Eighteen-year-old Jadon Rogers was recently named the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series Rookie of the Year, adding an early notch to a quickly-growing racing resume.
The high school senior is the youngest driver to claim that title since Chad Boat (2008) and C.J. Leary (2012), who were both 16 when they claimed USAC sprint car rookie honors.
As the dust settled on the USAC season, the record books show consistency paid off for Rogers. Running two different cars, he competed at 21 events and qualified for 16 features, finishing 14th in the point standings.
A second-place finish at Tri-State Speedway’s Haubstadt Hustler was a highlight of his four top-10 USAC runs.
Not only a standout on the race track, Rogers is an outstanding high school athlete as well.
The Worthington, Ind., native works hard to balance school, athletics and racing. A multiple letter winner in soccer, basketball, and baseball, and a team captain in both soccer and basketball, he has little free time.
“I go to school until 3:00 and then right after school I have soccer until 5:30. I come home and usually there is some race car maintenance to be done.”
Running approximately 50 races in a regular season, there are bound to be schedule conflicts. What happens?
“We go racing,” declared Jadon. “It’s just that simple.
“That’s my agreement with the coaches. I need to be at the race track.”
Rogers has been around dirt tracks since childhood, first watching his father, Kyle Rogers, run four-cylinder stock cars. Like many racers, his first laps were in a quarter-midget, in Rogers’ case at age five.
After one season, Jadon moved to Junior Sprints and at Linton, Indiana’s Bakersfield Raceway, he claimed his first career win in 2010.
Rogers’ record in Junior Sprints is impressive, as he claimed four track championships at Bakersfield Raceway (2010-13), two indoor championships at DuQuoin (2011-12), and a Golden Driller at the Tulsa Shootout in 2013.
That year he also earned two championships in 600 Restrictor Class racing; one at Bakersfield and another at Logansport, Indiana’s US 24 Speedway.
In 2014, Jadon added 600 non-winged outlaw and 1,000cc mini-sprints to his resume.
In 2015, driving the family-owned sprint car, Jadon became a regular in Bloomington’s 305 winged series, finishing 10th in the final standings.
He also ran 14 non-wing 410 features. With his father as mechanic, the two have always been a team and learned the ropes together.
Jadon chuckled in recalling their early efforts.
“There was stuff we should have been doing that we weren’t doing, and stuff that we were doing that we didn’t have to be doing.”
By 2019, hard work and experience began to pay off, as he claimed four feature wins at Paragon Speedway and another at Lincoln Park Speedway.
Recognitions during that time included the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans Billy Marvel Jr. Rookie of the Year Award (2015) and Rookie of the Year honors at Bloomington Speedway (2016).
Winning continued in 2020, claiming two more features at Paragon and another at Lincoln Park. It wasn’t until several races into the season that Jadon decided to focus his efforts toward USAC racing and its rookie of the year honors.
DOB: – June 10, 2002
HOMETOWN: – Worthington, Ind.
SERIES: – USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series
– Midwest Sprint Car Series
SPONSORS: – Engler Machine & Tool, Jason Keefer Racing,
– CSI Shocks, Randy Edwards Concrete Construction,
– SPEC Racing Engines, Tony Stewart Racing, DRC Chassis,
– HSD HIGHSIDEDESIGN, Simpson Racing Products
Acknowledging his late decision, Rogers admitted, “We knew that we were behind and we knew that we would have to make big strides.”
Later in July, Evansville sprint car owner Randy Edwards stepped in to give Jadon a big boost. Edwards wanted to run Indiana Sprint Week (ISW), had a winning car, but was without a driver.
Tim Engler (Engler Machine and Tool) and Scott Fischer (Spec Racing Engines), sponsors of both the Edwards and Rogers teams, suggested he contact Rogers and his father about the opportunity.
They had a meeting and the next week Edwards called Rogers and wanted to go racing.
The combined efforts of the two teams started four of the five ISW features and Edwards liked what he saw in his new driver. After learning of Jadon’s title aspirations, he decided to continue running USAC shows with the teenager.
In the end, 14 of Jadon’s 20 USAC starts were in Edwards’ sprint car. Edwards was proud that his team played a prominent role in Rogers’ achievement.
Relatively new to USAC racing, Rogers also had his eye on the car owner point totals, and was equally proud of his team’s 14th-place finish.
“For a small team I think we did very well,” Rogers noted.
Not one for many words, Jadon did have a quick answer when asked who his favorite driver was growing up.
“Tony Stewart, hands down,” he said.
As USAC’s newest Sprint Car Rookie of the Year, Rogers now has something in common with his hero Tony Stewart, who was USAC’s 1991 sprint car rookie of the year.