SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Jadon Rogers first ascended to the rank of USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship feature winners last season.
The Worthington, Ind., native and 2020 rookie-of-the-year recipient has now become a hired gun as the wheelman of the Baldwin-Fox Racing No. 5 entering the USAC racing season, which is set to begin in Florida with a full week of action in mid-February.
The 20-year-old put together his best USAC season yet in 2022, amassing 36 feature starts and a single win during September’s Haubstadt Hustler at Tri-State Speedway. He also collected three top-fives and 16 top-10s en route to a ninth place finish in the standings.
Rogers now takes over the reins of the orange No. 5 out of the Baldwin-Fox stable, which has been among USAC’s most enduring and successful teams over the past decade. Baldwin-Fox has accumulated a 2017 USAC National Sprint Car title with Chris Windom, in addition to multiple Indiana Sprint Week crowns and an Eastern Storm championship in 2022 with Logan Seavey.
It’s a ride that Rogers has competed against on the regular and has even driven on occasion in recent seasons, debuting with Baldwin-Fox at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway during a local weekly show in April of 2021. After competing full time for the Engler Family during the past year, the opportunity to race for the Baldwin-Fox team is one that Rogers relishes.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Rogers exclaimed. “I’m pretty pumped for this opportunity. We’re going into the season starting fresh and starting to get things rolling now and I’m excited to see what we can do in 2023.”
Despite the changes in addresses, team owners, colors and car numbers, Rogers’ core crew of his father, Kyle Rogers, and set-up man Jeremy Ottinger remain the same. They will be on hand to prepare the Baldwin-Fox machine at the team’s
“I’ve been up there a lot,” Jadon said. “Jeremy and my dad have been up there multiple Saturday’s with me just getting stuff ready. It’s a big step for me because I told the guys that I need to be all-in. I didn’t know motor maintenance and I didn’t know how to square a rearend all by myself. That’s all stuff that I’ve been learning and stuff I need to know in order to do this right.”
After several close calls, Rogers earned his first career USAC feature victory late last season in dramatic fashion over Kevin Thomas Jr. and Kyle Cummins following several near misses. It was quite the turnaround for Rogers who, admittedly, struggled to start out last season. But after a sluggish start, the ball began to roll in their favor by midsummer as he once again began knock on the door of victory lane.
Despite just hitting his twenties, Rogers will be entering his ninth year of sprint car racing.
It’s been quite a road to get to this point in his career. Jadon’s father competed in stock cars near their southwestern central Indiana home. When young Jadon came along, the chance to go quarter midget racing caught his father’s eye, essentially saying that “it looked fun, so let’s go do it.”
It was a very similar story a few years later when father and son jumped in with both feet at the change to go micro sprint racing, and eventually, into sprint cars. What Jadon is most proud of to this day is the fact that this whole experience was built from nearly scratch between he, his father and his crew — the behind-the-scenes things that others don’t necessarily witness firsthand in order to make Jadon’s racing dreams become a reality.
“I think the biggest thing I look at with my crew and my guys is the stuff nobody sees,” Jadon explained. “Our stuff was built from the ground up, from my set up book to everything else that we’ve done. When we first started, I didn’t have a driver teaching me how to drive a sprint car and I didn’t have a crew chief that’s won multiple USAC races.
“What we were able to accomplish last year was based off what we’ve learned from when we came into sprint car racing, and what we’ve built has come from the ground up, so that first win was very rewarding not only for myself, but also for my dad and how hard he’s worked. How we came together is really special.”