WATKINS GLEN, NY. (August 6, 2018) – Going into the 2018 NASCAR weekend at Watkins Glen International, NASCAR Next driver Will Rodgers was coming off four consecutive victories in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. In the East Series, Rodgers remained undefeated with two wins at New Jersey Motorsports Park and a victory at Watkins Glen International last season. For Rodgers, the focus this weekend was capturing the trifecta of victories in the three NASCAR K&N Pro Series races this season; New Jersey, Sonoma and Watkins Glen.
With unusually rainy conditions in the morning hours at Watkins Glen International, Rodgers started his day feeling out the No. 7 KELLY Benefit Strategies Ford on rain tires. Preparing for a possible race in wet conditions, the team focused on the vehicle handling with rain tires which netted a 21 position on the speed charts.
“I was constantly checking the weather forecast heading into this weekend,” said Rodgers. “I’ve had experience racing in the rain, but like many others I haven’t handled a heavy stock-car in wet conditions before. I was definitely a bit anxious when the grey skies weren’t clearing up before race time.”
As the rain continued throughout the afternoon, qualifying was cancelled. With the race lineup determined by owners’ points, Rodgers would line up 17th for the Great Outdoors RV Superstore 100.
At the drop of the green, Rodgers quickly cracked the top-five in under five laps. Wheeling his No. 7 KELLY Benefit Strategies Ford through every corner, the 23-year-old quickly stole the top spot away from Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Erik Jones by lap nine. Rodgers would trade the lead with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Brett Moffitt, Erik Jones, and two-time Watkins Glen winner Scott Heckert throughout the race.
On a restart with eight laps to go, Rodgers quickly jumped out to a large lead. As the laps wound down, Rodgers put up a tough fight against a hard-charging Moffitt but was not able to hold him off after a slight mistake in turn ten coming to the white flag. Rodgers would bring the No. 7 KELLY Benefit Strategies Ford home in second place for Jefferson Pitts Racing.
“The third race with my KELLY Benefit Strategies partners was a bittersweet one,” said Rodgers post-race. “I really hate to lose one that way, but I can’t thank my guys at Jefferson Pitts Racing, KELLY Benefit Strategies and Drydene Performance Products enough. I’ll take all I’ve learned from today and hopefully go get the win at our next race.”
About KELLY Benefit Strategies
Since 1976, KELLY Benefit Strategies has delivered premier employee benefit consulting and is a trusted partner to businesses of all sizes. KELLY Benefit Strategies provides the foundation for innovative strategic vision through its unique integrated Total Benefits Solution® — combining expertise, administration, and technology to help clients save time, maximize the value of their benefits investment, and control the cost of these benefits.