- June 4 - Hagerstown Speedway by Sam Holbrooks


Appalachian Mountain Speedweek: Mars' Last Lap Winning Pass Highlights AMS Hagerstown Opener

Bob Vores 

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - June 4. After 48 entries checked in for the 3rd Annual Appalachian Mountain Dirt Late Model Speedweek opener at Hagerstown Speedway, Jimmy Mars’ first visit in several years netted him the $5,000 opening nights 40-lap victory. It was the first ever at Hagerstown for the Menomonie, Wisconsin veteran and resulted from a three wide pass of Austin Hubbard and Steve Shaver in turn two of the final lap to edge Hubbard to the line by .605 seconds and Shaver only another .259 seconds back.

Jimmy Mars at Hagerstown Speedway

Jimmy Mars captured the Appalachian Mountain Speedweek opener with a last lap pass on Austin Hubbard and Steve Shaver at Hagerstown Speedway. (Gary Shrey)

“We’ve done well in heat races here before, got second and other top fives but to get a win at a track like this with all the history behind it is pretty cool,” Mars said. “We got our “hands slapped” in the heat race for jumping and got put back, but we came back and won.”

Shaver turned the quickest lap in time trials of 19.743 seconds and then pulled a number three for the heat race inversion with the top two from the four heats redrawing for starting position. Rick Eckert pulled the number one while Shaver started alongside on the front row.

On the start, Gary Stuhler and Kyle Lear had mechanical issues and pitted while only Stuhler returned to action and on the second try, Eckert pulled out front. Shaver pulled alongside several times in the first eight laps until getting past before Dylan Yoder and Jim Bernheisel were involved in a turn four caution the next lap.

Shaver led on the restart with Eckert and ninth starter Hubbard now past Vic Coffey into third and went to the 14th circuit before Duane Harbaugh shredded a tire.

Shaver continued to lead while Hubbard got past Eckert three laps later as did Coffey and 11th starting Mars by the halfway mark.

The final yellow was displayed for Jeremy Miller on lap 23 when he pulled pitside.

In the final 15-lap stretch, Shaver held off a few challenges from Hubbard while Mars joined them as they edged away from Coffey while Jamie Lathroum got stronger and advanced to pass Dan Stone on the 34th circuit and Coffey the next.

With two laps remaining, the front three were bumper to bumper as Hubbard looked inside Shaver while Mars came to the line in second for the white flag. Suddenly Shaver was stuck in the middle of turn two as Hubbard ducked inside and Mars was squeezed against the fence for a three wide exit. Mars won the race off the turn and headed towards the final turns and the checkered ahead of Hubbard and Shaver.

“I thought I was good on the outside the whole time,” Mars said. “The marbles get blown away on the last restart.”

“I didn’t even think about anyone else,” Hubbard said. “I was so concentrated on looking at Shaver and figuring out what I needed to do and all of a sudden, Mars turned right on me on the last lap and that’s never good. Honestly I thought the track was awesome tonight. When you get the track done like this and everybody can move around and run what lane you want and carry speed, that’s what makes good races.”

“Jimmy had a little different tire on than me, Austin had the same,” Shaver said. “I think his tire got better on the upper groove the last few laps. I tried to move down a little bit and I think it actually hurt me. Third place here is pretty good. I don’t normally run that good here at Hagerstown so we’re tickled to death. Leading like that, I would like to have hung on for the win.”


June 4 - AMS - Hagerstown Speedway
1. Jimmy Mars; 2. Austin Hubbard; 3. Steve Shaver; 4. Jamie Lathroum; 5. Vic Coffey; 6. Dan Stone; 7. J.T. Spence; 8. Tim McCreadie; 9. Roy Deese, Jr.; 10. Jason Covert; 11. Keith Jackson; 12. Jim Bernheisel; 13. D.J. Myers; 14. Alan Sagi; 15. Franke Plessinger; 16. Darryl Hills; 17. Rick Eckert; 18. Jerry Bard; 19. Nick Dickson; 20. Jeremy Miller; 21. Gary Stuhler; 22. Duane Harbaugh; 23. Ashley Barrett; 24. Dylan Yoder; 25. Kyle Lear.
Fast Time (48 entries): Shaver (19.743);  Heat winners: Stuhler, McCreadie, Miller, Coffey; B main winners: Covert, Plessinger.

Gary Shrey photo


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