STAFFORD SPRINTS, Conn. — With the NAPA Fall Final at Stafford Speedway fast approaching, Matt Hirschman will be looking to get his No. 60 entry back to its winning ways after finishing fourth in the season-opening NAPA Spring Sizzler.
“I hope we can be in contention for the win,” Hirschman said. “We won the Sizzler last year and didn’t run as well at the Fall Final and then this year in the Sizzler we were competitive, but we weren’t really a winning car. I’m hoping we can improve on those last couple starts at Stafford and be in winning contention like we were at the Sizzler two years ago.”
The NAPA Fall Final will mark Hirschman’s second start after suffering a broken wrist on Aug. 16 in a race at Thompson Speedway.
Hirschman ran in a Race of Champions event this past Sunday at Lake Erie Speedway and ran the full 250-lap distance to finish second. The 250-lap event was a great test for Hirschman and other than some general soreness, he is ready to tackle the half-mile Stafford Speedway.
“I just raced Sunday in the R.O.C. at Lake Erie and finished second,” Hirschman said. “That race went well and now I’m looking forward to Stafford this weekend and the Fall Final. Returning at the four-week mark was a best case scenario for me and I was able to meet that criteria and come back.
“That race was a 250-lap race and one of the longer races of the season so I was a little tired and sore afterwards, but no issues and I should only improve from here I hope. I have to thank all my sponsors and supporters. We’ve had a little bit of time off and missed a few races but I’m looking to finish the season strong and represent my team and sponsors.”
In order for Hirschman to be among the contenders for the NAPA Fall Final checkered flag and the $15,000 payday that comes with it, he will no doubt have to beat Woody Pitkat and Ron Silk.
Silk is going for three wins in a row at Stafford while Pitkat is also looking for his third consecutive victory at Stafford.
“I would say the Vegas odds would be in both of their favor with Silk winning the Sizzler and the Fall Final last year and Pitkat has won the most Open 80 races at Stafford the last two years,” Hirschman said.
“They have better odds than I do for the Fall Final but I don’t think the odds were necessarily in my favor when we won the Sizzler a couple of years ago and we were able to come out on top. So I know that we can do it, but it’s not going to be easy.”
While the majority of the NAPA Fall Final field have raced this season at Stafford either weekly or in open modified competition, Hirschman has only made one start at the beginning of the season in the NAPA Spring Sizzler. Although he might be behind, he doesn’t think his lack of track time will negatively affect him.
“With the time of the year, the weather is different and track time is always a good thing, but I don’t think it will be a determining factor in who wins the Fall Final,” Hirschman said. “It’s going to be a little bit of a different ballgame than the Friday night Open 80 races. I think it’s just a matter of executing the day and making the right adjustments to give yourself a car that can contend for the win. Start to finish we have to be mistake free and put ourselves in a good position.
“Track position is going to be important with being at or near the front for the entire race being to your benefit. We had a respectable finish in the Fall Final last year but we never really got all the way to the front and into winning contention. The goal is to get ourselves into winning contention and see how we stack up. It’s all about executing the day from start to finish. That’s what it takes to win.”