What’s old is now new again, at least in Casey Roderick’s world.
Roderick dominated Sunday’s Alabama 200 at Montgomery Motor Speedway, racking up a second consecutive black bear trophy. Roderick’s recent resurgence is due in large part to dusting off the 13-year-old chassis nicknamed, “Moneymaker” that built Ronnie Sanders Racing into the nation’s premier Pro Late Model program.
Moneymaker has carried Bubba Pollard, Hunter Robbins and a host of others to victory lane in years past, but Sunday’s triumph in Montgomery is the best it has ever performed according to Roderick.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how good it feels to win it in the fashion we did it in,” Roderick said. “That is without a doubt the best race car I have ever had. For whatever reason, that car is the best we have. We have three GARC cars, and this one is always the best. I can drive it hard every lap, and that is what it takes to win these races.”
En route to his second straight win in the Alabama 200, Roderick started from pole and took command of the race’s early stages. After pitting on lap 77, the machine didn’t handle as well as it did earlier, but as the event war on Roderick’s “old girl” got stronger.
During the stretch run, Roderick built over a six second lead and never was strongly challenged.
“We just ran our race until we took tires with about 20 laps to go,” said Roderick. “From there on, it was just good. We weren’t as good as we want to be during the middle of the race, but at the end it was the best handling car I’ve ever had.”
The event’s middle stages were marred by a series of multi-car wrecks that claimed Bill Bethea, Bobby Knox, Justin South and others. Even third-place finisher Augie Grill has a beaten and battered machine when the day was done.
Grill missed a shift while leading on a restart, and South ramped up and over the back left tire of Grill’s 112. After making repairs, Grill found the wall once again attempting a three-wide move around a pair of slower cars.
Settling for third on Sunday afternoon, Grill feels the outcome might have been different if not for the carnage his car went through.
“The last hit bent the right front and move the rear end housing way over the left,” Grill explained. “It didn’t end our day but made it a lot more difficult. I hate we had the damage, because I know we could have ran with him and maybe even beat him. However, circumstances were not in our favor today.”
Sandwiched in between Roderick and Grill was John Bolen.
Bolen’s quiet day ended with a second-place finish, but also a 2018 Show Me The Money Series championship. After dominating the Pro Late Model scene at Montgomery a few years back, Bolen returned to full-time racing this year.
The goal at the start of the year wasn’t to run for points, but he will take the trophy any way he can get it.
“That wasn’t our goal when we got started this year,” Bolen admitted. “We wanted to go out and win a bunch of races. We will take it today and use it as a builder for next year. Nowadays you take the trophy when you can. With the 18 (Roderick) here, they are hard to come by.”
When all was said and done, Roderick had a place picked for his trophy and historic race car.
“This trophy is going to my grandfather’s house,” said a smiling Roderick. “This car is going to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame when we retire it. That’s the only place this thing belongs.”
Race fans can watch a full on-demand replay of Sunday's race on Speed51.com's Summer Thunder TV.
-Story by Ryan McCollough, Speed51.com Deep South Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com