Will Rodgers and the whole Solvang Brewing Company Jefferson Pitts Racing crew entered Douglas County while riding a wave of momentum dating all the way back to Iowa in July. Fresh off of a 2nd place run at Evergreen (Wa.), Will was just one single point out of 3rd place in the championship standings. However, nobody expected this race to be an “easy” one by any stretch of their imagination, and boy were they right.
Short tracks are admittedly not Will’s forté, and the fact that he had never even seen the Douglas County Speedway before the race weekend added on a little extra challenge. Nevertheless, the team definitely knew their way around the 3/8’s mile bullring, with their history dating all the way back to 2002, where the West Series first made their return to the lone NASCAR sanctioned track in Oregon. Along with that, the JPR bunch earned a pair of top 10 finishes at the track last year, so their package was certainly a success.
In the two practice sessions, Will’s main goal was to find a rhythm for the track on old tires, and the team decided it would be better to not practice a mock-qualifying run. He ended the two sessions in seventh and ninth, respectively. Before qualifying started, the team was looking for a top 10 starting position, but Will placed one step better and knocked down a solid 5th place.
As the race rolled around, Will aimed to chip away at the competition little by little. He rode in 5th for roughly the first 1/3’rd of the race, and then made his way up to 4th. Since there was no halfway break for this race, the team had no way of adjusting on the car, leaving Will to use what he started the race with. The final 75 laps went caution free, proving it very difficult to manage tires and improve position at the same time. Little by little, the #7 Solvang Brewing Company Ford inched forward, but just couldn’t reach the podium. In the end, Will and the JPR team settled for a 4th place finish.
As the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West heads to the closing stages of the season, Will currently sits 4th in points, just a mere 2 points out of 3rd. The series next heads to Meridian, Idaho for round 12 of 14 of the season, the NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208.