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Matt Hirschman christens new Evergreen pavement with Opening Day Modified win

By DINO OBERTO

 

(Butler Township, Pa. 5-2-21) Evergreen Raceway opened up the 2021 season with a brand new layer of asphalt but it was the same old results as Matt Hirschman continued to showcase his dominance of the Butler Township 1/3-mile oval with another winning effort, his ninth victory in 14 overall starts this season.

Hirschman was gridded seventh for the 75-lap affair and then picked his way forward over the first 30 laps. With 35 circuits in he was tailing early pace setter Blake Barney who had been running a strong race while holding the front spot since the drop of the initial green.

Hirschman hounded Barney and tried several times over the next ten laps after to overtake him but each time the talented driver of the Big Red No. 14 was having nothing of it.

Then with the field realigned following a lap 45 restart Hirschman was able to run even with Barney and when they rolled out of Turn 4 ready to complete lap 47 the lead would pass. From then on Hirschman held off the untiring efforts by Barney to regain the top spot but the undisputed kingpin of Evergreen was not about to let up as he raced to his 44th career win at the track.

“I tried to get to the lead and I had to work pretty hard to get there. Blake (Barney) was running good and he was still good at the end and was real competitive and it was not easy to get by him,” said Hirschman, who thus far has not lost a race in his home state this year which includes three straight wins at Mahoning Valley Speedway.

With the fresh blacktop down Hirschman, like everyone else, came into the day with open minded optimism.  

“You didn’t know what you had to do and the changes you needed to make. You couldn’t really be set on what use to work because it was going to be different so you just had to adapt. I feel that today is not a true test but it was still racy out there and it’s only going to get better,” surmised Hirschman.

“It’s always good to win when we come here and I’ve won with so many different variations of the track here over the years before either end was paved then (turns) three and four was paved or when the aprons were paved and you could run on them and then you couldn’t but now with the new blacktop it’s nice to see the investment and it’s a real positive.”

Barney’s second place was well fought. He was never any further back then second and clearly made Hirschman work for the win. His car was quick from the start and after giving up the lead he remained close for his best Evergreen finish in recent years.

“I thought I was setting a good pace and honestly I was saving so much, lifting and giving it no throttle and treating the right rear (tire) but it wasn’t the rear tires that got me it was my right front,” said Barney.

“I can’t be down on finishing second here today. Of course I wanted to win but to come here and get this kind of results, hopefully we can improve on it the next time. For me to be that guy to challenge him (Hirschman), I was running good times with him near the end and I’m so proud of my guys and my grandfather (Dick Barney) for giving me a great car and my dad for setting it up.”   

Third place finisher Austin Beers may very well have passed more cars than anyone. Having to start last due to a tire change he charged up through the pack not once but several times due to pit stops.

“It was kind of crazy from where we started. We pitted four times because the car just wasn’t right all day. Unfortunately we just never got to where we needed to be to contend and our car was just good enough for third,” explained Beers, who has had all top-5 finishes in each of his 2021 starts.

Former track champion Dave Brigati and Jack Ely rounded out the top five.

Eric Kocher motored by Rich Paciotti on lap 12 and then held off hard charging Ken Erney and Evan Rygielski for victory in the Street Stock main.

10-year old Paulie Hartwig III parlayed his pole starting spot into a win with the 4-Cylinder Stocks. Hartwig, who ended the season with a victory in the annual King of the Green, led every lap but had to fend off TJ Kapish and Rebecca Barbush on each passing lap en route to securing the verdict.

In the Factory Stocks Scott Sipe made a mid-race pass on early leader Moe Hunsinger for his first career win at Evergreen.

Nick Moribito picked up the Legends car victory and Kaitlyn Stradley in the Bandoleros.

Official Results 
 

Modifieds (75)
1. Matt Hirschman 2. Blake Barney 3. Austin Beers 4. Dave Brigati 5. Jack Ely 6. Chuck Hossfeld 7. Brian DeFebo 8. Earl Paules 9. Chris Turbush 10. Gerry Hildebrand 11. Amber Fortin 12. James Pritchard 13. Daren Scherer 14. Todd Baer 15. Geary Reinhimer 16. Tommy Wanick 17. Bobby Jones 18. Ricky Ross Jr. 19. Wayne Szerencsits 20. Carl Altemose 

 

Street Stocks (30)
1. Eric Kocher 2. Ken Erney 3. Evan Rygielski 4. Johnny Bennett 5. Mike Pollack 6. Matt Schlenker 7. Jason Harman 8. Steve Shultz 9. Rich Paciotti 10. Brian Halecki 11. Frank Del Nero 12. Randy Green 13. Dan Pawlicki 14. Rick Reichenbach 15. Bobby Kibler Jr 16. Jayden Harman 17. Jacob Christman 18. Nick Pollack 19. Thomas Flanagan III 20. Robert Fink 21. Gordie Buchman 22. Anthony Tombasco

 

Factory Stocks (20) 
1. Scott Sipe 2. Moe Hunsinger 3. Blaine Barry 4. Brandon Cook 5. Ty Huntsberger 6. Kenzie Adams 7. Nate Marsico 8. Clint Halstead 
4 Cylinders (25) 

 

1. Paul Hartwig III 2. TJ Kapish 3. Becca Barbush 4. Nick Schaffer 5. Micah Adams 6. Cody Boehm 7. Jay Skupski 8. Jimmy Ayre 9. Zeb Farber 10. Larry Spencer III 11. Doug DeHaven 12. Brian Romig Jr 13. Slade Darragh 14. Teddy Oleshefski 15. Devin Schmidt 16. Anthony Hilliard 
 

Bandalaros (12)
1. Kaitlyn Stradley 2. Kaden Rogers 3. Rodney Dowless Jr 4. Justin Teresak 5. Chevy Rowley 6. Wyatt Fink 7. Isiah Anderson 8. Mike Sinagra 9. Nick Hodge 10. Cody Quagliato 

 

Legends (20)
1. Nick Moribito 2. Kevin Nowak 3. Alec Andrecs 4. Riley O’Keefe 5. Mike Weddell 6. Austin Bellemare 7. Eugene Drew 8. James Anderson 9. Patrick Verwys 10. Chris Sinatro 11. Conner Weddell 12. Charlie Hodge 13. Ed Trump

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