While we at Speed51.com gear up for the Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes, focusing on the newest generation in Short Track Racing, there are plenty of veterans that are still digging hard to prove that they can still top all of the best out there. This past Saturday, Florida racing veteran David Rogers showed that he still has plenty left to throw at the new stars as he scored his first win of 2017 at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model competition.
After going winless in 2015, ending a 40-plus-year streak, Rogers returned to victory lane in 2016 and has gotten an early start this season. He beat out Brad May in the 35-lap feature for the win Saturday night.
“We had to work, but we had a good car, which is something I can’t say we had in quite a while. I felt really comfortable with how it was going,” Rogers told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
Rogers, who turns 62 next week, has had to adjust to an ever-changing landscape in his five-decade career, with the biggest obstacle being a lack of opportunities to race local Super Late Model racing on a regular basis.
“It’s good to be back. It has been a struggle to get enough wins; we just don’t get to race enough, but that’s just part of it. Back when I was winning races people used to be like, ‘Don’t you get tired of winning?’ and I’d say, ‘No, but it doesn’t take long to get tired of losing.’ But it seems like lately we’ve been on that kind of streak,” Rogers explained.
“We still enjoy it; it takes a lot to do it. The wins don’t come as easy as they used to me. We don’t get to run a lot of weekly shows like back in the day. One year, we ran 106 races, so we had a lot of opportunities to win races; now the opportunities don’t happen often.”
The other obstacle in his way has been getting the right combination of speed and comfort in his race cars, something he feels the No. 11 team his finally hit upon.
“I feel pretty good about how the car handles. We’ve struggled with bumps and I’ve struggled with the driving of cars over bumps because of what goes on, and with them they have a different feel to me with being an old driver and old school. I have a feel I think I like. Nowadays, I can’t necessarily have that. You got to have what’s fast and not what feels good.”
The next SLM race at New Smyrna is not until May, but he will make a trip to the panhandle before then for a night at Five Flags Speedway to take on the elites of the Southeast in the Blizzard Series opener. This time around, he feels confident he can be a contender all night long.
“We’re going to Pensacola for the Blizzard race in a couple weeks. Saturday night helped a little bit, helped me feel more confident with what we got to go there with. If you’re struggling here and go there where they’ll have 30 good race cars, it’s not a good sign. But I’m comfortable with what we got and I’m confident we can go there and put in a good run.”
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com