June 11, 2008

ARCHIVES                                         

By Brian Danko
Tony Hirschman, Jr. is living large these days. Hirschman, the son of five time modified tour champion, Tony, Sr., is currently spotting full time on the Sprint Cup series for driver David Ragan.

“Things are going great.” Tony said sitting outside the AAA Insurance Ford hauler of Roush Fenway Racing. “This weekend is great because I am close to home and I also get to see a lot of friends.”

Hirschman began his career, like many racers at the local tracks where he spotted for his father for many years and then his brother before he was getting noticed by upper NASCAR teams on the Craftsman Truck, Nationwide Series and the Sprint Cup circuit.

He feels like he his playing a small part in the success that Ragan has shown this year and Ragan himself praised Tony after the Dover race in which Tony helped guide David through the massive wreck off turn two.

“The biggest thing about David is he older and is gaining more experience and that is the biggest reason why we are running better. We all have the same equipment so we know it’s not that.”

Tony was doing the spotting as a ‘second job’ as he was a counselor working with youths but right now, this is his full time job.

This was a big weekend for Tony as he celebrated his 31st birthday and was able to have a ‘small’ get together in his hometown. “I think that the whole team was there.” Tony said laughing, “But it was nice to be home for it.”

Last October, Tony became a father for the first time and he loves every minute of it except for the time he’s on the road and now that he’s spotting fulltime for Ragan, he leaves the house every Thursday and doesn’t get home till late Sunday night.

“My schedule is a little different than most people because my weekend is like Tuesday and Wednesday. So I get to spend some time with my daughter then and stay home with her as my wife is working.”

When I asked how is mother and father like being grandparents, Tony lit up with a smile. “Oh, they love it. You know my dad, how quite he is but seeing him and my brother, Matt, with her, they really get into it and naturally, my mother loves it.”

Actually, his mother takes over watching her when Tony has to pack up and head to the airport for the next Sprint Cup race or Nationwide race.

Even though, the Pocono Raceway is just about 40 minutes from Tony’s hometown of Northampton, Pa., it still doesn’t mean an easy weekend.

“Tonight I have to fly to Nashville, TN. To spot for David during the Nationwide race and then we’ll fly back after the race but at least when tomorrow is over, I just have a short ride back home before I have to head out to Michigan next weekend.”

One thing about following the Cup series is you get to see the United States, but most who follow the grueling series say that other than flying from one airport to another, you really don’t get to see the area because you’re always at the track.

When I asked Tony if he did any other jobs for the Roush team, he said, “No, I just spot for David for pretty much I get to hang out at the hauler and wait till we get together for practice and the race.”

We talked about how many former modified team members are working on various Cup teams so he says “it’s nice to see familiar faces on the road.”

Right now things are looking up for the young Tony. He has a great job that he loves and a wonderful family. What else can anyone ask for?

BRIAN DANKO'S COLUMN CAN BE FOUND EACH WEEK IN AREA AUTO RACING NEWS.
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