Native New Englander Dave Rogers has spent many special moments with his family at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, but two days in particular stick out for the crew chief who hails from nearby Marshfield, Vt.
Rogers and his father attended the inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire in 1990 as fans, but a return trip in 1992 to see the late Dale Earnhardt and Joe Nemechek battle door-to-door over the final laps is something that has stuck with him to this day.
Fast-forward to June 2008, when Rogers wasn’t in the grandstands but atop the pit box as Nationwide Series crew chief for former Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Tony Stewart. That day, Stewart delivered Rogers’ first win as a crew chief at the track just a two-hour drive from where he grew up. It was an emotional day for the New Englander. Rogers’ father Davis C. Rogers was able to experience NASCAR victory lane for the first time, and Stewart, knowing what it meant to Rogers and his family, gave him the firesuit he wore that day.
Along with that Nationwide Series win as a crew chief, Rogers also visited victory lane at New Hampshire as a NASCAR Sprint Cup crew member – winning with Stewart in 2000 as his lead engineer on JGR’s No. 20 team.
Now the 38-year-old Sprint Cup crew chief for Kyle Busch and the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, is hoping his talented 27-year-old driver can deliver another special New Hampshire moment for him and many family and friends expected to be in attendance on Sunday. That’s something Rogers’ friends and family would welcome, particularly his father Davis, who remembers fondly the 1990 trip to New Hampshire with his son when the Nationwide Series made its first visit to the 1.058-mile oval.
Busch has also enjoyed plenty of success at the “Magic Mile” throughout his career, having scored a Sprint Cup Series win in July 2006 among his six top-10 finishes in 14 starts. He’s also scored three wins, one pole and four top-five results in six Nationwide Series starts at Loudon to go along with three wins, one pole and six top-10 finishes in seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.
In keeping with the family theme this weekend, Busch and Rogers would like nothing more than to celebrate in victory lane with many families that are Interstate Batteries dealers and distributors from New England and across the country.
With the marathon-like 36 race Sprint Cup Series schedule, Busch and Rogers don’t have much time to attend many, if any, family reunions. But, they’ve had Sunday circled on their calendar in hopes of bringing the celebration to them in victory lane as they shoot for the top prize in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301.