LEHIGHTON, Pa. – Matt Hirschman returned to Mahoning Valley Speedway for the second-straight weekend and repeated as the winner in the modified class Saturday afternoon.
Hirschman, who was fresh off of a thrilling opening day photo finish victory over Austin Beers in the Bill Teel Tribute, once again bested his fellow Northampton opponent. This time Hirschman would be the one in control rather than the week prior, where he had to chase down the leader.
Hirschman drew the pole for the 35-lap contest and would stay out-front the entire distance for his seventh win in 11 starts this season.
“We really only had the option of racing closer to home. It’s been a busy early season and the plan was to not race at all this weekend and prep for the upcoming races but we made a last minute decision and I’m glad we did,” said Hirschman, who picked up his 24th career win at Mahoning Valley and sixth in as many starts.
“I think the longer the race went on we needed to improve a little on the handling. On a shorter run like today we were okay but I think if the race continued I feel we were going to struggle a little.”
At the outset Hirschman jumped to the early lead over Nick Baer and Earl Paules. Paules then took second spot on lap six and was able to stay very close to the leader. Bobby Jones, who had raced up to third on lap seven, was also running strong and remaining nearby the front pair.
The race was slowed for the first time on lap 13 when Kyle Strohl spun in turn three. Under that caution Paules was pulled to the side by officials to check for leaking and it was confirmed positive which then sent him pit-side.
On the restart Jones took aim at Hirschman but the No. 60 again had the upper hand. By lap 21 Beers propelled into second spot and it was yet again a familiar scene playing out between the two Mud Lane racers – running one-two while battling for the win.
Unlike the last week though when Beers led until the finish line and was overtaken by Hirschman, there would be no denying the Harry’s U-Pull-It No. 60 as he drove to a car length margin of victory.
“We’re not use to racing here in daytime conditions and last week during the opener I don’t think was a true reading on the track and our next show for us planned is the (April 24) RoC here in two weeks and it’s again a day show,” said Hirschman.
“I prefer the night shows and I think we have it dialed in but that’s why we’re here today to see if we can get a little bit better because I feel we need to for the 75-lap RoC race.”
Jones took third with Brian DeFebo and Baer rounding out the top five.
The Sportsman Modifieds ran their first race of the season with a mix of seasoned veterans and fresh talent and to put that into a better prospective 53-year old journeyman Don Wagner, who was making his first start with the class, held off 10-year old Paulie Hartwig III and 17-year old Kassidy Altemose in gaining his 40th overall career win.
T.J. Gursky took the lead in the Street Stock feature at the start of the race and never looked back on his way to victory.
The Hobby Stock feature was a barnburner affair from start to finish and even though Al Arthofer won for the second week in a row, it took him nearly all of the 25 laps to do so.
In the Futures/Rookie Hobby Stocks Greyson Ahner, a rookie, led flag to flag for his first stock car win. Closing in at a rapid pace was Brody George who notched the win in the Futures, his second straight.