Matt Hirschman dominated the Race of Champions Modified Series Lake Erie 75 at Lake Erie Speedway (PA) Saturday Night, earning his first win of the 2017 season.
Hirschman picked up the win after leading the race flag-to-flag. The driver of the No. 60 Race of Champions Modified started from the outside of the front row after Scott Wylie had a part failure just prior to the start. Hirschman passed Daren Scherer using the outside groove on lap one, taking the lead and never looking back.
Despite what looked like an easy victory, Hirschman told Speed51.com powered by JEGS that second-place finisher Tommy Catalano kept the pressure on him.
“I thought at the time Tommy was probably pushing me too hard, that our pace was too fast. But the way the race worked out, a lot of green flag, a lot of long green late. It worked out for both of us to stay one-two,” he said. “When you’re leading, you don’t want to give up the lead because to get it back later is probably going to be tough. Glad it worked out.”
Tommy Catalano moved quickly from eighth to second place, and stalked Hirschman for much of the race. Catalano was able to make several attempts to pass Hirschman, but was unable to make them stick. His best chance came late in the race when slower traffic was racing ahead of Hirschman. However, after making a three-wide pass around the lapped cars, Catalano was not able to catch the leader again.
Catalano said after the race that he was hoping Hirschman would make a mistake.
“I kept my tires right in his tracks and kept the pressure on him. I was hoping that sooner or later he would mess up,” Catalano explained. “It wasn’t likely, I knew that, but I figured that was what I had to try to do. Couple times where he got a little loose, but I wasn’t close enough to capitalize. We came home second, that’s awesome. Hopefully one of these days the rolls will be reversed.”
Hirschman knows that the competition will be coming for him when teams return for the 67th annual Race of Champions on September 30.
“It really was a true test for later this year. Something that I know everybody is going to build on. We can try to get even better, but we know other guys are going to make changes too.”
The Race of Champions Modified Series continues their season on June 17 at Jennerstown Speedway in Pennsylvania.
For on-demand coverage of Saturday RoC Modified Series race, visit Speed51.com’s Trackside Now.
-By Patrick Hahe, Speed51.com State Editor (IN, MI and OH)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series Unofficial Results
Lake Erie Speedway (PA) – June 10, 2017
|15||10||Daryl Lewis, Jr.|