Matt Hirschman wins Richie Evans 100, Jimmy Blewett takes World Series
Feb 19, 2022
In this exact moment, Matt Hirschman has a 35-point advantage over Justin Bonsignore in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standings, but there is one problem with this narrative.
Big Money Matt isn’t running for the championship.
Bonsignore is the three-time and reigning series champion, and the unquestioned full-time face of the division, especially with six-time champion Doug Coby scaling back to a part-time campaign this summer.
That development also leaves Bonsignore with few obvious challenges through a full campaign.
Ron Silk and Haydt Yannone Racing now have Phil Moran on top of their pit box and are the most obvious challengers to the continued championship reign. Jon McKennedy, Eric Goodale and Craig Lutz all have head starts after Bonsignore was the first DNF last during the season opener at New Smyrna.
But Hirschman would be the most compelling challenger should he or one of his teams want to take the opportunity -- but a full NASCAR schedule is just not an option these days.
"I don't believe so," Hirschman told Racing America. "It hasn't even been discussed. We usually do three or four races a year. If we were doing half to three quarters, it would make sense to do them all from a financial standpoint because we'd be leaving a lot of money on the table to not finish the year.
"When we're doing just three, that's 13 races we're not doing, so it hasn't even been an option for us."
Hirschman is fresh off another successful Speedweeks effort with PeeDee Motorsports, coming up just short in the World Series of Asphalt championship, but winning all three marathon races in the NASCAR Tour 200, John Blewett III Memorial 76 and Richie Evans 100.
There have been four previous full-time efforts, from 2006 to 2008, and a unique one in 2014 – split between Wayne Darling and his own team.
"That was a long time ago," Hirschman said with a laugh.
Hirschman finished third and second in the points in 2007 and 2008, but says he’s moved on from wanting to add the NASCAR championship to an extensive resume that includes a dozen regional championships in the Race of Champions and Tri-Track Open Modified Series.
"It’s just not in the cards, I think," Hirschman said. "It would have been nice to get one when I did it and that was a while ago. I never had another shot to win it after 2008. That was our best chance to get it and just never followed up.
"When we go, we’re a threat, and everyone knows that, they know that, and the results speak for themselves. That’s our primary goal when we go to the track -- to win races."