CONCORD, N.C. (July 18, 2000) -- Sometimes it's not normal to forget who you are, or loose your identity, but for 19-year-old USAR Hooters ProCup Series driver, and Miller Lite Rookie of the Year candidate 'Clay' Rogers, his current 'name in ...
CONCORD, N.C. (July 18, 2000) -- Sometimes it's not normal to forget who you are, or loose your identity, but for 19-year-old USAR Hooters ProCup Series driver, and Miller Lite Rookie of the Year candidate 'Clay' Rogers, his current 'name in question' status has become a fun thing to address. Since the Mooresville, N.C. driver removed the T, O and N of his name from the roof of his No. 2 Ford Taurus, a wave of interest in using 'Clay' or 'Clayton' has developed among the garage area, TV audience and ProCup Series race fans. Beginning with Speedvision commentators Brian Drebber and Bill Venturini, the 'name in question' status of Rogers has made its way to an online USAR Hooters ProCup Series fan e-mail vote.
"It started out because some people call me Clay and some call me Clayton," explained the 'name in question' driver Rogers. "We talked about it and I think Clay sounds more like a racer's name, so we pulled the T, O, N off the roof of the car and I didn't think anyone would notice. Later we were doing an interview in the pits with Brian Drebber from Speedvision and he said, 'Well which is it? Clay or Clayton?' and I told him 'Some people call me Clay and some Clayton. It's whatever trips your trigger.'"
While many people have voiced their opinion on the 'Clay' or 'Clayton' name direction over the last few weeks, ultimately Rogers says he get the last vote. He continued by explaining how the issue has attracted a lot of interest.
"I like Clay - it's a little bit shorter and it seems to be a good fit for racing," continued Rogers. "So, (Speedvision) played off that, going back and forth with Clay and Clayton. (Bill) Venturini is pulling for the veterans, and (Brian) Drebber is pulling for the rookies, so (Drebber) was calling me Clay in a little squabble with Venturini on the TV.
He added, "Finally when we sat on the pole there at Hickory (Speedway), Bill Venturini came up and said, 'O.K., you're on the pole, so what do you want me to call you?' and I said, 'Call me Clay.' So he said, 'As long as you are on the pole, I'll call you what you want me to, but to me you'll always be Clayton.' And that is how all this got started."
The squabble between Speedvision's Brian Drebber and Bill Venturini also sparked the interest of race fans, elevating the 'name in question' issue to a fan e-mail vote on the USAR Hooters ProCup Series web site.
"They did the pole on the USAR web site and from what I understand they had a pretty good response to it. I was told that it was about a 50/50 split. So, I think I'll just stick with Clay and hopefully we can win the rest of the fans over - maybe," concluded Rogers.
One thing is clear. While it's been a lot of fun for the 19-year-old Rogers, the 'Clay or Clayton' issue is an identity crisis he hopes to solve when he rolls his No. 2 Ford Taurus into victory lane for his first career ProCup Series win.
For the 2000 season Rogers now has 4 top-five finishes and 2 poles. His career high ProCup Series 2nd-place finish at Hickory Motor Speedway on July8, 2000 moved him solidly into the 10th position in the 2000 championship point standings, with 1132 total points. Additionally, after 9 USAR Hooter ProCup Series races, Rogers is 6th in total money won with $25,450.