Matt Hirshman Holds Off Beers And Is Crowned King Of Pocono Mountain ST JOHNS, PA. Pocono Mountain Speedway was host to the 2nd annual King of the Mountain race weekend. In the final race of the season, young Northampton PA's Matt Hirshman led...
Matt Hirshman Holds Off Beers And Is Crowned King Of Pocono Mountain
ST JOHNS, PA. Pocono Mountain Speedway was host to the 2nd annual King of the Mountain race weekend. In the final race of the season, young Northampton PA's Matt Hirshman led all 100 laps, holding off some top competitors to win the Modified feature of the open competition event.
Saturday was the qualifying, with Modifieds and Late Models running a better of 2 laps time trials and the Street Stocks and Factory Stock running heat races. Shaun Carrig was the top Modified qualifier with a lap of 13.978 seconds. Dan Ballentine Jr and Tom Spencer Jr tied for the quickest lap in Late Model qualifying, at 14.659 seconds. Based on the average of the two laps, Ballentine Jr got the top spot. Each top qualifier drew a starting number to shuffle the top 6.
Hirshman got to sit on the pole for the start, and managed to hold off Chuck Schartzer for the first 3/4 of the race. Chris Ammon, Dean Gulick, and Tim Santee held the remaining top 5 spots in the early laps. A number of early cautions slowed the racing action, but following a restart on lap 12, the field ripped off a 27 lap green flag run. Hirshman continued to lead, with Schartzer close behind, with the pair putting some distance on Ammon in 3rd. Schartzer looked for room to pass, but just couldn't carry enough speed down the straight aways.
A caution on lap 40, for a multi-car pile up in turn 3, sent a number of cars to the pits for the remainder of the race. At the halfway point, Hirshman, Schartzer, and Ammon still held the top 3. John Markovic and Eric Beers moved up to claim 4th and 5th.
The second half of the race was run at a much quicker pace than the first half. Only two yellows fell over the final 50 laps, with the final one on lap 76. By the final caution, Beers had moved up to 2nd and ready to challenge for the win. For about the first 15 laps after the restart, Beers stayed close to Hirshman, keeping the pressure on the young second generation hot shot. Hirshman was up to the task and kept the track points champion behind him. Hirshman ran a perfect race, making no mistakes to give the win away. He ended up winning by a couple car lengths at the checkered, and led an extra insurance lap just to make sure. Beers settled for the runner up, followed by Schartzer, Markovic, and Don Wagner who made a late race charge to round out the top 5.
The Late Model feature had its share of thrills and drama. Alan Moyer took the early lead from the pole, with Dave Wallace, Barry Gommer, Dan Ballentine Jr, and Tom Spencer Jr in the early top 5. During a caution on lap 3, a number of the front-runners made trips to the pits. Moyer still lead the way, now followed by Ballentine Jr, Dave Christman, Larry Fisher, and Spencer Jr. On the restart, Ballentine Jr stayed even with Moyer, and by lap 6 was able to grab the lead from the outside. Quite a few yellows flew during the first half of the race, keeping the pace slow and the field close. By the time the race reached halfway, Larry Fisher found himself out in front, with Ballentine Jr now the chaser. Moyer was 3rd, followed by Barry Callavini and Tony Volpe.
Only two cautions in the second half gave fans some great racing to watch. Fisher led the rest of the way, to become the only invader to visit victory lane. Ballentine Jr was a distant 2nd, while Callavini moved up to take 3rd. Volpe was 4th, followed by Christman.
Donny Hartzell lead the first 20 laps of the Street Stock feature, and looking strong, but mechanical problems ended his race early. Jim Buzinski then took over the top spot, and followed by points champ, Scott Meckes. During the green flag runs, Buzinski held off Meckes, as the pair pulled away from the rest of the field. They put on a great battle for the win until the closing laps, when Meckes made contact with a lapped car and picked up a flat. Buzinski cruised home for the victory, capping off an outstanding year. Winning the 100 lap Shootout earlier in the year, Buzinski won both big races in the division. Brad Kline made his first Street Stock start, was in the top 5 all race, and finished 2nd. Ron Babula, Brian Jones, and Todd Ahner rounded out the top 5.
Josh Labatch was on the pole for the start of Factory Stock feature, and for the competition, that wasn't good. The 4 time feature winner know the way to victory lane, and grabbed the lead from the opening green. The race was run with only 3 cautions, and that was in the first 4 laps. After the final restart, Labatch pulled away from the field, leading by a half a lap when the checkered flag dropped. Paul Frantz had to fight his way through traffic to get to 2nd, and by that time Labatch had to much of a lead to overcome. Shaun Burd, Joe Cooper, and Dan Lucas rounded out the top 5.
Stayed tuned for information on the upcoming 2002 season. Many exciting decisions will be made and announced throughout the winter. Track Champions will be recognized at the awards banquet November 24. Stayed tuned to www.poconomountainspeedway.com or www.speedwaytech.com for all the latest information.
MODIFIED (100 LAPS): MATT HIRSHMAN, Eric Beers, Chuck Schartzer, John Markovic, Don Wagner, Chris Ammon, Cal Snyder, Tim Santee, Jim Hauser Jr, Mark Washko, Brian Romig, Andy Szapacs, Billy Swartz, Ed Gilligan, Doug Yanders, Lou Strohl, Shaun Carrig, Mike Adams, Russ Fratz, Dean Gulick, Matt Wentz, C.J. Jones, Ricky Dorshimer, Scott Lesher.
LATE MODEL (75 LAPS): LARRY FISHER, Dan Ballentine Jr, Barry Callavini, Tony Volpe, Dave Christman, Barry Gommer, Doug Yanders, Tom Spencer Jr, Bill Voorhees, Mike Radocha Jr, Dave Wallace, Francis Gross III, Phil DeFranco, Steve Pilman,Nate Correll, Joey McMurtie, Alan Moyer, Paul Koehler Jr, Rick Wallace, Dave Ziegelheim, Dean Kline Jr, Joe Barbush, Ron Moreck.
STREET STOCK (50 LAPS): JIM BUZINSKI, Brad Kline, Ron Babula, Briand Jones, Todd Ahner, Mike Kowalczuk, Jerry Karp Jr, Gary Dula, Dave Imler, Scott Meckes, Dave Mitchell, Mike Sweeney, Jamie Smith, Robert Fink, John Swerdon Jr, Shane Swanberry, Frank Hoffman, Jennifer Kutz, Donny Hartzell, Mike Odwazny, Mark Corbisiero.
FACTORY STOCK (40 LAPS): JOSH LABATCH, Paul Frantz, Shaun Burd, Joe Cooper, Dan Lucas, Todd Barbush, Darren Lucas, Sue Collins, Brad Kline, Howard Bott, Jake Kibler, Dennis Buss, Tom Casagrande, Steve McCracken. DNS - Mark Corbisiero.