Matt Hirschman Takes The North-South Shootout For The Sixth Time

(Sophia, NC):  The 20th Annual John Blewett III Memorial “North-South Shootout” presented by Puryear Tank Lines in Memory of Charles Kepley is in the record books and Matt Hirschman extended his record win total in the event to eight with a convincing win over Burt Myers and Patrick Emerling.

Emerling set fast time in a Friday evening qualifying session with a time of 15.919 seconds at a speed of 102.896.  His time bested Hirschman, Kyle Scisco, Caleb Heady and Brian Loftin setting up a Saturday prerace choose session between the top four qualifiers.  Those drivers had the option to start where they qualified or go to the rear of the starting lineup with a chance to cash in on a $2,500.00 bonus posted by an anonymous fan of Modified racing.
Emerling and Scisco chose to start up front while” Money” Matt and “young-gun”, Caleb Heady took the “challenge”.  That left Emerling and Burt Myers on the front row for the start of the 125 lapper.  Jimmy Blewett muscled past to lead the first lap before Myers took over the point on lap four for the next 43 laps.  Caution flew on lap 46 for oil on the track from the car of Jeremy Gerstner.  Gerstner ran over an exhaust tip that fell off another car.  The tip ruptured the oil tank on Gerstner’s #55 ending his night and creating a huge mess for the Caraway Speedway clean-up crew.
All cars were allowed to take on some SUNOCO Race Fuel during the cleanup period under a “controlled” pit stop.  When the track went back under caution, several cars took the opportunity to make adjustments and change tires.  That left Spencer Davis on the point for the restart.  Hirschman made quick work of Davis by lap 50 and while Davis, Myers and Heady were racing hard for position, old “Big Money” drove away.
The field settled down with Myers and Blewett chasing Hirschman till caution flew on lap 96 allowing most of the field to stop for their remaining tires.   Hirschman came out of the pits first picking up where he left off with Ronnie Williams driving the Jamie Tomaino #99 restarting in second, Jimmy Blewett third and Kyle Scisco fourth
Another caution on lap 98 for a crash involving 9 cars slowed the action for the third time.  The crash eliminated John Smith, Brian Loftin, Tim Connolly, Johnny Keiveman, Jeff Fultz and Junior Snow and wounded the cars of Gary Putnam, Joey Pane and Paulie Hartwig, III.  Those drivers returned to finish the race.
On the restart Jimmy Blewett was the next competitor to put pressure on Hirschman but Hirschman withstood the assault and hung on to the lead while Patrick Emerling worked his way into the runner up spot.
By lap115 Myers had charged past Emerling and took a run at Hirschman getting to the inside of him on lap116 but Hirschman prevailed and pulled away to claim the win.  Myers held off Emerling for second while Heady and Williams rounded out the top five.  Jimmy Blewett was sixth followed by Davis, Coby, Putnam, Jason Myers and Payne.  Eleven cars finished on the lead lap.  Hartwig finished 12th followed by Connolly, Dennis Holdren, James Civali, Scisco, Brian Loftin, Keiveman, Carson Loftin, Fultz, Smith, Snow, Michael Ritch, Gerstner and Caden
Lapcevich completed the rundown.
Hirschman took hope the top prize of $7,500.00 plus the “Fan of Modified Racing Challenge” of $2,500.00 and $900.00 in lap money to bring his total to $10,900.00.  Myers picked up $1,460,00 in lap money to boost his take to almost 5k.  A total of $3,900.00 in lap money was posted.  Drivers earned $50.00 for leading, $30.00 for second and $20.00 for third in the running order on most sponsored laps.  Friends of racing posted $200.00 for laps 6 and 17 to honor the memory of longtime race supporter, Ollie “Josh” Jenkins and lap 76 to honor John Blewett III.  Blewett won the first and third North-South Shoot events.  Gary Putnam Racing posted an additional $100.00 for the driver in 7th spot on lap 75.  #75 was the car number of Carl Pasteryak, a long-time Modified driver who passed away earlier this year.  Ronnie Williams earned that bonus.
Lee Jeffreys did the old #75 proud Saturday at Caraway Speedway.  Not only did he qualify on the pole for the start of the 50 lapper for the 602 Crate Mods, he led the race wire-to-wire and took home his second North-South Shootout trophy driving a car carrying the made famous in the area by his dad, Robert Jeffreys.
Jeffreys stopped Josh Lowder’s win streak at two by holding off early race pressure by Lowder allowing him to cruise to a 2.190 second victory.602 Newcomer, Billy Gregg finished third while Devin Steel and Paulie Hartwig, III completed the top five.  Cody Norman finished sixth ahead of Robbie Brewer, James Blewett, Eric Hersey and Johnny Sutton. Tony Jilson, Ryan Fisher, Slate Myers, Mitchell Wright and Richard Trotter rounded out the field.
The 602 Crate Mods is a growing division in the area and features older and younger drivers in a more affordable type of Modified racing.  The race winner, Jeffreys, would be considered an “old lion” in the division while several drivers are in their twenties and thirties and the young guns are younger.  Hartwig is just 11 years old while Blewett and Myers are 14.  Carson Loftin is 15, who ran the Tour Mod race, also has a 602 Mod.  Cody Norman is 21 and Jaxson Casper is in his 20’2.  The second, third and, in Myers’ case, fourth generation drivers are the future of our sport and that looks to be in good hands.
The CARS Tour became part of the NSS this season and Jared Fryar took the win in the Late Model Stock Car portion of their event.  Carson Kvapil tool the LMSC title.  Austin McDonald claimed the win in the 100 lapper for the Pro Late Models feature while Luke Fenhaus earned the PLM Championship.
For results on the CARS Tour portion of the NSS go to
The John Blewett III Memorial “North-South Shootout” in Memory of Charles Kepley returns on November 4, 2023, to Caraway Speedway.  For more information on that the North-South shootout and other Caraway speedway action, check us out at or at Caraway Speedway on Face Book or call the track at 336-629-5803 and leave a message. Someone will return your call as soon as possible.
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