FMS: Martinsville Tony Hirschman Preview

Tony Hirschman Can Win Unexpected Modified Championship At Goody's Body Pain 200 Martinsville, VA---Tony Hirschman will lock up the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Championship on Saturday in the Goody's Body Pain 200 simply by...

Tony Hirschman Can Win Unexpected Modified Championship At Goody's Body Pain 200

Martinsville, VA---Tony Hirschman will lock up the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Championship on Saturday in the Goody's Body Pain 200 simply by starting the race. Considering how he's gotten to this point, the entire season could be viewed as a surprise despite his winning Modified championships in 1995 and 1996. On Saturday at 1 p.m. the championship can be his even though at the beginning of the season a third championship was, at best, unlikely. "Two weeks before the season started I split up with my car owner that I had been with for four years and that's not much time. It came down to the last week trying to put something together," he said. Hirschman said he made a lot of phone calls. "I talked to a lot of people and a lot of people were willing to do some stuff like a race here and a race there, but it was hard to put anything together for a full season.," said the Northampton, Pa. driver. Hirschman said car owner Gary Cretty asked him to drive last year, but the two never got together on a deal so Hirschman decided to call Cretty. "He said if I needed a car for the first race he would bring a car to the track," Hirschman said. "I just needed to get enough guys to help me and take care of the car. We got through the first couple of races doing a race to race deal." Then Hirschman made another call. "I finally got him in touch with Barry Kuhnel," who became Hirschman's crew chief, he said. "That's when the season really turned around and we started really running good. By mid-season we were winning races and running up front." Hirschman has six wins and 13 top-fives in 19 races this season and leads Mike Ewanitsko by 340 points in the Modified standings with only two races remaining. Hirschman has gotten stronger as the season wore on and has won the last three series races. "I didn't think we could turn it around that fast," said crew chief Kuhnel. "We worked pretty hard and Tony did a good job of putting us up front." Because of the uncertainty of the season's beginnings, Hirschman said he wouldn't have thought he would be in position to win the championship at the next to last race of the season. "No not really. I know what it takes to run up front every week. I know the time involved to get these cars prepared to run well every week. There are some guys that run well one week and the following week they break. To run for a championship, it takes a lot of time on the part of the crew," Hirschman said. "I knew Barry could get the job done. It was just a matter of getting him to agree to do it. If everything stays together for next year, given the whole winter to get everything really in order and get another car together, I think next year could be twice as good as this year." Hirschman won Martinsville's 200-lapper in the Winston Classic in 1990 and he said Martinsville is one of those tracks the entire series looks forward to. "We are looking forward to coming to Martinsville. Everybody likes coming here. We used to come here in the spring and fall and that was a big deal to us. Now we have one shot there a year. It's a TV race, Winston Cup weekend and a lot of people there so we are looking to run well. There's a lot of tradition at Martinsville"

The NAPA AutoCare 500/Goody's Body Pain 200 weekend gets underway with 3 p.m. Bud Pole qualifying for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series on Friday. Immediately after qualifying, will be the Anderson Tractor-John Deere Allison Legacy Series 30-lap race. Saturday, includes second round Winston Cup qualifying at 11:15 a.m. followed Modified time trials at 11:30 a.m. and the Goody's Body Pain 200 NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour race at 1 p.m. Tickets for the Goody's Body Pain 200 are $25 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. The NAPA AutoCare 500 starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday, October 3. Great seats in all of the concrete bleacher sections are available for $40-$45. Another 8,000 unreserved seats go on sale race morning at 7:30.

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Series NASCAR , Stock car