Summer is the time of hot weather, hot racing, and on occasion hot drivers. In the Northeast, there is no driver that is hotter right now in the win column than Matt Hirschman. The Pennsylvania Modified ace has gained a knack for gaining the headlines, especially in big money events. But now “Big Money Matt” is achieving the stuff of legends after winning his sixth straight race this past Saturday night at Holland Speedway in New York.
Saturday’s triumph was also his fourth straight win in his part-time schedule on the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series. He recently picked up wins at Lake Erie Speedway (PA) on June 10, Jennerstown Speedway (PA) on June 17 and Oswego Speedway on July 8.
Additionally, Hirschman had a big week at the end of June, winning a 50-lap show driving for owner Bob Horn at Evergreen Raceway June 25, and later in the week winning the $10,000-to-win Open Wheel Wednesday at Seekonk Speedway (MA) on June 28.
As a numbers guy, it is something Hirschman can’t ignore, but he’s not getting caught up in the lore just yet, with still half a racing season to go.
“It’s definitely the longest streak of my career,” Hirschman told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I know I’ve had some streaks of four, maybe five races in past years, but this tops them all. However you can’t really think about that too much because obviously it’s not going to last forever, but if we keep doing what we’ve been doing every week I can’t see why it couldn’t continue. Still I’m realistic, I know how the racing game is played and how it works out, but we’ll try and make it go as long as we can for sure.”
Hirschman credits much success to the work in the shop and time spent off the track throughout most of the spring.
“Preparation is huge. Actually, after racing over a busy winter with Speedweeks and that, we had to take some time off and regroup to put this run together. I didn’t race at all in April and then when I was going to race in May we had a couple of rainouts and got to only one show that month. When June came we hit the ground running and we haven’t looked back; that’s preparation and being mentally and physically prepared. It’s definitely paid off.”
Going forward, Hirschman has a very solid chance of extending the streak to seven, as he heads to a track and event that has treated him well with three wins over his career, the SBM 125 at the 1/4-mile bullring Star Speedway (NH).
“It’s one of my best tracks statistically, maybe the best track I’ve ever gone to in terms of winning percentage,” he stated. “Just taking it one week at time and not really focusing on our thinking about any kind of streak. It’s a big event, so it doesn’t matter if we are coming in on a winning or a losing streak. It’s an event we are going to put a lot of effort into, it’s one of my top-five favorite races of the year and it’s at a track that is one of my top five favorites to race on.”
On Saturday, Hirschman will look to make it back-to-back wins in what has become one of the most popular events for Modified teams in the Northeast. While Star’s competitive surface and layout are favored, it’s something else that the SBM provides that brings the best in Modified racing to the southeast corner of the Granite State.
“It’s a race that’s always had a very good purse but also has a lot of bonus money up for grabs. Last year had a higher base purse, but all the other years we’ve run and won in this race we’ve collected nearly as much bonus money as we have in base purse money,” Hirschman explained. “That’s thanks to the effort of Kevin Rice and a lot people that contribute to the event. It’s one of the few races a year where financially you can do really well, and not necessarily be the guy that wins the race. That’s a big part of why you circle this event on the calendar, knowing that potentially you can have a good night for the wallet. That’s important to make this happen every year.”
Follow Speed51.com this weekend to see if Hirschman can add to his wins and his wallet at Star Speedway, or if another challenger will rise to the occasion.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos