Photo Michael Jaworecki Myracenews
Seekonk, Mass. (June 28, 2017): “Big Money” Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA, lived up to his nickname on Wednesday night claiming victory in the 100-lap Open Wheel Wednesday Tri-Track Open Modified Series (TTOMS) event and the $10,000 winner’s share. It could be considered an uncharacteristic win for Hirschman. Known to conserve tires for a dash to the checkers in the late stages of an event, Hirschman took the lead early from polesitter Justin Bonsignore and went on to lead the remaining 98 laps. The victory was Hirschman’s third in the Open Wheel Wednesday event, tying Doug Coby for the most wins in the event’s now 13 year history.
Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, MA, and Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, PA, scored podium finishes as well. Anthony Nocella of Woburn, MA and Tommy Barrett of Millis, MA, a former winner of this event, completed the top five.
This was the first event for the Tri-Track Open Modified Series under the new management.
“We would like to thank Seekonk Speedway and the competitors,” said Wayne Darling, Managing Partner of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series. “The show went off without a hitch thanks to the professionalism of all involved. And, we have to thank the fans for coming out to support this event. There was a great crowd on hand and I think our guys put on a great show for them. Last, but certainly not least, our appreciation to Jim Schaefer and Dick Williams for their continued work to make this series a racer’s race.”
A total of 33 teams who regularly compete on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Race of Champions, Modified Racing Series and a handful of independent runners, vied for one of the 26 starting spots. Qualifying heat race wins went to Barrett, Nocella, Eric Berndt, and Hirschman. The b-main was won by Richard Savary. Those that failed to qualify included Kyle James, Carl Medeiros Jr., Calvin Carroll, Andy Jankowiak, TJ Bleau, Rob Summers and Karey Stular. The biggest heartbreak had to be for Stular, a Canadian driver, who towed in after several days of travel from Edmonton to compete.
After the redraw, Justin Bonsignore and Jon Kievman led the field of 26 Modifieds to green. Hirschman jumped into the second spot to take immediate chase of Bonsignore. Anthony Nocella made in three wide on lap two with Kievman and Eric Berndt. Contact resulted further back in the pack; collecting Coby and Mike Douglas Jr. to bring out the event’s first caution. Coby and Douglas retired from the event.
On the restart Hirschman got the jump on Bonsignore to take over the top spot. Berndt was able to get around, Kievman. Ron Silk went to the outside with Tommy Barrett in tow looking for running room around Kievman; to no avail as the second caution flew for an incident involving former event winner Savary and Blake Barney. Under the caution Kievman went pit-side and did not return.
It was more of the same following the lap eight restart with Hirschman taking the lead over Bonsignore. Berndt settled back into the third position but with heavy pressure from Silk. Silk made the outside groove work to take over third. Berndt continued to back-slide in the outside lane losing positions to Barrett and McKennedy and dragging Nocella back as well.
On lap 15, Silk was able to take over second from Bonsignore; bringing Barrett along for the ride. McKennedy and Pennink also made quick work of Bonsignore. Nocella lost the handle on his #92 on lap 20 to bring out the third caution. Contact further back in the field collected Jeff Rocco, Chris Pasteryak, Earl Paules, and Eric Goodale. While Nocella was able to continue unscathed, Rocco’s 13x came off the track on the hook. Pasteryak and Goodale were also out for the night.
Hirschman once again grabbed the top spot under green. A heated battle for third position between Barrett, McKennedy and Pennink cooled when the fourth caution flew on lap 21 for a single car spin by Paules. Back under green, out front Hirschman was chased by Silk. The battle for third was once again heating up. Deeper in the pack, Bonsignore had his hands full with Ryan Preece.
Hirschman, Silk and McKennedy enjoyed a three car breakaway at the front as Barrett and Pennink duked it out for fourth. Lap-after-lap Pennink hounded Barrett. Preece had a few car lengths advantage over a renewed battle with Nocella, Bonsignore and now another former event winner, Todd Annarummo.
