The Tri-Track Open Modified Series kicked off their 2019 campaign with a 100-lap feature at Claremont Motorsports Park (NH) on Sunday. The race was halted by several cautions before a familiar face, “Big Money” Matt Hirschman, eventually found his way to victory lane.
“It was a good day. We were strong all day, we had a solid performing car from practice,” Hirschman said after the race. “My guys killed it in the pits, got me out first of the guys that pitted.
“After that it was smooth sailing. I couldn’t really run any faster than I did, but I was never pressured that I had to force the car or even really have a chance at making a mistake because I never had to force it with somebody breathing on me.”
Hirschman started the feature 12th after the qualifying redraw but steadily moved through the field to break into the top five around the midpoint of the race. Many cars came to the pits for tires under one of the cautions, and Hirschman’s crew beat everyone else to get their driver off pit road ahead of the field.
When the race restarted, Hirschman again began working his way through the cars that stayed out. He took the lead on a late restart and pulled away from the field to score his first victory of the 2019 TTOMS campaign.
Hirschman’s run was aided by a large crash on the frontstretch on lap 62 that eliminated a handful of front-running cars. Ron Silk had led the majority of the race up to that point, but was mired back in the pack after a slow pit stop.
Silk was pushed high as he tried to work around the outside of Sam Rameau exiting turn four and pounded the wall, destroying both the right-front corner and his hopes of victory.
“We rounded off a lug nut [during the pit stop] and that’s how we came out of the pits so far back,” Silk said. “Just back racing with people you shouldn’t be and you get in trouble. I would have like to have seen the way it played out. I’m sure it would have been a great race between me and Matt and whoever else was up there, but it didn’t work out.”
Connecticut native Les Hinckley followed Hirschman up through the pack but was unable to get around him, bringing the car home with a strong second-place result. Ronnie Williams, fresh off his SK Modified feature win at Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night, finished third. Andy Jankowiak and Russ Hersey rounded out the top five.
Speed51 will have full video highlights available in the coming days on the Speed51 Network.
The next TTOMS race is the $10,000-to-win Open Wheel Wednesday on June 26 at Seekonk Speedway.
-Story by: Ian Pettigrew, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com