After qualifying for the sprint race at Road Atlanta, Rogers was only in second as rookie Charlie Collins took his first pole position of the season, by just three-hundredths of a second. Collins couldn’t hold off the 2019 champion for long though, with Rogers getting the better run out of turn seven and onto the long, curving straight down to the turn ten chicane.
The sprint races this season have proven to be more about consolidation, with drivers looking to bank points or grid position ahead of the feature race, and it was the case again here. But for a move from Dayne Warren, passing Collins in turn ten with three laps to go, the top ten held position throughout the race. That meant 2020 champion Sebastian Job made little progress, starting and finishing 12th after losing out to and then regaining his place from Maximilian Benecke.
With an eighth place in the first race, Tommy Ostgaard started on pole in the feature race, but all the action was happening behind the Norwegian driver. First it was last season’s third-place driver Alejandro Sanchez spinning off, and Job joined him shortly after, appearing to tangle with Jeff Giassi.
Warren was the next driver to take an early bath, as Ostgaard, Kevin Ellis and Mitchell DeJong scrapped for the lead. Ellis had managed to nip past Ostgaard on lap seven at the turn ten chicane, but Ostgaard returned the favour on the following lap. DeJong found himself right on Ellis’s rear bumper and Warren lightly contacted the British driver, only to find himself rear-ended by David Williams behind, which lifted the Australian’s 911 clean off the ground and unceremoniously shovelled off the circuit.
That mild dose of chaos allowed Rogers up into fourth, with Collins and Benecke behind, with half of the race still to run. As the front three scrapped for position – Ellis eventually hitting the head of the field – the chasing three closed up to make a close pack of six covered by barely a second.
Heading into the final lap it was DeJong leading from Ellis courtesy of another turn ten overtake, with Rogers in close attendance behind, before the race erupted once again in turn ten. DeJong went defensive early for the chicane, forcing Ellis to the outside of the left-hander. Running two-wide into the right-hander wasn’t likely to end well, and it was the American driver who ended up being tipped into a spin. Rogers got the best run through the chicane and pulled alongside Ellis for the final right-hander, but the British driver tripped over Rogers and ended up being spat off the circuit to the left. That left Rogers to take the win, with Ostgaard in second and, surprisingly, Ellis in third despite being in the wall, thanks to the placement of the finish line.
The double-win puts Rogers 89 points clear of DeJong in second, with Collins a further 37 points back in third in a VRS 1-2-3.