Matt Hirschman led the final 17 laps on his way to his second consecutive John Blewett III Memorial 76 at the 2019 World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna, beating out Chuck Hossfeld and Dave Sapienza.
“I really like the longer races here,” said Hirschman. “Guys had some strategy there of pitting and different things, but it worked out.”
Earlier this week, Hirschman expressed frustration over an inability to time his passes properly.
Wednesday night, “Big Money” Matt timed his move perfectly.
Ryan Preece led much of the race, nailing restart after restart despite challenges from Hirschman. Then, on lap 60, Hirschman muscled his way by Preece, getting a better jump than Preece on a restart. Hirschman would not surrender the lead the rest of the way, while Preece went into freefall mode, ultimately finishing ninth.
Preece attributed the late-race slide to tire wear.
“The right-front (tire) is gone, so it couldn’t turn, usually we wear the right-rear, but I destroyed the right-front,” said Preece. “I felt like I was holding a good pace. I was conserving the entire race. Once we lost the lead, it was just difficult because you end up abusing it that much more.”
The win is a big step for Hirschman towards defending last year’s Tour Modified World Series title.
“We came here to race,” said Hirschman. “I know we’re all tired. We’re gonna go on adrenaline and celebrate this for a little bit, but we’re definitely worn out.”
Behind Hirschman was Chuck Hossfeld, who was thrilled with a runner-up finish.
“We didn’t have the car we needed at the beginning of the race,” said Hossfeld. “But we kept coming in and adjusting. I knew we had a good car if I could break free from some of the traffic, and we had a fast car at the end.”
Turkey Derby winner Dave Sapienza got his first podium finish of the World Series, finishing third.
“I was telling my crew chief earlier: ‘I don’t time trial well, but I can race a car’,” said Sapienza. “So we pretty much time trialed with a race setup, and they told me it was gonna be good.”
The Tour Modifieds still have two races to run over the next two nights. Tomorrow night is a 35-lapper, and Friday night is the prestigious Richie Evans Memorial 100.
The full results from the John Blewett III Memorial 76 can be found below:
- Matt Hirschman
- Chuck Hossfeld
- Dave Sapienza
- Doug Coby
- Jimmy Zacharias
- Amy Catalano
- Patrick Emerling
- Dylan Steuer
- Ryan Preece
- Jeremy Gerstner
- Jimmy Blewett
- Nikki Carroll
- Calvin Carroll
- Andy Jankowiak
- Tommy Catalano
- Anthony Nocella
- Jeff Goodale
- Mike Willis Jr.
- Chris Ridsdale
- Bobby Measmer Jr.
- Timmy Solomito
- Al Emmarino
- Tom Tonn