OSWEGO, N.Y. — Matt Hirschman may not run the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour often, but when he does, he makes his trips well worth it. The Pennsylvania driver drove to his fourth career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win at Oswego Speedway on Saturday night, which was his second at the tricky New York oval. Hirschman became the fifth different winner in the first five races of the tour season by pulling away from NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Preece in the final laps to win the Steel Palace 150.
The race was the second of three for the season promoted by JDV Productions, led by Josh Vanada.
“I love every ripple, bump and crack in this place,” Hirschman said. “I’ve been coming here for a long time and it’s a special place to my whole family. I’ve always just enjoyed coming up here. This place has a lot of character and it really suits me well. It’s tough winning these races. We’re a limited, part-time team.”
Max McLaughlin won the Mayhew Tools pole award in qualifying and led the first 44 laps, before Craig Lutz took the lead on lap 45. Hirschman, who qualified third, would follow to second — and the two drivers pulled away from their challengers until Hirschman made the move around for the top spot on lap 67. Entering turn three on the same lap, contact from a lapped car sent Lutz spinning in the next corner, drawing the only caution period of the race.
During the caution, pit stops for fresh Hoosier rubber and Sunoco fuel ended with Lutz back out front over Ron Silk, Chuck Hossfeld, who was fastest in practice, and Patrick Emerling, for the restart. Hirschman lined up fifth for the green — with two-time tour champion Justin Bonsignore in sixth.
Hirschman worked his way to second within two laps, then passed Hossfeld for the lead on lap 85. He would never relinquish the top spot for the rest of the distance — but it wasn’t an easy run to the checkered flag. Preece charged from outside the top-five right to the front, taking second on lap 94, then setting chase for Hirschman. Preece chased his back bumper over the final 50 laps, coming close, but couldn’t get around.
Behind Hirschman and Preece was Patrick Emerling — who maintained the series points lead with a third-place finish. Justin Bonsignore and Kyle Ebersole finished the top-five over Woody Pitkat, Tyler Rypkema, Chase Dowling, Anthony Nocella and Ron Silk.
McLaughlin finished 11th after leading laps early, while Lutz was 17th, three laps down. Twenty-four drivers took the green flag in the Steel Palace 150.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track on Saturday, June 19, at Riverhead Raceway in New York. JDV Productions will return to series promotion on Saturday, August 21 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Maine.
For more information on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, visit nascar.com. For more information on Oswego Speedway, visit OswegoSpeedway.com. For more information on JDV Productions, visit JDVProductions.com.
-JDV Productions / Souza Media Press Release
-Photo credit: Bryan Bennett / NASCAR