Matt Hirschman sweeps Evergreen Raceway King of the Green weekend with Saturday and Sunday wins
By DINO OBERTO
(St. Johns, Pa. 1-18-19) Matt Hirschman wrapped up the 2020 season at Evergreen Raceway on Sunday by winning an unprecedented seventh King of the Green (KoG), the track’s annual marque event.
Overall it was a very profitable weekend for Hirschman as the day before he won the Evergreen Modified KoG feature, the third such time he’s scored a victory in that race.
Also, by collecting Sunday’s 125-lap KoG, which was his sixth Tour Type Modified win in seven starts this year at Evergreen, it earned the Northampton driver a fifth consecutive class title.
Overall Hirschman had an amazing year in his home state of Pennsylvania, winning 13 times in 15 starts between Evergreen, Mahoning Valley Speedway and Lake Erie Speedway.
“We’ve had a great season locally and in general and it’s great to finish the season here (Evergreen). I always say this is my home track and where I started and enjoyed a great career here,” said Hirschman, who pushed his track total of victories to 42.
“To me this is the big event to be at and we’ve been lucky to win six of the last eight and seven times overall is special to me.”
Hirschman started 12th in the field of 22, took over the lead from Austin Beers on lap 75 then remained in control the rest of the way en route to the $4000 payday.
Ron Silk had a very respectable day, leading early and setting a good pace then rebounding from both planned and un-planned pit stops as well as being caught in a scuffle which then gave Hirschman third place at that point yet he fought back strong from the rear and went on to a runner-up tally.
“Like a lot of things this season things went in my favor,” said Hirschman.
“I feel the key to the race was he (Silk) had started his pit cycle earlier than me so in theory I was going to eventually have to pass him but he ended up getting turned around and going to the back and still came back to second.
“Although again everyone is going to say, ‘Hirschman won again’ well it might not have been that easy if I had to have passed the 16 (Silk) instead of inheriting the spot when he got spun around.”
Eddie McCarthy, who had been as high as second and raced in and out of the top five, came in third. Classy veteran Jerry Hildebrand showed plenty of power all race long including a stint at leading, was a solid fourth while Chuck Hossfeld rounded out the top five.
Austin Beers turned in another good Evergreen run, taking the lead on lap 49 before relinquishing it to Jonathan Mandato under a lap 69 caution when he pitted for a tire change.
Mandato was facing off with Jack Ely for the lead by lap 70. Ely would then move to the front with 72 circuits completed after the pair engaged in some thrilling tow-wide action. Hirschman had just worked into third and followed Ely past Mandato. Two laps later he was in front and never looking back from there on.
While Hirschman was leading all eyes began to peer towards Silk who was making a nice run through the pack after being involved in a lap 70 dust-up and was sent to the rear.
He would unseat second running Beers with 37 laps remaining and from there on it was he and Hirschman battling closely the rest of the way.
“I feel we had a pretty good day even after I got turned around after one of the pit stops but the car just got too tight at the end and Matt’s car was really good,” noted Silk.
“I could stay somewhat with him for a while but we didn’t have our car right at the end. All in all it wasn’t a bad day but we came here to win the race.”
A record 37 Street Stocks checked into to show with 22 lucky ones qualifying for the 50-lap contest.
Ken Erney picked up the opening lap lead but on the next go-around 2020 point champion Broc Brown moved to the ahead. He then set sail with a solid pace in distancing himself from Erney and third running Frank DelNero Jr.
On a lap 17 restart points runner-up Jason Harman moved to third and began a torrid battle with Erney while chasing closely behind Brown. Harman then took sole control of second with 24 laps complete and afterwards he and leader Brown began to pull away from the field.
After a lap 34 restart DelNero was making a legitimate run on Harman but the attempted move was negated when Rick Reichenbach spun but on the ensuing restart and Harman once again grabbed the spot.
Another restart with nine laps to go saw DelNero retake second and Eric Kocher advance to third and although the action was very heated for second on back there was no denying the stellar performance of Brown who collected his second straight KoG and for a third consecutive season finished number one in points.
In the Factory Stock main Mitch Hawk jumped out front at the drop of the initial green and then went on to a rousing victory, staying out front of the entire 40-lap distance and notching his second consecutive KoG win.
Through the early going and just past halfway Broc Brown kept Hawk on his toes as he laid down continuous pressure, however, over the waning laps Hawk was able to pull away from him and everyone else and cruised to the big victory.
With a third place finish Stephanie Moyer succeeded in her quest to bring home the championship, her first with the class after eight hard fought years which included several runner-up point finishes.
Modified Feature Finish (125-laps) 1. Matt Hirschman, 2. Ron Silk, 3. Eddie McCarthy, 4. Jerry Hildebrand, 5. Chuck Hossfeld, 6. Austin Beers, 7. Andrew Krause, 8. Jonathan Mandato, 9. Zane Zeiner, 10. Brian DeFebo, 11. Ricky Knapp Jr., 12. Jack Ely, 13. Artie Pederson III, 14. Tyler Catalano, 15. Scott Adams, 16. Earl Paules, 17. Chris Turbush, 18. Todd Baer, 19. TJ Potrzebowski, 20. Bobby Jones, 21. John Markovic, 22. Richard Randall DNQ: Daren Scherer, Lou Strohl, Andrew Monkowski, Paul Frantz
Street Stock Feature Finish (50-laps) 1. Broc Brown, 2. Frank DelNero Jr., 3. Eric Kocher, 4. Jason Harman, 5. Steve Shultz, 6. Brandon Oltra, 7. Mikey Pollack, 8. Gordie Buchman, 9. Josh Mooney, 10. Rick Reichenbach, 11. Cody Geist, 12. Brian Halecki, 13. Trevor Catalano, 14. Baker Brewster, 15. Rich Paciotti, 16. Ken Erney, 17. Evan Rygielski, 18. Jillian Long, 19. Todd Ahner, 20. TJ Gursky, 21. Bobby Kibler Sr., 22. Jasper Ziegafose
Factory Stock Feature Finish (40-laps) 1. Mitch Hawk, 2. Broc Brown, 3. Stephanie Moyer, 4. Nate Marsico, 5. Blaine Barry, 6. Paul Morgan Jr., 7. Elliott Wohl, 8. Brian Osborn, 9. Wes Sammon, 10. Alex Brancaccio, 11. Andrew Jidacki, 12. Clint Halstead, 13. Scott Sipe, 14. Nick Pollack, 15. Genevieve Yamelski, 16. Andrew Monkowski, 17. Moe Hunsinger
Please read your division rules carefully as there are changes for 2020!