While the short track community mourned the passing of Florida legend David Rogers, many discussed his long list of on-track accomplishments. It’s impossible to discuss those accomplishments without mentioning Rogers’ 1994 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Championship.
One member of the modern-day NASCAR Cup Series media corps covered that incredible season, and he shared his memories of Rogers with Speed51 on Monday.
It is not an exaggeration to say Rogers’ 1994 season was perfect. The “Gentle Giant” was 22-for-22 that year, and he needed all 22 of those victories to hold off future NASCAR Truck Series Champion Jack Sprague for the title.
Bob Pockrass, currently of Fox Sports, was a reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal at the time, and spent that year keeping tabs on the National Championship while covering the short tracks surrounding Central Florida.
“It was sad news on Sunday to hear David Rogers had passed,” Pockrass began. “I worked at the Daytona Beach News-Journal from 1991 to 2003 and covered a lot of short track racing. If you covered short track racing in Florida at that time, you covered a lot of David Rogers.”
Pockrass shared his recollections of that title bout with Speed51 in a video which aired on a special edition of “The Bullring” dedicated to Rogers.
“I wrote about him when he won the National Weekly Series Championship in 1994. I’m trying to remember 25 years ago, but what sticks out about Dave. There’s always a lot of politics when you talk about points, how many cars are in the field and all that stuff.
“You got the feeling Dave kept up with that stuff, but he never sweated over it. He didn’t get so worried about it, what this guy was doing or what happened at another track. He went out and raced because he loved to race.”
Pockrass also fondly remembers Rogers’ signature blue and white TM Ranch car, and what it meant when he showed up at a race track.
“You would see that blue and white car, the TM Ranch car, and you knew you would have to race hard to beat Dave Rogers,” Pockrass said. “He was going to race you clean if you raced him clean, but you knew you had to be on your game. You knew that he was going to challenge for the win.
Just like so many others during Monday’s show, Pockrass also discussed Rogers’ signature kindness and willingness to offer his time or a helping hand to anyone, including a young reporter more familiar with open-wheeled cars at Indianapolis Motor Speedway than Florida short tracks.
“What a great short track career. What a great person. I don’t remember ever having a run-in with him, and I was a young kid who had more knowledge, growing up in Indy, of IndyCars than short track Stock Cars and Super Late Models. He was always kind to me and always available and willing to give his perspective and I appreciated that very much.”
Pockrass also offered his condolences to Rogers’ family, as well as everyone touched by his passing.
“To his family and friends and everyone in the Florida short track community, and in the national short track community, I want to give my condolences and I hope great memories pull everyone through in this time.”
Monday’s episode of “The Bullring” was dedicated to the memory of David Rogers, with several guests discussing his legacy. To view an on-demand replay of the episode, click here.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo