Story By: DINO OBERTO / MAHONING VALLEY SPEEDWAY – LEHIGHTON, PA – The Modified Spring Zing “Tom Wanick Memorial 150” paid big dividends for Northampton’s Matt Hirschman after a track record payout.
Hirschman, who scored his 11th win of 2022, won $7000 for the victory and with additional bonuses finished off the day with just over $10,000 in total cash and awards.
Hirschman started 10th and on lap 63 moved to the front for the first time with an inside pass on Blake Barney. Afterwards he withstood strong numerous challenges from Barney, Bobby Jones and Chuck Hossfeld.
With 50 laps to go he opted to make a pit stop under a caution and change his right side tires. When he returned to the track he was ninth and over the next 17 laps put on a driving clinic as he passed one car after another until regaining the top spot from Hossfeld.
The rest of the way he simply drove lap after lap in a consistent smooth fashion and took the checkers over Barney by a solid two car lengths.
“It was a long race and glad to finish it up at the top. This is the highest paying race we ever had here and you don’t know when or if that will ever happen again and I appreciate doing this in honor of Tom Wanick Jr., and for what his family and the speedway did for all of us,” said Hirschman.
“This is a special win for sure with Tommy (Wanick III) wanting to do this race for his dad.”
The race got off to a great start with Don Wagner leading the first few laps before Barney, the previous night winner at Wall Stadium Speedway, took charge. Tagging in behind him was Rod Snyder Jr., and TJ Potrzebowski. That trio ran in that order until lap 40 when Hossfeld stepped up to third. Four laps later he had just got by Snyder when the first caution waved for a Josh Scherer spin.
Unfortunately that would trigger a string of yellow flags which made the going exasperating to say the least plus there was a slow-up when a brief shower crossed over the track.
“I had no problem navigating the traffic there was just way to many caution laps and I was kind of losing my mind because we kept stopping and I just wanted to get a rhythm going with some green flag laps,” admitted Hirschman.
“Plus with the rain coming down it was kind of a frustrating race a little bit but wining makes up for all that.”
In between the rash of cautions and as Hirschman was leading there was a great battle for second taking place. After giving up the lead to Hirschman Barney and Jones put on a spirited battle for second spot. Then Hossfeld came back onto the scene and used the inside lane to advance to second.
When Hirschman pitted under a lap 100 caution it allowed Hossfeld to assume the lead. Earl Paules was now second after Barney and Jones had pitted a few laps prior to the century mark.
With Hirschman out of the picture for the time being Hossfeld was setting a good pace while fending off Paules. But after reentering the track with fresh rubber Hirschman was putting on a rapid charge and passing at will. His race winning pass came with an inside move off Turn 4 over Hossfeld and once in front there was no denying his authority.
Matt (Hirschman) is a great guy and I call him almost daily. His dad Tony was my dad’s favorite driver and Matt is a great a great racer,” offered Tom Wanick Jr., from Victory Lane.
Hirschman picked up bonuses from Troyer Race Cars, Hirschman Speed, D & B Towing, Aqua Duck Water Transport, Pennsylvania Veterans Outdoor Veterans and the Wanick family. The later was an additional $1500 for his autographed roof.
It was also 29th Mahoning win and ninth consecutive victory in as many starts here.
Barney, the runner-up finisher had his best finish at Mahoning. He stayed in the hunt from the drop of the green and only fell back after pit stops. But each time he returned the car was quick and he came just one spot short of sweeping the weekend.
“I really enjoy this place and I had a really good race car and was fortunate enough to have a good starting spot in second. I took the lead early and tried to do what he (Hirschman) does and pace the race,” said Barney.
“I lost a little drive there at the end and I really wish I could have gave the 60 a run. I thought I had good pace and our car felt good. We went 100 laps on the same tires and when we came in that last time and it woke the thing up.”
Paules was a solid third with Hossfeld fourth and Brian DeFebo fifth. Connecticut racer Anthony Bello was sixth and awarded an additional $1000 for being highest finishing crate car. Josh Scherer, Jones, Chris Ammon and Snyder Jr., competed the top 10.
In the Street Stock main Cody Geist parlayed his pole starting spot into his first win of the season.
Geist had a fierce battle with Tucker Muffley who pressed hard to try and get by him. There was, also point leader Jillian Snyder looking to unseat the leader but each time they tried he held his ground. The win was worth $1000.
Geist may have led all the way but he fought hard each lap nonetheless.
Muffley held on for a very close second with Todd Ahner, TJ Gursky and Thomas Flanagan filling out the top five.
Corey Edelman won his second straight Hobby Stock feature and for the second time had to fend off Shayne Geist in the process.
Edelman and Geist traded paint while battling for the lead and heavy traffic too. Matter of fact Geist was just about in a position to snag back the lead while setting up Edelman behind oncoming tail end cars. But just as it appeared the move was going to take place the caution waved and negated the attempt.
That was the saving grace too for Edelman as there was on five laps to go and on the single file restart he held on to collect his 24th class win.
Travis Solomon, BJ Wambold and Ryan Berger rounded out the top five.
Modified Feature finish (150 laps): 1. Matt Hirschman, 2. Blake Barney, 3. Earl Paules, 4. Chuck Hossfeld, 5. Brian DeFebo, 6. Anthony Bello, 7. Josh Scherer, 8. Bobby Jones, 9. Chris Ammon, 10. Rod Snyder Jr., 11. Tom Wanick III, 12. Jaden Brown, 13. Brandon Oltra, 14. Sean Verwys, 15. Anthony Sesely, 16. Austin Kochenash, 17. Paulie Hartwig III, 18. Kyle Strohl, 19. Roger Coss, 20. TJ Potrzebowski, 21. Cody Kohler, 22. Ron Silk, 23. Zane Zeiner, 24. Nick Baer, 25. Don Wagner, 26. Mike Hosier, 27. Geary Rinehimer Jr., 28. Lou Strohl DNQ: Terry Markovic, Carl Altemose, Johnny Bennett, Chris Risdale, Jacob Kerstetter
Street Stock feature finish (30 laps): 1. Cody Geist, 2. Tucker Muffley, 3. Todd Ahner, 4. TJ Gursky, 5. Thomas Flanagan, 6. Mark Deysher, 7. Jillian Snyder, 8. Tommy Flanagan, 9. Jamie Smith, 10. Stacey Brown, 11. Randy Green, 12. Bobby Kibler Jr., 13. Randy Ahner Jr., 14. Brandon Christman, 15. Logan Boyer, 16. Jacob Boehm
Hobby Stock feature finish (25 laps): 1. Corey Edelman, 2. Shayne Geist, 3. Travis Solomon, 4. BJ Wambold, 5. Ryan Berger, 6. Trisha Connolly, 7. Lyndsay Buss, 8. Nick Schaffer, 9. Tad Snyder, 10. Don Bauder, 11. Nick Kerstetter, 12. Makayla Kohler, 13. Ralph Borger Jr., 14. Dave Kerr, 15. Cody Boehm, 16. Maggie Yeakel, 16. James Tout, 18. Jared Frye, 19. Justin Merkel, 20. Mallory Kutz, 21. Jacob Boehm DNS: Ed Herman