Two former Southern Super Series champions led the Rattler 250 field to green on Sunday afternoon. Casey Roderick and Stephen Nasse put their respective machines on the front row during Saturday’s qualifying session, setting themselves up as two of the favorites going into Sunday’s race. However, the pair of champions did not have the days they and others believe they would have.
2014 Ratter 250 winner Casey Roderick fell back early in the race after starting on the pole, and at one point even fell a lap down. He earned the free pass and began to work his way back to the front before falling out of the race just after the halfway point, finishing a disappointing 18th.
“Something went wrong with the clutch, the clutch just wore out or something,” Roderick told Speed51.com. “It was slipping and I couldn’t get any traction. That’s about all there is to that. It’s just frustrating, you know.”
Roderick broke a curse at South Alabama Speedway on Saturday night when he won the Baby Rattler 125, but bad luck struck once again in the finale of Rattler 250 weekend. Since his big win in 2014, he has only finished the race one time, a 13thplace result in 2017.
Despite the undesired result, he believes he will be strong in the next Southern Super Series race at Five Flags Speedway, where he is the defending champion in both the Blizzard Series and the Allen Turner Pro Late Model Series.
“Two years in a row we had a good car and something dumb happens. I don’t know what it is about this race but I haven’t finished for the last several Super races here, and with good cars. We just have to move on and go to the shop and fix it, and I’ll be back in two weeks at Pensacola.”
Former Baby Rattler 125 winner Stephen Nasse’s race started promising before a loose tire cost him two laps on pit road. Despite coming close, he was unable to gain any of his laps back as he salvaged an eleventh place finish.
“We had a left rear tire come loose and that’s why I spun out,” Nasse said. “I needed a caution and we got that but I lost two laps trying to get the studs to strip. Trying to make up that track position was almost impossible. I thought I almost got a lap back but we ended up not getting it back and it’s just one of them deals where cautions never really flew when we needed them to.”
Nasse is disappointed in what could have been in the Rattler, but says he has a good baseline to apply the speed he had at South Alabama Speedway to other tracks as he embarks on an ambitious schedule.
“We had a fast car all weekend, I feel like. It sucks, but we’ll be good at the next one. We always have speed, but we got to figure out what’s going on with our race car.”
Roderick and Nasse were not the only contenders to have problems. 2012 Rattler 250 winner Bubba Pollard ran in the top five for most of the afternoon before a tire rub suffered after the final restart of the day caused him to lose several laps at the end. Two-time Rattler winner Augie Grill was collected in an incident just eight laps in, ending his day just as soon as it began.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI) - Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo