St. Johns, PA — In what most would refer to as a storybook ending, Paul Hartwig, Jr. of Lakewood, NJ held off multiple pass attempts by Matt Hirschman to notch his first career open wheel asphalt Modified this Sunday at Evergreen Raceway. After a stellar duel with Mike Sweeney, Travis Fisher of Fern Glen hung on to take the Late Model win and Scott Adams of Lake Ariel scored the thrilling Street Stock feature win. Ricky Yetter of Wilson took top honors in the Dirt Modified division and Tom Cassagrande of Drums scored the Factory Stock win. From the pole, Sam Ryan of Whitehaven wired the Four Cylinder feature for victory.
When Paul Hartwig, Jr. was a child, two of his racing heroes included Tony and Matt Hirschman. Hartwig, who runs a low budget operation, tends to be beat up on social media when he asks for sponsorship help and advice. However, it has never affected his willingness to ask for help and in return, he obtained enough funding through Facebook to compete in the Evergreen Modified division opener at Evergreen.
To the surprise of many, the young talent won the heat race. He started from the pole position in the 30-lap main and led the opening lap over Matt Hirschman, Dave Brigati, JP Curry and Cam Ayers.
Hirschman raced the leader clean yet hard and waited to take advantage of a mistake that Hartwig never made.
Only one caution slowed the race on lap 16 and following a great restart, Hartwig held off Hirschman and Brigati to claim his first ever open wheel victory.
“This is a dream come true”, noted Hartwig in victory lane.
“I grew up watching him (Hirschman) and always looked up to him and his father”.
Nick Ross grabbed the lead model heat win and started from the pole position in the 25-lap feature. He led the opening lap over Travis Fisher, Mike Sweeney, Mitch Hawk and Rick Smith.
Two early yellows slowed the pace and Fisher gave his all to overtake the leader on the restarts. Following a restart, Fisher raced Ross hard and took the top spot on lap 12.
Although he was pressured hard by Sweeney, Fisher held on to take the win. Sweeney settled for second, followed by Ross, Smith and Joe Baretta.
Ricky Yetter is no stranger when it comes to Dirt Modifieds taking to the Evergreen asphalt. Sunday was no surprise when Yetter notched the heat race win and after starting from the pole, cruised to the win in the 20-lap contest over Aleia Geisler, Billy Lasko, Scott Adams and John Banashefski.
After taking heat wins, Cody Roth and Robert Fink shared the front for the 20-lap Street Stock feature. Roth led the opening circuit over Fink, Randy Schlenker, Charlie Castiglione and Todd Ahner. However, Schlenker wasted no time moving into second and then taking the lead on lap three.
Following a few yellow flags, Scott Adams moved to third and then on a lap nine restart, Adams grabbed second from Fink.
After pursuing the leader for multiple circuits, Adams took the lead on lap 15. Despite a gallant effort from Schlenker, Adams took the checkers. Ahner finished in the third spot, followed by Castiglione and Chip Wanamaker.
Tom Casagrande took the checkers in the Factory Stock heat race and started from the pole in the 20-lap feature. He never relinquished the top spot and cruised to the win over Moe Hunsinger.
After a spin earlier, Stephanie Moyer rebounded to finish a solid third, followed by Frank Katona and Scott Sipe.
After taking the Four Cylinder heat race win, Sam Ryan started from the pole position in the 20-lap feature. He held the spot after lap one, and was pursued by Frank Hughes, Jr, Jay Skupski, Sam Danahar & Kyle Williams.
Despite a yellow flag just past the mid race point, Ryan held his line to take the victory over Hughes, Danahar, Williams and Bob Azarowicz.
Along with the Pro Stocks, Street Stocks, Factory Stocks and Four Cylinders, the Tour Type Modifieds are on the racing card for Sunday, April 24. It’s the first of seven extended lap events for the popular open wheel machines and the interest for the event has been stellar. Grandstand admission is set at $15 and as always, children 10 years of age and younger will be admitted into the grandstand area for free with a paying adult.
-Photo Credit: Lisa Hartwig