Hirschman Continues Roll With Oswego RoC Victory by Jim Blacroch
Three Wins in Three Cars in Three Series Take Place in Seven Days
Matt Hirschman and friends in victory lane   (All photos reprinted with the permission of GATER Racing News/RoC File photos)

Matt Hirschman is on a roll and it's unclear if he can be stopped right now. Saturday in the Summer 100 for the DART Asphalt Race of Champions Modified Tour race at the Oswego Speedway, Hirschman started sixth, was second by the completion of the first circuit and after he disposed of Earl Paules while working the third lap.  That was all he needed until the rains came and ended the race just 13 laps from its scheduled completion.
“We got a great start,” beamed Hirschman from a wet victory lane celebration. “That start was a key because I drove up on the outside. Everyone fell in line and we just had room to go on the outside and it gave me the opportunity to go for the lead. Earl (Paules) looked like he slipped up a little and there was enough room for me to get by on the bottom.”

The race was pretty much settled right there as Hirschman kept Paules at bay for the remainder of the race before heavy rains settled in over the speedway, which brought the rest of the event to a conclusion.

For Hirschman it was his third consecutive win in just seven days. His streak began with his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win just a week prior at Spencer Speedway. He followed that up with a big win in the Modified Madness event at Seekonk on Wednesday night and followed it up by continuing his Oswego dominance that began with a 100-lap romp in the Richie Evans Memorial, the first race of the RoC season.
“It's been a great week or so for me,” smiled Hirschman, who won the three races in three different Troyer machines in three different series. (Ed Bennett's car at Spencer, Wayne Darling's car at Seekonk and his own machine at Oswego). “We just have three very good teams and it was nice to have Franky back with us at the races tonight. Everything has really been rolling.”

Hirschman talked about the difference between the opener and his Summer 100 victory.

“I changed the car a little tonight so it was a little quicker to fire. At the first race we started on the pole and that made a difference in our approach. When I was on the pole I set the car up to run 100 laps out front and I think the change we made tonight really helped in passing cars. It may have hurt a little later in the race, but we never really got to that point, the car still seemed pretty good.”

With the imminent weather approaching, Hirschman had one eye on the track and one eye in the sky.

“My Father (Tony) was spotting and we were watching it,” explained Hirschman as he spoke regarding his decision whether to pit or not. “It just depends on track position and what you are going to gain or give up.  Leading the race, I had no intention of pitting, even if I was second or third, I probably wouldn't have pitted. If I was running in the back of the pack I would have probably pitted, but we don't have weather in our pit and we thought it would go all 100 laps, when it did rain it caught me off guard a little. The race ended up a couple of laps short, but we definitely earned it tonight.”

For Hirschman, the victory was his sventh overall of the season, including wins at Mountain Speedway, which surpassed the six he claimed a year ago.

“We're about as high as you can get right now, it's been an incredible roll,” smiled Hirschman. “We've got a lot of racing to do in August and we'll have to see what happens there, but our goal is to just keep rolling.”
Paules chased Hirschman to the checkers, but the former RoC champion was pretty happy with his performance, although he would have liked to finish higher.

“Coming from deep in the heat and drawing the pole tonight was our key for the day,” Paules began. “Matt surprised me that he went by that quickly, that early, but I didn't have anything for him. He was going to pass me sooner or later, I knew it was coming. If he would have pitted we would have followed, but he stayed out, so we did the same thing. Second was a good run, we'll take it.”

Paules has been running a dirt Sportsman at some RoC dirt races and enjoying himself of late.

“It's fun racing on both surfaces, the Race of Champions series are where its at,” laughed Paules. “The dirt is challenging and I think we'll be running the Race of Champions series the rest of the year.”

Pete Brittain turned in a strong performance aboard the Ling Trucking Troyer machine, but he wasn't thrilled with third following the race.

“You're never happy with a third, but it was a good run for tonight,” stated the defending RoC Tour champion and current point leader Pete Brittain, who started fourth. “Matt (Hirschman) won the race on the first lap after I hesitated and went to the bottom and he went to the outside and that was the winning move. I think the top three cars were pretty much equal all night long, but I'm wanted to win. You always want to win.”

Hirschman, Brittain, Billy Putney, and Steven Reed won the qualifying races with Rusty Smith capturing the B-Main.

The Race of Champions Dart Asphalt Modified Tour is sponsored by; Dart Machinery, Hoosier Racing Tires, Sunoco Race Fuels, PBM Performance Products, Total Seal Piston Rings, Dura - Bond, Competition Engineering by Moroso, Dynatech, Xceldyne, Afco, CV Products, and LA Sleeve.


