Now as the temperatures warm entering the latter half of spring, the racing calendar heats up even more with the commencement of the 2021 six-race, three-track schedule for the Tri-Track Open Modified Series in Southern New England. Up first this coming Saturday night is perhaps the toughest track in Hirschman’s eyes, Monadnock Speedway.
Winning at the high-bank quarter-mile once in 2015, Hirschman has had few visits since, with most of them being a trio of starts just last season; both Tri-Track events, and one for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. In all three race dates, Hirschman and the No. 60 crew were never able to land on a winning setup.
“Based off of last year Monadnock was not one of our strongest tracks. As far as Tri-Track goes, with the three tracks we’re going to, it’s the least successful of the three. We do well at Seekonk, we’re great at Star, and Monadnock we weren’t happy with in the three races last year, including the Whelen Tour. Like always, we’re looking to improve, and maybe try some things different to so see if we can hit on something to get us in winning contention,” Hirschman told Speed51.
The learning process in those 2020 races also ended up taking a bit of a reversal for the Pennsylvania team.
Sometimes you learn what not to do. It’s not common for us to go to a racetrack and not be competitive for a win. Even the third place finish we had in the second Tri-Track race was by the default of making it through a last lap scramble, and picking up a bunch of spots. We had a fifth-to-seventh place car and to win you need at least a podium car to have an opportunity to win.
Since the fourth race of the five round World Series at New Smyrna Speedway back in February, Hirschman is perfect in Tour-type/Open Modified races, with a crash in the Wall Stadium Modified portion of the Turkey Derby make-up in March being the only red mark since then. Even with so much momentum, Hirschman is not taking it for granted heading to Southwest New Hampshire.
“The streaks don’t really mean anything. If it comes to an end, for whatever reason, you look to start one at the next race. We’ve got such a long season ahead of us that I’m not even counting wins right now. A lot of races left and a lot of opportunities to win. At the same time, if you don’t continue to prepare and focus on the next race ahead it can affect later races.”
Overall, having this many wins this early in the season is something that many people in the Modified community, including Hirschman, were not expecting. But not over of any doubts of performance, but simply because he does not typically enter many races in March and April.
With the carry-over of the COVID-19 restrictions of 2020 still being felt in 2021, more races have been on the table early, with many teams, including the No. 60, having the funds to run them. It has led to one of the most jam-packed Modified calendars in many years. Hirschman knows that the long road ahead may provide one of the biggest challenges that he and the team have faced in a long time.
“We’re actually returning home on Sunday to race the season opener at Evergreen. It’s a busy early part of the season, busier than I prefer it to be. But, we had those Turkey Derby make-up races over the two weeks in March from last November. March we would’ve been fine with racing once or twice, but now we’ve had only one off-weekend in April. It’s long season and to go wide open this early season is tough.”
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Correspondent – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51