Matt Hirschman Scores $2,000
in Evergreen’s Tour Modified Opener
By: Gene Ostrowski
May 21, 2017
St. Johns, PA (5/21/2017)- Evergreen raceway kicked off
the official 2017 regular racing season Sunday
afternoon. Many area short track fans came out for the
show, which paid $2,000 to the winner of the American
Rental Equipment Modified Series winner. After finishing
second in his heat race, Matt Hirschman of Northampton
redrew the pole position and wired the field to claim
the big prize. After starting sixth in the Barbush
Automotive Street Stock feature, Randy Schlenker of
Walnutport worked his way through traffic and took the
checkers to win the opener. Following a fierce battle
with Brayden Spencer, Harry O’Neill of Mountaintop took
the checkered flag for his first Evan’s Roadhouse Four
Cylinder win of the season.
Hirschman started on the point for the 50-lap American
Rental Equipment Modified main event and led the opening
lap over Zane Zeiner, Roger Coss, Brian Sones and CJ
Lehmann. With four laps in the books and with Hirschman
still in command, Brian DeFebo overtook Sones, who was
running in fifth at that point in the show. Following a
few quick cautions, DeFebo snagged fourth from Coss on
With 20 laps complete, Hirschman continued to show the
way over Zeiner, Austin Kochenash, DeFebo and Coss.
A string of lap 28 yellows slowed the event on several
occasions, with the first being a tangle that involved
Gene Bowers, Joe King, Jr, Brian Romig and Blake Barney
in turns one and two. After several restarts the yellow
flew again when Zeiner got down into the dirt at the
bottom of turn two. Zeiner headed to the pits shortly
after, which moved Kochenash into second.
Kochenash spun in turns three and four a lap after the
restart, and once green flag racing resumed; Coss was
shown as the runner up, followed by Bobby Jones.
As the race neared its end DeFebo turned up the heat.
With five laps remaining he overtook Coss and moved back
into the second spot. DeFebo had one more shot at
Hirschman on a lap 49 restart, but his attempt was null
and Hirschman took the checks and the big paycheck.
DeFebo settled for second, followed by Jones, Zeiner and
Lehmann, Coss and Zeiner were heat race winners.
Charlie Castiglione led the Barbush Automotive Street
Stock field to the drop of the green flag in the 30-lap
feature. He led the opening circuit over TJ Gursky, Todd
Ahner, Joe Mooney and Randy Schlenker.
With seven laps in the books, Gursky overtook
Castiglione for the top spot. By lap 10 Ahner and
Schlenker followed by Castiglione to hold second and
Schlenker made his move to grab second and one lap past
halfway his bid for the race lead stuck and he took
Schlenker went on to take the win, followed by Gursky,
Ahner and Mooney. Rich Paciotti rebounded from an
earlier incident to finish fifth.
Castiglione and Ahner were hear race winners.
Twenty Evan’s Roadhouse Four Cylinders lined the pit
area and 19 took the green flag. Pete Verwys sat on the
pole for the $450 to win, 40-lap feature, but he was
overtaken by 13 year old Brayden Spencer before a lap
was complete. Harry O’Neill sat back in third with Ron
Heeter and Bob Azarowicz in tow.
With four laps complete O’Neill moved by Verwys for
second and he set his sights on Spencer. Meanwhile, TJ
Kapish cracked the top five.
O’Neill and Spencer battled side by side for the lead,
which O’Neill took on lap 11. Spencer fought back to
regain the spot to lead lap 19 and then O’Neill took it
back again a circuit later.
Verwys and Kapish tangled on the front stretch with
eight laps remaining. Unlike Kapish, Verwys was able to
pit and continue.
Spencer applied heavy pressure to O’Neill following the
restart and the duo fought tooth and nail to the
checkers. O’Neill crossed the stripe first, followed by
Spencer, Devin Schmidt, Heeter and Azarowicz.
Verwys, Spencer and O’Neill
were heat race winners.
The next Evergreen on track event, which is “Fan
Appreciation Day”, is slated for Sunday, May 28, with
the running of the Himmer Graphics Late Models, Barbush
Automotive Street Stocks, Evan’s Roadhouse Four
Cylinders and the Wheel’s Bar and Grill Junior Four
Cylinders and .
Grandstand admission for the show is just $8. Children
12 years of age and younger are admitted for free with a
The pit gate will swing open at 10:30 AM and the pit
entrance fee is $35. Practice will kick off at 12:30 PM
and heat races will begin at 2 PM. The grandstand gates
will open at noon.
Evergreen Raceway is located minutes from Hazleton, PA,
in between routes 93
and 309. For more information regarding Evergreen
Raceway, including the entire season schedule,
directions and divisional payouts, please visit
and don’t forget to like their Facebook page as well.
Evergreen Raceway is proud to be associated with Fairway
Motors, Harry’s U Pull It, Penn’s Peak Radio,
Sponenberg’s Exhaust, Wheel’s Bar & Grill, CK Auto
Service & Race Fab, Himmer Graphics, Evan’s Roadhouse,
Bob’s Subs & Pizza, American Rental Equipment, Barbush
Automotive, Valve Tech Sales, Penn’s Peak, Printers Edge
Street Stock (30-laps) 1. RANDY SCHLENKER 2. TJ Gursky
3. Todd Ahner 4. Josh Mooney 5. Rich Paciotti 6. Charlie
Castiglione 7. Dan Pawlicki 8. Randy Ahner 9. Mike
Pollock 10. Sam Danaher 11. Brian Halecki 12. Cory
Swartz 13. Donny Wagner 14. Anthony Tombasco
Modified (50-laps) 1. MATT HIRSCHMAN 2. Brian DeFebo 3.
Bobby Jones 4. Zane Zeiner 5. Blake Barney 6. Roger Coss
7. DJ Wagner 8. Brandon Oltra 9. John Markovic 10. John
Fortin, Jr 11. Austin Kochenash 12. Gene Bowers 13. Paul
Monkoski 14. Paul Frantz 15. Brian Sones 16. Ricky
Collins 17.Brian LaBar 18. Brian Romig Jr 19. CJ Lehman
20. Joe King, Jr
Four Cylinders (40-laps) 1. HARRY O’Neill 2. Brayden
Spencer 3. Devin Schmidt 4. Ron Heeter 5. Bob Azarowicz
6. Shawn Kistler 7. Kevin Behler 8. Cody Geist 9. Pete
Verwys 10. Jay Skupski 11. Travis Solomon 12. Austin
Beers 13. Steve Kreitzer 14. Mike Snyder 15. Steve Tito
16. TJ Kapish 17.Josh Oswald 18. Mark Schwalm 19. Frank
Hughes DNS: Kyle Krempasky