What a season it has been for Casey Roderick and car owner Ronnie Sanders. The two Georgia residents have teamed up to create another Peach State dream team. The 2017 campaign has produced not five, not 10, not 15, but 17 wins leading into the second weekend of October.
“It’s been a great year,” Roderick said. “We have run 35 races and we have won 17 of them. I feel like this is like the years when I ran Legends and won half the races I ran. We are having a lot of fun and we know if we are going to keep winning the races will get harder.”
It’s a numbers game for the No. 18 Ronnie Sanders Racing team that currently has 17 wins to their credit. The No. 18 ride out of the Sanders shop was a part of 19 wins with Bubba Pollard in 2011 and now the 2017 version of the No. 18 wants to get to 20 first-place trophies.
Along the way this season they have won three track titles in Pro Late Models at Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL), Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN) and Five Flags Speedway (FL).
When Sanders was a driver, he won a personal record 27 races in 1982, the year he was the NASCAR Southeast regional champion. Since retiring he has won races as a car owner, crew chief and driving coach with Pollard, Roderick, Hunter Robbins and Korey Ruble.
“We ran a lot more back in those days,” added Sanders. “It’s hard to even race that many times a year.”
As far as the success, they believe it’s the gelling aspect between driver, car owner and team more than anything else.
“I am lucky to have him (Roderick),” Sanders said. “Casey belongs in Cup racing. He has that much talent, but not the funds to be there. All he lives for is racing. He wants to race and I want to race and we just click. We are having fun.”
Despite a double figure win total, the No. 18 team races on a tight budget each week and often doesn’t take the luxury of practice tires.
“We race as cheep as any team out there in our Pro car,” Roderick claimed. “We don’t spend money on tires; we test on old ones and I respect that. It allows us to keep racing. At the Super level it’s different with tires, you almost have to buy or you won’t be a factor.”
The only real struggle is the Super Late Model effort. Although he’s run well all the season, the wins have been minimal and that’s something they want to improve on next season.
“We ran the All American 400 and got out front and led some laps,” Roderick began. “Bottom line is we messed up on our strategy and it’s something we will have to get right before the Snowball Derby. I want for us to win some more Super races this season.”
With the team's success in Pro Late Models, the pressure might be higher for the Snowflake 100. Roderick and team have the chance to cap off one of the best Pro Late Model season's in recent history with a win in the biggest Pro Late Model race of the year.
“Yeah we want to finish the year strong with that race,” Roderick stated. “December is going to be fun, but we have a lot to do before we get there.”
They will be back in action this weekend in Georgia during a Pro Late Model event at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Georgia.
-Story by Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com