CHEMUNG, N.Y. – Matt Hirschman came out on top of Sunday’s season opener for the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour at Chemung Speedway.
Mike Leaty, who won a heat race, drew the pole for the RoC Modified feature but was denied leading the first lapwhen Bobby Holmes made a beautiful inside move in turn four to overtake both him and heat winner Rusty Smith. When Leaty spun working lap seven it brought Hirschman up to the front row and he took over the top spot, something he never surrendered for the remainder of the race.
Over the course of the event, which was slowed by 12 cautions, Hirschman had little trouble holding off Holmes while Smith was in third. Cars among the leaders included Erick Rudolph, Chuck Hossfeld and Andy Jankowiak.
TJ Potrzebowski, who started 23rd, and Austin Kochenash (18th) were closing but some events with 25 laps to go changed the outcome for three drivers. Jankowiak had trouble lapping Sam Fullone’s No. 48 and contact from Kochenash bumped Potrzebowski out of the fast lane where he lost several positions. During the caution RoC officials assessed a two-position penalty on Kochenash for that contact.
The final 25 laps featured a classic Hirschman/Hossfeld battle while Smith tried to hold off a hard-charging Brian Defebo and Kochenash. A late caution left the drivers with a 10-lap shootout, but Hirschman was not to be denied. He got to the finish line first followed by Hossfeld, Kochenash, Defebo and Jimmy Zacharias.
Tim Gullo (Super Stocks), Jeremy Haudricourt (INEX Legends) and Nick Morich (4 Cylinders) were also winners Sunday at Chemung.