Casey Roderick had a season that he’ll never forget in 2017. The driver of the No. 18 Ronnie Sanders Racing Pro Late Model won 18 races at tracks throughout the Southeast region, but there was no track that he was more dominant at than Montgomery Motor Speedway.
With the calendar now turned over to a new season, Roderick is itching to get back to the Alabama track for the Show Me the Money Series opener on March 3.
Although he is eager to get back behind the wheel to defend his track championship, Roderick knows this year will hold even heavier competition for him.
“I feel pretty good about it going into the first race,” Roderick told Speed51.com. “It’s going to be interesting to see how everybody stacks up this year. I know everybody is working hard and getting their stuff better. I hope we can keep our winning streak going on there. Between Augie (Grill) and I, we’ve won the majority of the races. As far as the last year or two there, it’s been good and we’re just looking forward to keeping that streak going.”
Roderick is aware of the target on his back as he has become the driver to beat in the Show Me the Money Series. The stacked field of drivers in the series are gearing up to give Roderick and his team all they’ve got.
“I expect people to be better,” Roderick stated. “You can only stay on top for so long before people work hard and get their stuff better and try to beat you. I feel like it’s going to be a little bit tougher for us this year. It’s looking at who’s possibly going to be there and get there and see how it stacks up”.
Extremely grateful, Roderick agrees that 2017 brought him an amazing year, but that it would never be as successful for them if they hadn’t been able to power through their struggles.
“Last year was amazing year for me. That was by far my best year I’ve ever had in a Late Model car since I’ve started racing them,” Roderick claimed. “I’ve never been able to race that many races. I just fell in a grove and I was on my game everywhere we went. Of course, we struggled in certain places and had some failures. But we had to find ways out of those situations and get back to our normal deal. It was definitely a great year and I’m looking forward to trying to keep that momentum going. I just feel like it’s going to be a little bit tougher this year.”
Running out of the Ronnie Sanders stable, Roderick has a lot of work ahead of him having a small team on a weekly basis. He is hoping to stretch their efforts this season with a heavy schedule.
“It’s just Ronnie and I now. It’s going to be a lot tougher on him and I trying to turn these cars around that fast,” Roderick explained. “In the month of March, we have six races. Coming back to Cordele and then the next day is Nashville, so we’re going to be in two different places in one weekend.”
Roderick and Sanders have planned a busy schedule for the 2018 season, but they will stay flexible with their races.
“We probably won’t run everything on the schedule, but so far what I’ve counted, the most I’ve counted is 48. We’re going to do what we can and pick and choose from what we have down. I think last year we ran 41, so we’ll probably be close to that.”
In 41 starts last year, Roderick captured 18 wins. Although that’s an impressive statistic, Roderick stays humble and recognizes the hard work everyone puts into the cars.
“Eighteen wins is a lot in a Late Model car, I feel like. I know there been some other guys that have won a few more. It’s going to be stressful and a lot of hard work goes into it, probably going to be a lot of late nights this year. You gotta love it.”
Sanders had some wise words for the 25-year-old driver as they loaded up for SpeedFest 2018 in January, and those words have stuck with Roderick ever since.
“It was just him and I, we were worn out, he was shoveling snow to get it out of the way to load up and he said, ‘You gotta love the sport man.’ That kinda stuck with me the whole time since he said that and he’s exactly right. We’ll see how much we love it this year.”
Race fans can watch the season opener for the Show Me the Money Pro Late Models at Montgomery via a live video stream on the Speed51 Network. Monthly ($7.99) and yearly ($69.99) subscribers will be able to watch the race free with their subscription. Click here to subscribe today.
-By Kendra Adams, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @2KendraAdams
-Photo credit: Speed51.com