsylvania and he had a run to be proud of. 

“I ran Mountain Speedway in Pennsylvania every week. This is my second year in the Modifieds. This is only my second time out of Mountain Speedway. We also went to Chemung for an RoC race but this is our first time here and it turned out pretty good.”

The young gun was right up front competing with the veterans of Mike Stefanik and Ted Christopher and he proved that he could hold his own.
This was Ebersole's only the second time racing away from his home state of Pennsylvania and he had a run to be proud of. 

“I ran Mountain Speedway in Pennsylvania every week. This is my second year in the Modifieds. This is only my second time out of Mountain Speedway. We also went to Chemung for an RoC race but this is our first time here and it turned out pretty good.”

The young gun was right up front competing with the veterans of Mike Stefanik and Ted Christopher and he proved that he could hold his own.

“We drove tonight with Stefanik and Christopher tonight and they are guys at the top of their game. They are big Whelen guys. It was good that we ran up front with them and hopefully we will do it another time.”

Competing weekly at his home track of Mountain Speedway was the special ingredient that Ebersole had on his side to run with the masters.

“The track is comparable to where I run weekly at Mountain so it did not take me too long to adjust,” said Hirschman.  “We struggled a lot and then finally hit on something during the feature race so it turned out pretty good.”

As the racing season for the Modifieds in New England comes to a close the teams will continue to go forward and prepare for the North-South Shootout and Wall Speedway's Turkey races. Then there is the 2009 season to look forward to and all that it has to bring with it.