Jason Hogan Turns into Snake Charmer; Wins Rattler 200 Super Late Model Special Event Is One of the Biggest Wins of His Career CONCORD, NC (March 7, 2005) -- For nearly 30 years, some of the best short track drivers in the country have been...
Jason Hogan Turns into Snake Charmer; Wins Rattler 200
Super Late Model Special Event Is One of the Biggest Wins of His Career
CONCORD, NC (March 7, 2005) -- For nearly 30 years, some of the best short track drivers in the country have been traveling to Opp, Alabama, each March in their quest to tame "The Rattler." The legendary early season race at South Alabama Speedway is a prize most drivers covet, especially if you're a rising star like 22-year-old Jason Hogan.
Due to "The Rattler's" rich history, Hogan had it circled on a list of races he would like to win. Well, after Saturday night, Hogan can cross it off his list of "hopefuls" and add the Rattler trophy to his mantle. The youngster led the last 50 laps to take home the $10,000 first-place prize and the bragging rights that go along with one of the South's biggest open Super Late Model shows.
"After two years of trying, to finally come down here and win is awesome," said Hogan. "We've got one of the big ones under our belt now and we've got a few more to chase. To win this race, with as long as this race has been around and the kind of names that have won it, is just unbelievable. It means a lot for me to see my name added to that list. This is a prestigious race; it ranks right up there with the All American 400 and the Snowball Derby."
It wasn't easy for Hogan by any means. He kept his #92 Hogan Lumber Chevrolet out of trouble and also used a little bit of racing luck to stay out of the 21 cautions that waved over the field.
"We were really lucky tonight. Seventy percent of racing is luck and we used that 70 percent tonight in dodging some of the accidents that we were able to get around."
Early in the race, Hogan moved into second spot after methodically working his way up from a sixth-place starting position. Then leader, Scot Smith, got together with a lapped car on lap 132 and handed the lead to Hogan.
After making a pitstop, Hogan found himself trying to overtake the leaders once again. That's when a little bit of luck helped his cause. Leaders Eddie Mercer and Charlie Bradberry got into it while battling for the lead and spun. Hogan avoided the duo and had the top spot again.
From there, Hogan held off Donald Long and the rest of the field during six restarts in the last 50 circuits.
"On Friday (during practice), we ran both of the cars that we brought here to see which one was better. We brought this car and our ABC-bodied car and there was very little difference in the two. We ended up going with our older car that still has the 'Outlaw' body on it and the car that we've ran so well with here last year. When you've got confidence in a car, it doesn't matter that much at what you've got under it.
"On Saturday, we came in after about an hour of practice and decided to park the car to save it up. About a half hour before practice ended, my crew chief (his uncle, Jimmy Hogan) came to me and said we've had two more shocks in the trailer that we hadn't tried because he forgot about them. So we went out and tried them and it was key.
"It was a big help to the car. That, along with our good pit strategy helped us win this race. We decided to take two (tires) to begin with and four on our last pit stop and we thought that might be an iffy call. We were just as fast on two tires as on four, and that says a lot about the crew.
"Automotive Specialists gave me such a good engine that I actually had to take power away from it with the carburetor. That made all the difference in the world. I tried to run a little different race than I ever have before. I am normally wide open from the start to the finish. I tried to use patience a little more tonight. I thought I'd try to ease into the corner, ease it off the corner and use a little more brake and it worked."
It was another good start of the year for Hogan, who professes that he has no problem for starting and ending seasons hot, but slacks off in the middle. In 2004 he won two of the first three NASCAR Southeast Series races before falling on tough luck midway through the year.
"We've started out good here and we need to keep it going. We are planning on doing a little more Super Late Model racing before the Southeast Series season starts, so hopefully we'll get a couple of more wins. We ended last year strong. We've have to get a good consistent year, instead of half and half like we normally do. If we do that, I think we can be unstoppable. We've got a good race team and we've got good race cars. If we get a good sponsor, we'll be tough to beat."