(Sophia, NC): They don’t call him “Big Money” for no reason. Matt Hirschman rolled to a $10,500.00 payday Saturday at Caraway Speedway in the 19th Annual John Blewett III “North-South Shootout” presented in Memory of Charles Kepley.
Hirschman slipped past Jimmy Blewett on a lap 144 restart and never looked back to claim his seventh NSS win. The run-to-the-front effort capped off a day that saw Hirschman take the win after starting last in the 23-car field. An unnamed lover of Modified racing stopped by a rainy Caraway Speedway and gave NSS Promoter, Darren Hackett, $2,000 to post as a bonus if the fastest qualifier if he started “shotgun” on the field. Matt announced during pre-race activities that he would take the “challenge” and he delivered the win to his Pee Dee Racing team.
“Late in the race it’s tough getting off that corner [on restarts],” Hirschman said. “It’s tough to get grip up off of that corner. He slipped enough where I was just able to keep my foot in it and carry my speed around him by the time we got to turn three. It was a good hard racing going there. “This race has always been big in my career,” Hirschman said. In the early part of my career it was the biggest. It kind of put me on the map.”
Blewett wound up second, holding off his Tommy Baldwin Racing teammate, Caleb Heady. Kyle Scisco finished fourth and Burt Myers completed the top five.
“Obviously, we weren’t the victor here today,” Blewett said. “That hurt a little bit. But you know what, congrats to Matt. There’s no better guy in the business. That right there is the man. Getting beat by him isn’t so bad for me.”
Hirschman, Heady and Myers split a $2,000.00 bonus as the top three eligible drivers in the running for a “Lap 76” bonus posted by the NSS. The lap number represents the car number used by the Blewett family for years. Hirschman earned $1,000 while Heady got $600 and Myers $400. Other eligible drivers were Jason Myers, Jonathan Brown, and Jeremy Gerstner. All had good runs spoiled by mechanical gremlins.
Lee Jeffreys took the win in the fifty-lap feature for the other open-wheel division in competition Saturday. The 602 “crate” Mods started the show and delivered a great race. Jeffreys got past early leader, Junior Snow, and held on to take the win. Snow finished second ahead of New Jersey’s Paul Hartwig, Jr., Jonathan Brown, and Carson Loftin who was starting his first Modified race.
The 602 Modifieds return to Caraway Speedway next week for the “Mischa Sell Memorial” race.
Josh Lowder claimed the victory in the 74 lapper for the Southern States Pro Lates. Lowder, who has many laps on the Caraway Speedway asphalt, beat out Michael Pilla and Mike Speeney the win. Kyle Campbell and Fletcher Whaley rounded out the top five. The 74-lap feature was run in honor of legendary driver, car builder and owner Robert Hamke who passed away in July of 2020. His cars always carried the #74 on the door.
A.J. Sanders cemented his title as the “King of the Mini Stocks” by dominating the fifty-lap feature for the division. Sanders started from the pole and showed the field the rear bumper of his #24 Mustang to take the win. Patrick Mullen finished second with Levi Holt, Brandon Brendle and Kenny Dixon completing the top five.
The Mini Stocks come back to Caraway Speedway on November 28th for the 35th annual “Russell Hackett’s Thanksgiving Classic”.
19th ANNUAL NORTH-SOUTH SHOOTOUT RESULTS
Tour Modifieds 602 Modifieds Pro Lates Mini Stocks
Matt Hirschman Lee Jeffreys Josh Lowder A.J. Sanders
Jimmy Blewett Junior Snow Michael Pilla Robert Mullen
Caleb Heady Paul Hartwig, Jr. Mike Speeney Levi Holt
Kyle Scisco Jonathan Brown Kyle Campbell Brandon Brendle
Burt Myers Carson Loftin Fletcher Whaley Kenny Dixon
Ronnie Williams Kevin Orlando Matt Catania Steven Truell
Dylan Ward Craig Lutz Rich Kirmarchuk Alex Whatley
Gary Young, Jr. Cody Norman Tommy Neal Matt Goodwin
Paul Hall Lee Sharpsteen Bill Catania Wyatt Sapp
Chris Pasteryak Mike Norman Tyler Church Dean Lowder
Dennis Holdren Paul Hartwig III
Gary Putnam Eric Hersey
Jason Myers Ryan Fisher
Jim Gavek Doug Gould
Patrick Emerling Rich Kirmarchuk
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