ROUGEMONT — In one of the most exciting racing programs of the season, Clay Rogers and Brandon Baker shared the headlines at Orange County Speedway. Rogers bested J.P. Morgan and Richard Gould to win the featured 200-lap CARS Pro Cup Kickoff event, while Brandon Baker swept both the late model stock and limited late model features for track regulars.
Rogers now holds a tight lead over Morgan in the four-event sprint to the finish of the Pro Cup points race, which concludes Nov. 2 at Kenly’s track.
Saturday, Rogers survived a terrific red-green-white-checker finish, holding off Morgan and surprising Brady Boswell to earn the victory.
The race’s most serious incident came in the final 10 laps, when Reid Wilson spun and struck the first turn wall. The race was red-flagged, but Wilson was OK, and drivers were lined up for a restart with seven laps to go. Rogers took the lead for the final time on the subsequent green flag.
In the OCS late-model division, Baker scored his first win of the night in a wild, 75-lap race. Chuck Lawson led the most laps from the pole, but was one of several who fell victim to a series of bumping and crowding incidents in the final 15 laps.
Along with Lawson, track points leader Craig Moore, Kiel Spaulding and Baker took turns at the front. Spaulding saw his hopes end when he jumped a late race restart following a caution for an altercation he had with Lawson.
Baker seemed out of contention for a win until the race’s final moments.
“We had tire issues and I decided to bring the car in for adjustments with about 15-20 laps to go,” Baker said in victory lane.
One notable casualty of the race’s brutal closing laps was Tripp Massengill, who was bumped into the third turn wall and lost valuable ground to Moore in the track’s point standings. Moore finished second with a badly crumpled race car. Chris Denny rounded out the podium.
Baker finished out the night scoring his third straight win in the 35 lap limited late model feature.
Layne Riggs, son of NASCAR veteran Scott Riggs, won his second straight 25 lap pure stock feature while Justin LaDuke scored a triumph in a 50 lap affair for the visiting Allison Legacy series.