Covert tops Eckert, wins $3,000 at Hagerstown
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (April 11) — Jason Covert has long looked up to one of Pennsylvania's top Dirt Late Model racers, Rick Eckert. Covert has done his share of chasing Eckert during his career, but this time it was Eckert trying to keep up as the York Haven, Pa., driver captured the Three State Flyers event at Hagerstown Speedway. | Slideshow
Covert, overtaking Eckert of York, Pa., on a lap-11 restart, led the rest of the 35-lapper for a $3,000 payday on the first-year tour. Eckert, who started on the front row alongside Covert, settled for second with Gary Stuhler of Greencastle, Pa., Andy Anderson of Martinsburg, W.Va., and Jeremy Miller of Gettysburg, Pa., rounding out the top five.
“It’s amazing to race with him," Covert said of outrunning Eckert. "He’s one of my heroes and he’s done a lot for me. I’d rather him or I win, but I’d just as soon I win; he’d say the same thing."
“We just happened to have things go our way tonight. We might come back here and not make the Lucas race. We didn’t make it last year. I screw up a lot but Barry gives me a heck of an opportunity to do this. It’s great to be here. This is the place to win.”
Eckert took control at the outset with Covert, Stuhler and Mike Lupfer giving chase after the first- and second-place finishers in four heat races drew for the top eight starting spots. Eckert kept Covert at bay on a couple of early restarts, but when the green reappeared after a lap-11 yellow, Covert stuck his car's nose under Eckert on the backstretch and didn’t look back on the half-mile oval.
"On restarts everyone was running the bottom and getting the top dirty," Covert said. "I wanted to get to the top and get out there earlier to make my speed get going. I couldn’t get off the corners. He could drive up off the corners, he had so much traction compared to what I had but on that restart, he moved out just enough to let me get by. These (American Racer) tires fire on restarts.”
By the time Covert was lapping competitors on lap 19, he was three seconds up on Eckert and never missed a beat during the final caution-free stretch of racing. The leader kept a cushion of lapped cars and finishing 3.2 seconds ahead of Eckert. Miller ran as high as third with five laps remaining, but slipped back to fifth in the closing laps.
Notes: Covert's Barry Klinedinst-owned Rocket Chassis has a Hershey's Racing Engine and sponsorship from Pre-Mach Fabricators & Machinists and Red Wing Shoes. ... J.T. Spence of Winchester, Va., was the Winchester Auto Dealers Exchange Hard Charger with his 17th-to-seventh run. ... Nick Dickson of Lewistown, Pa., who won the inaugural series event a week earlier at Allegany County Speedway in Cumberland, Md., as sixth. ... Among drivers failing to make the feature: Bo Feathers, Marvin Winters, Jim Yoder, Darryl Hills and Ronnie DeHaven Jr. ... The next Super Late Model special at Hagerstown is the 28th annual Stanley Schetrompf Classic, a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event on April 25. ... Next up for the Three State Flyers is a three-race Memorial Day weekend on May 22-24 at Winchester (Va.) Speedway, Hagerstown and Bedford (Pa.) Speedway.
Three State Flyers @ Hagerstown: (1) Jason Covert, (2) Rick Eckert, (3) Gary Stuhler, (4) Andy Anderson, (5) Jeremy Miller, (6) Nick Dickson, (7) J.T. Spence, (8) Mike Lupfer, (9) David Williams, (10) Roy Deese Jr., (11) Dan Stone, (12) Austin Hubbard, (13) Tyler Armstrong, (14) Ricky Elliott, (15) Frankie Plessinger, (16) Gregg Satterlee, (17) Jared Hawkin, (18) Scott LeBarron, (19) Chuck Clise, (20) Dale Hollidge, (21) Devin Friese, (22) D.J. Myers, (23) Alan Sagi, (24) Chris Harr, (25) Nathan Durboraw, (26) Jamie Lathroum. Heat race winners (among 39 cars): Stuhler, Lupfer, Eckert, Williams. Consolation winners: Plessinger, Sagi.