This weekend Tour-Type Modified teams will bring their brand of 600 horsepower thunder to North Carolina’s Concord Speedway for the 14th Annual North-South Shootout. For the past 10 years fans of the ground-pounding Modifieds have become accustomed to Pennsylvania ace Matt Hirschman being the pre-race favorite. That tradition will carry on this year as Hirschman enters the race after winning two major Modified races the past two weekends.
It has been business as usual lately for the driver who wears the nickname “Big Money.” Hirschman recently won a 65-lap, $5,000-to-win feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (CT) on October 23 before going west to Oswego Speedway (NY) to claim his fourth Race of Champions 250 victory worth $12,500.
Though the schedule has been relentless, Hirschman and his No. 60 team have taken it in stride.
“We haven’t had time to enjoy any of the race victories because they have been so close together and we need to prepare for the next one. But that’s what I like about the Fall, they’re all big shows and I always look forward to finishing strong. Plus they’re all really lucrative races to finish the season,” Hirschman told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
It is a wave of momentum he easily feels he can continue to ride, even though he has not been to Concord since last year. The two days of practice and qualifying should be more than enough to make up any disadvantage in notes, should it exist to begin with.
“We’ve always run well there and been a contender,” Hirschman stated. “It’s a fun track to go to, definitely a lot of passing and good racing. I know a lot of the guys that raced in the Spring, they probably have a bit of a leg up, but it should come back to us like it typically does there.”
Hirschman is in search of his fourth North-South win at Concord and sixth overall, with the latest two coming at Caraway Speedway (NC). Last year Hirschman appeared to have done just that, but was disqualified for plugging a leaking tire during a red flag period after an apparent miscommunication between his team and race officials.
Hirschman is going into the weekend not seeking revenge, fully concentrating on what’s out the windshield and not in the rearview mirror.
“It’s a new year regardless of what happened,” he said. “It’s just like any other race, you prepare and give yourself an opportunity to win. We’re doing the same thing regardless of what happened last year, defending winner or not. It’s all about this year.”
While Hirschman is brimming with his usual confidence, he knows that to earn that sixth victory his team must be at peak performance.
“Most of the field is going to have Concord experience,” Hirschman explained. “Last year being back there after a long time, the learning curve for everyone or more for others than me, because I’ve had success there in the past, the learning curve was a little steeper. Now some guys that were there last year and been there early this year, it helps them to be right in the ballpark getting started. For us, there’s plenty of time over the two day show and we shouldn’t have a problem getting up to speed.”
Be sure to follow Speed51.com this Thursday, Friday and Saturday for at the track updates from Concord Speedway and tune in early next week to the Speed51 Network for race highlights of the Modifieds, the Super Late Models of the Pro All Stars Series and more.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com