Five starts, four victories, three states, one driver.
The magnitude of success achieved in his statistical countdown for the 2017 season is undeniable. Casey Roderick has shown great strength in his Pro Late Model, and last night at Five Flags Speedway the Georgia native pulled off his latest feat.
“That was unbelievable,” Roderick said. “Ever since the start of the year, man it’s been unreal. That’s by far the best car I’ve had here in the Pro Late Model division.”
Roderick battled 25 competitors for 100 laps on the half-mile. Taking the lead on lap one, the No. 18 machine was indomitable on all six restarts, an edge that proved valuable for the early duration of the race.
“We work hard for it and there’s just no better crew than these guys right here,” Roderick said. “I really appreciate everyone that’s been involved with my racing career the last few years. I’m just happy to end up here in Victory Lane.”
Roderick’s only true challenge came just after the halfway mark when 2nd place finisher Chris Davidson briefly stole the lead. Despite being forced to trail Davidson for over ten laps, Roderick maintained a cool demeanor.
“That’s just the way these races are,” Roderick said. “You have to play it out and not panic. Ronnie [Sanders] was telling me to go get him, but it worked out in our favor towards the end. I just can’t thank him enough for letting me wheel this car.”
Chris Davidson had to maneuver all the way up from his 13th starting position before he would have an opportunity to oust Roderick from first. Davidson weaved around 11 cars prior to the halfway point, undoubtedly the strongest run of the night.
“I thought we were better than him,” Davidson admitted. “Thought we had him, turns out we didn’t and we got tight there towards the end. We just died and he didn’t.”
Even after Roderick regained the lead, Davidson recognized another opportunity to pass. The leader was considerably slowed by lapped traffic, giving Davidson a final chance to fill the gap before the checkers waved.
“I saw [the opportunity] and tried all I could, but there wasn’t a whole lot I could do with it,” Davidson said. “I gave it everything I had. The car is in one piece though and the crew worked really hard. We just need to work a little harder and see if we can come back a little better.”
Third place finisher Ryan Paul ran up front the entirety of the race, but couldn’t keep pace with Roderick’s flawless restarts.
“We just don’t have the fire we need for the first five to six laps on a restart,’ Paul conceded. “We had a pretty good piece and I think we have a good idea on where we’re going with this program.”
Paul told Speed51.com powered by JEGS that he believes he had a second place car but looks forward to additional testing where he and his team will work on preparing it for victory lane.
“I think we’re going to come back and do some testing before we go anywhere,” Paul said. “We’re going to get better and we’ll be stronger when we come back next time. [Roderick’s] who we’ve got to catch and if we’re going to win, that’s who we’re going to have to outrun.”
“That red No. 18 is bad to the bone, that’s for sure.”
-Melissa Strahley, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
Allen Turner Pro Late Models
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