Matt Hirschman accomplished a feat Friday night that had never been achieved before. "Big Money," as he's known by many in the racing community, won the Richie Evans Memorial 100 and became the first driver to win both the John Blewett III Memorial and Richie Evans Memorial during the same year at New Smyrna Speedway.
Hirschman's win was his third career Richie Evans Memorial victory and his third straight victory of the 2019 World Series. With the win, he joins Ryan Preece and Ted Christopher as the only drivers to win the Richie Evans Memorial more than twice.
"A lot of great drivers [have won] this Richie Evans race," Hirschman said on FansChoice.TV. "That Evans orange is just iconic, legendary, so to win any race with that name on it... Ricky Brooks said next year there is going to be some kind of cool trophy. I want to win this race with some orange on it and hopefully next year they can put that together. This is just cool to win the Blewett Memorial and the Evans Memorial, the two biggest races of the week."
"This is the biggest of the week, but man to win three in a row is incredible," he stated. "Before we left the last thing my dad said to my son and I was to win some races. We just go three in a row, so three for six ain't bad. We didn't end up winning the points, but we dominated the last part of Speedweeks here. I've never done that before.
"This is one where I'm talking a lot because I'm really pumped. Three in a row, this is a nice streak. We'll see if we can keep it going at Myrtle Beach."
After setting fast time in qualifying and starting sixth due to an invert, Hirschman picked off his fellow competitors one by one as he made his way to the front. With 40 laps on the scoreboard, the Northampton, PA driver moved his way into second and began chasing down early leader Doug Coby. Two laps later, Hirschman shot the the bottom of Coby and took over the top spot without a challenge on lap 42.
From there, the only thing in Hirschman's way was lapped traffic and a pair of restarts, including the competition caution on lap 65. But none of that proved to be any match for "Big Money," as he pulled away from the field to win the Richie Evans Memorial.
Jimmy Blewett slowly chipped away at Hirschman's lead late in the race but didn't have enough to steal the victory.
"Matt and his guys, they do their homework. They don't call him Big Money Matt for nothing," Blewett said. "My guys gave me a great car, I couldn't ask for anything more. We were matching lap times there at the end. I was catching him, he would pull away, I'd catch him. It was just a crapshoot and track position was everything for us."
2017 Modified Racing Series champion Anthony Nocella turned in his most impressive performance of the week by finishing third.
2018 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Rookie of the Year Tommy Catalano and 2017 Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series champion Patrick Emerling completed the top five.
Chuck Hossfeld, the 2018 RoC Asphalt Modified Series Champion, used a week of consistent finishes and a seventh-place finish on Friday night to clinch his second Tour-type Modified championship at New Smyrna.
"It means a ton. This morning I was actually thinking about winning the championship meaning more than the race," Hossfeld said. "Our car was not good enough to win the race. We had to hold off Doug Coby with like 15 to go and luckily we did that. We made one mistake on our pit stop. I think if we could re-do it we'd have a faster car, but here's the thing: we had a great week, a fun week. My car is as pretty as when it came. It's not beat up like some of those other guy's cars. I joked around and said I have the prettiest car, the prettiest girl and the best guys, and we finished strong so I'm really proud of what we did."
Friday night's race concludes this year's World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing for the Tour-type Modified division.
For on-demand updates from the Richie Evans Memorial 100, visit Speed51.com's Trackside Now coverage.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor - Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Melissa Strahley
Richie Evans Memorial Unofficial Results
February 15, 2019 - New Smyrna Speedway (FL)
|15||17||Bobby Measmer, Jr.|