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Brogdon believes team has upgraded for 2014 season



POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 4) - After all the hard work, all the preparation, and all the changes, Pro Stock driver Rodger Brogdon is fired up and ready to begin the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. Brogdon and his Chevrolet Camaro team will start their assault on the Pro Stock championship at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals this weekend at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona. "That's one thing they'll never change, starting the season in Pomona, and we know the nonsense stops with the first race," Brogdon said. "You never know what people are really doing during testing, but after Q4 is over in Pomona you know where you are." Brogdon and his team have made upgrades to their program since enjoying a breakthrough campaign a year ago, when he scored his first Pro Stock victory. He brought his team in-house, including a new engine-building program, for the 2013 season.

Pete Smallwood and Jeff Perley will serve as co-crew chiefs for Brogdon in 2014, and the engines should be more powerful.

"We've made a lot of improvements during the off-season," Brogdon said. "We hired some new people, and we've got a few more pieces of equipment in the shop so we can do a few more things in-house. That's going to really benefit us in the long run."

The Pro Stock field should be as close as ever, with only a few hundredths of a second separating the class. Gaining on the top cars is a Herculean task, but Brogdon believes his team has made progress.

"We should hopefully be two- or three-hundredths quicker," Brogdon said. "That's what we're projecting. Other guys will pick up, too, but we should be closer to the top."

Plus, Brogdon and his team have confidence they can win after doing so last year in Bristol, Tenn., when Brogdon went to victory lane for the first time in his professional career. Returning to the winner's circle is one of the team's main goals this season.

"We've just got to do it," Brogdon said. "That's what we're working hard to do. We tested in Bradenton, Fla., and tested in Phoenix this week. We've had some clutch issues in the past, but I think we've handled that problem. We should be fine. I'm looking forward to it."

Qualifying begins with sessions at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m., Friday, and concludes with two more rounds at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m., Saturday. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m., Sunday. Qualifying TV coverage airs from 8-10 p.m. Pacific, Saturday, on ESPN2. Eliminations will be shown from 5-8 p.m. Pacific, Sunday, on ESPN.