When Casey Roderick’s Pro Late Model car owner, and veteran driver in his own right, Ronnie Sanders heard about the bounty to be placed on driver Casey Roderick at Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL), he was honored.
“It was funny because when I asked Ronnie about it, at first he kind of laughed,” recalled MMS General Manager Stan Narrison. “And then he said, ‘You know, I’d be proud for you to put a bounty on my driver.’”
“It’s kind of a deal that goes old school back to what we did in the 70’s and 80’s,” Narrison went on.
But that’s not where the throwback ends.
Sanders knows a thing or two about a good old fashioned bounty at Montgomery Motor Speedway. In the early 1970’s, the veteran had a bounty of his own at the Alabama half-mile. And after winning three races in a row with a target on his back, Sanders took home his own prize – the same bounty Roderick will be defending in Saturday night’s Show Me the Money (SMTM) 100-lap main event.
“I was racing against Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Freddy Fryar, Jerry Lawley and that bunch,” reminisced Sanders. “They ran three races and if no one beat me and I won that third race, I got the bounty.”
Although it may sound like a fairytale run for Sanders, like any race car driver, he vividly recalls the struggles that came along with defending his successes at the semi-banked oval, run at the time by Jack and Judy Daniels.
“I remember I was getting beat towards the end of that third race,” Sanders explained. “Donnie (Allison) was leading and had a flat tire and that’s how I won the race.”
Sanders took home a cool $100 prize and now Roderick will attempt to do the same in his own red No. 18 ride for a $500 bonus.
“With Ronnie, it’s pretty cool that he was able to do that back then,” Roderick said. “And now here 40-something years later, we’re doing it together. And from what I’ve heard and talked to him about, he’s had the same kind of success at Montgomery, so I want to keep that going. That’s really cool to me; so maybe as an owner he can get that bounty as well.”
But the similarities don’t end there.
“I was in a Camaro,” Sanders explained. “But it was a home-built car. You know, it wasn’t like it is now, where you go and buy a chassis. Back then you just got somebody to put a roll cage in and you did the rest. We ran really well with that car over at Montgomery.”
In a tribute to the red Camaro that Sanders won so many feature events with in the 1970’s, Roderick and team will unload a car with some throwback flare when they arrive at the track for the second SMTM event of the 2017 season.
“Casey has wanted to run the gold wheels for a while,” said Sanders. “He’s seen my old car up in Dawsonville (GA) in the (Georgia Racing) Hall of Fame, and my scrapbooks show cars in the 70’s that had gold wheels. That’s what we always ran on my car back in the day and we’ve got them on the car for this weekend.”
“A lot of times we ran Halibrand magnesium wheels. They were gold because the magnesium was anodized to gold. Then when we had to run steel wheels, we painted them gold just like the magnesium wheels. It’s going to look a little different this weekend.”
After winning the Show Me the Money series title in 2016, Roderick came out of the gate strong in the 2017 season-opening RS Trucking Spring Explosion 100 in March, winning over Augie Grill in the late stages of the event.
“I think it’s an honor to have the success that we’ve had to be able to get a bounty on us,” Roderick said. “I feel like we’ve got a good opportunity to keep that streak going at Montgomery. It’s going to be tough to beat Augie (Grill) and whoever else comes out for the bounty, but hopefully we can make it happen.”
Those eye-catching gold wheels on the red No. 18 that has been synonymous with Sanders’ success as a driver and an owner over the past few decades, aren’t the only throwback the Ronnie Sanders Racing team will debut in honor of their bounty. Come out to Montgomery Motor Speedway on Saturday night, April 22nd, tune into Speed51.com or follow @SandersRacing18 on Twitter to see what other tributes the team has in store.
-By Ally Fulson/Ronnie Sanders Racing
-Photo credit: Ronnie Sanders Racing