Will Rodgers and the Jefferson Pitts Racing Solvang Brewing Co #7 team entered Evergreen hot off of a big win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Watkins Glen, Will’s first in his first start. Meanwhile, in the West Series’ last outing in Iowa, Will finished a hard fought 8th place finish after battling back from a flat tire late in the race. Naturally, the team was looking to go for back to back great finishes as the series heads into the championship stretch.
Will went into Evergreen with some previous experience in the 2016 race, so he had a feeling how challenging the track was. Throughout Friday’s and Saturday’s practices, the team fought a lack of grip coming off of the corners, which forced Rodgers to change his driving style. However, when it came time to qualify, Will stepped up his game significantly to start a very respectable 4th place.
In the race, Will quickly jumped up to the 3rd position and began to save his tires. Evergreen is notorious for shredding tires, so a key to success is keeping them under the car. He came onto the radio and asked crew chief Jeff Jefferson to fix a tight condition in the center of the corner during the halfway break and the crew went to work. Rodgers started the 2nd half of the race in 3rd, but quickly moved up to 2nd place. The 2nd half almost went completely caution free, however a late race incident involving JPR teammate Tayler Riddle and Derek Kraus brought out the lone caution of the second half, setting the field up for an overtime finish. On the restart, Will moved to the inside for the race lead, but couldn’t find enough rear grip to complete the pass. He ended up in 2nd place, and made some significant points on 3rd place in the championship.
Will looks to continue this string of momentum in a weeks’ time at the Douglas County Speedway in Southern Oregon. Thank you to all of our supporters and fans. #KNWest