NEWTON, N.C. – Matt Hirschman was the class of the field during Saturday’s Southern Modified Racing Series event at Hickory Motor Speedway.

Hirschman initially started fourth after the redraw, which saw fast qualifier Jeremy Gerstner draw the pole alongside Andy Seuss. When the initial green flag waved Gerstner tried to maintain the lead, but contact with third starter Danny Bohn sent both around to bring out the caution.

Gerstner and Bohn dropped to the tail of the field for a complete restart, handing the top-two spots to Seuss and Hirschman. The caution would wave again during the second attempt at the start, this time for an incident involving Kodie Conner and Jamie Tomaino in turn three that led to a brief red flag for cleanup.

Once the cleanup was completed the field took the green flag to start the race for the third time, with Hirschman getting the jump on Seuss to take the lead.

Hirschman continued to lead the way until the third caution of the race waved on lap 28 when Tom Buzze spun on the backstretch. The caution didn’t phase Hirschman, who retained the lead during the ensuing restart over Seuss.

The race would run green to the end from there, with Hirschman cruising to a comfortable victory over Seuss in the 75-lap affair aboard the No. 60 PeeDee Motorsports modified.

“I didn’t really expect the race to play out that way because we were starting fourth. I thought I’d have to chase a few guys a little bit later to try and get them,” said Hirschman, who now has three victories in eight starts this season. “Two guys tangled there on lap one and then I took the lead on the next restart. Wasn’t really expecting it that way so it kind of made it a little more boring of a race, the car was good from the time we unloaded it today. It was strong all day right through the race.”

Seuss said there wasn’t much he could do to catch Hirschman in the final stages of the race.

“Early on I didn’t know how conservative he was being and how conservative I was being,” Seuss said. “They just had a car that would roll the top a little bit better and keep the momentum up off. We were a little tight and when you’re tight you’re kind of trying to turn with the throttle and I beat up on that right rear a little bit in those last 10 laps. I said OK, I’ve got to worry about keeping second now. I couldn’t keep up with him and he distanced himself at that point.”

John Smith finished a distant third, followed by Jason Myers and polesitter Gerstner, who recovered from his spin on the initial start to finish fifth.