David Rogers never won a Blizzard Series race at 5 Flags Speedway.
Bubba Pollard hopes to take him to Victory Lane on Friday night.
Rogers passed away in March due to complications from his yearlong battle with lymphatic cancer, but not before his triumphant return to race during the previous winter, highlighted by his 33rd Snowball Derby start — setting a new record when he was added to the field following a crash in the last chance race.
Pollard was asked to drive Rogers’ legendary TM Ranch No. 11 in February 2019 when he was first diagnosed. Pollard drove the car to three victories and the World Series of Asphalt championship during Speedweeks at New Smyrna Speedway.
Now he’s going to drive it one more time at the request of the No. 11 team and Rogers family — and hopefully place it in victory lane.
“His wife is here. The TM Ranch team and a bunch of people involved with the No. 11 team will be here,” Pollard said. “This is so special. It’s an honor to be able to do this for him and for them. It’s hard to put into words. The things he done for me that he didn’t have to do for me.
“He didn’t have to ask me to drive his car when he got sick. That’s something I may never get to do again, win a championship down there, and I got to do it for him. It’s big for me. They’ve done a lot for me. I’ve become great friends with their team. It’s a great group of guys to be around. Hopefully I can win it for them.”
In addition to his 33 Snowball Derby appearances, Rogers also made 26 Blizzard Series starts and was never able to reach Victory Lane.
“Oh man, that would be cool,” Pollard said of the opportunity.
But regardless of the results, this is a one off for Pollard and the TM Ranch No. 11. Friday night will be the final time Rogers’ iconic colors will be seen at speed on a race track.
“This will be the last time,” Pollard said. “This is for his guys and his family. I want to win it for all of them.”
Rogers was one of the most prolific drivers of his era, holding a resume highlighted by the 1994 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship. He also holds the record for the most Snowball Derby appearances at 33.
The Orlando, Florida native earned track championships at New Smyrna Speedway, Volusia Speedway Park and Orlando Speedworld. He is the most prolific performer in New Smyrna Speedway history with victories in the Florida Govenor’s Cup, Orange Blossom 100, Red Eye 100, Pete Orr Memorial and the World Series of Asphalt.
Rogers had just returned to active competition in December, following a year long stint undergoing three different treatments for lymphoma. Bubba Pollard captured the World Series of Asphalt championship in 2019 while driving his iconic No. 11.
He was very adamant throughout the process that he wanted to overcome the ailment to return to motorsports. He accomplished that goal when he entered the Snowball Derby. Rogers originally missed the cut but was given an honorary provisional by Five Flags Speedway general manager Tim bryant to take the green flag in his record-breaking appearance.