50th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler
The 2022 NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler saw Matt Hirschman outlast Ryan Preece over several restarts in the closing laps to notch his first ever feature victory at Stafford. The race also marked the golden anniversary of “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring” with a brand new race format. Open Modifieds were the cars of choice for the race with a qualifying format that saw 42 cars run 8-lap heat races that were set by a random draw to set the starting lineups for twin 40-lap NAPA Duel Qualifying races that would determine the top-20 starting positions for the now 100-lap NAPA Spring Sizzler and paid $4,000 to each winner from a purse of over $15,000 for each NAPA Duel race. There were two 15-lap last chance races on Sunday to fill out the 33-car starting field for Sunday’s main event that paid the winner a guaranteed $15,000 from a purse of over $80,000 as well as securing a guaranteed starting spot in the SRX Series race at Stafford on July 2. Ron Silk and Ryan Preece were the two winners of the NAPA Duel races with Anthony Nocella and Anthony Bello winning the last chance qualifier races.
The race took the green flag with Silk leading the first 2 laps before Woody Pitkat moved to the front. Pitkat held the lead until lap-35 when Matt Galko took over the lead but he would only lead one lap as Matt Hirschman moved to the lead on lap-36. Hirschman held the lead until the caution flag flew with 56 laps complete. Hirschman and all but 3 lead lap cars came to pit road for tires and adjustments, putting Jimmy Blewett in the lead for the restart.
Blewett led 2 laps before Preece re-took the lead on lap-59. Hirschman hounded Preece for the lead and he was finally able to complete a pass on lap-78 to retake the lead. Hirschman and Preece began to encounter lapped traffic with 15 laps to go but the traffic didn’t slow either car down as they stayed glued together. The action was slowed by the caution flag with 95 laps complete.
Preece was able to beat Hirschman to the line by a nose on the restart to take the lead on lap-96 and just as they completed the lap, the caution came back out for Owen and Pasteryak, who came together and spun on the frontstretch. The ensuing restart saw Hirschman take the lead on the outside of Preece but the field was only able to complete one lap before the caution came back out. From there, Hirschman led Preece to the checkered flag to win the 50th Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler®. Silk finished third with Ronnie Williams and Blewett rounding out the top-5. Hirschman’s win was worth $24,100 in purse and contingency bonuses and his victory punched his ticket to be the hometrack driver in the July 2 SRX Series race at Stafford broadcast live on CBS. Hirschman also joined his father Tony as the only father-son combination in NAPA Spring Sizzler history to have won the race. Tony Hirschman’s Sizzler victory came back in 2005.