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Rodger Brogdon promises to be more aggressive at home in Houston

HOUSTON – Houston native Rodger Brogdon and his Rodger Brogdon Racing team will come out swinging in the Brogdon RacingO’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals this weekend at Royal Purple Raceway.

Brogdon started the 2015 Pro Stock season strong, winning in Phoenix and going to the semifinals in Pomona and Gainesville, but after stubbing his toe in Charlotte and Las Vegas, he is ready to return to his aggressive nature in Houston.

“We were good at the first two races, and we qualified well and went to the semi’s at the Gatornationals,” Brogdon said. “Charlotte, we didn’t do very well. We only had one decent run and the transmission broke first round. In Vegas, we didn’t run as good as we could, either.

“We’ve been a little bit too conservative the last couple of races. We ran at a local track Monday and made some runs to the eighth-mile. We’re going to be more aggressive when we get to the Houston race. I think we should be able to qualify in the top three.”

Part of Brogdon’s struggles in recent races is due in part to an increasingly competitive class. There are no easy rounds, and each team and driver have to be on top of their game every time they hit the starting line.

“The top 10 is so tough this year,” Brogdon said. “The top 10 cars are really, really fast. We kind of figured that at the first of the year, but there are eight or 10 cars that can win any race. We’ve had six different winners in six races this year, so there are a bunch of fast, good cars. And there are a couple of cars who haven’t shown themselves yet, so it’s really tough.”

Still, Brogdon has been in the mix nearly every week, qualifying fifth or better in four of the five races. Crew chief Pete Smallwood, with help from Elite Motorsports’ Mark Ingersoll, has been able to tune a fast car for Brogdon. Plus, having Elite Performance horsepower hasn’t hurt.

“The key is probably when we decided to go with Elite Motorsports power,” Brogdon said. “We’ve had a pretty good team in the past, but we just didn’t have the power we needed. Nick Ferri with Elite is doing a heck of a job, so we’ve got to give him and Elite most of the credit.

“It’s good when you know when you leave home that you really do have a chance of competing and winning the race. It’s a whole bunch different than anything we’ve done in the past.”

Brogdon won’t have far to go when he leaves home this weekend, as Royal Purple Raceway is his home track. He’ll have plenty of friends and customers from his RoofTec roofing business, but he has raced in Houston enough to learn how to deal with any potential distractions.

“It’s not that hard,” Brogdon said. “On Friday and Saturday, you try to visit as many people as you can. You have set times, and you run twice each day. We have most of our people out on Saturday, but Sunday is all business, so there’s not much visiting going on.

“Everybody who comes out on Sunday knows that we’re trying to win the race, but most of the people actually come out on Saturday. We’ll probably have close to 100 people on Saturday alone.”

And they’ll all be pulling for Brogdon.

Qualifying sessions are scheduled for 4 and 6:30 p.m. CT, Friday, and 12:30 and 3:30 p.m., Saturday. Final eliminations will start at approximately noon, Sunday. Saturday qualifying will be broadcasted at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and Sunday’s elimination action will air live beginning at 2 p.m.

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