After several attempts to meet the necessary left-side weight ratio failed, Casey Roderick was stripped of his Show Me the Money Series win Saturday night at Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL).
The Ronnie Sanders Racing team made several initial attempts to get the car under the 58.0 left-side percentage rule, but came up 0.3 percent heavy three times and weighted in at 58.2 percent on the final attempt.
Tech Inspector Ricky Brooks then rolled the second and third-place finishers across the scales. During one final attempt for the RSR No. 18, the process came to abrupt end.
Brooks discovered a piece of lead in the tailpipe of the car and immediately sent the team out of the inspection area, throwing the piece of lead down on the hood of the car as it rolled way.
“We weighed him four times,” Brooks said. “The car owner, Ronnie (Sanders) asked me to weigh it again. When I pulled the tire gauge out, I looked in the exhaust pipe and there was a piece of lead in the pipe. At that point, I’m done. I was trying to give the benefit of the doubt, and they want to play games. It’s over then.”
A dejected Roderick had little to say after getting word of the disqualification except that his car had the normal weight ration prior to the event.
“It’s just an unfortunate deal,” Roderick said. “For whatever reason, we have never had this issue. Everywhere we have gone, we’ve been straight up. We were where we normally are going across the scales before the race. It wasn’t meant to be for us tonight.”
While a 0.3 percent left-side weight ration more than likely didn’t have an effect on the outcome of the race, Brooks said everyone knew what the tolerance was before the event began.
“If it doesn’t make you go faster, then why do it,” Brooks hypothetically posed during his interview. “We drew a line in the sand, and everybody knows it. The 58.0 is the limit and we are not going over that.”
When tech inspection was completed, Connor Okrzesik was declared the official winner of the Beat The Heat 100.
The win for Okrzesik puts an exclamation point on the end of what has been the most successful stretch of races in his young Late Model career.
Over the past month, he has finished on the podium in multiple Super and Pro Late Model races, but that big marquee win evaded him.
Finally sealing the deal Saturday was the biggest night of his racing life.
“I knew that we were going to get one eventually, but I just didn’t know when it was going to happen,” Okrzesik stated. “It has been a long time coming…and we finally got it.”
On the racetrack, Roderick dominated the event after snagging the lead from Justin South at the halfway point.
In the final half, Okrzesik tried to make his way around Roderick multiple times, but never could get enough momentum to vault ahead of the 18.
When being told he was the official winner later just outside of the tech inspection area, the young Alabama driver shrugged his shoulders and flashed a bashful smile.
“I am super, super happy right now,” Okrzesik said. “It’s not the way we want to win it, but a rule is rule. If you break it, you have to face the consequences.”
As Okrzesik basked in the glow of the lights from photographers and television interviews, his crew chief, Mike Garvey, no stranger to big racing wins himself, stood in the shadows smiling from ear to ear.
Garvey has worked with Okrzesik for the past few seasons, and has seen him get better each and every time he slides in the window.
“He has so much talent,” Garvey said. “He races hard. He races clean. He does everything right. He has come so close so many times, and I am super happy for him. He is a good little racer, and hopefully this propels us to a lot more.”
Drama was abound, but Okrzesik couldn’t care less.
While much of the racing world was concentrated on the happenings going on inside the tech shed, Okrzesik walked away toting a trophy taller than him, and new reputation as one of the best of the best the Deep South has to offer.
Race fans can watch Speed51.com’s video recap of the event — feature interviews with Roderick, Brooks and Okrzesik — now on the Speed51 Network.
-By Ryan McCollough, Speed51.com Deep South Correspondent – Twitter: @RyanLMcCollough
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/Melissa Strahley
Show Me the Money Series Unofficial Results
Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL) – July 21, 2018
|4||30||Bobby Knox, Jr.|
|22||18||Casey Roderick (DQ|