USAR: Valdosta: Andrew Rogers race report

Andrew Rogers Is Second In Only His Second Pro Cup Race North Carolina Driver Now Leads Rookie of the Year Standings KANNAPOLIS, NC (March 14, 2005) -- He may have a yellow stripe on the back of his car to signify that he is a rookie, but ...

Andrew Rogers Is Second In Only His Second Pro Cup Race
North Carolina Driver Now Leads Rookie of the Year Standings

KANNAPOLIS, NC (March 14, 2005) -- He may have a yellow stripe on the back of his car to signify that he is a rookie, but 19-year-old Andrew Rogers proved on Saturday night that he can race with the veterans. He is a legitimate threat for this year's Hooters Pro Cup Series Rookie of the Year title and Southern Division championship.

Rogers overcame an early spin and made a fantastic late-race charge to finish second in the South Georgia 250 at the brand new South Georgia Motorsports Park on Saturday night. Even more impressive is that the runner-up finish came in just Rogers' second-career Pro Cup start.

"Second place in our second race is a really good rookie showing for us," said Rogers, driver of the #18 Termidor Ford. "We really worked hard after Lakeland and wanted to come here to prove something and I think we did. It was an uphill battle for us all day, considering we were one of the few teams who didn't get to come here and test, but it worked out. This is a really good night for us, especially among the rookies. Steve (Wallace) fell out early with motor problems and Chase (Pistone) fell out with some problems. Our car stayed strong the whole night, so hopefully that will get us up there in championship points and rookie points."

Roger's ride was a top-10 car in practice, but he and the team missed the setup for qualifying and clocked in with the 17th quickest time in the field. However, one thing Rogers said he learned in Lakeland was patience, and he put that to use early, although others were not as courteous.

"The 28 (Michael Ritch) got into the back of me and spun me out," said Rogers of the lap-20 incident. "It was all I could do to keep from going a lap down because I was having some problems getting the car re-fired. So after that, we just tried to regain our composure. We tried to stay focused and keep the car going to the front. I just tried to focus on the car that was in front of me. I was patient enough to wait for the car to come around and when it did, we were able to make our way to the front."

Once Rogers got into the top-10, he'd stay there most of the night, until late in the race when the car came around and the youngster made a valiant charge to the front of the field. He battled and beat Pro Cup veterans Jay Fogleman, Bobby Gill and Michael Ritch.

"We had a really strong car on long runs," said Rogers. "The more I kept heat in the tires, the better the car was. We did one run there with about 50 to go and I didn't get a lot of heat in the tires and we fell back quite a way. But the longer it ran, the better it got.

"Then, off that last restart, Bobby Gill got together with the guy he was racing. Bobby had been tight and pushed up into Shane (Wallace). As they went up the track, I just cut it down to the bottom of them. I drove it real hard down at the bottom. Bobby and I made some contact, but it was just good racing. I went into turn one and two fourth and came to the line in second. It was unbelievable.

"There was a lot of beating and banging out there tonight. I gave it out, but I got my fair share from a lot of them as well. I was moved up and out of the way quite a bit. I'm not too worried about it, though. I'm sitting here in second place. The Termidor car was on a rail tonight. This is awesome. I can't even talk right now. I don't know what to say."

Rogers is now 10th in the championship point standings and leads the Miller Lite Rookie of the Year chase by 33 points over Wallace.

The next event for Rogers will be the Hooters Pro Cup 250 at Greenville-Pickens Speedway on Saturday, April 2nd.

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