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Covert continues dominance at Hagerstown Speedway

July 03, 2011|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Even Mother Nature couldn’t stop Jason Covert.

After a 2 1/2-hour rain delay pushed the start of racing back to about 10:15 p.m. Saturday night, Covert dominated the 46th annual Johnny Roberts Memorial at Hagerstown Speedway, leading by about 11 seconds before a late caution, and winning by almost three seconds over runner-up Jerry Bard.

It was Covert’s third win of the season at Hagerstown and his second in consecutive weeks. He remains the only repeat winner in nine Late Model events this season.

“All the credit’s got to go to the team, and I appreciate the fans for sticking it out,” said Covert, of York Haven, Pa. “The guys that run here every week are tough, but the team gives me a tremendous car and things went our way tonight. It’s gratifying to come back and win on (Hoosier tires).”

Bard jumped out to the early lead after starting on the pole, while Covert had to come from the 12th-starting spot.

No problem.

Covert was easily the fastest car on the track as he picked off drivers left and right on his way to the front, overtaking Bard on the 15th circuit and cruising to the 35-lap feature win. The event was shortened from 50 laps due to the rain delay.

“I’ve been coming here since I was 8 or 9 ... and this Johnny Roberts Memorial means a lot,” Covert said. “Just to have my name with a lot of those guys (past winners), it’s pretty cool. What a great night. I’m just tickled; the car was just flawless.”

Jim Bernheisel finished third with Roy Deese Jr. and Duane Harbaugh coming in fourth and fifth. Marvin Winters, Steve Axtell Jr., Nick Dickson, Kyle Lear and 2010 Roberts Memorial winner Frankie Plessinger all earned top-10 finishes.

Heat race winners were Bard, Lear and Winters.

A 20-minute rain shower swept through the Hagerstown area around 7:30 p.m., just as Late Models were staging for their first heat race. It took around two hours for track officials to get the racing surface back into shape once the storm passed, resulting in a slick, lightning-fast track.

Heat races for the Late Model Sportsman and Pure Stock classes were run, but features were postponed to the July 16 “Family Night” show after the Late Models wrapped up around midnight.

Late Model Sportsman heat winners were Justin Weaver, Andy Fries and Glenn Elliott. Pure Stock heats went to Tony Catlett and Kevin Koontz.

Stock car racing will go on a one-week hiatus as the AMA and Grand National motorcycles come to town July 9 for the 29th annual Hub City Classic. Two-wheeled racing begins at 6 p.m.

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