He’s been around a long time and even he says this maybe something that will never be achieved again. David Rogers will head to Pensacola, Florida for the 47th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway for what could be his 30th start in the most prestigious Super Late Model race in the county.
Rogers is 59 and has run the race some 29 times prior. He’s never won the race, but in two of his last three starts he’s been strong and come home with finishes of sixth and ninth.
For a lot of people it’s about taking the checkered flag, but this year for David Rogers it’s about the green flag.
“When records like this come it’s pretty neat and pretty impressive,” said Rogers. “We didn’t start out thinking we were going to beat the records and some of them like Red Farmer’s will never be beaten if he ends up with the most or I do.”
Red Farmer ran the Snowball Derby some 32 times and Rogers is closing in on that. To show what that means the next closest active drivers are Wayne Niedecken, Jr. with 28, then Mike Garvey with 12.
He finished fourth in the Snowball Derby in 1979 and added sixth-place runs in 2008 and 2013, while finishing ninth in 2011.
Rogers enters this year’s race at Five Flags Speedway sitting seventh in the Blizzard Series points. The top two drivers in the standings are guaranteed spots in the Snowball Derby. If they qualify for the race on time, the spots can shift down to anyone in the top-10 in points. So Rogers will have time trials, a possible provisional and of course the Last Chance Race if needed.
“We have been running well there as of recent,” added Rogers. “I know luck plays a part in a big race like that, but it seems like to me we have more trouble getting there than racing there. Over the years we’ve had flat tires, blown engines and we always know when Pensacola is near because the strange things start happening.”
The best year Rogers had behind the wheel in recent memory was 1994. He won all 22 starts he had at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida and claimed the NASCAR National Championship. They pulled into Pensacola for the Derby and had issue with the car and motor, they rebounded to make the race and finish 12th.
“Even when you’re at your best Pensacola will make you humble,” said Rogers. “No one races for a living or for a long time any more. I still have to work a day job. If I raced for a living I’d starve to death.”
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Operations Manager – Twitter: @ElginTraylor
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com