Laughlin, Nevada., April 15, 2017 --Will Rodgers and GMH Motorsports overcame a solid starting position and a minor last lap incident with another car to bring the Hercules Tires Polaris RZR to the checkered flag in the second position at the 2017 UTV World Championships.
The finish on Saturday continues Rodgers’ current streak of five Top-5 finishes thus far in 2017 crossing between NASCAR and UTV.
A three-year absence from UTV off-road racing proved not to be a challenge for the young 22-year old. Rodgers demonstrated in a private test held on the morning of race day that he had what it took to get it done in the World Championships event.
Drawing 11th in line on the fourth row would be a setback for Rodgers which he quickly remedied by driving into the top 3 within the first four corners.
The no.117 would continue to run up through the field as by the second lap, Rodgers had gapped the third place car by thirty seconds within the first sixteen miles.
“Within the first mile I knew we had a good car that could compete with the best. It was just a matter of keeping it together and battling lap traffic through the thick dust," said Rodgers. "At times you couldn’t see further than 20 feet ahead of your bumper, but I knew if I hesitated, it would mean less of a chance for a podium finish. On the first lap I passed 12 cars, one of which was racing legend, Robby Gordon. I was pretty stoked about that!"
Approaching the final sixteen miles of Saturday’s fourty-eight mile event, driver Will Rodgers was shaping up to finish a strong second place. When suddenly in the last couple miles of the race, with dust being so thick, he clipped another car that was stopped in a corner. Luckily the incident caused only minor damage and Rodgers would be able to continue to bring home the no.117 Hercules Tires Polaris RZR second in the Sportsman 1000 class.
“The final lap was a bit hectic for me still battling through lap traffic. The dust never died down and unfortunately led to me clipping another competitor who had slowed on course because of the lack of visibility. Thankfully we managed to keep going and run as fast as possible to the finish. I am very proud of what we accomplished this weekend. Being out of a UTV for 3 years gave me doubts before the start but once we were off, everything I had learned about this type of racing came back. I am ecstatic about the way my Hercules Tires performed on this car and that treacherous of a course. The Terra Trac M/T’s had never been proven at this level of competition but blew everyone’s expectations out of the water with our results! A very big thank you goes out to Hercules Tires, Solvang Brewing Co., GMH Motorsports, Diego Alvarado and Noah Gragson for all the help and support this weekend. I can’t wait to get back in a UTV sometime soon!"
Photo Credit goes to Rusty Baptist