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Naches, Wash. - Will Rodgers, sponsored in part by his own start-up company Craft Beer Racing, has signed with Jefferson Pitts Racing to pilot the No. 7 car for the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season. Rodgers, the 2016 dark horse K&N West racer, has teamed up with the team prime for a championship in 2017.
Having never raced stock cars before 2016, The twenty-two-year-old made his stock car racing debut qualifying 9th place at Sonoma last year. He proceeded to earn four top ten finishes in his first six races.
The Murrieta, California, native has worked diligently in the off season to earn a K&N West spot for 2017. Rodgers has been turning heads as a self-made racer, mechanic and promoter since his debut at Sonoma last June. In his first ever oval race, Will posted an eighth-place finish at Idaho's Stateline Speedway. He followed up his successful run with a 10th-place West finish at the K&N combo race in at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. He ended his short 2016 season with back-to-back top 10s at Utah Motorsports Park. Off track, Will has earned the respect and recognition of many professionals and fans of NASCAR.
“I’m very excited to get this season started!” said Rodgers. “Teaming up with Jefferson Pitts Racing is just what I need to advance my career behind the wheel. I was very fortunate to make several starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West last year to learn the ropes. My first ever oval race was at Stateline last year, and I ultimately made 3 starts on oval tracks. Our plan starting this season is to finish races and adapt myself to this new arena. Our goal to be as competitive as possible and build off of every race."
Jeff Jefferson will serve as crew chief for Rodgers and the No. 7 Craft Beer Racing team in 2017. Jefferson transitions from a two-year stint as the crew chief of JPR's No. 27 entry. He guided the team to one win, 15 top fives and 23 top 10s with Gracin Raz.
"I am eager to expand my oval racing experience this year with crew chief Jeff Jefferson along with Jerry Pitts. The history between the two is absolutely incredible. I plan on being as much of a sponge and student of the sport as possible."
Jefferson Pitts Racing owners Jeff Jefferson and Jerry Pitts are equally excited to have Rodgers join the third-year team.
“We have a bunch of new, good cars built, and we are looking forward to having Will on board,” said Jefferson. “He has a lot of talent and has shown what he can do with the equipment given.”
“We’re excited to have Will behind the wheel of the No.7 for Jefferson Pitts Racing.” Pitts said. “ We have high hopes for the season, and we’re ready for Tucson so we can start the season off on the right note.”
The team is also eager to welcome a new sponsor to the the tram and to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
“We are very excited to develop my new company, Craft Beer Racing (CBR). CBR is a program where Craft Beer entities across America can have the opportunity to benefit from the valuable exposure NASCAR has to offer. As most Craft Beer entities just can’t afford to be primary NASCAR sponsors, CBR offers the opportunity for all Craft Beer entities to join as a collective for the industry. For a small installment annually, all independent craft breweries are encouraged to join. The goal is to include a large number of the current 3,000+ Craft Breweries and their affiliates North America.”
As for 2017, Rodgers intends to make great strides in NASCAR and the business of racing.
Will’s first race with Jefferson Pitts Racing will be this weekend at Tucson (Ariz.) Speedway, Saturday, March 18th. The season opener will kick-off race one of four in the newly formed NAPA 500 Challenge, which encourages drivers and teams alike, to push to the absolute limits in an effort to win the $100,000 grand prize that is at stake to the driver who wins all four races.