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Congrats to TJ Bleau, Ricky Bly, David Greenslit, Braden Morrie, Steve Miller, and Chris Chambers on your championships!

Hirschman Cashes In, Craig Smith Breaks Through at Claremont


Claremont Motorsports Park

Hirschman Cashes In, Craig Smith Breaks Through at Claremont

CLAREMONT, N.H. – Matt “Money” Hirschman took home the big money – again – and GSPSS kingpin Joey Doiron earned a bundle too; but it was Newport’s Craig Smith who left Claremont Motorsports Park with the biggest smile on his face Friday night.

While Nick Houle stayed white hot in the Mini Stocks, and both JD Stockwell and Robert Shaw both added to their growing lists of 2022 conquests at the Thrasher Road speedplant, it was Smith, the veteran Late Model Sportsman pilot, breaking a long dry spell with his first checkered flag run of the summer.

Hirschman, who’d set a track Modified record earlier in time trials with a blistering lap of 13.211 seconds, sat on the front row of the 22-car field as the $15,000-to-win Racers Honoring Racers Open Modified 100 went green. Firing alongside him was Max Zachem.

But if the large crowd thought the man known as Money would dash off and lead all the way, they were quickly surprised. It was Zachem who blasted into the opening lead and then sat at the point – sometimes leading by 20 lengths – for the first 79 laps. When the event’s only caution, for a minor spin, came out, everyone but Sammy Rameau, Joey Jarvis, and Todd Alexander went pitside, with Ronnie Silk back to claim fourth, Hirschman fifth, and Zachem refiring sixth, as 18 of the 22 starters remained in the mix.

Rameau’s strategy paid off for 11 laps, as he led first Alexander and then Hirschman until lap 90, but then Money Matt, with a fresh right rear, was just too much, taking control when it counted most and blasting off to a dozen-length victory and the night’s big payday.

In the Granite State Pro Stock Series 100. it was series points leader Joey Doiron in control the last 77 laps – sometimes by a lot – and surviving six restarts – to pick up the night’s sizable - $7,500 – winner’s purse.

DJ Shaw and recently red hot Casey Call started up front in this one, but Call was quickly out of the mix, as Shaw, Luke Hinkley, and Gabe Brown went to war. For ten laps, Shaw and Brown put on one of the best shows of the night, racing glued together and side-by-side with Shaw holding on until Doiron whistled by on lap 23.

With Doiron in charge the rest of the way, Hinkley’s strong showing ended on lap 83, while Shaw stayed strong all the way to claim second, and Brown’s late-race charge moved him back up to third, just ahead of Joey Polewarczyk.

Steve Bly and Dylan Zullo led the Route 103 Auto/Heads Up Motorsports Late Model Sportsmen to the green, but it was row-two starter Craig Smith – often referred to as the Original Craig Smith at CMP – jumping all over the opening lead and never looking back.

Ten-time 2022 winner Ricky Bly may have been favored in Friday’s 25-lapper too, but Smith had plans of his own. Leading all the way in the caution-free event, he opened a gargantuan lead and dared Bly to catch him. The Sunapee blaster did, but not in time.

Bly finished at Smith’s back bumper for second on the night, with 2021 track champ Ben Poland third, and Steve Bly – strong all night long – fourth, just ahead of Cam Curtis.

It was no surprise that super rookie Nick Houle again dominated an In City Sugar Shack Mini Stock feature, this one for his sixth win of the summer, but when Bradon Morrie suddenly disappeared from second on lap 15, the order shifted to bring Chris Judd up to second, with Skyler Shippee earning the third-place hardware.

Rookie LaValley Building Supply Pure Stock blaster JD Stockwell had struggled here in recent weeks. Friday, the teen star, put that streak behind him, leading all the way to win his third feature of the season, although Friday’s score was his first since late April. Andrea St. Amour was strong in second, with Kyle Boniface impressing in third, while top points man Chris Chambers came home sixth on the night.

In the nightcap Avery Insurance Six Shooter event, Lucas Bernatchy, who’d taken the lead from Jacob Scott on lap four, was rubbed uptrack on the final lap, relinquishing the top spot as Robert Shaw then took over and dashed to his third win of the season. Steve Miller Jr. was second under the checkers, with Scott’s solid run bringing him home third.

Claremont Motorsports Park returns to action next Friday, August 19, when it’s ‘80s Night at the races, with $10 admission and discounted adult beverages offered, along with a seven-division card of oval track racing and a nightcap 50-lap Enduro.

RACERS HONORING RACERS MODIFIED 100: Matt Hirschman, Ronnie Silk, Max Zachem, Sammy Rameau, Kirk Alexander, Joey Jarvis, Todd Patnode, Woody Pitkat, Jake Johnson, Andy Jankowiak.
KEY CHEVROLET PRESENTS GSPSS 100: Joey Doiron, DJ Shaw, Gabe Brown, Joey Polewarczyk, Brian Kruczek, Jeremy Sorel, Ryan Green, Brian Whalley, Ray Christian III, Dylan Estrella.
LATE MODEL SPORTSMAN: Craig Smith, Ricky Bly, Ben Poland, Steve Bly, Cam Curtis, Cody Schoolcraft, Travis Cass, Dylan Zullo, Ben Lambert, Dick Lamotte.
MINI STOCK: Nick Houle, Chris Judd, Skyler Shippee, Wayne Kendall, Sean Lantas, David Thibodeau, Josh Dunn, Bradon Morrie, Hailey LaClair.
PURE STOCK: JD Stockwell, Andrea St. Amour, Kyle Boniface, Aiden White, Bruce Jaycox, Chris Chambers, Amy Jaycox, Colton Martin, Travis Sykes, Nolan McClay.
SIX SHOOTER: Robert Shaw, Steve Miller Jr., Jacob Scott, Steve Miller Sr., Lucas Bernatchy, Tyler Scott, Andrew Scott, Eric Griffin, Ken Ripley, Madison Leduc.

Article Credit: Gary Dutton

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