USAR: Hickory: Andrew Rogers race report

Andrew Rogers Finds His Way Back Into The Top 10 In Pro Cup Rookie Getting Back In The Points Race, Back In The Rookie Race KANNAPOLIS, NC (July 11, 2005) -- It is no secret, but the middle part of the 2005 USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series Southern...

Andrew Rogers Finds His Way Back Into The Top 10 In Pro Cup
Rookie Getting Back In The Points Race, Back In The Rookie Race

KANNAPOLIS, NC (July 11, 2005) -- It is no secret, but the middle part of the 2005 USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series Southern Division season has been a struggle for Andrew Rogers. After leading the rookie point standings early in the year and finishing a career-best second in the second race of the year, Rogers and his #18 Termidor/Bombardier/SeaDoo struggled during the next several races while Rogers learned and the team gelled.

However, things are looking up for the 19-year-old now, and behind the veteran leadership of recently-hired crew chief Patrick Donahue, Rogers recorded a top-10 finish on Saturday night at historic Hickory Motor Speedway (NC), his first top-10 finish since that second-place finish at South Georgia Motorsports Park at the beginning of the year.

With his eighth-place run on Saturday night, Andrew jumped up to 15th in the USAR point standings and moved up to fourth in the tight rookie point battle. Despite being fourth, Andrew sits just 82 points out of the lead for the coveted Rookie of the Year.

"It was a good run for us," said Andrew. "Coupled with our good run at Myrtle Beach a couple of weeks ago, that should have been a top-three if we didn't have that problem with the battery. We are now back on track and we're back in the hunt for the Rookie of the Year honors."

Andrew qualified 17th for Saturday night's race, but knew the car was much better than that by the time the Aaron's 250, presented by Tucson, started.

"We had a good car at the beginning of practice," said Rogers. "We ended up dialing ourselves way out in left field, though, by the end of practice. We were tight and couldn't get the car to come in. Patrick changed some stuff for qualifying and we went out there and had a good car for qualifying, but I left some out there on the track. I think we could have been a top-five car in qualifying. I just wasn't expecting the car to turn like it did and I just under-drove it a ton."

"I had a good car at the beginning. We were passing cars on the high side and the car was working well up there. We worked our way up to about 12th and we short pitted. We pitted around lap 95 and put four new tires on the car. We came out with Mark McFarland, who was the only other one that short pitted. We battled with each other and started working our way to the front. When the leaders then came in to pit, Mike Herman was in front of me and we were second and McFarland was behind me."

"We took off and I went to the outside of Herman for the lead and he just door-slammed me. It was all I could do to save the car. By then, Huffman and McFarland both got by me before I had the car saved. I ran up on Herman and I got into the back of him and spun him around. We eventually got the black flag for the whole thing, so we had to go to the back of the pack."

"We were the last car on the lead lap and we eventually made it back up to eighth. We might have had a top-five car, but we had 160 laps on our tires at the end and everyone else had about 60 laps less on their tires. I was just hanging on at that time, trying to get the best finish that I could."

Rogers now has a weekend off before returning to action on July 23rd when the Pro Cup Series heads to North Carolina's Southern National Speedway.

-AndrewRogersRacing.com.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Mark McFarland