Tri-Track Returns to the Speedbowl with a Star Studded Field to Honor Ron Bouchardwaterford
He’s known as Big Money Matt, specializing in winning races that have the largest jackpots attached.
When it comes to New London-Waterford Speedbowl, however, Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa. has yet to make a major breakthrough. “I don’t have a win there,” Hirschman said. “It’s a track I like, and it really fits my style. And I’ve finished second there several times, both in a Tour-type Modified and also in an SK. But I’m surprised I’ve never won there.”
He’ll get another opportunity Thursday when the Tri-Track Open Modifieds come to the Speedbowl for the Tri-Track Ron Bouchard Memorial.
He’ll be joined, however, by the best drivers in the Northeast — more than 40 drivers have expressed interest in coming to the Speedbowl, including many of the sport’s marquee names.
The list is an all-star team — Ted Christopher, Chris Pasteryak, Eric Berndt, Justin Bonsignore, Rowan Pennink, Tommy Barrett, Ron Silk, Woody Pitkat, Les Hinckley, Dennis Perry, Todd Annarummo, Anthony Nocella, Dick Houlihan, Richard Savery and Keith Rocco.
They’ll be joining Mike Holdridge, Troy Talman, Jeff Gallup, Dylan Kopec, Kirk Vigeant, Earl Paules, Geoff Gernhard, Roger Coss, Andrew Krause, Andy Jankowiak, Chris Bakaj, Calvin Carroll, Tom Abele Jr., Kyle Trayner, Karl Fredrickson, Dave Salzarulo, Dan Messervey, Jonny Kaye, Carl Mederios, Sal Accardi, Shawn Thibeault, Mike Benevedes and George Sherman.
There will also be two drivers in action who will be inducted into the New England Hall of Fame in November — Ken Bouchard and Dwight Jarvis.
There’s a reason there’s so much talent headed to the Speedbowl — a $60,000 purse, including a $10,000 payout to the winner of the 100-lap feature. There also will be a team competition during the race, giving the race winner a chance to earn as much as $11,200.
“What stands out is the payout,” Hirschman said. “It’s the kind of money we should be racing for, but don’t get a chance to very often. But there are a lot of other positives. The Tri-Track series is the best thing going.”
Qualifying will start at 5:55 p.m., There will be 12-lap heat races, and two 15-lap consolation races to configure the 26-car starting field. Then a 25-lap B-Main will take place. The winner can collect the $1,000 prize, or pass up the money and become the 27th starter in the feature,
“For the last few years, I’ve come to the track knowing I would be in the feature,” Hirschman said. “That isn’t the case in the Tri-Track series. The competition is so tough, there are no guarantees. For some drivers, just qualifying will seem like a victory.”
Hirschman expects a competitive race.
“There should be a lot of passing — it won’t be a track position race,” Hirschman said. “You should be able to come from the back to the front — maybe multiple times if you make a pit stop. The fans are going to see something special.”
The best drivers in the Northeast will be going for a huge purse — it doesn’t get more special than that.
Also on the schedule are the U.S. Legends and the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Truck Series.
Noah Korner comes into the final Thursday Legends race of the season with a 37-point lead over Dana Dimatteo. John O’Sullivan is 57 point back.
The Truck series is led by Duane Noll, who has won three of the four races and has a 12-point lead over Tyler Chapman.
Following qualifying, a special tribute will take place to honor the late Ron Bouchard, who passed away in January.
Among those scheduled to make an appearance to pay tribute to the former Talladega 500 winner are Carl “Bugsy Stevens, George Summers, Dick Ceravolo, George Savery, Billy Harmon and Butch Perry.