Pro Cuppers Put "The Rock" to the Test Rockingham, N.C.--You didn't even have to ask the Hooters Pro Cup drivers testing at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway what they thought of the historic facility during Saturday's open test, you could see it in ...
Pro Cuppers Put "The Rock" to the Test
Rockingham, N.C.--You didn't even have to ask the Hooters Pro Cup drivers testing at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway what they thought of the historic facility during Saturday's open test, you could see it in their eyes.
"Everybody in this garage area started driving racecars because they wanted to go fast. When you come to Rockingham, you're going fast," said Clay Rogers, a two-time Hooters Pro Cup Champion. "That's why you see everybody's eyes lit up around here. This place is a different animal than we're used to."
The Black's Tire America 200 on Saturday, Nov. 1 will be the third time the Hooters Pro Cup Series has competed on a mile-long track, but the race will be the first time the series has done so at Rockingham Speedway.
"This is a great venue for us," said Rogers, driver of the No. 54s C&C Boiler Chevrolet. "You have to put this in the same category as Iowa, Bristol and Milwaukee. But I don't know if any of those tracks have the storied history of great finishes coming off Turn 4 on the last lap like Rockingham does."
Rogers was just one of the 20 drivers taking part in the test session, but his sentiments were echoed throughout the garage area.
"The track is awesome," said Mark McFarland, driver of the No. 81s Sears Auto Center Chevrolet. "I really like how the track wears out tires and the strategy it takes to win here."
So what will be the winning strategy in the season-ending event?
"I'd love to be the guy with a set of tires left with about 30 laps to go," said Rogers. "The biggest thing about racing here is moving around and finding the best place to run in order to save your tires. But the fun part about this race track is that it's wide enough to do that. You can run on the white line, in the middle and around the top."
Most of the quickest drivers in the test session opted for the shortest route around the speedway, hugging the white line and turning in impressive times.
McFarland was unofficially quickest with a time of 24.421 seconds at over 147 mph.
Drew Herring, driver of the No. 22s BTS Tire & Wheel Distributor Ford, was second fastest with a lap of 24.629 seconds at 146.169 mph.
Michael Ritch, driver of the No. 28s Support Our Troops Ford, turned in a lap of 24.717 at 145.649 mph.
But one lap wasn't what most drivers were thinking about during the test session, given the track's propensity for gnawing up rubber.
"I don't think you could build a tire that this track wouldn't eat up in a few laps, but that's good," said McFarland. "You're going to need to be good on the long runs and manage your tires. We're probably going to get an extra set of tires for this race, and we're really going to put on a show at the finish."