On Saturday, third-place was good enough for Clay Rogers.
Rogers scored a third-place finish in the Strutmasters.com 300 at South Boston (Va.) Speedway to clinch his second consecutive USA Racing Pro Cup Series championship and his fourth overall title. He edged Caleb Holman by 49 points and is now tied with Bobby Gill for most championships in series history.
“It’s pretty cool,” Rogers said. “I consider Bobby Gill to be one of the greatest short-track drivers maybe ever [smiles]. He’s got four championships and to be tied with him is pretty special.”
As impressive as that accomplishment is, Rogers is proud of winning so many races this season.
“Even more so than winning the championship the fact that we won half the races this year, seven out of 14, that’s a huge accomplishment in my mind as competitive as the racing is everywhere,” Rogers said. “Kyle Busch gets 36 races to win his 12 or 13 and we only get 14 races so our percentages are pretty good. It’s been a special season building with a new team, starting out with new guys and getting to know each other. Everybody on this team has been extremely welcoming to me and friendly and we’ve had a good time, had a lot of laughs and kept our mood light throughout the year and stayed focused. One of the biggest things when you come to these races, we’re not doing this all for a living so if we’re not having fun we’re messing something up and we had a lot of fun this year.”
But the day wasn’t stress free for Rogers and the team. On lap 217 of the 300-lap race, he radioed to his crew that he had a flat left-rear tire but stayed on the track, refusing to make a stop under green. Twelve laps later Tyler Young spun between Turns 1 and 2, giving Rogers an opportunity to pit.
“Well we knew with the amount of cars on the lead lap and stuff we were still going to be okay for the championship,” Rogers said. “We really felt like we had the car to beat as far as winning the race, especially on the long run. Once we had to come back in and put our old left-rear tire back on we just couldn’t get back up off the corner the way we needed to with a 270-lap left rear tire.”
Rogers and team owner Jamie Mosley, Jr. had plenty of reasons to smile during the 2010 season. The team racked up 12 top-five finishes and 13 top-10s plus nabbed seven pole positions. In 162 USA Racing Pro Cup Series starts, Rogers has 30 wins, 86 top-fives, 113 top-10s and 33 pole positions.
“I’m proud to be a part of this team,” Rogers said. “I’m glad that they looked towards me when they were looking for someone to come drive it. I was the fortunate one that got the call.”