After a week of podium finishes at New Smyrna Speedway, Matt Hirschman broke through on the biggest stage Friday night during the Richie Evans Memorial 100. The driver known as “Big Money” shined when the lights were the brightest, dominating the most prestigious race of the five-day event and capturing the 2020 Tour-type Modified championship during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.
Hirschman started from the pole position and led the first 54 laps of the 100-lap race before a caution mixed things up with 46 laps remaining. While most of the field elected to visit pit road, Jimmy Blewett remained on the track and inherited the lead for the ensuing restart. Blewett jumped out in front and led six laps before Hirschman raced back to the front to reclaim the lead. From there, Hirschman pulled away from the rest of the field to score his fourth career Richie Evans Memorial victory.
“I wish they’d call them all Richie Evans races because I think it brings out the best in me, the John Blewett race as well,” Hirschman said on the NBC Track Pass broadcast. “Just came up a little short, maybe, there I don’t know but I’m glad we got this one tonight. It’s the end of the week and we don’t have to race tomorrow, so it’s maybe a little different mindset. Winning any race in honor or Richie Evans is extra special, so I want to make sure I’m here tonight for this. A lot of other guys blew stuff up and some years they wreck or whatever. This is the one you want to win. You come down here, and I would’ve liked to get a few more or one more but getting this one is the one.”
Tyler Rypkema ended a frustrating week full of mechanical issues by running a strong second to Hirschman in the biggest race of the week.
“This is the most consistent car we’ve ever had for the entire week at New Smyrna Speedway. Unfortunately, we had an engine failure, we had a rear end failure that cut our night short and then we got run over on lap one last night; we had a top-five car there also,” Rypkema said. “It’s great to come home second to Matt in the Evan’s Memorial race. It’s a really prestigious race, so to finish second is awesome.”
Tuesday night’s winner Craig Lutz completed a strong week by finishing third. Eric Goodale charged hard in the second half of the race to finish fourth, while Eddie McCarthy completed the top five.
In addition to capturing the checkered flag on Friday night, Hirschman also put the bow on his second Tour-type Modified championship at New Smyrna. Following finishes of second, second, second and third, he entered the night with a six-point advantage in the standings. With his victory, math wasn’t necessary to determine the champion.
“The cherry on top is the championship,” Hirschman said. “A little mini-series championship up north would be good but it’s just a little series. When you come down here and come to this race track six days in a row, five straight nights with this group of guys here, and all your hard work and sweat and sometimes lack of sleep. I kept it clean for them this year so we’re able to come in every day positive and try for a win that night. We had all good finishes, so PD Motorsports, all my guys and girls, we’ve had a great trip in Florida. I can’t wait to do it again.”
Race fans can find on-demand updates, photos and more from Thursday night’s race by visiting Speed51’s Trackside Now coverage presented by C&R Radiators.
All of Speed51’s coverage from the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing — including stories, videos, results and more — can be viewed by visiting Speedweeks Central.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51 Content Manager – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51 / Tiffany Swisher
Richie Evans Memorial Unofficial Results
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