WINCHESTER, N.H. (WWLP) – Matt Hirschman was in the right place at the right time as he made the pass with five laps to go and won the NorthEast Race Cars and Parts Tri-Track Open Modified Series Riverside Reunion 100 at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, New Hampshire on Saturday night.
The Northampton, Pennsylvania driver took advantage of some hard racing late in the event between leader #42 Woody Pitkat and second place #5 Chris Pasteryak, who was making a bid for the lead. Hirschman was in third at the time and drove under the pair after they went way up the race track off turn 2 on lap 95. Pitkat started from the outside pole and led the race from lap five to the 95th circuit, never pitting while out front. In victory lane Hirschman told 22News, “You’re not really expecting to win at that point. You’re looking at maybe a third, fighting for second. The 42 (Pitkat) did not pit for a tire, had an excellent race car tonight. If we didn’t get all those cautions he probably would have won. It’s 100 laps. I just tried to keep myself in position, and was in the right place there. Those two came together, I just cut it as hard to the left as I could, and held it to the floor. I didn’t know if they wrecked. I didn’t know if there was going to be a caution. I just tried to run away. We were one corner from finishing and then a caution came out. I had to do a few more restarts. It was hard earned. We really worked hard for it.”
Hirschman’s payday was $6,000 including lap money and bonus money. Following Hirschman to the checkered flag were Steve Masse, Mike Holdridge, Zane Zeiner, and Todd Patnode. Rounding out the top 10 were Anthony Nocella, Andy Jankowiak, Ryan Preece, Doug Coby (driving the Rick Czarnecki #20), and Todd Annarummo. The Cinderella story of the night belonged to Mike Holdridge. After failing to qualify through his heat and consolation races, he won the B Main, a non-qualifiers race for the eight cars that didn’t make the big show. Then came a game show moment: take a $1,000 and quit for the night or decline the loot and move up to the main event. Holdridge told the Monadnock crowd, “I’m here to race so I’m going to go racing!” By finishing third, he collected $2,600 which was more than two and a half times better than the $1,000 sure thing. But there was little on the plus side for Chris Pasteryak, who let his anger and frustration flow on the team radio after the incident with Pitkat. Pasteryak won the first Tri-Track Series race of the season in May at the Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire.
The Tri-Track Series attracts drivers from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the Valenti Modified Racing Series, Race of Champions, as well as talented racers from weekly tracks. While the series tallies points it can still be a night off from chasing points where you race. So is the appeal of Tri-Track the competition or the money? Rowan Pennink runs the NWMT and is a champion in the VMRS. He told 22News, “We just come to all the races, put in our best effort, and don’t really worry about points. We try to get the best finishes we can, and try to win races too. I always run as hard as I can no matter what I’m driving. With it paying some lap money we might try to get up there a little bit faster than we would normally, and see if we can lead some laps and win some big money at the end of the day.”
For 16 year old Spencer Davis of Dawsonville, Georgia, Saturday was his first time racing at Monadnock. Davis drives for Hillbilly Racing, owned by the Hill family, based in Westfield, North Carolina. They raced last Wednesday night in the NWMT at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. With some hospitality from mod tour and Riverside alum Chris Kopec, the team stayed in Western Massachusetts and prepared the #79 for the Tri-Track show. Davis talked about the competition, the money, and an opportunity to prepare for running the NWMT at Monadnock in July as factors that made Saturday night special. “All the competition that’s here, all the cars that come, and the payout’s a big factor here, Definitely you can win a lot more than you can on the tour, so that’s definitely a plus. We’re already up here and we run a tour race here later in the year, so it’d be a no brainer to come here and race.”, Davis told 22News.
Bob Polverari of Southwick was the Riverside Reunion 100 Grand Marshal. The 79 year old Polverari was a five-time Riverside Park Speedway champion. Richard Savary started fourth and finished 11th. Savary had been a weekly competitor in The Park’s tour type modified division.
The Tri-Track Series next event is July 1st at the Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, Massachusetts.