Hagerstown Half-Mile Preview: Maryland Hosts the Quick and the Smooth
Photo by Dave Hoenig
“DAYTONA BEACH, FL (July 1, 2011) – After a round spent on the rough-and-tumble limestone of Lima’s Half-Mile, the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship next turns to the smooth, fast, car-track half-mile in Hagerstown, Maryland, for a July 9 event. The tenth round of the series’ 22-round calendar, the Hagerstown Speedway Half-Mile comprises the championship’s only 2011 appearance on the Atlantic Seaboard.
The “Hub City” classic treats the large crowds that pour into Hagerstown Speedway with racing as hot as the July weather. Kings Kustoms/Larry Zumbrun Racing’s Sammy Halbert solidified his overall Grand National Championship points lead with a victory at Lima, but the red clay of Hagerstown Speedway has traditionally been very good to Halbert’s main challengers: Jake Johnson, Jared Mees, and Kenny Coolbeth, all of whom have ties to the area.
Defending Grand National Champion Johnson (Zanotti Racing) currently sits 25 points behind Halbert, but he’s hoping to repeat his win from 2009. Johnson also counts four top-five finishes in his nine Hagerstown mains, and he’ll be particularly motivated to do well this July 9 weekend. Originally from New Jersey, this race is as close to home as it gets for Johnson.
Rogers Lake Racing/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson’s Jared Mees had his recent hot streak somewhat cooled with a fifth-place finish in Lima and is now 31 points back of Halbert. The trip east is a homecoming for the transplanted Pennsylvanian, and Mees — who’s been able to grab two thirds and five top-five finishes over the years at Hagerstown — has plenty of reason to think he can do well again this year. Harley-Davidson Motor Company’s Kenny Coolbeth is 50 points out, but Hagerstown has been very good to the veteran. The former Grand National Champion has two wins (in 2007 and 2008) along with four seconds in his fourteen Hagerstown mains.”
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