Casey Roderick had a season to remember in 2017. The Lawrenceville, Georgia driver won 18 races and secured three Pro Late Model track championships at three different tracks.
One year later, Roderick repeated his 2017 performance with Ronnie Sanders Racing. Though he only won 13 races compared to his 18 from the previous year, Roderick added three more championships to his already impressive resume. He also made his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start since 2012 with GMS Racing, finishing a respectable 15th at Iowa Speedway.
Roderick repeated as Five Flags Speedway Pro Late Model champion, while winning his third Blizzard Series championship at the Pensacola oval, becoming the first driver to win both Super and Pro Late Model championships in the same year.
He also won the Southern Super Series championship, becoming the sixth different driver to win the series championship in six years of existence. He used wins at Five Flags and Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, as well as seven top-five finishes to fuel his journey to his first touring series championship.
Roderick started 2018 with bad luck at SpeedFest and the Rattler 250, but quickly turned it around with a win at the North/South Super Late Model Challenge in Nashville. Overall, Roderick came short of his goal in terms of race wins, but was overall satisfied with his team’s results and the progress they’ve made with their Super Late Model program.
“We set out to do about the same as 2017, hoping to get a few more wins than what we did in 2017, which was about eighteen wins,” Roderick told Speed51.com. “We had some bad luck starting the year off. It took us out of several races that we probably could’ve won. I think we ended up with thirteen wins at the end of the season. I wanted to put a little more effort into the Super program. We built a new Fury car and I feel like it helped the Super program out. We got two championships out of that car with the Southern Super Series and the Blizzard, and of course we got the Pro along with that at Pensacola. We had a really strong season, but we were still a little short of where we set our goals to, but you’ll have that; that’s why we race.”
After competing sparingly in the Southern Super Series in previous years, Roderick and car owner Ronnie Sanders decided to follow the series and chase a championship. He rode consistency to a championship over one of short track racing’s best in Bubba Pollard.
“I feel like there were a few races that we came underprepared,” Roderick stated. “I think at Cordele we were off a bit and at a couple other places we went to. Just a lack of a little bit of practice and tunability time is key, I feel like, especially now that everyone’s got their programs improved a lot. They’re putting forth the effort it takes to get their cars better. But it also takes a lot of money to do that. We’re working as hard as we can with what we have. And racing every weekend, it doesn’t allow you to take time off and do some testing and practicing a little bit to get your stuff better. We mainly rely on just the few minutes you get in practice on race weekend to dial our stuff in, so sometimes it bites us, I feel like. We’ll see how this year goes as far as all that goes.”
2018 was the second straight season that the Georgia native captured three championships, after winning Pro Late Model titles at Five Flags, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, and Montgomery in 2017. Roderick says his partnership with legend Ronnie Sanders is to credit for their success during the last couple seasons.
“It’s pretty cool. At the time, we didn’t have that in mind to be able to win all three, but it’s really cool to be able to bring home all three and be the only one to do that, so hopefully we’ll be the only ones to do that for a long time and kind of set ourselves apart from everybody else. I’ve really enjoyed the last two or three years with Ronnie (Sanders) and racing at all the different tracks we go to. I’m just looking forward to the new year and see if we can make our program even stronger.”
“He’s helped me race,” Roderick continued. “We’re racing every weekend pretty much throughout the year, I think we were right at forty races. With experience racing every weekend, it just makes your program even stronger. We got a little work to do still to be really on top. I think we’ve done well together. There’s not another person out there that works harder than Ronnie Sanders. If you pay attention to him at the track, he’s always doing something, he’s not sitting still or anything like that. He’s the same way at the shop back home and it’s pretty cool to be able to work around someone like that and drive you to be better.”
As for their 2019 plans, Roderick and Sanders will race the same schedule they have ran during their time together, looking to defend championships from 2018 and add new ones to the collection.
“We’re starting off with SpeedFest coming up in a couple weeks. We’ll pretty much run the same schedule we’ve been running,” he stated. “We’ll follow the Southern Super Series and all the Pro stuff at Pensacola, Montgomery, and probably Nashville some, and of course the Blizzard Series. That’s about it. I’m not sure about some of the big races yet, we’re kind of undecided on that.”
-Story by: Koty Getyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com