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 lap nine.
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 Barney.
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 third.
Schlenker made his move to grab second and one lap past halfway his bid for the race lead stuck and he took command.
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 .Strictly Stocks.
Grandstand admission for the show is just $8. Children 12 years of age and younger are admitted for free with a paying adult.
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