St. Johns, PA – The second and final day of Evergreen Raceway’s second annual “King of the Green” (KOTG) weekend kicked off Sunday afternoon. With $4,000 on the line for the winner of the 100-lap American Rental Equipment Modified main event, it was destined to be a show that would draw cars from the tri-state area, which it did for all three divisions on Sunday’s card. Despite a slow start to the Modified main, which eliminated some of the stout runners, Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA took the checkers over Zane Zeiner to claim the big $4,000 check and the division championship.
It was no surprise to see Randy Schlenker of Whitehall running up front in the Barbush Automotive Street Stock division. In what he calls his career-best season, Schlenker not only took the victory but also claimed another Evergreen championship. After crossing the stripe second in the Factory Stock feature, mixed with the disqualification of the feature winner, Gerard Lawrence of Long Island, NY was honored with the victory.
Twenty-eight Tour-type Modifieds lined the pit area. Each and every driver had their first goal in mind- to finish well in the heat or consi to make the 20-car starting field. Three drivers were well on their way with heat race wins, including John Mandatto, Brian DeFebo and Scott Adams. Thirteen cars started the consi and Blake Barney took that victory.
With a heads up start from qualifying, Mandatto led the field to the drop of the green in the 100-lap contest. He led the opening circuit over DeFebo, Adams, Matt Hirschman and Roger Coss. The top five settled in and quickly ran off some quick laps before a quick yellow waved on lap 11.
Green flag racing resumed and then a pileup occurred at the exit of turn two. Many drivers were involved, including DeFebo, Coss, Earl Paules, Buddy Miller, Lou Strohl, Gene Bowers, Barry Callavini , Zane Zeiner and Randall Richard. Nearly turning over, Zeiner rode the backstretch wall before landing back on all four wheels. Amazingly, after some quick crew work, Zeiner rejoined the field without losing a lap. DeFebo, on the other hand, was not as lucky and the day came to a close for the 2016 event winner.
With the green back out and with Mandatto still showing the way, a quick caution waved on lap 14. Hirschman held second on the restart and got the jump on Mandatto to take the lead.
A red flag stopped the show for minutes on lap 17 when Callavini’s car appeared to have a part break while entering turn one. He shot up the track and collected John Fortin, Jr. Fortin’s car slammed into the Styrofoam blocks and then rode the fence prior to flipping on its roof. Thankfully, Fortin was uninjured both the hopes of winning for both drivers came to an end.
More green flag laps clicked off following the restart and Adams found himself on Hirschman’s back bumper at the halfway mark. Mandatto, Paules and Coss were in tow.
Within the next 20 laps, Brandon Oltra made his presence known and moved into the third behind the two front-runners. Amazingly, Zeiner had moved into fourth after the incident early in the show.
The show slowed on lap 74 and Adams gave up second and hit the pits for a tire. The only problem was; the pits were closed. Realizing the mistake, it forced him to restart as the last car on the lead lap. When the pits were
finally open, many of the top ten runners pitted, including Paules, Coss, Barney, John Markovic and Mandatto. With a very strategic call, Hirschman did not pit and held the lead over Oltra and Zeiner for the restart.
Once the green flag came back out, Hirschman focused on the lead and Zeiner focused on overtaking Oltra for second. He succeeded on lap 75 but didn’t have anything left for the leader by the event’s end. Hirschman went on to score his fifth King of the Green victory over Zeiner, Coss, Oltra and Markovic.
Evergreen Raceway is located minutes from Hazleton, PA, in between routes 93 and 309. For more information regarding Evergreen Raceway, including the entire season schedule, directions and divisional payouts, please visit
www.evergreenracewaypark.com and don’t forget to like their Facebook page as well.
-Evergreen Raceway Press Release & Photo