USAR: Familiar faces in new places

Myrtle Beach, SC-As the 2004 Hooters ProCup Series season draws near, many teams are still looking for the right driver to produce a winning combination. Recently, one of the best Hooters ProCup Series teams finished its ...

Myrtle Beach, SC-As the 2004 Hooters ProCup Series season draws near, many teams are still looking for the right driver to produce a winning combination.

Recently, one of the best Hooters ProCup Series teams finished its formula.

East Coast Motorsports, headed by Troy Baird and Johnny Dangerfield, announced that Clay Rogers would pilot the Baird Auto Transport No. 44 Ford Taurus during the 2004 season.

Clay Rogers.
Photo by USAR.
The East Coast Motorsports team finished second in points and won the Miller Lite Rookie of the Year Award with Benny Gordon at the helm last season. Gordon moved back home to DeBois, Pa., following his successful season, freeing up the choice ride for Rogers. Gordon will compete in the Northern Division of the Hooters ProCup Series during 2004, driving for Predator Performance.

"We're excited for Benny. He had a chance to go home, and he's got a good deal," said Baird. "But at the same time, we're excited about getting Clay as our driver." Baird has good reason to be excited.

After making just one start in the first four Southern Division events of 2003, Rogers returned to the Hooters ProCup Series full time in the fifth race of the season. And he quickly made up for lost time, winning at Concord Motorsports Park in just his second start.

Rogers blasted through the remaining nine races with an average finishing position of 4.3, which was second only to 2003 Hooters ProCup Champion Shane Huffman during the same span. The strong finish to the regular season vaulted the Mooresville, N.C. driver from 40th to 11th in points at the conclusion of the regular season, but Rogers stumbled in the Championship Series and finished the season 14th in points. Rogers believes his partnership with East Coast Motorsports will change that, however.

"We should contend for the championship," said Rogers. "Troy and Johnny have a good, solid work ethic, and they want to go out and win races. I'm locked, loaded and ready to go."

East Coast Motorsports and Rogers will already have a race under their belt before the season opener at USA International, competing at the Copper Classic in Arizona. Last season, Gordon, driving for East Coast Motorsports, qualified second and finished ninth in the event.

Rogers, who raced for Haskell Willingham in 2004, will be joined at East Coast Motorsports by longtime crew chief Bill Boger.

"Bill will split time between Danny [Sammons] and me," said Rogers. "Two race teams working together should give us an advantage with the radials."

Furthering Rogers' advantage during the 2004 season will be the addition of ToFF Sprayed-on Bed Liners as an associate sponsor on No. 44 Ford Taurus. With the addition of Rogers, Boger and ToFF, East Coast Motorsports appears primed for a run at the 2004 Hooters ProCup Championship.

-usar-

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Series STOCKCAR