Dave Rogers has been on the top of the pit box since late 2009 for Kyle Busch. He guided the No. 18 to the victory last year in the inaugural race at Kentucky Speedway. As the series prepares to return to the track for the second time, Rogers will be attempting to turn around the fortunes of the team that has suffered three engine failures and an unspecified failure in the most recent race at Sonoma.
He speaks about having to adapt to the new rules being thrown at the cars this season, changes that must be accounted for in the car setup and fuel-pickup issues that are one of the things that have not plagued the team this season. We also discover his opinion of global warming.
Mike Neff, Frontstretch: We’re getting ready to head to Kentucky, the first mile and a half since Charlotte. Is there anything that will carry over from Charlotte or is it a completely different animal?
Dave Rogers: Kentucky is a completely different animal. There are a lot of bumps down in turns one and two. It is different. We run a completely different setup, even in the Nationwide days our setup at Kentucky was quite a bit different than Charlotte. I think all of the teams at Kentucky are going to be working on their setup because NASCAR has made a few rule changes to the aero package from the last time we were there.
Neff: Are they bringing the same tire back that they ran at Kentucky last year?
Rogers: They are bringing the same tire back that we used last year.
Neff: You won the race last year. They say in the garage that if you aren’t moving forward, you’re going backwards. Will you start with the same package you ended up with last year or will you use something different?
Rogers: We won’t have exactly the same. It will be slightly different just because of the rule changes. Nothing stays the same in this sport so we’ll have to keep up with the rule changes that NASCAR has made and the changes we’ve made with our race cars, but we won’t stray too far from home base, but it won’t be the same.
Neff: Due to the fact that global warming is in full effect and we seem to be having a slightly warmer year than last year, will the general increase in temperatures cause you to have to approach the race differently?
Rogers: I think global warming is a hoax.
Neff: Will higher temperatures in general cause you to approach the weekend differently?
Rogers: I personally will not respond to global warming questions.
Neff: There have been some issues with fuel pickup problems with the new system. Is it something with the pressure required to run the system in general or is it still just fine tuning where the pickups are located and how they work with the system?
Rogers: That is a good question. It is hard to say because teams are given some freedom with how they want to do it. Single pickup or dual pickup and where do you want to put it. There are two pumps in the cell, there is a lift pump and a main pump. I don’t know what teams are struggling with, there is a whole host of problems out there just depending on what teams have done.
Hats off to the engineering group at Joe Gibbs Racing, we haven’t had many fuel-pickup problems. We ran Kyle a little short on fuel at Talladega but I don’t think it was a fuel-pickup problem.
Rogers has kept the No. 18 at the front of the pack for the majority of his tenure as the crew chief for Kyle Busch. Even though the team has had a host of problems over the last month, they are still 12th in points and only 31 out of the top 10. If they are able to avoid the mechanical issues they may make it back into the top 10 without another win, but a second win will all but guarantee them a spot in the Chase even if they do not make it to the top 10 in points.
About the author
What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
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