BENNY “KOs” ROGERS BROTHERS & FIELD AGAIN by Jeremy Troiano
“I’m One Up On Him Now” Says Pro Cup Points Leader
Rivalries are a good thing in sports, especially in auto racing. They give fans something to watch. They give fans someone to cheer for. They also give fans someone to cheer against. Sometimes, the drivers involved don’t like the rivalries and try to get away from them. But, in the end, it brings everyone involved just a little more exposure.
Right now, in the Pro Cup world, there is no bigger rivalry than the one between Northern Division leader Benny Gordon and Southern Division leader Clay Rogers.
that race, with Rogers coming home second.
“I didn’t mean to spin him out, but I’m sure he’s crying about it," Benny said after Mansfield.
Another chapter was added on Saturday night at Motor Mile Speedway, when Gordon passed Rogers for the lead and picked up his fourth-straight Northern Division win.
“I was told he was up here for an easy $10,000,” said Gordon of Rogers. “When he was out there in the lead, I was getting after it. It’s fun to race him. I ran him down and we were getting after it. We were racing hard and that is what this is all about. It is a lot of fun to race that way. I was worried when he got out front because he is a tough customer.
“As far as I see it though, I’m one up on him now. So he’s going to have to come drill me now to make her even. This is still a rivalry to me.”
There is quite a rilvalry forming between Benny Gordon (left) and Clay Rogers (right). (51 Photos)
Rogers isn’t as quick to jump on the rivalry bandwagon. But he does want to beat Gordon… bad.
“We want to come win races anytime we can,” said Rogers, who leads the Southern Division point standings on the strength of three wins. “Yeah, we wanted to come up here beat Benny. That and we want to compare ourselves to him and see if and where he is better than us.
“The series built our rivalry. That, plus Benny used to drive for the team that I’m driving for right now. Benny likes to start stuff and talk smack. I told someone a few week ago that he is like the current time Darrell Waltrip of our series. He tries to get in peoples’ heads. But on
Rogers (#44) and Gordon (#66) battle for the lead during the race.
And this rivalry is getting good.
Rogers beat Gordon in the opening Northern Division race of the year, which got under Benny’s skin.
“We’re definitely not happy about a southern guy coming up here and whipping us, that’s for sure. I’m not happy about that,” said Gordon after that race.
The rivalry was then started.
It was added to when Gordon beat Rogers at Jennerstown. Then, Rogers won Myrtle Beach, while Gordon had problems. Things came to a head at Mansfield, a Northern Division race, when Gordon spun Rogers going for the lead. Gordon would go on to win
the other hand, he’ll come up and shake your hand and talk to you. He likes to get a rise out of people.
“He enjoys being talked about and right now everyone is talking about him. Right now, he’s doing his job.”
All night, it was all about Gordon and Rogers. But it wasn’t only Clay Rogers. Brad Rogers might want to add his name to the Gordon-Rogers rivalry.
Brad beat on Gordon’s bumper early. In fact, for the first 90 laps, “B-Rog” was right on up Gordon’s back bumper.
However, on a lap 91-restart, Brad fell off the pace and coasted into the pits.
“It is pretty apparent. I think we had the best car here,” said Brad. “At least we did the first half. Something just started popping. It was something in the distributor broke. I had a fast car. Man, I had a fast car
You have to hit someone to pass them at this racetrack. You have to. If they are running the low line and your car doesn’t’ work up top, you have to hit them; plain and simple. I got there on (Benny’s) bumper a couple of times but thought ‘this is too early in the race.’ I carried him off the corner a couple of times. It is too early in the race to get a rough driving penalty though. I wanted to a couple of times though.”
It was all Gordon until he came in to pit on lap 76. Then, Clay picked up the lead after pitting 30 laps earlier. Once Benny made it back through the field, it was back to a Gordon-Rogers battle.
Brad Rogers (#81) was right on Gordon's bumper much of the night, but failed to finish.
The two raced nose-to-tail and side-by-side for several laps, but in the end, Gordon prevailed. Once he took the lead from Clay, he’d hold it until the end.
“We can do no wrong and it looks like it right now,” added Gordon. “These guys have been practicing pit stops and they’ve been perfect. The cars have been perfect week in and week out. I think we missed the gear tonight a little bit. We were up against the box halfway down the straightaway. That had me worried on making it live. These guys that built the motors had it awesome. Even though we’ve won four straight, we are working extremely hard. We are working toward the championship.
“We want that over all championship really bad. That is what we are focusing on each week in and week out. To win the third title in the north would be awesome with this team. That would be great. This really is a great effort, of more than the people that are here right now too. The people back at the shop and all of the people back at predator have a great thing going right now.”
Clay fell off the pace under green on lap 160 with a flat right front, a problem that has plagued the team all year long. Instead of change the tire and get back out there a few laps down, he pulled his #44 off the track.
“The biggest reason we came here was because we seem to be having problems with these high grip racetracks,” added Rogers. “That is part of it. We’ve got a lot of high grip tracks in the championship series and a lot of tracks with new asphalt. Our car is always fast, but we’ve had tire failures at other places, like Jennerstown too. I believe it was the same problem as there. I don’t know what we’re doing different.”
So, Gordon ends up on top of the rivalry for now. But
Rogers is happy and ready for more too, especially after what he accomplished during the race.
“We were running a tenth of a lap quicker than he was. We were just riding. He is not beating us in any one particular place these days. He’s got a great race team and they work really hard to get to that point. We can still beat them though. We’ve got a great team as well.”
Long live rivalries.
Gordon was all smiles when he shared Victory Lane with some "special" friends.