Aggressive Start, Restart Sends Silk to World Series Win

Silk earned his ninth Speedweeks win but first with crew chief Phil Moran.

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It looked like a chess match, but Ron Silk says he was just driving as hard as he could to keep one of the fellow greats behind him in Matt Hirschman.

For 30 laps and across two restarts, Hirschman looked for away under or over Silk for the lead and just couldn’t do it. The race may have been won and lost on the initial start. Hirschman started the race ahead of Silk, but found himself on the bottom, with Silk using a three-wide pass from the preferred top side to move into third.

Silk would take the lead on a third lap restart, aggressively driving past Jimmy Blewett and Teddy Hodgdon. Hirschman needed a fifth lap restart to move into second, at which point Silk had already taken the lead.

The pair of aces would duel nose-to-tail for the next 30 laps with Silk emerging victorious. It looked like chess, but it was all drive.

"I don't know about chess," Silk said. "I'm just trying to hold him off. He's trying to pass me."

The leaders approached the tail end of the field with two laps to go, but it was ultimately a non-factor.

"You do get a little nervous seeing them approaching in the distance, but you just have to commit to your decisions and hope to catch a few breaks. Fortunately, everyone stayed out of the way and it didn’t affect the finish.

The race was his ninth in World Series competition but also his first overall since acquiring the services of championship winning crew chief Phil Moran.

Meanwhile, Hirschman was left wondering what could have been with a more aggressive start.

"We caught him, just passing him is another thing," Hirschman said. "[Silk] is one of the best we run against. He’s always a hard race. We just couldn’t make a pass.

"But I would say, looking back at the race, we started ahead of him. The three-wide thing, he went to the inside and I was in the middle and I didn’t want to use [Blewett]. I kind of was conservative on that and maybe that was the difference. There’s three races ahead of us and I’m looking forward to [the John Blewett III Memorial 76 on Wednesday]. It’s one of my favorite races of the year and I think we’re in good shape. I would have liked to have won, we had a fast-enough car to win, but we’re back on form. We had an off night [Monday], it wasn’t anybody’s fault or the car’s, we had a tire going down. So, we’re back in form. Hopefully tomorrow night we’re [in victory lane]."

Jimmy Blewett accepted another podium finish and also assumes the points lead heading into Wednesday’s John Blewett III Memorial 76. He was just too loose to close out on the leaders once they stayed in lockstep down the straights.

"The car was bad fast, just a little too free for me," Blewett said. "Once [Silk and Hirschman] got drafting each other [Hirschman] kind of pushed [Silk] out front to get him away from me so I couldn’t make a move with him. Hats off to my guys, another podium finish here. We’re thinking big picture for the end of the week here with the points championship. We’ve got a lot of stiff competition here this year."

1. Ron Silk
2. Matt Hirschman
3. Jimmy Blewett
4. Teddy Hodgdon
5. Craig Lutz
6. Ronnie Williams
7. Stephen Kopcik
8. Michael Christopher, Jr.
9. Joey Coulter
10. Marcello Rufrano
11. Tyler Rypkema
12. Anthony Bello
13. Timmy Catalano
14. Earl Paules
15. Tyler Truex
16. Brian Robie
17. Patrick Emerling
18. Tommy Catalano
19. Paul Charette
20. Kyle Sisco
21. Tyler Catalano
22. Jeremy Gerstner
23. Dillon Steuer
24. David Sapienza
25. Dylan Slepian
26. Chris Ridsdale
27. Spencer Davis
28. Rich Parker
29. Jonathan Laurigh
30. Chris Dewalt
31. Chris Andretta
32. Tom Martino, Jr.
33. J.R. Bertuccio
34. Chris Young
35. Andrew Krause