OXFORD, Maine – Matt Hirschman made his debut at Oxford Plains Speedway a memorable one on Saturday by winning the Tri-Track Open Modified Series feature in wire-to-wire fashion.
Hirschman officially led all the laps of competition. The race, however, was not without some tense moments for the eventual winner.
By virtue of his heat race victory and a good pull during the redraw, Hirschman started the 100-lap event from the pole. He jumped out to the lead with Anthony Nocella taking chase. Woody Pitkat and Brad Babb were looking racy in the early going; running inside the top-five.
Johnny Kievman who had started fifth, was falling back through the field. In the early going, contenders like Matt Swanson were struggling to make headway. Up front, Nocella began to falter losing positions to Pitkat and Babb. Babb immediately went in search of second. Williams had moved up a few positions and into fifth. Ron Silk, too, was making slow progress. Gaining two positions to move into seventh.
By lap 20, Babb got by Pitkat to take over the runner-up spot. A bit deeper in the pack, Shaw was keeping pace with Silk as the two worked their way toward the front. Leader Hirschman could not get any breathing room over Babb during the green flag run. Pitkat and Nocella ran nose-to-tail as Williams took chase in fifth.
At lap 30, the battle was heating up between Pitkat, Nocella, and Williams while Shaw continued to shadow Silk. Nocella was able to take the spot away from Pitkat on lap 37. Just outside of the top-five, Robie, Jankowiak, Matt Galko, Les Hinckley and Russ Hersey were locked in a battle of their own.
By lap 40, Williams had also gotten by Pitkat. A few laps later Pitkat lost ground to Shaw and Silk; falling further down in the running order. Up front it was all Hirschman and Babb. Just shy of halfway, Nocella showed a surge. Passing Babb for second on lap 49 and bringing others along for the ride.
At the halfway marker Hirschman now led Nocella, Williams, Shaw, and Babb inside the top-five. Silk, Pitkat, Robie, Jankowiak and Hinckley comprised the top-ten at the crossed flags.