On Monday, Casey Roderick joined Speed51.com’s “The Morning Bullring” talk show to discuss his career up to this point and preview this weekend’s 55th Annual “Hunt for the Bear” Alabama 200 at Montgomery Motor Speedway.
In 2018, Roderick earned the chance to compete in a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Iowa Speedway with GMS Racing, where he finished a respectable 15th. After limited opportunities in the Xfinity Series with smaller teams in the early part of the decade, he told Speed51.com’s Bob Dillner and Casey LaJoie he still has the itch to compete in one of the top three NASCAR national tours.
“I still have the desire to do some NASCAR stuff but the funding isn’t there for me and I’m content where I’m at,” Roderick told Speed51.com. “I’m really happy with where things are going. You just have to give your 110-percent effort towards everything you do and that’s what I’m doing here at the short tracks, to be the best I can be.”
Roderick is heading into this weekend’s Alabama 200 having won the race the past two years. With the date being moved up to March 2 for this year’s edition, it has brought out stiff competition, including one of the fiercest competitors in Late Model racing.
National Late Model star Bubba Pollard will be hunting for the famed black bear trophy for the first time since the prestigious race transitioned to a Pro Late Model race. Going up against Pollard and the rest of the competition is a challenge that Roderick looks forward to.
“It’s going to be tough this year. We have some of the top guys coming,” Roderick said. “Bubba’s coming, several other guys that are entered. Everybody’s getting a little better with their cars and building their programs up, so it’s going to be a little bit tougher deal this year.”
Roderick has seen a lot of success at the half-mile oval in Montgomery, Alabama over the past two years. He won the Show Me The Money Series title in 2017, winning all but one race. In 2018, he had bad luck early in the season, which ultimately costed him a shot at repeating as champion. However, he still won two races and took the checkered flag first in a third before getting stripped of the win in the tech line.
He explained on The Morning Bullring that one of his goals moving forward is to take his success at Montgomery and transfer it over to the Super Late Model side of the Ronnie Sanders Racing program.
“I didn’t run well there at first. The first year I started driving for Ronnie (Sanders) I struggled a little bit,” Roderick said of Montgomery Motor Speedway. “I always finished second to Augie (Grill). I kept working and changing up my line a little bit. Now it’s one of the tracks that I’m really comfortable going to and it fits the way I like to drive. It’s kind of fell into place there and now we’re really consistent on running good. I would really like to be like that everywhere in the Supers wherever we go, and I feel like that’s what we’ve been working really hard towards.”
Some would consider Roderick’s 2018 season to be an “off year” compared to his 2017 efforts, having won 13 races compared to 18 in 2017. However, he added three more championships to his resume, winning both the Super and Pro Late Model track championships at Five Flags Speedway, as well as the Southern Super Series championship. He had bad luck to start the season in races he felt like he should’ve won but overall was satisfied with how his 2018 campaign went.
“We had some bad luck to start the year off,” Roderick explained. “There were about five or six races where stuff happened and we didn’t finish. We had that trailing arm break at Montgomery and that was a potential win there. Just several races like that didn’t go our way. We were also off a few races as well. Trying new things and it didn’t work.”
With one victory already under his belt in 2019 during the Pro Late Model portion of CRA SpeedFest, Roderick will be looking to add another trophy to his collection early on in the season during the Alabama 200.
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-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com