Matt Hirschman claimed his fifth SMART trophy Saturday Oct. 8th in the running of the Hickory Hundred presented by Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet at the famed Hickory Motor Speedway.
In the twenty eight car starting field Hirschman topped the charts in qualifying, turning the quick 3/8 mile oval with a time of 14.191 sec. To top that off, when the top ten fastest qualifiers redrew for feature starting positions Hirschman pulled the number one starting spot.
At the drop of starter J.B. Cole’s green flag, Hirschman outdragged Jason Myers and easily ran in the lead. While Hirschman was on cruise control, behind him Jason Myers constantly fought off the challenges of SMART points leader Caleb Heady driving the Tommy Baldwin owned #7NY.
By lap ten more heavy hitters were making their way forward. Bobby Labonte and Burt Myers put Heady behind them putting heavy pressure on Jason Myers.
A lap 12 yellow flag waved when Chris Finocchario and Austin Kochenash made contact with the turn one wall, Kochenash was able to drive away, Finocchario was unable to continue.
The restart was the chance that Labonte and Burt Myers needed to put Jason Myers behind them and eight laps latter Burt Myers flexed his muscle again, racing into second place following in Hirschman’s Hoosier tracks until a lap 57 caution. This was the opportunity that a majority of the field used to pit for adjustments and a new Hoosier tire including race leader Hirschman. Electing not to pit was the new race leader Austin Kochenash with Labonte, rookie Carson Loftin and Jonathan Brown.
Hirschman’s quick pit stop dropped him into the seventh starting spot. With laps running out Jonathan Brown started his run to the front finding himself in second place behind Kochenash while Hirschman powered into third place by lap 70.
On lap 73 Hirschman raced by Kochenash and ran in clean air while behind him Brown started to mount his attack on the leader, looking inside and outside for the opportunity to take over the point position.
A lap 84 restart ended Brown’s chance for victory when he jumped the restart and was penalized by being placed at the rear of the field.
Hirschman ran out the remainder of the marathon in the lead while Burt Myers and Brandon Ward could only follow him to the checkered flag.
Thirteen caution flags slowed the event.
18-Bobby Measmer Jr.-(6)
20-Gary Young Jr.-(25)
Next SMART event: Tri County Speedway, Saturday 15,2022
Story by James Snape
Photos by Crystal Snape
Courtesy of YankeeRacer.com
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