USAR: Lakeland: Andrew Rogers preview

Andrew Rogers Ready to Ride Knight's Racing Rocket at Lakeland Young Pro Cupper Gets Into the Car That Won Three of Four Lakeland Events in 2005 INDIAN TRAIL, NC (February 22, 2006) -- As a rookie in the USAR Pro Cup Series, Southern...

Andrew Rogers Ready to Ride Knight's Racing Rocket at Lakeland

Young Pro Cupper Gets Into the Car That Won Three of Four Lakeland Events in 2005

INDIAN TRAIL, NC (February 22, 2006) -- As a rookie in the USAR Pro Cup Series, Southern Division last season, Andrew Rogers had a respectable record at USA International Speedway. He qualified well, had some solid finishes and gained a lot of experience in his three 2005 starts there. However, there was one team in a completely different zip code than Rogers at the Lakeland, FL, facility.

The Knight's Racing team, with Shane Huffman at the wheel, won three of their four races at Lakeland and finished eighth in their other start at the fast Florida track.

There's an old adage that says if you can't beat them, join them and that's exactly what Rogers did for 2006. He'll make his debut as the new driver for the #84 Termidor/Aaron's entry of Knight's Racing in this weekend's event at Lakeland and judging from an off-season test session there, Rogers had found himself in the seat of a real rocket ship. In fact, he even had the opportunity to compare notes against Huffman at the same time.

"We went down there and tested and Shane was there with Jr. Motorsports [Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s Pro Cup team]," said Rogers. "I was in the car he used to win three out of four races there last year and we were just as good as him. We weren't really fast right off the bat and we never even made a qualifying run, but we stayed fast for a long time. The car is really good on long runs. We never really put on a set of sticker tires. We could run 30 laps and have the same lap times throughout the run.

"I'm not taking anything away from Shane, he won three out of four races there and I'll be lucky to win one, but it is a really great car."

Rogers got the opportunity to try out a Knight's Racing car in last year's season finale at Lakeland, but it turned out not to be the type of car that he was used to, or what seems to work best at Lakeland. That won't be an issue this weekend, though. Rogers finished 25th in that event, but it served as more of a test session and less of a race for the young driver.

"The car that we are racing this time is an inch-and-a-half, drop-snout car and that is what I had with our team last year. When I went to the last race of the year at Lakeland for Knight's, we had a standard car and were trying some stuff in the front-end and I wasn't really comfortable with it. This car from the test was great. It could have driven itself around the track. That's the best car that I've ever had and we didn't even have to change anything on it. We just unloaded it and it was that fast."

Going into a race with a strong car under him is a real benefit for Rogers.

"It does help my confidence. Everything they have at PKR [Pete Knight's Racing] is top notch. They don't play around. We've got that car and a brand new Hess car that we've been testing everywhere as well. That seems to be really fast too. In the last two weeks, we tested at Lakeland, Montgomery, Valdosta and Peach State. We were fast everywhere, so we are really looking to come out of the box strong."

In 2006, Rogers will have a teammate of sorts. Brad Rogers will race a Knight's car in the Northern Division of Pro Cup. The unrelated Rogers racers have been working side-by-side in the shop and at tests, and have also become pretty good friends as well in the off-season.

"I met Brad at the beginning of last year and we raced against each other, but now that we live close together and work in the same shop, he's become like a brother to me. We've gelled. Everything is going really good. We've got one of his cars all ready to test at some of the Northern tracks before his cut-off date for testing comes up."

The Naturally Fresh 250 presented by Racing Electronics at USA International Speedway will take place this Saturday, February 25th, at 7:30pm ET. It will be televised Wednesday, March 1st, at 5pm ET on SPEED.

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Shane Huffman