Saturday’s Kickoff to Speedweeks at Bronson Speedway (FL) got the Tour-type Modified season rolling in dramatic style as two former Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series champions squared off. When the checkered flag waved after 50 laps, it was Chuck Hossfeld outlasting Matt Hirschman in a dramatic chase over the final 15 laps.
After winning his heat race earlier in the evening, Hossfeld drew the pole position in a redraw of the top six qualifiers. Hossfeld first had to keep Jimmy Blewett at bay before a yellow flag with 35 laps complete brought Hirschman into the battle. After taking second from Blewett on the restart, Hirschman tried to cut past Hossfeld on the inside lap after lap.
Hossfeld had the superior car on the outside, maintaining enough momentum each lap to keep Hirschman in his rearview mirror.
Despite the accomplishments of the two in both the Northeast and in Florida, Hossfeld took a lot of satisfaction in this particular win, showing a lot of respect for his Pennsylvania counterpart.
“Matty is maybe one of the best ever, so to be able to hold him off here at a place where he’s won before is a big accomplishment,” Hossfeld stated. “I like winning races. Every year I think we won a race since we started racing back whenever, so 2019 we got that out of the way, and I have high hopes for the rest of the year.”
After the race, all Hirschman could do was tip his hat to Hossfeld’s late drive, mulling over what he and the No. 60 Pee Dee Motorsports team could have done better.
“I’m not sure. I was challenging, but if I was faster it wasn’t by much. They had a good handling car. They were a little better than the 21 (Blewett), he faded a little bit, but the 22 (Hossfeld) stayed good,” Hirschman explained. “I was able to cut a few times. The track was a little bit dirtier than I remembered it. I could try and make a pass, but there were some broken up spots that you felt when you tried to move down low to make a move.”
While “Big Money” Matt missed out on the $2,000 winner’s check, he was more than happy to take his race car out of Bronson and on to New Smyrna Speedway (FL) for the Tour-type Modified portion of the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing; five straight nights of racing starting on Monday, where he enters as the defending champion.
“My car was good, but you can’t dwell on this when you got five ahead of you next week,” Hirschman said. “The main objective for every car here is that you don’t wreck anything, that you got a car to move on to New Smyrna. That’s a plus for every car here and we all managed to achieve that.”
Not surprisingly, Hossfeld is feeling confident at going for another World Series title for himself, with his brand-new No. 22 car achieving victory in its first race.
“This sets us up for some momentum. I’m proud of everything we’ve done so far since we got to Florida,” Hossfeld said. “We practiced well at New Smyrna and we practiced well here yesterday. We have really high hopes.
“We got the prettiest car, the prettiest girl, and the most fun crew. I’m blessed. We’re going to have a great time.”
Jimmy Blewett held on for third in his first appearance with the Betuccio team. Patrick Emerling and Andy Jankowiak completed the top five, while Calvin Carroll, Jeff Goodale, Jeremy Gerstner, Jeff Gallup and Chris Risdale completed the 10-car field.
Race fans will be able to watch race highlights from the Kickoff to Speedweeks 50 soon on the Speed51 Network. If you’re not a premium subscriber, click here to become one today.
Stay with Speed51.com as the “Mighty Modifieds” begin their five-night campaign at New Smyrna Speedway on Monday.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com