LANCASTER, N.Y. — For the seventh time in his career, “Big Money” Matt Hirschman won the U.S. Open 125 for the Race of Champions Modified Series on Sunday evening at Lancaster Motorplex.
Tony Hanbury and Matt Swanson were on the front row, with Andy Jankowiak going three-wide for the lead with Swanson and Hanbury, with Jankowiak taking over the lead on the opening circuit.
Hanbury would regain second from Jake Lutz on lap four, with Jack Ely and Austin Beers racing in the top five. Lutz and Hanbury would battle for several laps in the early stages, with Lutz reclaiming second on lap six, and would waste no time to go after Jankowiak.
The field would get into a long green flag run, with this season’s Race of Champions Modified Series Champion Zane Zeiner working his way into the top ten on lap 25. The battle for fifth took place on lap 28, as Hirschman and Patrick Emerling were both able to race their way past Beers.
Paul Townsend would spin on the back straightaway to bring out the race’s first caution on lap 37. The restart would see Jankowiak, Lutz, Hirschman, Ely and Emerling race in the top five. The caution would fly on lap 56 as Beers got loose and slid through the back straightaway grass.
The restart would see Lutz apply pressure to Hartwig on lap 81 for third place and would complete the pass on lap 82. Zeiner would pressure Jankowiak for the lead and would take over the lead on 88. Hanbury and Daren Scherer got together in turn two to bring out the caution on lap 95.
With Jankowiak, Lutz, and Hartwig going into the pits, that would move Hirschman into second place behind Zeiner. The lap 100 restart would see Hirschman use the outside groove to take over the lead, with Emerling moving into second on lap 102. Jankowiak would work his way back through the field to enter the top five on lap 105.
Jankowiak would take over third from Zeiner on lap 107, with Lutz moving into fourth place. Ely spun while running inside the top 10 to bring out the caution on lap 116. Hirschman would pull away on the restart and would go on to earn his seventh U.S. Open title, and 13th career win, tying him with Tony Jankowiak and Bill Carey for 18th on the Lancaster all-time wins list.
Mark Hoch won his second straight U.S. Open event in the Budget RV Outlet of Buffalo Street Stocks. Jeff Brown won his third U.S. Open Late Model event. Jeff Szafraniec scored his first U.S. Open in the Rusty Diamond Cores 4 Cylinders.
MATT HIRSCHMAN, Patrick Emerling, Andy Jankowiak, Jake Lutz, Tony Hanbury, Zane Zeiner, Austin Beers, Jack Ely, Paulie Hartwig III, Sean Verwys, Tim Connolly, Gunnar Zeiner, Danny Knoll Jr, Tommy Rought, Daren Scherer, Matt Swanson, Evan Rygielski, Daryl Lewis Jr, Paul Townsend, George Skora III, Scott Wylie, Timmy Lewis Jr, Andy Lewis Jr
Qualifying Heats: Jake Lutz, Matt Hirschman, Andy Jankowiak