Rogers Grabs Pole for Saturday's USAR Aaron's 150 at Rockingham
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (October 9, 2009) - After missing Friday's final practice session due to an engine change, Clay Rogers edged Drew Herring by 0.096-second to claim the pole for Saturday's USARacing Pro Cup Series Aaron's 150 presented by Black's Tire & Auto Service at Rockingham Speedway and place himself in prime position to claim the $15,000 WIX Challenge Award.
The WIX Challenge Award goes to the driver who earns the pole and then wins the race during the USAR Pro Cup Championship Series. The award is worth $5,000 per race, but the $5,000 rolls over to the next event if no one claims it. In order to be eligible for the award, a driver must have competed in 60 percent of the USAR Pro Cup Series regular season races and all of the events in the four-race Championship Series. With $8,000 for the win, that means Rogers has the opportunity to leave Rockingham with $23,000, the largest winner's payout in the series this season.
"WIX has got a great program there," Rogers said after capturing his third Strutmasters.com Pole Award this season and the 25th of his Pro Cup career with a lap of 148.118 mph, 24.305 seconds, in his C&C Boiler Sales & Service Chevrolet Impala. "I want to win it, but if I can't win it, at least I'm on the pole so nobody else can get it.
"Our big picture racing here, we're racing for a championship, and if nobody wins that money, it goes to the champion at the end of the year. Hopefully, we'll put it out one way or another."
Rogers, who is seeking his second straight Rockingham victory, trails Herring by two points entering the third USAR Pro Cup Championship Series race. The season finale is Oct. 31 at South Boston, Va.
Herring, who took the points lead with his second-place finish at Iowa on Sept. 19, earned the outside front row starting position with a 147.535-mph, 24.401-second lap, in his BTS Tire & Wheel Distributors Ford Fusion.
"I definitely would have loved to come in here with a little bigger point lead, but we came into the Championship Series at a deficit," Herring said. "So, for us to even gain all that back, going into Iowa we were 50 points back, and for us to come outta there even with a lead is pretty good. Hopefully, we can get another 50 points in this weekend and maybe put some cushion there."
Herring, who led Friday's practice sessions, thought heading into qualifying he would gain his second straight pole, but he fell short.
"Clay (Rogers) slipped up there and got us, but today ain't what pays the money," Herring said. "We're gonna focus on the race now and just get in a rhythm tomorrow and ride and save some tires. Hopefully, at the end (of the race) this thing will be as good as it's been all day and we'll grab that win."
A.J. Frank said he felt good about his third starting position.
"We're right up there where we need to be with two of the best cars -- Clay (Rogers) and Drew (Herring) -- right there," Frank said after posting a 147.354-mph, 24.431-second lap in his Speedco Tire & Lube Chevrolet Impala SS. "We were right there with them qualifying and I felt like, even in practice, we were as good as them on old tires. So, looking at what we ran compared to them, I didn't think we had that good of a qualifying car, but we did, so I'm pretty pumped.
"I qualified third here for a Late Model race earlier in the year and led the whole thing until I burned a spark plug wire. We're third again here today, so maybe I can change my luck around here tomorrow."
Rounding out the top five, respectively, were Mike Garvey, Midwest Whitetail Adv. Ford, 146.502 mph, 24.573 seconds, and Jeff Agnew, Team &/Mark IV Suzuki Ford, 146.300, 24.607.
Saturday's Aaron's 150 presented by Black's Tire and Auto Service at Rockingham Speedway is slated to receive the green flag at 4:15 p.m. An autograph session with the drivers will be held on Saturday, Oct. 10, beginning at 2:45 p.m. in the track's frontstretch grandstand. It will conclude at 3:25 p.m.
The USARacing Pro Cup Series, formerly Hooters Pro Cup, is owned by Interstate Investment Group and is based in Concord, N.C. IIG is comprised of Jack McNelly, Gary Kale, Carl Hubbard, Chip Lofton and Larry Camp, who serves as the managing partner. For more information on the USARacing Pro Cup Series, go to www.usarprocup.com.
For more information about the USARacing Aaron's 150 or Sunday's ARCA/REMAX American 200 or to order tickets, please contact the Rockingham Speedway at (910) 205-8800 or visit our website at www.rockinghamspeedway.com. Tickets begin at $20 for single-day reserved seating with $5 back-to-school special pricing for students. Weekend and pit passes are also available.