MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Wes Gonder Racing and sponsor LightninFAST.com are not only working to raise awareness and generate donations to help the children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, but they are also working to bring new blood up through the ranks of stock car racing.
Clay Rogers, a five-time CARS X-1R Pro Cup Series champion and WGR driver for the season opening ARCA Racing Series event at Daytona Int’l Speedway in February, will also serve as mentor for developmental driver Tyler Lester in 2014. While waiting his turn to jump in the seat of the No. 38 Ford for WGR, Lester isn’t just watching from the sidelines. The North Gaston High School graduate and Gaston College student is turning wrenches and soaking up all of the knowledge he can possibly gain from Gonder, Rogers and the WGR team.
“I enjoy working with young guys who want to learn everything about this sport,” Rogers said. “He’s out here getting dirty and working on the car so he’ll be able to know how to make the car better. I am not interested in working with kids who show up with money and spend the whole day in the hauler playing video games until it is time to drive. Tyler has the right attitude and it is going to be fun mentoring him.”
Lester already has seven championships in his young racing career. He cut his teeth in go-karts and Legends Car racing before advancing into Limited Late Models and Pro Cup racing in recent years. He is equally excited to have a winner and champion as his tutor.
“It is going to be very cool working with Clay. When I moved to the South I watched him race and have always looked up to him for his racing skill,” said Lester, who is expected to race in at least two events for WGR later this year. “I appreciate that he knows so much about the race car and is willing to help me understand how it all works together to make a successful, race winning car.”
Marcus Morgan, founder of sponsor LightninFAST.com laid out the vision he has for the organization.
“Clay Rogers is a proven champion who is going to not only take this team to victory lane, but he’s going to teach an up and coming driver the right way to race,” Morgan said. “We are going to continue the process as it used to be, bringing a driver through the ranks and helping him progress by way of his talent.
“As a race team, our goal is to show the world what real racing ought to be, where you earn your way to the top levels rather than buying your way in. But first and foremost is for us, as a team, to bring attention and awareness to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and help drive donations to their organization. It’s all about helping the kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Finding Cures. Saving Children,” Morgan said.