HOME SWEET HOME FOR CLAY ROGERS by J. Troiano & J. Kaplan
Wins Concord Despite Challenge From Lindley
Clay Rogers has had an interesting year. It dates back to the end of last season when he nearly mopped up the Pro Cup Series "Four Champions" Championship series. He fell out of the title chase near the end, but he had made his mark. Then it's announced that Rogers would be racing a NASCAR Busch Series car in multiple races this year. That deal quickly came to an end and Rogers found himself back in the Pro Cup Series part-way into the season.
His year took a turn for the better on Saturday night at Concord Motorsport Park, a track he raced regularly for several years in other divisions and where his brother races now. The hometown boy took his first Pro Cup win of the year at his home-track in dominating fashion. He led 219 of the race's 251 laps.
"We didn't get to come down here and run any laps. I haven't raced a car here in a little over a year, so I took my brother's late model out and had some fun. We were supposed to test here and it got rained out. So we put a new set-up in the car and I wasn't really sure if it would work out or not, but it did."
Rogers can thank Stacy Puryear for helping secure the win. After dominating so much of the race, Rogers was being run down my Mardy Lindley. Lindley even got close enough to make contact with Rogers on one occasion, but just as the action was heating up a caution, in the form of a Puryear spin, brought the charge to a fault. When the race restarted Rogers was able to pull away to the green-white-checkered finish.
"Mardy gave us a run for our money late. But when that caution came out late, I knew we would be ok. That thing would go really good for the first few laps of a run. I mean, we could just pull away from everyone.
"It was a fun race at the end. Me and Mardy ran fairly clean, we got together once though. He did what he had to do, but didn't wreck me and I respect him for that."
Clay Rogers was one happy guy at Concord. Now he is back on track to make a name for himself.
(Mike Horne Photos)
Lindley had a shot to make it two wins in a row, but the late caution resulted in Rogers becoming the eighth different driver to win in the eight races the Pro Cup Series has run this year.
"It was another good racecar," said Lindley. "But one thing we didn't need was all the cautions at the end. I thought we were going to make it two in a row, but I have to give it to Clay, he did a hell of a job. He had a great car too. It was too bad Bobby (Gill) got tore up early in the race because he was going to make it a three-car race."
Lindley (#15) gave Rogers (#29) a little bump while battling fo rthe lead.
Gill, the defending race winner at Concord, was put many laps down when mechanical problems bit his #5. It resulted in Gill spending 30+ laps behind the wall.
Rogers also collected the pole award and led the first 117 laps before pitting. Lindley got stuck in the pits behind some major traffic, putting him back in the pack and giving him quite the challenge of making his way back to the front.
Jason Sarvis had an interesting night after being black-flagged early. He still came home to finish third. Sarvis was sent to the back of the pack early after what the Pro Cup officials felt was an intentional spin of Shane Wallace.
"When he pinched me in the wall, I guess my temper got out of hand," said Sarvis. "I shouldn't have done something like that. It was one of them racing deals."
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"He got me back from last week. I knew he was going to make it hard on me. I hope that was it and now we can race normally"
Gill didn't deny what Sarvis claimed.
"I was running the inside. The last race he spun me out, so I just wanted him to have to work for it."
Shane Huffman, who finished fourth, kept his Pro Cup South point lead. He edges Toby Porter by 44-markers.