This weekend’s big event at Evergreen Raceway in the northeast section of Pennsylvania will be known as the “King of the Green” for the first time, but the shindig that signifies the end of the season for the 1/3-mile and many area competitors has a rich history and some big names that have enjoyed success.
Previously known as the King of the Mountain from 2000-2013 during much of the time that the facility operated as Mountain Speedway, the Tour-Type Modified headliner has seen a who’s who list of drivers compete over the years.
Here is a statistical summary of what to expect in this year’s running and a glimpse into the past.
1: One could very well be the most popular number come Sunday. Currently, four drivers are entered to pilot a Tour Modified ride with this lone figure on the side, and each has multiple starts in previous years. Todd Baer and Bobby Jones have each won feature races in the region this season. Anthony Sesely, who will drive for identically numbered teammate Tom Wanick, finished runner-up in the return of the ground pounders to the facility in April. Both Sesely and Baer are also former winners in the Sport Modified class. Everyone will be gunning to be No. 1 this weekend.
2: Only two drivers have won more than once in the same weekend in KOTG/KOTM history: Matt Hirschman and Brian Defebo. While it remains to be seen who can potentially step up to the plate in 2016, Todd Baer (Tour and Evergreen Modifieds), Brandon Oltra (Tour Modifieds and INEX Legends), Rob McCormick (Tour Modifieds and Factory Stocks), Steve Shultz (Late Models and Street Stocks), Scott Adams (Evergreen Modifieds, Dirt Modifieds, and Street Stocks), Justin Morgan (Street Stocks and Factory Stocks), Eric Banashefski (Evergreen Modifieds and Four Cylinders), and John Banashefski (Dirt Modifieds and Street Stocks) are entered to do multiple-duty at the moment.
3: Matt Hirschman won the last three King of the Mountain features that took place from 2011 to 2013. He also has won three Evergreen Tour Modified Series events this season and leads the points. In all, the Northampton, Pennsylvania talent has five victories that took place on this particular weekend, one that goes way back to 2001 and a Sport Modified victory in 2013.
5: Regional standouts Daren Scherer, Nick Pecko, and John Markovic have all previously achieved top five results on at least one occasion. Each racer hopes to improve on their best finishing position a little bit more on Sunday afternoon.
9: A total of nine divisions will be racing over two afternoons. The Late Models, Street Stocks, Factory Stocks, Four Cylinders, Evergreen Modifieds, Dirt Modifieds, INEX Legends, and Bandoleros join the Tour Mods for their biggest shows of the season.
20: Standard starting field size for each feature. With more than that expected in the Tour Modified division, there may be some nail biting going on throughout time trials and the consolation race. Fastest 15 will be taken from qualifying while the top five finishers advance from the consi. Provisional starting positions may be added to the field if a driver in the top 10 in points who does not qualify chooses to compete, given that they participated in time trials and consi.
30, 40, and 50: Number of laps for the various supporting races. The always popular Late Models and Street Stocks are the only divisions besides the Modifieds that have competed every year in the history of the event, and will each run 50 laps on Sunday. Both divisions only have one previous winner currently expected (Travis Fisher – Late Models, Steve Shultz – Street Stocks), but a host of drivers from Pennsylvania and New York will be looking to dethrone them as a feature winner. The fan favorite ‘Dirt’-style Modifieds will sling asphalt for 40 circuits on Saturday with 2013 winner Ricky Ross Jr. fighting off two-time Mahoning Valley Speedway champion Ricky Yetter and more. The local ‘Evergreen’ Modifieds headline Saturday’s festivities with a 50-lap race.
55: Total Modified victories that winningest driver at the St. Johns, Pennsylvania track, Brian Defebo, holds to his credit. The Berwick driver has yet to win at Evergreen this season, but took home both the Modified and Late Model honors back in 2003.
57: Number of points back in which Brandon Oltra is behind Matt Hirschman in the season-long Evergreen Tour Modified Series points race. With the winner receiving 100 points and last receiving only five, the championship is still very much up for grabs.
66: The car number for Austin Kochenash, the only driver not named Matt Hirschman that has won a Tour Mod race at Evergreen this season. This will actually be his debut in the division when it comes to this event, as he has two previous starts in Late Model.
100: Distance in laps for the first King of the Green running for the Tour Modifieds. There will be a break at halfway in which teams are permitted to change one tire.
$4,000: Winning prize the Tour Mod competitors will be battling for at the end of 100 laps.
Special Awards: Local supporter S&D BodyLine will be handing out various $25 and $50 paydays for accomplishments such pole, hard charger, and hard luck to competitors across multiple divisions.
Past King of the Green/Mountain Tour Modified Winners:
2013 – Matt Hirschman
2012 – Matt Hirschman
2011 – Matt Hirschman
2010 – Zane Zeiner
2009 – Earl Paules
2008 – Rusty Smith
2007 – Zane Zeiner
2006 – Earl Paules
2005 – Tony Hanbury
2004 – Eric Beers
2003 – Brian Defebo
2002 – Ike Iddings
2001 – Matt Hirschman
2000 – Russ Frantz
-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Central NY & PA Editor – Twitter: @aaron_creed
-Photo credit: Speed51.com