By Aaron Creed
Matt Hirschman continued his streak of wins in the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour and Oswego Speedway by claiming, with ease, the victory in the Richie Evans Memorial 75 on Memorial Day Tripleheader night in upstate New York.
Hirschman redrew seventh position to start the feature, but picked up positions early using the high side on the fast 5/8-mile track. The last driver to win a RoC feature besides Hirschman, Erick Rudolph, started from the pole and looked unbeatable early; that was, until his car immediately slowed while leading less than ten laps into the event.
With Rudolph out of the picture, Hirschman powered around new leader Patrick Emerling for the lead on a restart. It was not clear sailing for Hirschman, much like the previous two races of the season. Runner-up finisher in both races, Chuck Hossfeld, put the pressure on Hirschman and a few times peeked inside the number-60. Unfortunately for Hossfeld, that opportunity never came and Hirschman went on to win his third straight RoC race and fifth straight in competition at Oswego Speedway.
Hossfeld settled for his third-straight, second-place finish, but remarked after the race that the team continues to gain on Hirschman. Emerling held on for third over Andy Jankowiak and Tyler Rypkema.
Additionally, the non-winged Supermodifieds had a headlining event with their annual Jim Shampine Memorial 75. Dirt Modified and Sprint Car veteran Jessica Zemken started from the pole and led early in the feature. Dave Gruel, who wrecked in practice earlier in the day, had the car repaired and battled back to the lead nine laps in. Meanwhile, a five-time Jim Shampine Memorial 75 race winner and six-time division champion, Otto Sitterly was slowly working his way from tenth toward the front of the field.
After a few cautions that bunched the field, Sitterly continued to advance one-by-one and finally into the lead with less than ten laps remaining. As he pulled away in the closing laps, the feature turned out to be far from over. The stalled car of former Shampine Memorial race winner Randy Ritskes initiated the need for remaining teams on the track to refuel. Therefore, the red flag was flown for team members to service the cars. This caution would setup a three-lap dash for all the laurels.
Sitterly checked out on the final restart and won his fifth Memorial Day weekend race in the last six years. Gruel held on for second, followed by Sitterly’s teammate Dave Schullick Jr., Kody Graham, and Jessica Zemken.
The Race of Champions will race a doubleheader at Spencer Speedway and Elegant Builders Raceway Park in two weeks. Meanwhile, the Supermodifieds will be back at it again next week at the Steel Palace.