The featured event at Hagerstown will be the Grand National, with defending champion Chris Carr (pictured) leading the way. Carr is one of six former Hagerstown winners that will be on hand this weekend. The Hagerstown Half-mile is one of the most competitive tracks on the circuit and picking the winner there is always difficult. Also on the slate is round five of the Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series. Michigan’s Cory McDermitt leads a hotly contested series where the top seven riders are separated by less than 20 points.
Hagerstown is one of the tracks in the series where it’s always hard to pick a favorite. Johnny Murphree is the defending winner there. The Californian earned his first, and to date only, AMA Grand National victory at the tricky half-mile oval. Murphree is third in the standings coming into this week’s event and would love to nail down his second victory at the track. As mentioned before, Murphree is just one of six former winners that are expected to compete. He, along with Chris Carr, Rich King, Jay Springsteen, Kevin Atherton and Kevin Varnes have all tasted victory at Hagerstown.
Series champ Carr sees Hagerstown as one of the most unpredictable circuits in the series. It took him 15 years before he earned his first win on the red clay oval.
“Every year we go there the track is a little different,” said Carr, who is gunning to become only the second rider in AMA Grand National history to win five titles. “It’s a slick track, almost like a short track and if you happen to nail your set-up just right you’ll annihilate everybody. It’s a track where you have to get good starts and it’s best if you can stay off the brakes going into the turns. You have to trust your tires and pitch it in there.”
Mica, Washington’s, Joe Kopp is the hottest rider coming into Hagerstown. A victory and runner-up finish in the last two rounds has drawn him to within 18 points of Carr. “I’m definitely feeling confident right now,” Kopp said of his recent hot streak. He is looking for his first win at Hagerstown.
Local fans will be cheering on Mike Hacker, from Colonial Heights, Virginia, and Paul Lynch, of Bel Air, Maryland. Hacker comes into Hagerstown ranked 12th in the series, while Lynch is 14th.
The Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series is shaping up to be one of the best in the 10-year history of the series. The series pits racers against one another on equally matched Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster that are not far removed the bike that rolls of the showroom floor. These races normally come down to the final lap. Cory McDermitt holds a narrow two-point edge on Scott Stump. The father and son combination of Scott Scherb and Merle Scherb, of Decatur, Texas, are tied for third in the series. Less than 20 points separates the leading McDermitt from seventh-place Josh Toungett in the series standings, which means at least mathematically anyone of the top seven could leave Hagerstown with the series lead.
Saturday marks the 23rd AMA Grand National at Hagerstown. The race dates back to the mid-1960s when Bart Markel won a pair of races at the track. After nearly a 20-year hiatus the race came back on the schedule in 1983 and has been a staple of the series for the last 20 years.
For ticket information on the event contact, Hagerstown Speedway at (301) 582-0640 or visit www.hagerstownspeedway.com.
For immediate post-race results, points, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.1800FlatTrack.com, the official website of the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
HAGERSTOWN SPEEDWAY, HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND
SATURDAY, AUGUST 9, 2003
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Registration at the track
3:00 p.m. – 5:10 p.m. – Tech Inspection at the track
5:45 p.m. – Riders Meeting
6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. – Practice
7:00 p.m. – Qualifying heats
8:15 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – Opening Ceremonies
8:30 p.m. – 8:40 p.m. – 1st Harley-Davidson Sportster Peformance Heat
8:40 p.m. – 8:50 p.m. – 2nd Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Heat
8:50 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – 3rd Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Heat
9:00 p.m. – 9:10 p.m. – 1st Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat
9:10 p.m. – 9:20 p.m. – 2nd Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat
9:20 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. – 3rd Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat
9:30 p.m. – 9:40 p.m. – 4th Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat
9:40 p.m. – 9:55 p.m. – HARLEY-DAVIDSON SPORTSTER PERFORMANCE FINAL
9:55 p.m. – 10:05 p.m. – Victory Circle for Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Final
10:05 p.m. – 10:15 p.m. – 1st Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi
10:15 p.m. – 10:25 p.m. – 2nd Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi
10:25 p.m. – 10:35 p.m. – 3rd Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi
10:50 p.m. – 11:05 p.m. – AMA PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE GRAND NATIONAL FINAL
11:10 p.m. – Victory Circle for Grand National