Two-time defending Southern Super Series champion Casey Roderick announced in early 2020 that he would compete as an owner/driver in the Super Late Model ranks in the upcoming season. Roderick missed CRA SpeedFest in order to have the car ready for either the Rattler 250 or the Blizzard Series opener before the COVID-19 outbreak all but shut down motorsports.
The Georgia driver joined Speed51’s “The Bullring” on Wednesday afternoon to talk about what he’s been up to and the progress he’s made with his car during the break. He’s spent the time in Mississippi with girlfriend Emmalee Hodge, working with her father’s sawdust company and preparing the new car.
“I’ve been working, man,” said Roderick. “That’s been keeping my mind occupied right now, just hauling sawdust with Toby (Hodge) and doing a good job for him and passing time by. I’m looking forward to racing season coming back to us and it’s a bad time for everyone all around the world right now.
“It’s not good for anyone right now, my thoughts and prayers out to anyone that are dealing with this virus and I’m praying every day that I don’t get it. The ones who do have it have it rough and we’re sitting here thinking about them every day. Hopefully this will get past us and we can get back to what we love.”
Having competed with multiple different car numbers over the course of his Late Model career, he decided to go with the number 25 for his new team. That is the same number that Hodge’s dad, Toby, runs in the Modified division at dirt tracks across Mississippi. He did it as a way to show his appreciation for those who helped him with creating the new team and building the new car.
“I just wanted to for the people who are helping me out right now, Toby Hodge with Hodge Sawdust and Shavings, this is his number with the Dirt Modifieds. I just wanted to show a little appreciation for what he’s done for me.”
“I’m working for him out here in Mississippi, I just thought I’d do something nice for him and we surprised him on Sunday with it and he was pretty excited. I’ve had all kinds of different numbers over the years and never really had a number I stuck with all the time. I was bouncing back and forth with 7, 47, and some other ones I’ve been. I felt like this was going to be the best option to go for now. Hopefully we’ll enjoy it.”
It’ll be the first time he sets out on his own in the Super Late Model ranks. He admits it won’t be an easy feat to pull off, but Roderick says the journey has already been worth it, even before the car sees the track for the first time.
“It’s definitely a new challenge for sure. I’m looking forward to it, I’m up for the challenge that it’s going to give me. It’s already testing me, it isn’t easy to do this and people don’t understand how hard it is to get this done. It comes easy for some people but for me it’s been difficult every year that I’ve tried to race.
“I’m really proud of this race car, even though it’s not done yet I’m still really proud of it. I’ve got a lot of pride in me right now to get it on the racetrack and be successful with it. All the parts have to line up perfectly for it to all work out and piece by piece we’re getting there. I’m just really looking forward to getting it on the racetrack and spending some time with it.”
Roderick knows there will be new challenges now as a driver/owner, but he is ready to tackle those challenges.
“It’s going to be different for me now, being an owner and racing at the same time. I’m going to be able to do things the way I like to do them and hopefully be organized for sure. That’s my main goal, to be really organized and choose races I really want to go to and be prepared the best I can be for each race and get me a shot at winning.”
While his schedule will see him primarily remain in the southeast where he’s accustomed to, Roderick also plans on doing some traveling outside the region to big money races. Among those are the Canadian Short Track Nationals at Jukasa Motor Speedway, which will pay an astounding $175,000 to win on the weekend of September 3-5.
“I’m going to pick and choose where I want to go. I’m looking forward to some of the races I came close to winning last year, like Bristol. That was an awesome experience and with this car, I know I can get the job done. It’s just getting there and having our ducks in a row, basically.”
“I want to go to Nashville and I’m looking forward to doing the Blizzard Series down in Pensacola. Those are the big ones I want to focus on, plus I may want to pick a couple Crate Late Model races to go to, put a crate motor in this thing. I want to go to Canada, that’s one of the big races I’m going to go to. Berlin, I really enjoy that race up there. I led some laps last year and I feel like I can win this thing.”
One race that remains a possibility is the Peach State Classic at Gresham Motorsports Park, originally scheduled for May 16-17. Roderick holds the honor of having won the final World Crown 300 to date at the Georgia track, doing so with a last-corner bump-and-run on Kyle Grissom to take the win.
“I’m glad to see [Gresham] coming back. I won the last race there actually, the World Crown 300 there back in 2014. That was an eventful race and we came out on top. It’s definitely a cool racetrack and it should be seasoned now.
“I haven’t talked to anyone that’s been over there but I’m curious to see what the place looks like in person and getting on it for sure. Hopefully we can make it, if everything stays on schedule that’s about a month away now so we’ll have to see if we’re ready or not.”
Click here to watch a replay of Wednesday’s special edition of “The Bullring.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Casey Roderick Motorsports