“The North-South Shootout has been the best race for my career.”
That’s a big statement coming from a driver such as Matt Hirschman, who carries the moniker “Big Money.”
Hirschman has won just about every big race there is to win in Modified racing. If there’s a race paying $5,000-to-win or more, there’s a good chance he’s there and there’s a good chance he’s cashing the big paycheck.
He’s won the North-South Shootout a total of five times now, with three of those wins coming at Concord Speedway in North Carolina where the race returns to this weekend with $10,000 on the line.
The crazy thing is Hirschman feels he should have more than just five wins in this race, and that’s why he’s headed back to Concord this weekend for the 13th Annual John Blewett III North-South Shootout for the Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair Tour-Type Modifieds.
“Like any race, we probably could have won more,” said Hirschman. “There’s a few opportunities that slipped away, both at Concord and at Caraway. Or just the timing of a late race caution or something like that. We just haven’t capitalized and closed the deal on all of them.”
Hirschman said he’s overjoyed that the North-South Shootout is returning to Concord this year because it will bring some of the appeal back to the event that he felt was lost when the race left the triangular half-mile.
“It’s such a fun track. I’ve missed going there,” he said. “Even though I think 2011 through 2013 the races at Caraway was a great race. Last year it was just lacking the car count. But it just never had the same atmosphere and it wasn’t special because Concord used to be a once a year thing. There were Modified races held at Caraway throughout the year. Going back there is definitely something to look forward to because it’s such a unique race and it’s back to being a special event.”
Hirschman’s first couple of trips to the North-South Shootout in 2004 and 2005 didn’t go so well when he finished no better than 15th, but after that Hirschman became the master of the Shootout.
He rattled off finishes of first, first, second, fourth and first from 2006-2010 at Concord Speedway, and kept on winning even after the race moved to Sophia, North Carolina’s Caraway Speedway.
“Concord just suits my style I guess,” said Hirschman. “As fast as it is, it’s very much a finesse track as well. It’s challenging and thinking about all the tracks that I feel I do the best at, a lot of them seem to be where one end is very different than the other. They’re all unique tracks. Those seem to be my best tracks for some reason. The odd-shaped, challenging, different race tracks seem to suit me best. Obviously Concord is one of a kind and that certainly fits that description.”
One of the reasons Hirschman said he’s glad to be going back to Concord isn’t because of how good he was there, but because it’s like a new challenge again after being away for so long.
“As good as we were at Concord it was sad to see the race leave there,” he said. “But then it was like a new challenge going to Caraway because we knew we were going up against teams that had tons of laps there. It was a challenge but we won it the first year and we won it again in 2013. Now going back to Concord it’s a challenge again.”
For those race fans that cannot attend the 13th Annual North-South Shootout, Speed51 TV is offering a live broadcast of the race on a pay-per-view basis. Visit Speed51.com for more details on how to purchase the event.
Entry forms for the $10,000-to-win John Blewett III Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair Tour-Type Modified North-South Shootout event, as well as the $5,000-to-win Mr. Rooter SK Modified event, are currently available by visiting www.northsouthshootout.net.
Practice day kicks off the 13th Annual North-South Shootout on Thursday, November 5. Additional practice and qualifying will take place on Friday, November 6, with the North-South Shootout main events taking the green flag on Saturday, November 7. The features will consist of a 125-lap race for the Pro All-Stars Series South Super Late Models, a 60-lap event for the Southeast Trucks, 75-laps for the Limited Late Models, the Mr. Rooter 50 for the SK Modifieds and the John Blewett III Memorial 125 for the Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair Tour-Type Modifieds.
For more on the 13th Annual North-South Shootout, visit www.northsouthshootout.net.
-51 Sports Press Release.