CONCORD, N.C. (July 18, 2000) -- With 4 top-five finishes under his belt in the last five races, including a 5th, 4th, 3rd and 2nd, you would think Mooresville, North Carolina's Clay Rogers would be satisfied. You also would think, as a rookie,...
CONCORD, N.C. (July 18, 2000) -- With 4 top-five finishes under his belt in the last five races, including a 5th, 4th, 3rd and 2nd, you would think Mooresville, North Carolina's Clay Rogers would be satisfied. You also would think, as a rookie, being third in overall total laps led for the 2000 USAR Hooters ProCup Series, Rogers would be content. And, with two record-breaking Discount Auto Parts pole wins during the 2000 season notched on the steering wheel of his No. 2 Ford Taurus, he would be ready to sit back and enjoy life. Think again. The 19-year-old Miller Lite Rookie of the Year candidate has his eyes focused on that special happy place - Victory lane. Rogers hopes New River Valley Speedway (Radford, Va.) will be the site where his quest for that first career ProCup Series win will end on Saturday, July 22, 2000 in the Kroger 250.
"I think getting our first win this weekend is definitely a possibility," said Rogers. "I feel like Hickory is a race we would've, could've, should have won - we just had some bad luck there with the flat tire and all. But, we're all pumped up here and we've got a lot of youth and enthusiasm on this team. They are ready to get into victory lane."
Rogers goes on the say his Fire Protection Motorsports race team is tired of the repeat wins logged by Bobby Gill, defending 1999 USAR Hooters ProCup Series Champion, and explains the team is determined to beat him.
"They're tired of watching the the same guy stand up in victory lane - Bobby Gill, at the end of every race," continued Rogers. "I think we can out-run him. None of the rookies have done that yet, and we've been in the position to beat him and our whole team is excited about that. This is our little 'Winston Cup' to us - it's getting bigger and bigger and we're pumped up and ready to win a race."
The Fire Protection Motorsports team has Rogers set for Saturday's running of the Kroger 250, and with good results from a recent test session, the team hopes to give their best efforts on race day.
"Our test was real good," continued Rogers. "We tested on old tires again, as we did at Hickory. Basically we focused all our attention on getting the car turning good on old tires, which would be on the car late in the race. We've got leading these races down pat - we've led a lot of laps. We just have not been able to lead those last few. I feel like we've got another chance to set on a Discount Auto Parts pole this weekend, and I just hope we can lead lap two-fifty this time."
Rogers does have leading laps down pat, as currently he ranks third in overall laps lead for the 2000 season with a total of 287 lead circuits. He also admits it's nice to be in good company.
"That makes me feel good," he said. "The people in front of me are Bobby Gill and Steven Christian, I believe, and they've been racing for a long time - a lot longer than I have. So, that is pretty prestigious company to be in, especially with Bobby Gill - he's almost a legend in short-track racing. To be in a category with both these guys, and to be able to compete with them, really blows my mind."
Rogers continues without primary sponsorship support during the 2000 season and now has 4 top-five finishes and 2 poles. His career high ProCup Series 2nd-place finish at Hickory Motor Speedway on July 8, 2000 moved Rogers solidly into the 10th position in the 2000 championship point standings, with 1132 total points.