Carr leads the way as first half of the AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship comes to a close PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 27, 2004) -- Defending AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr heads the list of riders that will compete ...
Carr leads the way as first half of the AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship comes to a close
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 27, 2004) -- Defending AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr heads the list of riders that will compete on Saturday, July 31, at the Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway Half-mile for round nine of the 19-race AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship.
With his victory last weekend in Oak Ridge, Tenn., Carr has opened a 14-point lead as the first half of the 2004 campaign comes to a close. It was the third win of the season for Carr.
Second-ranked Joe Kopp minimized the damage to his title hopes by taking second to Carr in last week's race. The two AMA champs, along with a host of top riders from around the country will converge on Hagerstown Speedway, one of the traditional stops on the AMA Grand National Championship circuit. Hagerstown first hosted an AMA National in 1964. The legendary Bart Markel won the race that year.
While Carr has built a14-point lead, it's not as solid of a lead as he would like. The pattern was similar last year, however. Carr's early series lead was beginning to dwindle, but a win at Hagerstown boosted his lead to 26 points and gave him the cushion he needed. He went on to claim the title by 25 points over Johnny Murphree. Carr has the same Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford team in place this year with Kenny Tolbert handling the tuning and a new addition in the form of racing teammate Willie McCoy.
Carr feels comfortable on the smooth red-clay oval of Hagerstown. He's won there twice and is hoping to match the record of three national wins at the track shared by Will Davis and Steve Morehead. Kopp has never won at Hagerstown, but has finished as high as second.
Johnny Murphree won this race in 2002. The rider from Paso Robles, Calif., is ranked fifth and needs a strong result this weekend to get back into championship contention as he was all of last year. Factory Harley-Davidson rider Rich King has a Hagerstown win to his credit. King comes into the race with one win this season.
Connecticut's Ken Coolbeth is ranked third behind Carr and Kopp. He's on the same KTM/ Jones Powersport squad as Kopp and is on track to match his career-best ranking in the Grand Nationals.
Local Maryland fans will be cheering on Jarrettsville's Paul Lynch. Lynch is ranked 15th nationally and has scored two top-10 finish so far this season.
In addition to the AMA Grand National Hagerstown will also host a Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series race. Farmington, New York's Christopher Hart leads that series after scoring a victory and a runner-up finish in the two races leading up to Hagerstown.
For additional information on the race contact Hagerstown Speedway at (301) 582-0640 or visit the track's website www.hagerstownspeedway.com.