Roger Coss Holds Off Matt Hirschman For Evergreen King of the Green Checkers;
125 Lapper worth $4G
(St. Johns, Pa. 11-2-19) During the past few seasons that Evergreen Raceway has been holding their limited Modified schedule of events, Lafayette, New Jersey’s Roger Coss has always come to the 1/3-mile paved oval as one of the top contenders, more times than not vying for a win.
Coss has tasted victory here prior with a Sportsman Modified and Legends car but it wasn’t until September 6 of this year that he finally scored a feature triumph with headliner class.
On a brisk November Saturday, Coss backed up that recent success with a huge conquest in the season ending King of the Green (KOTG) 125, coming against a stout field including 6-time KOTG winner Matt Hirschman, a driver Coss has finished close behind plenty of times at Evergreen.
This time, however, it would be Hirschman who would was settling for second spot as Coss withheld his ongoing advances over the waning laps to score the $4000 top prize.
“Holding off the best of the best and it was a great win for this team,” an elated Coss explained on beating Hirschman.
“Those last 9-10 laps where like time trial laps for me. I knew he (Hirschman) would run me clean and we have a great history of that. I have a lot of respect for him and I feel he has respect for me and that’s why he drives me clean.”
With 25 laps to go Coss and Hirschman where locked in a torrid side-by-side battle while trying to unseat then leader Brian DeFebo.
With the latter two running on fresher tires it enabled both to make a charge at DeFebo, who was off sequence with pit stops and had a much longer stint going on his Hoosiers.
With that Coss used the low line on the back straight to seize the lead with 11 laps to go while Hirschman was able to do the same from the top lane while exiting turn four.
From then on it was a dogfight with Hirschman blitzing both high and low as he made valid attempts for the lead and a quest for an unprecedented third straight KOTG. Coss, though, stayed the course and protected his spot thoroughly to the checkers.
“Brian (DeFebo) let the door open just enough for me to get in there and then I knew I had to run from that 60 (Hirschman),” said Coss.
“I knew I had to protect the bottom. Matt’s signature move here is coming up off of turn two and I got beat plenty of times by that move to know and I just had to hold the bottom so I gave him the top and it worked out in our favor.”
For Hirschman it wasn’t a total let down as he secured a track record fourth consecutive Modified championship.
Although he never led a lap, Hirschman was among the lead pack from the outset and only fell back when he pitted on two occasions for tires. Nevertheless he worked tirelessly to get by Coss only to fall short at the finish.
“We worked hard that’s for sure. He (Coss) did what he had to do and I did everything I could do and didn’t end up getting by him,” said Hirschman.
“Today we had to take the second (place). He ran me clean and ran the line he needed to and I just couldn’t find a way by him.”
Coss noted that this win ranks right alongside his previous signature victory, the Octoberfast 150 in 2015 at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway.
“This is right up there with my Octoberfast win. Two big season ending wins here in this local area. That’s very special and today I had Steven Reed playing a big role too,” offered Coss.
“We have a done a lot together and I wouldn’t want anyone else on top of the box calling the shots for me. He’s my crew chief, spotter and has helped me my whole career.”
Third place finisher Austin Kochenash had a solid day. Running in his homebuilt car, Kochenash outdueled Austin Beers on the opening lap and led several times again, each time doing so with the look of confidence to go for the win. He led a race high 55 laps.
Unfortunately when he made his last pit stop for tires the car, although still fast, wasn’t able to quite stay with the Coss and Hirschman.
“Anytime I come here I feel I have a shot to win. I ran a couple laps hard early just to see what I had and when we pitted for our rear tires I just didn’t have enough stagger at the end and that was the thing. I just couldn’t roll through the center and that was the difference with keeping with those guys ahead of me,” stated Kochenash.
“In the beginning I wanted to get the lead and pace myself. I knew if you get in the back here they’ll just use you up and clean you out and that’s what happened,”
Chuck Hossfeld drove Tom Wanick’s No. 1W steady all race long and garnered a respectable fourth in a rare Evergreen appearance. Roger Turbush ran steady all race long and rounded out the top five.
The Street Stock feature was cut short of the initial 50 lap distance due to a rash of cautions and time constraints but that didn’t take away from what was really on the line – the quest for division crown which was to be decided between Broc Brown and Todd Ahner.
Ahner came into the finale just slightly ahead of Brown in the points and it was that pair who were battling for the lead, win and ultimately the title for most of the race.
Early on Brown was able to work to the front but had Ahner in close tow. The rest of the way Ahner would race hard but Brown held on for not only the victory but his second consecutive Street Stock championship.
Stephanie Moyer became only the second ever “Queen of the Green” winner when she edged Mitch Hawk at the finish for top honors in the Factory Stock 40-lapper.
Moyer and Hawk put on a barnburner in the closing laps as they traded the lead back and forth. On the final go-around Moyer hustled to the inside of Hawk and the pair then drag raced off turn four towards the checkers. As they reached the line it would be Moyer by a very close margin for one very thrilling finish.
Moyer joins the late Jennifer Flanagan (2003) as the only female winners of the KOTG. Hawk claimed the class title with his runner-up.
Harry O’Neill had a great day, winning both the 4-Cylinder and 6/8-Cylinder Enduro features.
In the 40-lap Lengends Car main it was Daniel Carter nothing the verdict and in the Bandolero race Kaitlyn Stradley was victorious.