David Rogers is no stranger to success on the race track. If there has been a special event Late Model race in his home state of Florida, more than likely, he already has a trophy or banner at his race shop showing him as a winner.
Now he can add two more trophies to his crowded collection – NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Florida champion as well as the track Division I champion at New Smyrna Speedway.
Roberts won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship in 1994, and became the first NASCAR champion at New Smyrna after the track resumed NASCAR sanctioning in 2014.
Rogers also won his title in a unique way, at least for him, as he used consistency and timely finishes to secure the titles despite not scoring a win during the season.
“I am happy and a little bit sad at the same time,” Rogers said. “We are glad to get another championship, but this was the first year since 1973 that I didn’t win a race and that was no fun. We expect to run up front every time out and we ran well but we just didn’t get a win.”
This is understandable when you look back in the NASCAR record books and read where Rogers was the first driver to win all 22 of his starts during the magical 1994 season at Volusia County Speedway in Barberville, Florida, to become the first champion to go unbeaten in a Whelen All-American Series season.
The unique scheduling of Late Model races at New Smyrna created the scenario of Rogers winning the title. Rogers picked up nine top-10 finishes in 11 starts to easily outdistance Spencer Davis (270-212). Most of the events are held during Speedweeks and other Super Late Model points races mixed in to the regular-season schedule.
“It is a little unusual how the races are scheduled but it’s like that for everyone and we just went out and did what we needed to do to get the most points and race for wins in every race,” Rogers added. “As a racer you always want to win and let the points take care of themselves. We have a dedicated group of people that support this team and I am happy they are able to enjoy this track and state title with me.”
Those people include sponsor TM Ranch and owner Steve Holland, who has supported Rogers for 30 years. His crew is led by crew chief and chassis builder Dana Ebersole, Joe Yarbrough, John Collard and Ron Rentfrew.
“I couldn’t run my own business and race like I do I couldn’t do it without those guys and also Scott who handles all of my decals,” Rogers said. They are always willing to jump in and get it done.”
From his first race on dirt in Ocala, Florida, to competing today at track like New Smyrna and Five Flags in Pensacola, Florida, Rogers still has a passion for competition.
“We always look forward to running Speedweeks at New Smyrna although it can be a challenge running that many nights in a row, even if you are winning and running well,” he said. “But if you are a racer you can’t wait to get back on the track and we will be ready in a couple of weeks to go after it.”
Rogers, 59, hopes to add a few wins to his record-setting career after going winless in 2014.
“We want to win every time we go on the track, but winning a NASCAR championship at any level is great for my team, sponsors and myself. And we will always celebrate that when it happens,” Rogers added.
-NASCAR IMC Release. Photo Credit: Speed51.com Photo.