RPW Column: The Champ Trail; Recapping Turkey Derby At Wall & More…

RPW Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Matt Hirschman scored a one-two punch at the Jersey shore as he won the 150 lap Turkey Derby for tour type modifieds and the 100-lap companion SK type modified event. Hirschman won the 150-lap main event for the fourth time in fine style as he led every lap.

What was surprising, however, was the clean and green nature of the race which saw the leaders run the full race without pitting. Wall regulars Andrew Krause and Tyler Truex were second and third. In the Tour-type Modified race, Andrew Krause and Tyler Truex both had great runs to the podium, with NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regulars Justin Bonsignore and Matt Swanson completing the top five.

Hirschman’s companion performance was a little more exciting. He ran up front for the first 60 laps, battling hard once again with Andrew Krause, Jimmy Blewett, and Tyler Truex, all of whom were pulling double duty as well. Hirschman brought his car into the pits for two new rubber during a caution, and restarted at the back of the pack. He managed to fight his way back up inside the top 10, aided by a series of wrecks in front of him. He found himself inside the top five with 15 laps to go.

True to form, Jimmy Blewett, who was running third at the time, made contact with Tyler Truex, who in turn hit race leader Eric Mauriello, sending both of them spinning. Blewett was sent to the rear for rough driving, all but gifting Hirschman the win. He held on to lead the final 15 laps, completing the Modified sweep for the second time in his career. Zach Alspach had a great run through the numerous wrecks to finish second, followed by Eddie McCarthy, Andrew Krause (who’s right rear tire blew coming out of Turn 4 to the finish), and Stafford Motor Speedway competitor Michael Gervais rounding out the top five. Blewett ended up 13th.

This pair of victories caps off a spectacular year for Hirschman, who won races in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series, the Race of Champions Modified Tour, the Southern Modified Racing Series and the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing Series.

With Saturday’s day 2 of the 46th running of Wall Stadium Speedway’s Turkey Derby being contested as scheduled, race officials have announced that Sunday’s day 3 Turkey Derby card has been postponed until Saturday, December 7. The decision was forced by a near certain forecast of rain, snow and ice in the New Jersey area.

The city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina will soon be starting a $9 million renovation on the Bowman Gray Stadium. The stadium improvements include replacing concession stands and restrooms, re-grading the football field, resurfacing the race track and carrying out utility and building upgrades and repairs. Appearance improvements will include creating ways to better identify the stadium as the home of Winston Salem State University football.

Most of the work will need to be done after football season and before racing season. Rowe said design work will continue until the middle of next year, when the project will come back to the city council for approval of the guaranteed maximum price. Construction will likely start in the fall of 2020 and wrap up sometime in 2022.