When Speed51.com reported Monday that Dan Spence was stepping down from the Five Flags Speedway / Southern Super Series race director position, the first question people asked was, “Who will be the new race director?” That question was answered Tuesday, as Nicholas Rogers will step into the role for the 2019 racing season.
Rogers will travel with the Southern Super Series and serve as the race director for events at Five Flags Speedway such as the prestigious Snowball Derby. In his new role, the 40-year-old from Pensacola, Florida hopes to bring an element of fun back into the sport.
“That’s something that we’ve all been talking about recently, whether it’s from the racer’s standpoint, the official’s standpoint or even the fan’s standpoint. We’ve got to get the fun back into the sport,” Rogers told Speed51.com. “Most importantly, from the official’s side of it, get a team built back up where everyone is pulling in the same direction and doing what is best for the sport, the series or venue that we’re at.”
Tim Bryant, the promoter of Five Flags Speedway and the Southern Super Series, had been eyeing Rogers as a potential replacement for Spence when the time came. As someone who grew up around Five Flags, Bryant believes that Rogers will have a good understanding of what is needed to make the track and the series successful.
“Nicholas for the most part kind of grew up around Five Flags Speedway and racing in general. He’s had a lot of different roles and he’s probably one of the more versatile people in his generation,” Bryant stated. “He’s been a pit crew members, a well-known spotter and took an interest in the officiating side. That’s very welcome to us because frankly it’s harder to find younger people interested in that side of it.
“He’s been somewhat the heir apparent to Dan’s job whenever Dan decided to do something different. The fact that he has a couple years now under his belt at Montgomery made it an even easier decision. I think he’s going to do a good job.”
Spence, who has over 48 years of experience in the sport, will be leaving the race director position and heading back to his roots on the flag stand at Five Flags. With Spence's veteran leadership leaving the tower, Rogers knows that he will have big shoes to fill.
“Without a doubt. Dan has spent a lot of years doing this,” Rogers said. “Like anyone, he’s had his detractors over the years but at the end of the day he has done a whale of a job overseeing and taking care of a lot of major events. It’s hard to replace somebody with that experience level.”
Prior to stepping into the role of race director at Five Flags Speedway and with the Southern Super Series, Rogers has recently spent time in that same position at Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL). He confirmed with Speed51.com that he will continue in that role moving forward.
“I am the race and competition director at Montgomery Motor Speedway and will remain there,” he said. “Stan Narrison gave me my first opportunity to step into the tower and I will always have loyalty to Stan for giving me that opportunity.”
In addition to his new role with Five Flags Speedway and the Southern Super Series, Rogers will also be busy over the next two weeks serving as race director for the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway. He was recently appointed to that role by one of his mentors, New Smyrna Speedway competition director Ricky Brooks.
While Brooks stays busy handling business trackside, Rogers will handle the duties in the tower for nine night of racing.
“Me and Ricky had been friends for well over 20 years. He started bringing me on to the tech side of it when I decided to go to the dark side as they would say,” Rogers explained. “Ricky has really mentored me and helped me get along and learn a lot of things and just progress through the ranks of doing that sort of thing on the tech side.”
The World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing begins Friday, February 8 at New Smyrna Speedway.
A new Southern Super Series season kicks off on Sunday, March 17 with the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway.
Rogers' duties at Five Flags Speedway will begin with the Blizzard Series season opener on Friday, March 29.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor - Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Melissa Strahley