170811 blake rogers

Corona, CA (August 11, 2017) - The first year he raced in the Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by RAM Mounts, Blake Rogers said it was primarily “about getting seat time.”

 The second year, he and Jimmy Rogers, his father and crew chief, “went out trying to get top 15 or even top 10 (in the point standings). We wanted top 15 and we finished 13th.”

This year, Rogers said the objective was “to finish in the top 10 each race.” He hasn’t done that because of a 13th in Las Vegas May 20. But with four races remaining in the championship season the 19-year-old from Yuma, Arizona, is fourth in the Hoosier Tire West point standings and no one had anticipated that.

“It’s just me and my family,” Rogers said. “We’re a low budget team and we struggle to make it race to race, so to be in the top four is pretty crazy for us.”

Rogers gave notice of things to come during opening weekend of the championship season at Havasu 95 Speedway in March. He qualified third, started his Protect The Harvest/F.I.R.M. Inc. Lefthander Chevrolet on the pole after the invert and finished second to two-time series champion Austin Barnes. That was followed by a sixth at Tucson Speedway, the 13th at The Bullring in Las Vegas, a sixth at Madera Speedway, a ninth at Kern County Raceway and an eighth in the most recent race, at Rocky Mountain Raceways in Utah July 22.

Next up, on August 19, is Irwindale Speedway, for what may be the last Lucas Oil Modified Series race on the fast half-mile oval that recently announced it will close for good on January 31, 2018. Rogers has struggled in his three starts there, with finishes of 17th, 18th and 13th, but has reason for optimism this time around thanks in part to driver and engine builder Dave Arce and 2016 champion Matthew Hicks.

“A lot of our success this year has been because of Matt Hicks,” Rogers said. “He’s been helping us a lot this year, with all of it. He knows the tracks and he knows the (best) setups and I’ve been qualifying up front, which is great.

"Our engine program is a lot better too. We’ve got Arce engines now. It's a more reliable motor, definitely. He builds a real consistent engine compared to what we had before.

"When we go to the tracks I’ve felt a lot more confident and comfortable in the car. Getting used to the car and being more familiar with everything has really helped me out a lot."

That familiarity extends to the pre-race preparation as well. Rogers, who will start his sophomore year at Northern Arizona University later this month, said he and his dad usually do all the prep work on the car and “usually when we get to track we don't do that much to it.

"We only buy one set of tires (for each race). We’ll practice on old tires on Friday, then on Saturday we’ll do like a quick 4-lap run (on the new tires) to see how it’s going to handle and we'll use that set for our qualifying and race tires."

After the Irwindale race the stretch run of the championship will take the teams to Orange Show Speedway in San Bernardino, California, September 23, then back to Madera Speedway October 7 and Havasu 95 Speedway October 28 for the finale.

Rogers said he’s looking forward to going back to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and maybe, if everything goes just right, finishing one place higher than he had in March.

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