Ever since Chris Rogers and his crew changed the front-end geometry of his 1934 Ford Coupe, the pieces have started to fall into place.
With top-10 finishes in each of his six races in the Pro Division of the INEX Legend Car class at Riverhead Raceway this season, Rogers sits third in the points standings with 228.
But if he had his way, the Patchogue native would trade his place in the standings for something much more elusive . . . his first career win.
“This season, I think I have my best opportunity to win my first career race at Riverhead,” the 25-year-old said. “The car’s been working, and we found a couple things with the setup that has made the car even better this season.”
A new chassis from last July and several new heim joints are what Rogers said have been the biggest difference in a car that has handled well and helped boost his confidence on the track.
“I feel I can send the car down to the corner, and I know the car’s going to stick,” he said.
A model of consistency, Rogers has finished as high as third place this season. His best career finish of second place was something he last accomplished in 2014, but he said he thinks this is the year to take a checkered flag.
In a 20-lap race that can potentially go from green to checkers in 11 minutes, with cars reaching 70 mph down the straightaways, there’s hardly any room for error. And it’s a nonstop thrill.
“It’s constant adrenaline for sure,” Rogers said. “It’s a high-speed chess match, especially when you’re trying to pick your way through some of the slower cars or some of the cars you are a little bit faster than.”
It’s that rush, along with the affordability of maintenance in the Legends Car class, that pushed Rogers towards this division after stopping his go-kart career, which ran from 2000 to 2004.
He bought the car in 2008 and first raced it in 2009. Now, nearly eight years since its first run, the car is where Rogers thinks it needs to be.
“This year, all the pieces of the puzzle have come together,” he said.
Though his third-place standing in the points is impressive and something he’s proud of, Rogers admitted he’d rather win his first race than win the points championship.
“I’d go for the win,” he said. “I’m out there every week trying to win the race. I’m not too big of a points racer. I go out there and try to do my best week in and week out.”
As for the potential celebration after winning, Rogers knows it’ll be special.
“I’ll tell you what, it’s definitely going to be exuberant,” he said. “That’s for sure.”