Montgomery Motor Speedway officials slapped handcuffs on Casey Roderick Saturday night following the Show Me the Money Series “Disturbing the Peace” 100 feature. Roderick was “arrested” for disturbing the peace with a hard-fought victory, and was promptly cuffed to his trophy in the winner’s circle.
The trophy marks four consecutive Late Model wins for Roderick, a drastic turnaround for the 24-year-old, who broke his early season drought less than a month ago at Five Flags Speedway (FL).
Though the No. 18 Ronine Sanders Racing machine dominated a majority of the race with an empty rearview mirror, it took surviving a three-wide battle with Dustin Smith and Augie Grill on the final lap for Roderick to seal the deal.
“It was intense there that last few laps,” Roderick told Speed51.com. “Coming through three and four, I’m sideways, [Dustin Smith] is sideways, and I guess Augie got into him on the bottom and turned him around.”
Smith ended up with a fifth-place finish and damage to his car following the spin. Smith, despite feeling dejected, said he believes everything happens for a reason.
“It kind of gave me chills a little bit going into three,” Smith said. “[Roderick and Grill] are both really good drivers and have really good cars. Casey thought I rubbed on him, but I didn’t. I drove it in there with him and it didn’t hold. I mean, it is what is it.”
Roderick decided to have a post-race chat with Smith about karma.
“[Smith] used me up coming into turn three to the checkered,” Roderick said. “He’s doing what he needs to win the race, and that’s fine, but I told him after the race, I race people the way the race me. He’ll get that in return and that’s just the way it is.”
Roderick said he made a point of racing Augie Grill as clean as possible for 100 laps to avoid last year’s history from repeating itself. Grill came out of the three-wide battle unscathed and with a second-place finish.
“It was fun racing,” Grill said. “People come to these races, sit in these stands, they don’t want to see a follow-the-leader race for 100 laps. I’m not saying I want everybody to wreck each other, but there at the end, we’re all going for the same thing. Race hard and let the chips fall where they may.”
The chips began to fall after the tenth and final restart of the night. Roderick’s car jumped out of second gear, giving Grill and Smith a shot for the lead into turn one.
“Me and [Smith] had a good run to the outside of Casey,” Grill said. “[Bobby Knox Jr.] got a nose under him getting off into one, nd [Roderick] kind of came down to block him. I looked down to my left and saw [Roderick] slap sideways and had to back out. I backed off because I thought if I had stayed in it, he was going to get sideways and come back across me. If I had stayed in it, I would have come out in the victory circle.”
Bobby Knox Jr. had worked his way back up to the front after a flat tire briefly sidelined him. The battle that ensued between Knox and Roderick was intense, but Knox said it was just some hard racing.
“Someone thinks they have a target on their back, but I think everyone just wanted to win the race,” Knox said. “You wreck, you wreck; you win, you win. That’s just how it is.”
The Alabama native, who managed a third place finish, had a front row seat of the chaos that unfolded less than a minute later out of turn four.
“The 33 car (Smith) went for the win and so did Augie, that’s what caused the caution,” Knox said. “Just two good cars trying to win the race and the 18 car (Roderick) was just the fortunate one to come out on top.”
Roderick’s adrenalized post-race celebration came across like a message to his competitors. Standing on the edge of his machine, Roderick turned from the crowd towards the infield and, with raised arms, yelled, “come get you some”.
“I just got really irritated really, that’s why I was so fired up,” Roderick said. “I started seventh and passed every car clean and then there towards the end, I’m getting knocked out of the way and treated with no respect.”
Contrary to Knox’s expressed intentions, Roderick thinks his fire suit isn’t the only red and white on his back.
“I had the dominant race car the whole race, that was obvious, but I guess I’ve got a bullseye on me or something,” Roderick said unfazed. “It feels good to have that really, they’re just paying me a compliment by racing that way.”
JoJo Wilkinson finished fourth, scoring her best career finish in a Late Model to date.
Race fans can relive the action by visiting Speed51.com’s on-demand Trackside Now coverage.
-By Melissa Strahley, Speed51.com Gulf Coast Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
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