It looked as though Erick Rudolph was going to finish in the top three that is until the rain came.
Rudolph pitted on lap 25 for a new right rear and then began a spectacular march through the
field in the Dave and Laura DeLange Racing Troyer machine.

“I could see the weather moving in and I was just hoping it would hold off long enough,” offered
Rudolph following the event. “We weren't really good at the start of the race but then we pitted
on lap 25 for a new right rear and that really helped the car. If the race had gone the whole way
I think we might have at least had a second place car. I think we might have been able to battle
Hirschman for the win, but he was pretty strong and we were running out of laps even without
the rain. It's a shame we didn't get to find out, but you can't control the weather. We'll have to
take what we learned tonight and make the car better when come back to Oswego.”


32 cars showed up at Oswego with Wilbur Hebing, Chuck Hossfeld and Zane Zeiner were
notably absent. Hossfeld hasn't made an RoC stop yet this year and Zeiner's only appearance
came at Mahoning.

RoC regulars, Eric Beers and Rick Kluth both had nights they would rather forget. Kluth
switched cars after a heat race incident, while Beers dropped a drive shaft in practice that cut
oil lines. After finishing sixth in the heat, Beers ripped the shifter out in the B-Main on the start,
made it somehow back to fifth and in the feature broke an oil cooler at the seem which caused a
noticeable leak. Neither driver was very talkative following the event.

Tire wear seemed to be a concern of some during the race, but it never really played a factor.

“It (tire wear) wasn't that bad tonight as it seemed that the track had more rubber on it. There were a lot of different cars here tonight, with more Supers and cars in the other divisions. It just didn't seem as hard on tires as normal,” stated race winner Matt Hirschman.

The next Oswego show is on Saturday, August 30th and Hirschman will definitely rank amongst the favorites for that night.

“Yes, I think I would be considered a favorite,” grinned Hirschman. “But, you can't forget Jan Leaty and some of the other guys. Jan won more here last year then I did and he has won that Labor Day show for the past two years. It will be nice to be back here on Classic weekend. I think we belong here and it will have a great atmosphere.”

Everyone associated with RoC from the officials to the drivers to the Modified fans would like to thank Oswego management for making the change in the running order of the feature events because of the increasing weather threat. Many drivers altered their pit strategy due to the worsening weather conditions that kept RoC and Oswego officials busy during the feature as they watched the live weather radar. Drivers and teams were kept informed of the weather by RoC Officials through their one & two way radio communication with the drivers and crews. A majority of the field didn't pit because of the weather and most reported that they would have had enough tire to go the advertised 100 lap distance. However most drivers were happy that the race was stopped when it was and not restarted because most drivers felt it would be a dangerous situation with the tires.ll

The Mahoning Valley Speedway race scheduled for the DART RoC Asphalt Modified Tour was cancelled for next Saturday night was cancelled. There is no issue with the Tour or the event, but Mahoning is struggling as is everyone else in this industry with the current weather challenges (they've had 7 rainouts) and the economy. Series leader, Andy Harpell, stated that he fully expects Mahoning to be a part of the Tour in 2009.


1.) Matt Hirschman
2.) Earl Paules
3.) Pete Brittain
4.) Erick Rudolph
5.) Rick Zacharias
6.) Daren Scherer
7.) Billy Putney
8.) Dave Wollaber
9.) TJ Potrzebowski
10.) Tom Kinsella
11.) John Markovic
12.) Jan Leaty
13.) Rusty Smith
14.) Todd Smith
15.) Doug Reaume
16.) Jimmy Zacharias
17.) Chris Whitenight
18.) Lee Sherwood
19.) Eric Beers
20.) Sege Fidanza
21.) Steven Reed
22.) Mark Tychoniewicz
23.) Jim Storace
24.) Dean Rypkema
25.) Tommy Farrell, III
26.) Rick Kluth
27.) Ken Canestrari
28.) Mike Leaty.

DNQ'S; Vern LaFave, Jason Hearne, Kyle Ebersole, Matt Clemens.
LAP LEADERS; Paules ( 1 - 2 ) Hirschman ( 3 - 87 ).
HOOSIER RACING TIRE HARD CHARGER AWARD; Potrzebowski ( 24th to 9th ).

NEXT RoC EVENT; Friday August 1st - Spencer Speedway - Williamson, NY - 100 laps - $3,500 to win.

Erick Rudolph