Bryan Bennett
Bryan Bennett

Hirschman homecoming: Matt Hirschman holds off Preece for Oswego win

Welcome back, Matt Hirschman.

The Pennsylvania native made himself right at home Saturday night at Oswego Speedway and won his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race of the season in his first start. Hirschman, who now has four career tour wins, doubled his career series wins at the 0.675-mile oval in New York that has long been a Hirschman family stronghold.

Hirschman won at Oswego in 2018, and his earlier Modified Tour victories both came more than a decade ago in 2008 — at Spencer Speedway (Williamson, New York) and Chemung Speedrome (Chemung, New York).

RELATED: Full race results

“I love every ripple, bump and crack in this place,” Hirschman told TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold following the Steel Palace 150. “I’ve been coming here a long time and it’s a special place to my whole family. I’ve always just enjoyed coming up here. It always has a lot of character and it really suits me well. It’s tough, winning these races.”

Hirschman won by holding off Ryan Preece, a Modifieds veteran who currently races part time in the NASCAR Cup Series with JTG Daugherty Racing.

Preece pressured Hirschman heavily over the final 50 laps, tucking his No. 6 Chevrolet to the inside of Hirschman’s No. 60 but couldn’t make the pass for the lead — and win. Preece was attempting to score his second Oswego victory, having won there previously in 2017.

“We were just so close, and really this has been the Hirschman house, right?” Preece said. “I’ve finished second so many times to him here. Second place isn’t all that bad. … We were one more adjustment away for maybe having a little something for Matt.”

Hirschman had qualified third earlier in the day, emerging victorious in a race that had just one caution flag.

Series points leader Patrick Emerling piloted his No. 07 Chevrolet to a third-place finish, just ahead of Justin Bonsignore (No. 51), who is second in the points standings and was the most recent Tour winner at Oswego prior to Saturday. Kyle Ebersole completed the top five in his No. 5 Ford.

Max McLaughlin finished 11th on the evening in his fourth series start after qualifying from the pole position, the first of his career on the Modified Tour.

The Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track on June 19 at Riverhead Raceway in its second stop of the year there. Justin Bonsignore won the Miller Lite 200 on May 15, the third race of the season.