WATERFORD — Racing is sometimes similar to playing poker. It’s best to go after the biggest jackpots.
Considering the amount of money that’s on the line for Sunday’s Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair 100 at the New London Waterford Speedbowl, the final race of the 2015 Tri-Track Open Modified Series, drivers such as “Big Money” Matt Hirschman should be in their element. And he’ll be going “all in.”
Hirschman specializes in winning races with big purses attached. Sunday’s event certainly qualifies — the 100-lap showdown will pay $5,000 to the winner, plus bonus and lap money, plus another $1,500 to the overall winner of the season. Seven drivers are alive for the overall championship — point-leader Todd Annarummo, Wiidy Pitkat, Richard Savery, Todd Patnode, Hirschman, Chris Pastryal and Anthony Nocella.
That means there’s only one way for Hirschman to approach the race — “bring your ‘A’’ game.”
“It’s not easy to even qualify,” Hirschman said. “In the first two events, I had to qualify through the consolation race. That’s how competitive this series is.”
It could be the most competitive open-wheel race ever held at the Speedbowl. So far 42 drivers have either registered for the race or purchased tires.
All of the major Modified Touring series will be represented. Whelen Tour drivers such as Doug Coby, Ryan Preece, Pitkat and Ted Christopher, are expected to be on hand. Valenti Modified Racing Series drivers include point leader Pastryak, Pitkat, Mike Holdridge, Patnode, Les Hinckley and series point leader Annarummo.
The Race of Champions Tour will be showcased by drivers such as Hirschman and Andy Jankowiak. Multi-time Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver George Brunnhoelzl III and reigning champ Andy Seuss also are expected.
The drawing card is an overall purse of more than $50,000. Even the “B” Main Ballard Trucks Circle of Friends 25 will pay $1,000 to the winning driver.
“Money always is a motivating factor,” Hirschman said. “The Tri Track Series pays good money throughout. It’s nice to win, but other drivers can make good money, not just the winner. This is the kind of purse we should be racing for.”
Hirschman has won one race in the series so far, capturing the Monadnock Racing Guys 100 at Monadnock Jume 13. He racked up a DNF in the Bullring Bash 100 at Lee May 17 and was seventh in the Modified Madness Race July 1 at Seekonk.
“We’ll be in the hunt,” Hirschman said. “I took to the Speedbowl very quickly early in my career because it’s very similar to the tracks I started out on. But I haven’t been there lately, so I’m not taking anything for granted until the checkered flag flies.”
A lot of dollar signs will be flying along with it.
Practice starts at noon Sunday. Qualifying gets under way at 1:30 p.m., with the consolation races, the Ballard Trucking Circle of Friends 25 “B” Main and the Dunleavy’s Truck & Tractor Repair 100 to follow.
Features also will be held for two of the Speedbowl’s weekly divisions, the SK Lights and the Late Models.
Adult grandstand admission is $30. Juniors 13-16 are $8. Children 12-and-under always are free at the Speedbowl. For more information, contact speedbowlct.com, or call 860-422-7223.
Expected entry list:
Mike Douglas Jr.
Rob Richardi Jr.
-New London-Waterford Speedbowl Press Release. Photo credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com