Rain Reigns at Hagerstown Half Mile

| August 12, 2001
When the AMA/Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championships series had visited Frank Plessinger’s Hagerstown Speedway in Hagerstown, Maryland, in June, flat track racing’s elite showed up to do battle on a Saturday night, only to wind up racing on Sunday, thanks to rain. For the series’ second visit to the facility, they fared even worse.

The rain showed up to play havoc at round 13 of the series, which was scheduled for Saturday night, August 11, and this time it was the rain – not the racers – who made a return engagement on the Sunday make-up date. The event was cancelled when a steady, pounding storm washed away the red clay half mile just moments before the Grand National feature was to begin.

The rain wiped out a cooperative effort between the teams and AMA officials to get the 25-lap final in before the weather turned ugly. Riders were limited to two practice sessions and the scratch heats were tossed in favor of five heat races, which took the top three finishers in each to the main event. Three semis would transfer only the winners to make for the 18-man main. Things ran fairly smoothly, the action starting shortly after noon eastern time, but then just as the riders were taking their positions on the starting grid at about 2:45 p.m., the rain came for good.

The rain also washed away Fasthog.com/Moroney’s Harley-Davidson’s Will Davis’ chances for a third win in as many weeks. The North Carolinian had not only won his heat race, but he had also posted a 10-lap time of three minutes, 59.775 seconds, to take the pole for the main. Davis’ time was nearly two seconds faster than second-fastest heat winner Joe Kopp. Chris Carr won his heat to start third. Nicky Hayden and Mike Hacker were also heat race winners.

Also of noteworthy are the struggles that Team Harley-Davidson’s Rich King underwent, as he failed to transfer directly through his heat and was forced to win the third semi after a dicey battle with Chris Hart in the early going of that race.

Whether or not Davis could have landed that third straight win is pure speculation now, but he clearly had a handle on things aboard his Mike Wheeler-tuned entry. He had said that he wanted badly to win the race for Wheeler, who hails from the State of Maryland. Instead, the riders, having completed qualifying for the feature, were paid off according to their starting positions, and each main event entrant also received one championship point.

The next round of the series is the fabled Peoria TT, set to take place on August 18. Here are the payoff positions from Hagerstown Speedway.

1. Will Davis (H-D); 2. Joe Kopp (H-D); 3. Chris Carr (H-D); 4. Nicky Hayden (H-D); 5. Mike Hacker (H-D); 6. Jay Springsteen (H-D); 7. Terry Poovey (H-D); 8. Bryan Bigelow (H-D); 9. J.R. Schnabel (H-D); 10. Johnny Murphree (H-D); 11. Steve Beattie (H-D); 12. Greg Teague (H-D); 13. Kevin Atherton (H-D); 14. Tim Eades (H-D); 15. Roger Lee Hayden (H-D); 16. Rich King (H-D); 17. Paul Morgan III (H-D); 18. Paul Lynch (H-D).

By Scott Rousseau