The JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Pro Late Model portion of SpeedFest 2019 came down to a battle of Georgia boys as veteran Late Model star Casey Roderick took on the teenager Dawson Fletcher repeatedly over the 125-lap feature at Watermelon Capital Speedway (GA).
In the end, Roderick claimed Peach State glory for the second time but not without a seesaw battle with the likes of Fletcher in the middle of the race, Michael House in the later stages, and Fletcher again at the finish.
“That was a hard-fought win and we didn’t have it easy right there. The car was a little tight right there than it has been all weekend. We hung in there and saved it for the end; we had really good forward drive which is what won us the race,” Roderick told Speed51.com in victory lane.
Saturday's race was the very first race that he and the Ronnie Sanders owned No. 18 team have run in this young 2019 season. It’s a ‘W’ that Roderick hopes can be the start of another big year.
“Want to thank Ronnie Sanders, this win gives us momentum going into the year, and we’re starting out good. Going to be good for the next race coming up.”
Fletcher and his No. 71 car had quite the adventure on Saturday afternoon, with his first battle with Roderick for the lead nearly ending in the marbles on Lap 72.
Fletcher would have another close call while battling with Michael House for second, when House spun off the backstretch on Lap 116.
Late yellow flags gave Fletcher a final shot at Roderick, but it would not be enough.
“We were only one short and I hate it for the guys. We had a really good car, we were up front, and got together in three and four and fell back to fourth,” Fletcher told Speed51.com. “We struggled to get back up front, the car got a little loose towards the end, that’s where I struggled to chase him down.”
While Fletcher was disappointed, he held his head high, believing that this performance might be the start of something bigger down the road.
“All and all, it was a really good race. It was fun, we learned a lot, messed up a little on the restart which hurt me. Got to learn a couple of things to look back at, hopefully next time we finish one better.”
Steve Dorer climbed up to finish third while Blaise Rutherford and Brandon Oakley completed the top five.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
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