On lap 39 an incident between Dwight Jarvis and Dennis Perry brought out the event’s fifth caution. Under the caution both Bonsignore and Annarummo ducked into the pits for service. Once again, it was all Hirschman on the restart. McKennedy was nearly able to grab the second spot from Silk with an inside move but settle back in line in third. He immediately came under fire from Barrett, who ultimately grabbed the third from McKennedy.
The sixth and final caution flew on lap 41 for a single car spin by Kurt Vigeant. With Hirschman at the point, Barrett stole second from Silk. Pennink made his way to fourth relegating McKennedy to fifth. On the outside, McKennedy now had to contend with Nocella. A strong battle was brewing with Hinckley and Preece for seventh. McKennedy cleared Nocella while Silk got back by Barrett.
At halfway, Hirschman led Silk, Barrett, Pennink, McKennedy, Nocella, Preece, Hinckley, Barney and Hossfeld inside the top-ten.
Just a few laps later, both Pennink and McKennedy were able to get by Barrett. Hirschman maintained a slight lead over Silk, who had persistent pressure from both Pennink and McKennedy. Silk appeared to be holding up his rivals; allowing Hirschman to pull away.
Pennink dove low and took second from Silk on lap 67. McKennedy immediately went to work on Silk as well. The two went wheel-to-wheel for several laps before Silk finally relinquished the position. Nocella stormed by Silk, who settled into fifth.
During the extended green flag run, the top ten ran in a tight line. Hirschman led Pennink, McKennedy, Nocella, Barrett and Silk. Preece began to apply pressure to Silk, who was struggling to keep his car on the bottom groove. Meanwhile, Hirschman entered lapped traffic. He was able to gain some distance on the field despite the traffic.
McKennedy got right on the bumper of Pennink, looking to Pennink’s inside on lap 88 but settled back in line. Nocella ran alone in fourth and Barrett was a comfortable distance in fifth. McKennedy was able to make the pass stick on Pennink on lap 92 to take over the second position. He immediately took chase of leader Hirschman. While cutting down the distance slightly, Hirschman cruised to victory over McKennedy. Pennink, Nocella and Barrett rounded out the top-five. Sixth through tenth position were secured by Hinckley, Preece, Annarummo, Pitkat and Barney.
Next up for the Tri-Track Open Modified Series is the Summer Bash at Star Speedway in Epping, NH, on Saturday July 29. For more information visit tritrackmods.com. Be sure to like the series on Facebook, NorthEast Race Cars Tri Track Open Modified Series or @tritrackmods.
TTOMS Feature Race (100 Laps) Official Finish: 1. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA (100); 2. Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, MA (100); 3. Rowan Pennink, Huntington Valley, PA (100); 4. Anthony Nocella, Woburn, MA (100); 5. Tommy Barrett, Millis, MA (100); 6. Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks, CT (100); 7. Ryan Preece, Berlin, CT (100); 8. Todd Annarummo, Swansea, MA (100); 9. Woody Pitkat, Stafford, CT (100); 10. Blake Barney, Lakewood, NJ (100); 11. Ron Silk, Norwalk, CT (100); 12. Eric Berndt, Cromwell, CT (100); 13. Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, NY (100); 14. Earl Paules, Palmerton, PA (99); 15. Chuck Hossfeld, Ransomville, NY (99); 16. Bobby Santos, Franklin, MA (99); 17. Dennis Perry, Ashaway, RI (81); 18. Kurt Vigeant, Oxford, MA (41); 19. Dwight Jarvis, Ascutney, VT (28); 20. Eric Goodale, Calverton, NY (20); 21. Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon, CT (20); 22. Jeff Rocco, Wallingford, CT (20); 23. Richard Savary, Canton, MA (20); 24. Jon Kievman Deerfield Beach, FL (8); 25. Doug Coby, Milford, CT (2); 26. Michael Douglas Jr., Auburn, NH (2).