Holland, NY – “Big Money” Matt Hirschman from Northampton, Pennsylvania thundered his way to the $3,500 payday after winning the Thunder in the Hills 100 presented by the Upstate Automotive Group for the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series fueled by Sunoco at Holland International Speedway on Saturday evening. For Hirschman, it was his third career triumph at Holland and fourth on the 2017 Race of Champions Modified Series. Nik Welshans from West Falls, NY led the final two circuits to score the win in the Bank of Holland Chargers. Andrew Nye from Lancaster, NY Bob Palmer from Buffalo, NY won the main event for the Advance Auto Parts Hornets.
“This place is so much fun driving a Modified” stated Hirschman in victory lane. “I felt all race that I had to beat Emerling to the front and we did that tonight. I love racing at Holland and race at this competitive track and we can change lanes here and can’t make much better racetracks than Holland” Hirschman stated.
“Restarts were huge tonight. I love coming here, it’s my favorite racetrack and we were in good shape and we started on the bottom and we (Hirschman and I) had equal cars and it was a good points night” stated runner-up finisher, Patrick Emerling. “We led a lot of laps tonight, just not the one that paid the bills” stated third place finisher Austin Kockenash.
New Jersey competitor Randall Richard and Pennsylvania pilot Austin Kockenash led the 24 car field of Race of Champions Modifieds to the green flag for their ninth race of the season, the annual Thunder in the Hills 100 and it was Kockenash in the lead with Patrick Emerling in second with DLJ in third with Chuck Hossfeld running in fourth and Matt Hirschman in fifth. Hossfeld wasted no time to move into second as he passed Emerling on lap five. George Skora and Andy Jankowiak made contact on the back straightaway and came together on lap eight to bring out the red flag. The Skora #65 needed to be cradled back to the pits. The early race restart would see Kockenash and Hossfeld bringing the field back to the green flag with Kockenash, Hossfeld, Lewis, Mike Leaty and Emerling racing in the top five. Mike Leaty would pass Lewis to move into third on lap 20, just as Amy Catalano spun in turn four to bring out the caution.
The lap 26 restart would see Kockenash out front with Hossfeld, Leaty, Lewis and Matt Hirschman, who started 10th on the grid, racing in the top five with Tommy Catalano battling Emerling for the sixth spot. Daren Scherer slowed, in turn, one to bring out the races third caution on lap 41, erasing the lad that Kockenash built up over the field, nearly ¾ of a second over Hossfeld. At halfway, Kockenash, Hossfeld, Lewis, Leaty, Hirschman, Emerling, Tommy, Camden Barber, Scott Wylie and Bill Mislin raced in the top 10. The battle was on for the third and fourth position as Matt Hirschman raced by Leaty and Lewis to move into third place. Emerling would regain the fourth spot after passing Lewis and then Mike Leaty re-entered the top five with Tommy Catalano trying to follow Leaty. The leaders would hit lap traffic on lap 60. Tom McGrath, who came out of retirement, entered the top 10 for the first time on lap 64. The caution would fly once again as Bill Mislin hit the back straightaway wall. Mislin was able to drive his Rear End Specialists entry to the pits. On the restart, Kockenash took off with Matt Hirschman moving into second with Hossfeld, Emerling and Tommy Catalano taking over fifth. Mike Leaty would regain the fifth spot on lap 79, just as Emerling challenged Hossfeld for third place.
Hirschman would catch Kockenash on lap 82 to challenge for the lead with Kockenash able to hold off Hirschman. Hirschman again would look underneath Kockenash coming off turn four but would settle to run behind Kockenash with less than 15 laps remaining, as Patrick Emerling started to reel in the lead duo. Hirschman went underneath Kockenash coming off turn four and Hirschman would take the lead on lap 88. Emerling would catch Kockenash for second, as Scott Wylie would move back into the top five and would battle with Hossfeld to move into fourth place. Emerling used the slide job in turn two to take second away from Kockenash with six laps remaining. Hirschman would pull away to score the win. Emerling, Kockenash, Wylie, and Hossfeld would complete the top five.
Scott Gleed and Jim Loffredo brought the field of Bank of Holland Chargers to the green flag for their 25 lap feature with Loffredo showing the way. Tim Welshans suffered a broken left front and came to a stop in turn four to bring out the races first caution with just three laps completed. While under caution speed, race leader Jim Loffredo went to the pits. Loffredo was able to join the rear of the field for the restart. The lap three restart would see Dave Vona and Nik Welshans on the front row with Vona showing the way with Eric Brown moving into second. The lead duo would start to pull away as Hathaway challenged Nik Welshans for the third spot. While leading, Vona had a puff of smoke in turn three and spun with Hathaway and Jim Loffredo getting into the liquid left from Vona to bring out the caution with four laps remaining. Nik Welshans would take the lead with two laps remaining from Brown and would go on to score the victory. “The heat race didn’t start too well with a broken axel but the crew gave us a hand to get the car fixed and here we are” stated Welshans in victory lane.
