Matt Hirschman drove from worst to first on Sunday evening, winning the Haunted Hundred at Seekonk Speedway (MA) to claim his fourth Tri-Track Open Modified Series championship after starting 27th in the 100-lap race.
Hirschman started last in the 27-car field, making it in on a provisional starting spot. This was a calculated move on Hirschman’s behalf, as he opted to avoid the chaos of qualifying races and lurked in the back to simply make the race. It came at the cost of track position for the main event, but that was a risk “Big Money” was willing to take.
The strategy played to perfection, as Hirschman worked his way through the field before taking the lead on lap 62 from Chase Dowling. Hirschman, who had entered the event tied with Ron Silk for the Tri-Track Open Modified Series points lead, held off Silk on a sequence of late restarts to secure the win and the title.
“The strategy had its risks, starting dead last,” Hirschman explained. “The qualifying stuff just wasn’t worth the risk to me. I wanted to be on the track and have a shot at the end to settle it between Ronnie and myself. I took the safe route there, but in the race it had its risks.”
“It worked out,” Hirschman added. “The car has to work for you. We saved some tire early, but we left the tire in the pits to change tires that a lot of guys got. The car’s got to be right, the stagger has to come in. There’s just so much that goes into this for weeks going. You get here and it can all change really quick.”
Hirschman winning the Tri-Track Open Modified Series title may not be surprising, considering the frequency he has done so. However, the 2018 season provided a stronger challenge for Hirschman, as he was unable to win in the four-race series until Sunday at Seekonk.
“It’s our first this year,” Hirschman said. “Last year, we won them all and this year the series had four different winners. That’s just how the sport goes. We weren’t quite on top of our game earlier this summer.
“I’m just really proud,” Hirschman added. “It’s obvious we’re on a roll right now, I’m performing at my best like I did at times last year. That’s the difference sometimes. Earlier this year, I just wasn’t the best and now I am. Just really trying to keep on top and stay on my game to finish out the season."
Ron Silk, the winner of the Open Wheel Wednesday event in July, charged to the front in the late stages to set up a one-on-one battle with Hirschman for the win and the championship. In the end, the former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion came up just one position short.
"I think it was good. He won," Silk said when asked about Hirschman's unique strategy. "He had the right strategy. I was a little too loose the first run and we made an adjustment. We just went a little too far the other way. He was a little better. We were clearly the two best cars all year and it went kind of back in forth all year. Today, he was just a little better than we were."
Chris Pasteryak, Chase Dowling and Anthony Sesley completed the top five when the checkered flag waved Sunday night.
Race fans who missed the action at Seekonk Sunday, including the PASS North season finale and the Haunted Hundred Tri-Track Open Modified Series event, can catch up on everything they missed on Speed51.com. Click here to view Trackside Now updates from the race, or click here to order our on-demand broadcast of the day’s racing.
-Story by Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Haunted Hundred Unofficial Results
Sunday, October 28 - Seekonk Speedway (MA)
|23||50||Carl Medeiros, Jr.|