Tony Hirschman Wins 4th Race of Champions Modified 200

By – Chris Porter

It took an extra day and even an extra four ticks on the lap counter at the Oswego Speedway, but shortly after noon on Sunday, Northampton, PA’s Tony Hirschman took the checkered flag in the 60th Sunoco Race of Champions Modified 200.

It was Hirschman’s fourth career R.o.C. 200 win, second in the last three years (2008). The decorated modified veteran scored wins in 1997 and 1989 as well.

Hirschman was the last among the leaders to take the one pit stop that all drivers were required to do at some point during the race. He was leading at that point and said that the car felt so good that he believed it could’ve gone the distance with out fresh rubber or additional fuel. From the way it ripped up through the field following the stop, pitting only made the fastest car even faster.

Giving up the lead on the 138th lap, allowed the seasoned modified pilot 62 laps to make his way back up through the field. Less than 20 laps later, Hirschman’s outside pass on Rick Kluth put him back up into the top five.

Darren Scherer fell victim to Hirschman on lap No. 160, putting the eventual race winner in fourth. Coming off a caution period, Hirschman then found third on the restart, diving under Erick Rudolph’s No. 98.

He quickly chased down the duo of son, Matt Hirschman, and race leader, Chuck Hossfeld – both having been locked in a tight battle for the lead.

Having been watching Matt attack Hossfeld on the high side lap after lap, Tony’s No. 48 took second away from Matt’s No. 60 with an inside move with 32 trips around to go.

With out delay, Hirschman picked up where his son had left off, pressing Hossfeld for the point. Looks to the inside on laps No. 169 and 170 made his presence known. Hirschman then pressured the race leader on the outside a few laps before using a sling-shot move off of the fourth turn on the 174th lap to take the spot away.

Hirschman set sail for victory lane, building a 10-car advantage.

As if taking a second day to finish the event didn’t make for a long enough race for Hirschman, a caution flag on the white flag lap put the race into O.T. With the race having to end under green flag conditions, a green-white-checkered finish was in order, extending the lap counter to 204.

However, no one would have an answer for the Pennsylvanian driver’s No. 48 machine. Hirschman took the all three flags with out a challenge en route to capturing his fourth R.o.C. Modified 200 win.

Listen toTony Hirschman

Having started seventh on the grid of 34 other fellow modified drivers, Hirschman road within the top five solidly throughout the first 50 laps. After the first and second-place drivers took advantage of a caution flag to make their mandatory pit stop, Hirschman was promoted to the runner-up position, behind the new race leader, Eric Beers.

However, a lap No. 63 restart saw something go amiss on the Beers No. 76 machine. Not coming up to speed, it caused a massive, semi-mobile traffic jam at the front of the pack. Hirschman avoided the melee, thus inheriting the lead. During that caution period, the initial rains began to fall that would eventually postpone the remainder of Saturday evening’s 200-lapper.

Hirschman would restart the race from the pole the following morning. Though temporarily losing the lead to Ryan Preece in lapped traffic at the lap No. 89 mark, Hirschman would take it back from him 19 rounds later. He would then lead the next 30 laps before diving into the pits for his mandatory stop.

Finishing second, Hossfeld had led for a large portion of the race. With Matt Hirschman on his heals much of the way up through the field, Hossfeld took second away from Patrick Emerling on lap No. 131. He then chased Tony Hirschman until Hirschman made his aforementioned pit stop seven laps later.

Though inheriting the lead, Hossfeld held strong throughout countless attempts by Matt Hirschman to take the position away. He remained atop the field until Tony first thanked him for holding it, before taking it back.

Hossfeld’s second-place run came after an impressive win at the U.S. Open at Dunn Tire Raceway Park last weekend.

Listen toChuck Hossfeld

Matt Hirschman filled out the podium finish, crossing the line in third.

Listen toMatt Hirschman

Scherer ran strong all race, bringing his No. 3 home in fourth.

Listen toDarren Scherer

Ransomville, NY’s Erick Rudolph rounded out the top five.

Listen toErick Rudolph

2010 Sunoco Race of Champions 200: 1. Tony Hirschman (48), 2. Chuck Hossfeld (22), 3. Matt Hirschman (60), 4. Daren Scherer (3), 5. Erick Rudolph (98), 6. Eric Beers (76), 7. Rick Kluth (11),  8. Terry Cheetam (50), 9. Billy Putney (88), 10. Ryan Preece (40), 11. Jan Leaty (6), 12. Doug Reaume (14), 13. Jim Storace (47), 14. Bobby Santos, III (92), 15. Rusty Smith (34), 16. Tony Hanbury (24), 17. TJ Potrzebowski (72), 18. Pete Brittain (20), 19. Patrick Emerling (03), 20. Mike Speeney (80), 21. Daryl Lewis, Jr. (10), 22. Andy Walko (27), 23. Earl Paules (8), 24. Mike Stefanik (66), 25. Zane Zeiner (29), 26. Karl Hehr (59), 27. Bryon Chew (96), 28. Zach Shove (2), 29. Tommy Ferrell (08), 30. Mike Leaty (25), 31. Dave Wollaber (5), 32. Kyle Ebersole (15), 33. Wilber Hebing (51), 34. J.R. Swansbrough (06), 35. Tommy Cloce (69)