Preparing for and racing in the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway every year in March is a difficult task all on its own with such a competitive field of Super Late Model teams always entered. But there are those drivers that are always willing to take on more, usually running the Pro Late Model Baby Rattler 125 the night before the big race.
This coming weekend, Casey Roderick is going one step further, adding Modified racing to his Late Model doubleheader. Friday and Saturday especially will be quite busy for the 2014 Rattler winner, running all three cars with practice for all three Friday, qualifying all on Saturday afternoon, plus the Baby Rattler and 50-lap Modified race Saturday night, all leading up to the Southern Super Series season opening Rattler 250 Sunday afternoon.
“It's going to be a hectic weekend for sure. Trying to balance everything out is going to be a little difficult, but we can handle it,” Roderick told Speed51.com. “I've only done this one or two times, running three cars. Sometimes I feel like I might have bitten off a little too much that one time, but I'm going to enjoy it, especially that Modified race.”
The first Rattler victory four years ago still feels like it was just a few races ago for Roderick, who expressed his deep appreciation for the race that enters its 42nd edition this weekend. He is also working hard this weekend to bring another former race winner back to victory lane, the man who won it a record three times as a driver in 1982, 1999, and 2001, his boss Ronnie Sanders.
“I didn't realize it had been that long. Time flies I guess. It's a cool race. Being a previous winner is an honor. There's a lot of big names that have won. Ronnie Sanders, the man I drive for, is a winner, so it's cool to go down there and have success in the past with you. We're just taking it one step at a time to get ready to go down and make sure we're fully prepared.”
Roderick is also excited with some new equipment he and Sanders are bringing to Opp, Alabama this weekend.
“We’ve got a new Super we will be debuting this weekend. I'm really confident in this car and how it's going to unload. There's times you're not as prepared and you don't feel as good going to the race. But this one I feel really confident.”
In the past year, Roderick has become infamous for crushing the competition across the Pro Late Model ranks in the Southeast, save for one race, the Baby Rattler. The past two years, Roderick has had the cars to get him his first win in the 125-lap event, only to slow midway through each of the last two races. After a spin his last time in a PLM at Montgomery Motor Speedway on March 3, he is extra eager to take home the trophy on Saturday.
“That race for some reason has bit me the last two years in a row. First year the motor blew up when I was running third and last year I was leading the race, the car was acting like it was running out of fuel, and it was because the fuel line came off. Hopefully we can redeem ourselves and have a good race this year.”
While the business of Late Model racing at SAS this weekend may be all-business, Roderick is treating his Modified effort with a little more ‘fun and games’ attitude, especially given his lack of open-wheel experience.
“This will be my third one. The first time was at Opp last year during the summer. We went down there for a Pro race and Jimmy Ham who's the owner of the Modified, he brought his car over and I ran that night and finish second. It should be a lot of fun. Those cars have a lot of horsepower for eight inch tires, which is practically no tire for the motors they have in them. It's a lot of fun but it's a handful.”
While the attitude with the Mod may be different, the goal is still the same as with the two Late Models; winning the race. Roderick admits that a clean sweep of the weekend will be a very difficult goal, but of course there’s always the possibility of success.
“It's definitely going to be tough but it's not out of the question. That would be really cool. To go down there, have fun with everybody, and come out with three wins would really be nice. That's what we're going for, we're not going for second. Every time we load up and leave the shop we're going for a win.”
Race fans unable to make the trip to South Alabama Speedway Saturday and/or Sunday will be able to watch all three events live on Speed51.com through the two-day PPV broadcast. Fans can click here to purchase their live video ticket.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor - Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com