Story by: Corey Latham ~ [email protected]
Rougemont, NC ~ The “Frostbite Modified Winter Nationals” at Orange County Speedway didn’t really have the right name, as the action and weather was any but “Winter”, they were both red hot. With a beautiful skies and temperatures in the 80’s, the super fast ASA Southern M odifieds took to the bullring for the first time in over 20 years, and at the end of the day, the hottest man in all of modified racing came home with the win. Matt Hirschmanwas on a mission, and he was able to come up when it counted to out dueled a dominant, Ronnie Silk for the win.

On Friday, Norwalk Connecticut’s Ronnie Silk was able to lock up the top spot with a blistering lap of 13.19. He was followed by Hirschman , Charlie Pasteryak , GeorgeBrunnhoelzl III and the 2008 North South Shootout winner Burt Myers to the line. 18 cars started the race, with Dean Ward and Gary Young Jr. expiring engines on Friday, ending their weekend before it even began.

At the drop of the green flag, Silk wanted to make a statement, and he did throughout the day, it was “I’m the man here”. Silk dominated in the early going, and was especially good on the beginning of a green flag run. But there was someone who wanted to join him up there, George Brunnhoelzl III was coming in a hurry. Brunnhoelzl, or “GB3” as he’s called, started in the 4th spot and didn’t waste any time, disposing of Pasteryak and Hirschmanearly and setting his sights on Silk. It looked as ifBrunnhoelzl would be able to handle Silk, but he was missing the one thing that has plagued him for the past year and a half…….luck.

It was evident it was going to be between Silk, Brunnhoelzl, Pasteryak or Hirschman on this day, they seemed to be in a league of their own. Southerner Burt Myers showed a flash of brilliance early, but a mistake by the flagman on pit road turned his day upside down. “During the caution when the leaders pitted, the flagman had the flag up showing pit road was closed, so I stayed out, when everybody else went down there” said a dejected Myers.. “I figured I would pit the next time by, they would be penalized, and they would be behind me anyway. The spotter came on the radio and told me it was a miscommunication from the tower to the flagman, it was open. He asked why I didn’t follow everybody else. I told him if everybody went and jumped of the top of the tower, I ain’t gonna follow them. We had to stay out then, and the tires go away so fast, it was pretty much over in the next 20 laps”.

As Myers was falling, Silk and Brunnhoelzl were leaving. That all came to an end for Brunnhoelzl on lap 89. As George III was beginning to apply heavy pressure to Silk for the lead, they came up on the lapped cars DarrellKrentz and Tony Hanbury . The two lapped cars went 2+2 and silk decided to force the issue, spinning Krentz intoHanbury , and ultimately collecting the #28 Of Brunnhoelzl. The #28 was towed back to the pits, and as the RiverheadRaceway graduate was walking to the hauler, they noticed something. They could fix the car. And so they did, and under ASA modified tour rules, caution laps do not count.Brunnhoelzl never lost a lap and rejoined the field before the green flag, and drove like a madman all the way back to 4th spot. But 4th is not first, and “Georgie” was not happy about it. “Silk just flat out dumped the lapped car. And of course we get in somebody Else’s mess”.

Silk looked to have it in the bag, but Matt Hirschman had other plans. On the restart after the Brunnhoelzl wreck,Hirschman disposed of Pasteryak and set his sights on Silk. The Roger Hill owned car of Silk had been dominant all day, but now Hirschman and Pasteryak were on his bumper, the top three were gone and nose to tail.Hirschman was fast all day, but faded early in the race and never looked to be a factor for the win. Silk had been good on the short runs, but it appeared that the wreck early with the lapped cars affected the handling on the #79 machine. The longer they ran, the more pressure Hirschmanapplied, and on lap 118 he made his move, and took the top spot from Silk. “Matty” pulled away, and Silk had his hands full with hard charging Pasteryak , but was able to hold the veteran off for the second spot.

It was a great day and a great race at Orange County. Randy Myers and is ASA crew brought back the mods to where they should have been all along, the 3/8ths mile high-banked track is made for the modifieds . The action was fierce, but in the end the hottest driver in all of modified racing, and maybe in the country, was victorious. Matt H irschman has only a few years under his belt, but he already has 2 North-South Shootout wins, was the 2008 ROC champion, runner up in the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified tour points, and has now claimed the inaugural “Josh Jenkins Memorial 125”. And the sad part is, the kid doesn’t even have a full time ride for 2009. No better way to impress than to win in the first big event of the year.

Frostbite Modifieds Results:
1 – Matt Hirschman
2 – Ronnie Silk
3 – Charlie Pasteryak
4 – George Brunhoelzl III
5 – JR Beritucco
6 – Jay Foley
7 – Danny Bohn
8 – Jimmy Zacharias
9 – Scott Rigney (last car on lead lap)
10 – Burt Myers
11 – Josh Nichols
12 – Tony Hanbury
13 – Jason Myers
14 – Rob Schultz
15 – Greg Butcher
16 – Darrell Krentz
17 – Ricky Knapp
18 – Barry Dalton