Hooters 300 to Cap Banner Year for Series, Rogers 25-year-old drivers bests 134 drivers en route to second title Myrtle Beach, S.C.-While most drivers will be anxiously waiting for the checkered flag to fall in the Robert H. Brooks Memorial ...
Hooters 300 to Cap Banner Year for Series, Rogers
25-year-old drivers bests 134 drivers en route to second title
Myrtle Beach, S.C.-While most drivers will be anxiously waiting for the checkered flag to fall in the Robert H. Brooks Memorial Hooters 300 to find out their final point standing, Clay Rogers won't need to wait-or need an abacus.
When the No. 44s Automotive Development Group Ford sweeps underneath the green flag at USA Int'l Speedway in Lakeland, Fla., on Saturday night, Rogers will be crowned the 2006 Hooters Pro Cup Series Champion. His 141-point lead is insurmountable, unless he doesn't make the trip to the season finale.
"I'm thinking about maybe having a pillow suit made to make sure that I stay alive," joked Rogers. "All we have to do is start at Lakeland. If I stay alive, we will have won the championship. If we finish dead last and [Benny] won, and got all of the bonus points and leads every lap, he would still be behind us."
And that's an incredible feat, considering the quality of teams competing the Hooters Pro Cup Series this year.
"When the series switched to the radial, we had a little advantage," said Rogers, who won the title in 2004. "Everybody else caught up, and we ran like crap in 2005. Blake Bainbridge came over this year and that helped out a lot. But I had to drive a lot smarter this year than I did in the past. A lot of people have fast racecars out there. I learned a lot from Shane Huffman, Benny Gordon and Bobby Gill over the last few years that's helped me. Those guys know how to save equipment and be ready for the end of the race. I had to learn that because the level of competition in the series is light years ahead of where it was just two years ago."
And so was the amount of competition. Nearly 140 drivers competed in the Hooters Pro Cup Series this season, surpassing the 121 drivers that competed last season.
"We've been blessed with great car counts," said Tony Cox, USAR Series Director. "We thought last year was a good year, but we set records in registration again this season. The added talent really increased the competition level. In most races, qualifying was separated by less than four-tenths of a second."
And that makes Rogers' seven-win season even more impressive. But even with Rogers' early coronation, the rest of the competition will be battling fiercely to take home part of the $1,000,000 point fund.
Benny Gordon, driver of the No. 66n Predator Performance Ford, is second in points after his win at South Georgia Motorsports Park on Nov. 11, but he's only 11 points ahead of Woody Howard, who is third in points, and 31 ahead of Shelby Howard, who is fourth in points. The point fund payout for second is $50,000, while fourth is $30,000. A.J. Frank, who is fifth in points, has an outside chance at finishing second as well, sitting just 63 markers behind Gordon. If Frank could pull it off, he stands to pick up an extra $24,000 if he can move into second.
The real battle will be from sixth to 24th, however. Michael Ritch is 24th in points, but he's only 101 points behind Daniel Johnson in sixth.
The Robert H. Brooks Memorial Hooters 300 presented by Advance Auto Parts is schedule for a 7:30 p.m. green flag, but the action will start much earlier. Front gates will open at the start of practice at 11 a.m. Advance Auto Parts Pole Qualifying will start at 4 p.m. and be immediately followed by the BFGoodrich Tires Pit Crew Challenge at 5:15 p.m. The on-track autograph session will start at 6:15 p.m.
WHAT: Robert H. Brooks Memorial Hooters 300 presented by Advance Auto Parts
Race No. 6 of the USAR HPCS Championship Series
WHERE: USA International Speedway, Lakeland, FL
.75-mile, semi-banked asphalt oval
WHEN: Saturday November 25, 2006 - 7:30 P.M. (EST)
DISTANCE: 300 Laps/ 225 Miles
POSTED AWARDS: $139,599 (Includes $36,433 Point Fund)
STARTING FIELD: 36 car starting field - 38 cars possible - Fastest 36 cars through time trials - One provisional position from 2006 Northern Division top- 15 Driver Points Standings and One provisional position from 2006 Southern Division top-15 Driver Points Standing (only if necessary).
TELEVISION: SPEED Channel, Wednesday, November 29, 2006 (4 p.m. ET)
SPEED Channel, Friday, December 1, 2006 (12 Noon ET)
Saturday November 25, 2006:
11:00 a.m. USAR HPCS Practice Begin
11:00 p.m. Front Gates Open
1:00 p.m. USAR HPCS Practice Ends
4:00 p.m. Robert H. Brooks Memorial Hooters 300 HPCS Qualifying
5:15 pm BFGoodrich Tires Pit Crew Challenge
6:15 p.m. USAR HPCS Driver Autograph Session
7:00 p.m. Pre-Race Ceremonies
7:30 p.m. Robert H. Brooks Memorial Hooters 300 presented by Advance Auto Parts