David Rogers turned dreams into reality with a $4,000 VP Racing Fuels Sportsman Modified championship Feature win at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. The career highlight win made the long tow all the way from LaFargville in New York State’s “North Country” all worth it.
“It’s incredible,” Rogers said. “It really is. This is something I’ve dreamed of and here we are doing it. This time of year is hard for me to race because I am getting ready for snowplow season. We made the decision last minute on Sunday night to come down. Man, I am so glad we did.”
Albany-Saratoga Speedway and Glen Ridge Motorsports Park hotshoe Andrew Buff finished second from eleventh while The Travelin’ Man, Mike Fowler in the #410 claimed the final step on the podium after starting ninth.
Brock Pinkerous brought the field to the green flag for the 30-lap clash on the crimson clay of The Dirt Track at Charlotte. The young driver fought bravely at the front with a pack of racers on his heels in the early going.
Then Robert Tucker took a stab at the lead and while they battled Rogers began making his way to the front. Once he dispatched the leaders, it was clear sailing for the #1 car.
“I was digging on the bottom real hard,” Rogers said. “I was driving it in real hard. I was killing the motor coming off but I kept gaining ground diving down there. I just caught them a little at a time. They kept drifting out and I’d get in there. Finally, when I got out by myself I could run hard and it was just good.”
Rogers knew immediately that he and his crew made the right setup and tire choices. Billy Dunn, this year’s DIRTcar 358 Modified Series champion, worked on Rogers’ race car all week and helped tremendously with the setup.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better car,” Rogers noted. “Billy and John tuned this thing up all week. Billy Dunn being my brother-in-law is the best thing for me. He takes control of my shocks and stuff for me.”
Sometimes it just takes a fresh piece to get a driver on a roll.
“This DKM chassis is on fire,” Rogers said. “We’ve only ran it three times and we have three Heat Race wins. I ended up second last week at Middletown and to put it up front here this week is amazing. I can’t thank these guys enough and of course my car owner Dave Thompson. He told me I was crazy for coming down here but I bet he’s changed his mind now!”
Andrew Buff was unable to reel Rogers back in after the mid-race pass. He had a game plan and stuck to it for the second-place run.
“I knew I had to get to the front early,” Buff said. “The front guys were running away so I am glad I was able to get up there fast. I am glad we were able to do that with the tire we went with. It’s definitely a harder compound and I didn’t think it was going to fire like it did. I am very thankful for that.”
Mike Fowler, from Fulton, NY, is a stellar Can-Am Speedway and DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series runner. He started ninth and made the most of his opportunities to pass.
“It took a little bit to get going,” Fowler said. “Once I got by some of those guys I was able to really get into a rhythm. I reeled him [Buff] in a little bit. It took time to get to him because he was out a little bit and we only had one caution. There’s just so much momentum you gotta keep it going. I got to his bumper and the next corner I was like “Yeah, here we go” and then I missed my marks and he got away.”
Fowler’s podium finish is a notable improvement on his last two efforts at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
“I’ll take a podium here after finishing 13th the two times I came here. It’s definitely an improvement and I am happy with the car.”
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 1-David Rogers; 2. 92-Andrew Buff; 3. 410-Mike Fowler; 4. 33R-Travis Bruno; 5. 20X-Kevin Ridley; 6. 7Z-Zachary Payne; 7. 42-Robert Tucker; 8. 5-Brock Pinkerous; 9. 6-Robert Bublak; 10. 00-Beau Reeves; 11. 29T-Tanner Forbes; 12. 96-Robert Maxon; 13. 1R-Ricky Thompson; 14. 37-Darryl Mitchell; 15. 60X-Kinser Hill; 16. 47-Walter Cook
VP Racing Fuels Sportsman Modified All-Star Feature
Zach Payne prevented a David Rogers sweep with a big lead and a fast car. A caution with 4 laps to go gave the field a shot but Payne was hooked up. Like Rogers, this was the biggest stage he’s ever won on.
“This is probably the best win ever,” Payne said. “This place is huge and they put on a great show for us. This is probably bigger than anything I’ve done at him and I am glad to be here.”
Payne and crew got it done with sheer heart and determination.
“It’s usually just me and my Dad and a few crew guys,” Payne noted. “It’s a small race team. We decided to go with this paint scheme at the end of the year and it’s looking pretty good in Victory Lane. It gets nerve-wracking wondering where the second-place guy was behind me. I didn’t hear anything so I just kept running the line I was running and I ended up getting it.”
No one had a strong challenge for Payne in the end. Rogers settled for second and Mike Fowler picked up another third-place finish.
Stay tuned to DIRTcar.com, Facebook, and Twitter for announcements for next year’s DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series schedule.
All Star Feature (20 Laps): 1. 7Z-Zachary Payne; 2. 1-David Rogers; 3. 410-Mike Fowler; 4. 5-Brock Pinkerous; 5. 6-Robert Bublak; 6. 33R-Travis Bruno; 7. 92-Andrew Buff; 8. 29T-Tanner Forbes; 9. 00-Beau Reeves; 10. 42-Robert Tucker; 11. 37-Darryl Mitchell; 12. 1R-Ricky Thompson; 13. 20X-Kevin Ridley; 14. 47-Walter Cook; 15. 96-Robert Maxon; 16. 60X-Kinser Hill