Jim Musto and Andy Nye set the pace for the NYPA TQ Midgets 20 lap main event with Nye taking the lead with Dave Wollaber in second and Tommy Catalano taking over third. Musto was sent to fourth with Kyle Hutchinson racing in fifth. Tommy Catalano would go to the outside of the speedway to challenge Nye for the lead but Nye would hold off Catalano’s advances. Hutchinson would look underneath Wollaber to take third away on lap four, just as Nye and Catalano would begin to pull away from the field. The leaders would hit lap traffic on lap eight, just before Ted Jones spun in turn three on lap nine. On the restart, Nye would jump into the lead as Catalano, Hutchinson, Wollaber and Bobby Holmes all gave chase. Catalano would look to the outside of Nye on lap 11 for the lead but once again, Nye would hold him off. Andy Nye would hold off Catalano to score the win.
Tyler Pastorious and Craig Orr led the Advance Auto Parts Hornets to the green flag for their 25 lap feature with Orr jumping into the lead. Josh Schosek moved into second with Ben Russo taking third away from Pastorious, sending him outside the top five by lap two. Adam Killingbeck spun in turn four and got collected with Billy Weiss to bring out the races first caution on lap six. On the restart, Orr would take off in the lead but the battle was on behind him as Bob Bogner moved into third with Russo and Bob Palmer racing in the top five. Bogner would challenge Schosek for second at the races midway point and then went after Orr on lap 13. Bob Bogner would pull away from the rest of the field and his lead would be erased as Billy Weiss spun in turn three with five laps remaining. The final five laps would see Bob Palmer work his way into the second position and then pass Bogner with three laps remaining and would go on to score his third win of the season.
NEWS AND NOTES: Chuck Hossfeld was the fastest in Time Trials for the RoC Modifieds with a 13.902-second lap around the 3/8th’s mile oval. Highest car count of the season with 24 Race of Champions Modifieds signed in pitside.
Holland’s historic 58th season continues on Saturday, July 29th for the Summer Sizzler Enduro and Figure 8 Bonanza! Times are still being finalized and will be released in the coming days on Holland’s social media pages. NASCAR Racing returns on Saturday, August 5th for the 18th running of the George Decker Memorial 75 for the Pro Modifieds. The Chargers, Hornets, NYPA TQ Midgets, INEX Legends and Bandoleros will all be in action. Heats will start at 5:00 pm with Feature Racing starting at 7:05 pm.
RACE RESULTS – Upstate Automotive Group Night
Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series: MATT HIRSCHMAN (Started 10th), Patrick Emerling (4), Austin Kockenash (2), Scott Wylie (3), Chuck Hossfeld (8), Camden Barber (15), Mike Leaty (12), Tommy Catalano (5), Daryl Lewis Jr (6), Bryan Sherwood (11), Tom McGrath (23), Karl Hehr (14), Danny Knoll Jr (22), Tyler Rypkema (16), Dave Rigan (17), Tommy Rought (19), Mike Fiebelkorn Jr (20), Randall Richard (1), Amy Catalano (21), Bill Mislin (18), Alan Bookmiller (24), Daren Scherer (13), George Skora III (7), Andy Jankowiak (9)
Qualifying Winners: Chuck Hossfeld, Patrick Emerling, Daryl Lewis Jr
Bank of Holland Chargers: NIK WELSHANS (Started 6th), Eric Brown (8), Jason Dieter (9), Jim Loffredo (2), Ken Maltby (7), Josh Hathaway (5), Chris Handley (10), Scott Gleed (1), Dave Vona (3), Steve Hill Jr (11), Tim Welshans (4) Did Not Start: Ted Welshans
Qualifying Winners: Tim Welshans, Jim Loffredo
NYPA TQ Midgets: ANDY NYE (Started 2nd), Tommy Catalano (3), Kyle Hutchinson (5), Bobby Holmes (9), Dave Wollaber (4), Erik Musto (6), AJ Hessler (7), Charlie DiRosa (11), Chad Heywood (8), Ted Jones (10), Tony Petrea (12), Vinnie Christiano III (17), Pat Smith (14), Jeremy Conklin (18), Jamie Pew (13), Kevin Wilson (15), Jim Musto (1), Shawn Nye (16), Did Not Start: Vinnie Christiano Jr
Qualifying Winners: Kyle Hutchinson, Tommy Catalano
Advance Auto Parts Hornets: BOB PALMER (Started 9th), Bob Bogner (8), Josh Schosek (3), Louis Carbone (11), Ben Russo (5), Jeff Szafraniec (7), Kenny Hejna (10), Craig Orr (2), Jason Anasiewicz (13), Marty Hughes (6), Dale Lombardo (12), Billy Weiss (14), Tyler Pastorius (1), Adam Killingbeck (4)
Qualifying Winners: Jeff Szafraniec, Bob Bogner
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Holland International Speedway Press Release. Photo Credit: Mojo Photos