Hirschman Outlasts Brown to Win at South Boston Speedway

On an afternoon on which South Boston Speedway and the SMART Modified Tour honored Modified racing legend and five-time South Boston Speedway champion, the late Ray Hendrick, Matt Hirschman put together a late-race rally and held off Jonathan Brown in a five-lap dash to the finish to win Saturday’s Flying VA 99 SMART Modified Tour race.

Article by JOE CHANDLER, Special to the Register & Bee, featured photo also by Joe Chandler

Hirschman got a good surge on the race’s final restart, quickly cleared Brown, and pulled away in the closing laps to earn his third SMART Modified Tour victory in four series starts this season.

“At the end, once I got back to the lead, I was confident that as long as I got a good clean start I could pull away,” Hirschman said. “Getting back to the lead is what I worried about.”

Hirschman gave up the lead to pit under caution on lap 72 for a fresh right rear tire. It wasn’t until he passed Brown on lap 89 that he regained the lead. A caution flag with five laps to go gave Brown one last shot at Hirschman, but Hirschman was able to hold onto the top spot and pull away for the win.

“We opted to get our [right rear] tire on lap 35, and a lot of guys waited until around lap 70 to come in,” Brown remarked. “It hurt us a little bit there at the end. That fresher right rear (tire) they had would have really helped us, but all in all it was a good day.”

Caleb Heady, of Shelbyville, Kentucky, finished third, former NASCAR Cup Series Champion Bobby Labonte, of Corpus Christi, Texas, placed fourth and Tom Buzze rounded out the top five finishers. Rounding out the top 10 finishers in the unofficial results were Burt Myers, Danny Bohn, Brandon Ward, Brian Loftin and J.B. Fortin.

The race was a highly competitive one with seven lead changes among five drivers. Hirschman led three times for a total of 39 laps.

Saturday’s race was slowed by 13 cautions, a circumstance that led to a lot of competitive racing, especially on the restarts.

“There were a lot of wrecks,” Hirschman noted. “Fortunately, I really didn’t see any of them. I wasn’t around them, but it was great racing. There was a lot of grip in the track, but it’s also fast, and things happen fast. I guess that might have been part of it.”


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