Maryland Short Track
20th Annual Gary Nixon Memorial Outdoor Short Track Series
Round 1: Maryland State Fairgrounds
Story and Photos by Len Breech and Ben Breech
TIMONIUM, MD, JULY 24, 2015
Sammy Halbert and Cory Strickler shared Expert-class wins at the opening round of the 20th annual Gary Nixon Memorial Outdoor Short Track Series.
In the Open A final, Strickler took the lead, ahead of Joey Alexander, Nick Henderson and Brandon Price. Strickler and Alexander had a margin of a bikelength or so on the others, while Price moved up to take third on the fourth lap.
With the Gary Nixon Pro Invitational increasing the rider count, not to mention the added laps the event brought with it, the heat-race laps were cut, and with the program running behind after them, the finals were also reduced to try to get the event completed (slightly unsuccessfully) by the 11 p.m. curfew.
Jesse Long led Halbert, Jason Isennock and Ryan Wells out of turn two in the 450cc Sportsman A final. After gradually inching closer, Halbert slipped under Long going into turn one on the third lap, with Isennock following in his slipstream. Trying to get by Long in the late laps, Wells slid out off turn two.
Tyler Mullen took the Open B lead off turn two, with Billy Snodgrass Jr., John Schwatka and Jeremy Orr trailing. With Mullen gradually pulling away, Orr took third going into turn three on the third lap and then stayed close to Snodgrass until taking second at the flag.
While leading hasn’t been a problem for Trevin Caruccio this season, holding that lead has been a big problem. On this night, he again grabbed the lead, this time in the 450cc Sportsman B contest, over Snodgrass, Mullen and Chris Thomas. Mullen took second on the third lap and closed a little on Caruccio, maybe waiting for the latter’s usual miscue – which never happened.
When he shows up, Nick Henderson has been the dominant rider in the 250cc Sportsman class. This time, he took the lead, with another fast starter, Anthony Crabbe, right behind him. Austin Wherley, Chase Smith and Nathan Reichert trailed. Wherley fell in turn two on the third lap, while Reichert fell for the second time in turn two late in the race.
Henderson is also a dominating factor in the Adult 150cc class, and it looked like he would garner another win when he took the lead ahead of Jason Cunningham, Tyler Eggleton, Ryan Dragunas, and Ryan’s dad, Joe Dragunas. Eggleton took second on the second lap and then pressured his buddy Henderson for the top spot. On the fifth lap, Eggleton got by Henderson off turn two for the lead and then it to the finish.
Another rider who has made a career out of crashing at various times in a race, Chris Hathaway, also managed to stay upright this evening to claim the victory in the Over 40 final. However, he did add another unique get-off to his list – this time as he was headed to the line for the start of his heat race!
In the final, Hathaway took the lead, ahead of Lowell Wherley, Jim Blair and Bruce Bowman, and he held it to the end. Mike Rabold moved up to pressure Bowman for fourth late in the race.
Sean Simmons took the Over 30 lead, ahead of Albert Cook, Ben Ludlow and Lou Smith. On the second lap, Smith took third off turn four, but he went high off turn two, letting Ludlow back into the second spot. Simmons and Cook stayed glued to each other to the end, with Simmons winning by a bikelength.
The regular Triumph battle between Isennock and Alexander in the Open Twins final was cut short when Isennock had trouble staying upright in his heat, being the 11th qualifier; only the top 10 would move on to the final.
In the main event, Joey Alexander led Cody Bauer, Greg Batts and Dave Batts the entire distance. Bauer kept Alexander honest, staying about two bikelengths back.
Nate Reichert was the first 125cc Two-Stroke/ 150cc Four-Stroke rider out of turn two, followed by Joe Dragunas, Chase Smith and Jordan Desombre. Justin Haag moved into fourth on the second lap, and Smith took second on the fourth lap. Haag moved into third on the next lap.
After being defeated in the combined 85cc heat by Landon Kawczak, Tyler Scott nailed the start, ahead of Kawczak, Jared Florian and Dominick Cooper, and proceeded to pull away.
Scott had an easier time topping the 65 class.
The 50 classes were a case of “survival of the fittest.”
The 50cc Shaft Drive class saw Dylan Dancy, Aiden Hawthorne and Jackson Stroh in a tightly bunched pack at the front of the field. Dancy fell at the start-finish line on the fourth lap, removing himself from the lead pack. Hawthorne fell in turn two on the next lap, giving the win to Stroh, who managed to stay upright the rest of the way.
Tyler Cunningham led Hawthorne, Jack Rutledge and Dylan Cunningham at the start of the 50cc Chain Drive contest. Hawthorne stayed close until he fell on the fifth lap. Then Rutledge slipped by Cunningham on the final lap for the lead and the win.
Maryland State Fairgrounds
Results: July 24, 2015 (Round 1)
50 CHAIN DRIVE: 1. Jack Rutledge (Hon); 2. Tyler Cunningham (Hon); 3. Dylan Cunningham (Hon); 4. Tyler Hinson (KTM); 5. Jacob Schwartz (KTM); 6. Jackson Stroh (Hon); 7. Aiden Hawthorne (Lem); 8. Legend Erisman (KTM); 9. Kayla Sample (Hon); 10 Dylan Dancy (KTM).
50 SHAFT DRIVE: 1. Jackson Stroh (Yam); 2. Legend Erisman (Yam); 3. Aiden Hawthorne (Yam); 4. Dylan Dancy (Yam); 5. Hayden Hathaway (Yam); 6. Hunter Kershner (Yam).
65: 1. Tyler Scott (Kaw); 2. Dylan Cunningham (Kaw); 3. Tyler Cunningham (Kaw); 4. Brayden Uselton (Kaw).
