Matt Hirschman Dominates To Win Second Annual Granite State Derby at Lee
Kuhn, Meservey, Battle, Harwood & Valeri Also Claim Derby Wins
By Jeff Brown, for JDV Productions
LEE, N.H. – In the inaugural Granite State Derby at Lee USA Speedway, Matt Hirschman dominated early but came up short in the stretch. This time around, Hirschman would not be denied.
“Big Money Matt” took charge on the third lap and never looked back en route to his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win of the year and his first at “New Hampshire’s Center of Speed.”
“We just finally closed one,” Hirschman said in victory lane. “These races are tough to win, and I think we should have had five or six of them in recent years.”
The Northampton, Penn., veteran started third and only needed a couple laps to get alongside polesitter and defending race winner Doug Coby. Once at the front, Hirschman checked out, maintaining a modest advantage over Coby, Sam Rameau and Jon McKennedy as the leaders plotted their tire strategy.
Patient and clean racing through the pack was paused on lap 69 when Max Zachem spun down the frontstretch, opening the pit strategy window. Hirschman led the entire field down pit road for tires, then beat Coby and McKennedy back to the track to lead the field back to green.
Coby stumbled on the restart with clutch problems, sliding back through the pack as McKennedy and Austin Beers settled into second and third. Beers snuck past the reigning series champion and into the runner-up spot, but Hirschman was setting a steady pace at the front that the sophomore could not outmatch. The leaders prepared for one last pit stop, all the while managing their tires to go the distance if necessary.
McKennedy slipped back around Beers with 25 laps to go, carving time off Hirschman’s advantage as the leader dispatched slower traffic. But the caution McKennedy needed to erase that advantage never came.
Hirschman, ever disciplined at conserving equipment, crossed the line 1.120 seconds ahead of McKennedy to win his sixth career NWMT race and his first since the 2021 season opener.
“We deserve better than what the results have been, and a lot of that is on me,” Hirschman said. “I take the most responsibility for that. But today, we delivered.”
Beers held on for third place, with Rameau and Ron Silk rounding out the top five. Coby raced his way back to sixth at the finish.
Hirschman’s win is a small step toward repeating last year’s Whelen Granite State Short Track Cup championship for car owner Roy Hall’s Pee Dee Motorsports. Coby won the first leg of the triple-race program, the Duel at the Dog 200 at Monadnock Speedway.
In addition to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, six more feature races kept fans on the edge of their seats with a mix of local and regional star power. Supermodified wunderkind Jeffrey Battle passed his uncle Eddie Witkum with the white flag in sight to claim victory in the 350 Supermodifieds. Tom Harwood prevailed in a three-way battle to win the 25-lap New England Dwarf Car Series showdown. The New England Pro 4 Modifieds staged their inaugural Dan Meservey, Sr. Memorial Race, with Brayden Meservey taking an emotional win for the family.
Massachusetts’ Ryan Kuhn topped Lee’s best Pro Stock racers, leading wire-to-wire in a commanding performance in the 80-lap Pro Stock open. Wade Gelinas turned in a similar performance with the NHSTRA Late Models. And setting the stage for the night’s main event, Kyle Valeri took his first-ever win with the NEMA Lites.
The next scheduled event for JDV Productions is the inaugural Winchester Open Modified 100 at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H., where the JDV Open Modifieds will make their debut at “Mad Dog” Saturday, June 3rd. More information on this special event will be released later this week.
For more information on JDV Productions, visit JDVProductions.com and follow on social media for the latest updates throughout the season, including updates from the track on race day with feature winner posts.