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Jun 10, 2014 - 06:49 AM
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2014 NHRA: Defending Event Champion Brogdon Brings Momentum To Bristol
Posted by: newsla on Jun 10, 2014 - 06:46 AM
2014 NHRA: Defending Event Champion Brogdon Brings Momentum To Bristol

The tide is turning for ProtectTheHarvest.com driver Rodger Brogdon, and it could not have come at a better time.

A semifinal appearance at the most recent race in Englishtown, N.J., moved Brogdon into the top 10 in the Pro Stock points standings, and he's headed to the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals this weekend at Bristol Dragway, where he won in 2013.


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"Yeah, I believe we have turned the corner with our team," Brogdon said. "We were fortunate enough to use engines from Elite Motorsports for three races because we figured we were down on horsepower a little bit and we were right. Our engine guys could have gone one of two ways: One, they could have been upset that we went in that direction, or two, they could have been revitalized. We think they've been revitalized, and they're ready to show it at Bristol."

While using Elite engines, Brogdon's in-house engine builders worked full time to improve, and Brogdon believes positive changes have been made and that the momentum from Englishtown will continue in Bristol.

"Yes, there has to be," Brogdon said. "We wish we could've made a better effort in the semifinal in Englishtown, but we couldn't get the dang motor to start. We had a thrash back in the pits before then and we just left off the coil wire. Human error; we'll learn from it and move on."

Brogdon qualified No. 5 and won two rounds, but in his second-round win the engine developed a miss. The team changed coils and wiring, but a wire was inadvertently left off and Brogdon couldn't fire the engine for the semi's.

Eventually, the engine turned over, but after an abbreviated burnout, Brogdon shook the tires and lost the round to Greg Anderson.

Brogdon went all the way in Bristol last year to score his first Pro Stock victory, beating Erica Enders-Stevens in the final round. The win was a testament to his hard-working team, which had tested at Bristol before the event.

"I just remember how hard we all worked for the two weeks before that race," Brogdon said. "We went and tested up there for three days, and that gave us a bit of an advantage over the guys who didn't test, but we weren't the only ones to test and we had to go and do it on race day.

"I've told this story a lot, too, but the radio plug came out of my helmet before the final against Erica, and I didn't know I'd won until I turned the corner at the top end. It was that close, and nobody was hollering on the radio."

Brogdon hopes he can have similar success this season.

"Yeah, we take some confidence in there," Brogdon said. "We're getting our car all set up based on what we learned at the test last year and during the race, and it'll be similar to what we ran last year. We'll try to go out and be in the top eight in qualifying and go from there."

Four rounds of Pro Stock qualifying will feature sessions at 5 and 7:30 p.m., Friday, and 12:30 and 3 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations are slated to start at 1 p.m., Sunday. Both qualifying and elimination action will be broadcast on ESPN2.

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