85 (7-11): 1. Tyler Scott (KTM); 2. Dominick Cooper (Yam); 3. Mason Farro (Hon).
85 (12-15): 1. Landon Kawczak (Hon); 2. Jared Florian (Suz).
125 2-STROKE/150 4-STROKE: 1. Nathan Reichert (Hon); 2. Chase Smith (Kaw); 3. Justin Haag (Hon); 4. Joe Dragunas (Kaw); 5. Jordan Desombre (Hon); 6. Ryan Dragunas (Kaw); 7. Lou Smith (Kaw); 8. Kyle Fitzmaurice (Hon); 9. Melanie Siegel (Hon); 10. Gary Bobb (Hon).
250 B: 1. Tyler Rylee (Suz); 2. Tyler Eggleton (Hon); 3. Ben Bosley (Hon); 4. Landon Kawczak (Hon); 5. Colton Kenney (Suz); 6. Adrian Adamson (Kaw); 7. Robert Wheatley (Kaw); 8. William Camp (Kaw); 9. Caleb Scheide (Suz).
250 SPORTSMAN: 1. Nick Henderson (Hon); 2. Anthony Crabbe (Suz); 3. Chase Smith (Kaw); 4. Greg Batts (Yam); 5. Ben Bosley (Hon); 6. Landon Kawczak (Hon); 7. Austin Wherley (Kaw); 8. Chris Johnson (Kaw); 9. Nathan Reichert (Kaw); 10. Robert Wheatley (Kaw).
450 SPORTSMAN B: 1. Trevin Caruccio (Hon); 2. Tyler Mullen (Hon); 3. Billy Snodgrass Jr. (Suz); 4. Chris Thomas (Hon); 5. Jeremiah Johnson (Hon); 6. Ben Ludlow (Hon); 7. Adam Layman (Hon); 8. Brett Johnson (Suz); 9. Justin Bender (Kaw); 10. John Schwatka (Hon).
500 2-VALVE: 1. Dave Batts (Yam); 2. Chris Abb (Yam).
OPEN A: 1. Cory Stickler (Hon); 2. Joey Alexander (Hon); 3. Brandon Price (Kaw); 4. Nick Henderson (Hon); 5. Cameron Smith (Hon); 6. Dan Bromley (KTM); 7. Austin Wherley (Kaw); 8. Colin Cunningham (KTM); 9. Kevin Bills (Suz).
OPEN B: 1. Tyler Mullen (Hon); 2. Jeremy Orr (Hon); 3. Billy Snodgrass Jr. (Suz); 4. T.J. Irvin (Hon); 5. Adam Layman (Hon); 6. Brett Johnson (Suz); 7. Jeremiah Johnson (Hon); 8. Tyler Rylee (Yam); 9. Justin Haag (KTM); 10. John Schwatka (Hon).
OPEN SPORTSMAN A: 1. Sammy Halbert (Yam); 2. Jason Isennock (Hon); 3. Jesse Long (Hon); 4. Jeremy Higgins (Hon); 5. Brandon Price (Kaw); 6. Joey Alexander (Hon); 7. Colin Cunningham (KTM); 8. Ryan Wells (Hon); 9. Colton Smith (Kaw); 10. Paul Lynch (Yam).
OPEN TWINS/VINTAGE: 1. Joey Alexander (Tri); 2. Cody Bauer (Yam); 3. Greg Batts (Yam); 4. Dave Batts (Yam); 5. Chris Abb (Yam); 6. Chris Hathaway (Yam); 7. Benjamin Kitzmiller (Yam); 8. Bob Hildebrand (Yam); 9. Patrick Duffy (Hon); 10. Jim Reinhold (Yam).
WOMEN 150: 1. Lisa Niner (Hon); 2. Nicole Henderson (Hon); 3. Elizabeth Fitch (Suz); 4. Melanie Siegel (Hon); 5. Melissa Hildebrand (Yam); 6. Samantha Cavanaugh (Yam); 7. Lillian King (Yam).
YOUTH 150: 1. Jared Florian (Suz) 2. Kyle Fitzmaurice (Hon); 3. Mason Farro (Hon); 4. Ethan Lewter (Hon); 5. Samantha Cavanaugh (Yam); 6. Olivia Reeves (Hon).
ADULT 150: 1. Tyler Eggleton (Hon); 2. Nick Henderson (Hon); 3. Jason Cunningham (Suz); 4. Ryan Dragunas (Kaw); 6. Cody Bauer (Hon); 7. Gary Bobb (Hon); 8. Patrick Giblin (Hon); 9. Benjamin Kitzmiller (Hon); 10. Colton Smith (Hon).
30+: 1. Sean Simmons (Kaw); 2. Albert Cook (Suz); 3. Ben Ludlow (Hon); 4. Damian Kocovinos (Hon); 5. Chris Johnson (Kaw); 6. John Diem (Yam); 7. Jason Cunningham (Hon).
40+: 1. Chris Hathaway (Suz); 2. Lowell Wherley (Kaw); 3. Jim Blair (Suz); 4. Bruce Bowman (Hon); 5. Mike Rabold (Hon); 6. Sean Simmons (Kaw); 7. Don Mullen Sr. (Hon); 8. Damian Kocovinos (Hon).
50+: 1. Lowell Wherley (Kaw); 2. Mike Rabold (Hon); 3. David Bull (Hon); 4. Scott Slade (Yam); 5. Wayne Sody (Suz); 6. Frank Primrose (Hon); 7. Bill Snodgrass Sr. (Yam); 8. Mike Slade (Kaw); 9. Don Mullen Sr. (Hon); 10. Bill Young (Hon).