PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- When the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship last visited Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway on June 1, Chris Carr led the five-race-old series. The championship makes its second visit of the summer to Hagerstown's Half-mile this Saturday, Aug. 10, and it's still Carr atop the standings after 11 rounds of the 20-race series. The 35-year-old defending AMA Grand National Champion from Fleetwood, Pa., holds a 17-point lead over fellow Pennsylvanian Kevin Varnes and Bryan Bigelow of Michigan, who are tied for second in the points. Carr is attempting to become only the third rider in the 48-year history of the AMA Grand National Championship to win four titles.
While Carr has slowly built on his points lead since taking it over late in May on his Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford-sponsored Harley-Davidsons, the battle behind the No. 1 rider has been fierce. Nine riders have won in the first 11 races, making this season one of the most competitive in years. Five riders have been shuffling back and forth in the tussle for second in the standings. Coming into Saturday's race Varnes, who won this race in 1995, and Bigelow each has a victory in the series this season, but Bigelow carries the most momentum. Over the last six rounds Bigelow has been the highest scoring rider in the series.
Johnny Murphree, who led the series earlier in the year, is fourth in the standings only two points behind the Varnes/Bigelow tie. It was Murphree who broke through to win his first AMA Grand National at Hagerstown in June. The rider from Forsyth, Ill., is hoping to duplicate his June performance and close the gap on Carr going into the latter half of the season.
Ken Coolbeth, Jr. is still very much in the championship hunt. The fifth-ranked rider from Warren, Conn., had on off weekend last Saturday in Harrington, Del., when he failed to qualify for the main event and as a result dropped from third in the standings. Coolbeth will be looking to return strong at Hagerstown where he finished fifth in June.
The story in the Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series this year has been the performance of young Jared Mees; the 16-year-old rookie sensation from Honey Brook, Pa. Mees leads the series having won three races, including the June race at Hagerstown, on his Moroney's Harley-Davidson. Texan Scott Scherb and James Hart of Illinois, are keeping Mees in sight in the series points chase.
For additional information 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, MD HALF-MILE
AUGUST 10, 2002
SATURDAY, AUGUST 10, 2002
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