Casey Roderick embarked on a new journey in 2020, fielding his own Super Late Models and competing as an owner-driver. The new team has already established itself as one to watch, coming off a victory in the All American 400 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
Not only was that win the first for the new team, it was Roderick’s first in the All American 400 or one of Super Late Model racing’s top crown jewel events. It’s an achievement that still hasn’t completely settled in for Roderick.
“I think why it has taken such a long time for it to really feel real is I’ve tried for many years to win that race, as well as the Derby,” Roderick told Speed51. “I’ve had a lot of good runs at the Derby. Small things take us out of the race or take us out of contention to win.
With that experience behind him, Roderick enters the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby riding a wave of momentum and confidence.
“I think my confidence level is the highest it’s ever been. I’m in control of what I want to do and how I want to do it. I’ve done the necessary things to put myself in position.
“Coming off a big win like the All American 400, I know what I need to do to win the Snowball Derby. I think I’m the most prepared I’ve ever been, I honestly feel that way.”
Roderick and his team have savored every aspect of the All American 400 victory. From the victory lane celebration to adorning the race shop with mementos from the weekend, it’s a triumph they won’t soon forget.
“I think that’s why sometimes it doesn’t feel real. I never would have thought I’d do it in my own car. There are a lot of people to thank to be able to do that. I’m glad Toby Hodge was there to experience it with me and be a part of it. He’s done a lot for me and helped me believe I could pull it off. That was really cool to experience that with him.
“You could tell he really enjoyed it. We hung the check up in his shop and kept all the tires from the race. It’s just a cool feeling to be a part of something like that. To be able to share it with someone who cares about racing like I do. I hope we can go down and pull the Derby off like we did the All American.”
Roderick also believes his preparation is at a higher level than ever before entering the Snowball Derby. The Georgia driver made a trip to Pensacola in the past week to test, something he traditionally has not done ahead of the Derby.
“I tested down there this past Sunday. That’s something I’ve never been able to do. We worked on qualifying trim a good bit. I’ve always been a decent qualifier, but I’ve never been a dominant qualifier.
“I’ve always been sixth, seventh, eighth for the Derby the last couple of years. I’m hoping to fix that problem and hopefully get the pole for the Derby go for the $25,000 that James Finch is putting up to go to the rear to start the race. We’re going for the money to see what happens.”
Roderick will also be trying to join elite company. With a Snowball Derby win, he would become just the fourth driver to win the All American 400 and Snowball Derby in the same year, joining a list which includes Gary Balough (1986), Jeff Purvis (1995) and John Hunter Nemechek (2014).
“Two crown jewels in one year, that’s really hard to do. Only a select few have done it. To be my own program, that would be a dream come true for me. Not a lot of people get to experience some of the things I’ve experienced over my racing career.
I’ve done a lot of things and been very fortunate to have people stand behind me, on the track and off the track as well. To pull that off, that would be a dream come true.”
Race fans unable to attend the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway can click here to watch live on Speed51.TV on December 2-6.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo