Casey Roderick is set to make his first start of the year this weekend in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour portion of the Show Me State Showdown at Lebanon I-44 Speedway. While the Late Model he plans on fielding is still not ready to go for this weekend, he climbs behind the wheel of another Pro Late Model to honor a late friend.
The two-time defending Southern Super Series champion will race for Zach Harrison, the brother of former NASCAR crew chief Nick Harrison, who passed away last July. Harrison was the crew chief for Roderick during his time with Phoenix Racing in the ARCA Menards Series in 2010.
“Zach Harrison called me and wanted me to run two races with him and it’s a car that he and his brother Nick Harrison owned together. We lost Nick last year, he was a good friend of mine. He crew chiefed me a few times over there with James Finch,” Roderick told Speed51. “I built up a relationship with Nick over the last ten years.”
As with Roderick, Zach Harrison is fielding his own team in 2020 and will have the Georgia driver compete this weekend at Lebanon, as well as the season opener at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. The two go back to Roderick’s days driving for Ronnie Sanders and competing for the track championship at the famed oval.
“I got to know his brother Zach running Nashville during my time with Ronnie (Sanders) and he helped us a good bit. He’s doing his own thing this year as well and wanted me to drive his car a few times. We’re doing this in memory of Nick, hopefully we’ll have a good show.
Roderick has made one previous start at Lebanon I-44 Speedway, that coming in 2016 at the Mercy Masters of the Pros 144. He finished eighth that night in a stacked field that included names like John Hunter Nemechek, Bubba Pollard, Travis Braden, and Johnny VanDoorn.
“We struggled up there when I was with Ronnie’s car, we were fighting really bad tight and I never got a good handle of the racetrack. We struggled throughout the race but made the best of it,” he said of that night.
“It’s a fun place to race. It’s fast, it’s high-banked. That’s about all I remember now, it’s been a few years. I know we can be fast, we just got to be in the mix of it and do the best we can.”
He hopes to have his Late Model ready for the Blizzard Series opener on June 26, but until then he is looking forward to his first time behind the wheel since the Snowball Derby last December. Roderick looks to park it in victory lane Saturday night to pay homage to Nick Harrison and the Nick Harrison Foundation.
“A win would be nice, it would give us all confidence going into the rest of the year. With all this time we’ve been off, I haven’t climbed in a race car since the Derby. All these other guys have, they’ve been racing a little bit before this corona came around and last weekend at the Rattler.
“I’m anxious to get into it and get back in the groove of things. Everything else disappears when I climb in a race car, it’s a good feeling for me,” he added. “I’m anxious to feel that again, and it would be great to pull off a win here and give us confidence going into the rest of the year, no matter what I do, and especially in memory of Nick Harrison. It’s really why we’re doing this, I just hope I can pull it off.”
Race fans will be able to watch the Show Me State Showdown on Speed51 via a pay-per-view broadcast. Click here to learn more and order your video ticket today.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51 photo