- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
Clay Rogers has won championships in three different racing series, including USAR Procup, World Karting Association (WKA) and Allison Legacy, with numerous wins in those series. The Mooresville, N.C., resident and part-time PASS Series driver had never won a race in that division, but that changed Saturday night after a victory in the PASS 150 Super Late Model (SLM) presented by the Gazette-Virginian at South Boston Speedway.
Rogers, eighth at the start of the race, had enough patience and saved enough equipment to pass Andy Loden for the lead and the win with 10 laps remaining.
He took the checkered flag by 0.765 seconds over Loden, who won the first PASS race at South Boston in May.
Jody Lavender of Mooresville finished in third-place, Cassius Clark of Farmington, Maine finished fourth, and Jordan Anderson of Forest Acres, S.C., rounded out the top-five finishers.
Finishing sixth through ninth were Justin Wakefield of Woodstock, Ga., Scott Alexander of Orrington, Maine, David Quackenbush of Lorton, and series points leader Jay Fogleman of Durham, N.C.
Fast-qualifier Stephen Nasse of Pinellas Park, Florida, who turned a lap in fast time of 15.080 seconds (95.491 MPH), finished in tenth-place.
The race featured 11 lead changes among six different drivers, including Rogers, Loden, Nasse, Quackenbush, Clark and Preston Peltier, the only driver in that group who didn’t finish the race.
A pre-race draw saw Quackenbush start on the pole, and he led until Loden passed for the lead on lap 16. Nasse led laps 22-32, Preston Peltier led laps 33-34, and Nasse led again for laps 35-104.
Clark led laps 105-119 and Rogers led three laps before Clark passed him to lead one lap.
The last 25 laps of the race was a duel between Rogers and Loden, with Rogers leading laps 125-131, and Loden laps 132-139.
Rogers got back around Loden on lap 140 and led the final 10 laps for his first-ever win in the PASS series and his first race win in any series this year.
After passing Rogers, Loden thought he was in the clear, but the race’s final caution allowed Rogers to get close enough on the restart for the pass and the win.
“I thought we were going to check out and we had that last caution,” said Loden, who has had some good runs at South Boston.
He added once Rogers pulled away he had little hope of catching him.
“He was driving away, and the handling went away in my car,” said Loden.
“We got a little tight and a little free off, so we were bottoming out pretty bad.
“It’s good to come out second, Clay Rogers is top of the barrel right there, and to finish second to him I guess isn’t too bad.”
His many years of racing at South Boston in the Procup Series paid dividends for Rogers Saturday night.
“Early in the race, I was running some lines I’d run here previously, but it really took me awhile to figure out that middle to upper groove,” said Rogers.
“It’s been several years since we were able to do that here in a Procup car, which is the majority of races I’ve run here.
“You can’t enter the corner as high as you can in a Procup car, you have to straighten the entry out and I thought I was doing that until Andy passed me and I saw how he was doing it.
“You kind of have to learn on the fly, and I thought we’d killed ourselves with the rear tires late in the race, and I was pretty free off the corner, but everybody was.”
Most lead changes in the race came on restarts after caution periods, when competitors’ tires were cool, and Rogers took advantage of that strategy to get by Loden.
“I was pretty good on the exit on the high side and struggled on the bottom, but I was able to get back underneath Andy in that three or four lap window to win the race.
“I was able to muster enough grip to pass Andy before the rear tires burned off.”
“The last couple of cautions played into our favor, I thought, our car turned very well for the first three or four laps after a restart, and we were able to capitalize on it,” continued the race winner.
“South Boston has been a good racetrack for me throughout the years, and I finally got to where I felt pretty comfortable getting around here.”
Lavender had to return to his shop to put a new clip on his car before returning Saturday to race his way to third-place.
“I fell back some (at the beginning of the race) to ride and have a little bit of tires for the end, and later on when I tried to go we didn’t have that much,” he admitted.
“We got some lucky breaks and we came in the pits to work on it a couple of times, and we were good at the end when we needed to be to charge back to the front.”
“To bring the car home in one piece is something that hasn’t happened in awhile, and it shows the type of people behind me who are willing to work that hard.”
Wallace wins Legends race
Darrell Wallace Jr. qualified on the pole and led every lap to win the 25-lap Legends race Saturday night, holding off Alex Pacheco the final laps to secure the win.
Pacheco finished second, with Kyle Beattie, Kyle Resco, Brian Ourmette, Kyle Hall, Keven Wood, Jake Spillers, Trey Jarrell and Reid Wilson rounding out the top-10.
Clover resident and long-time Legends driver Jamie Laine finished in 15th-place among a 24-car field in a caution-free race.