After enjoying a season for the ages, Casey Roderick makes his way to the 50th Annual Snowball Derby wanting to come away with a pair trophies and put behind years of misfortune that have plagued the Georgia driver at Five Flags Speedway during the month of December.
While Roderick has found most of his success this season in Pro Late Model competition, he has been a consistent force in Super Late Models, winning the North/South Super Late Model Challenge in April at the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, TN. After setting quick time for the Super Late Models at the Snowball Derby Preview last Saturday, Roderick feels he has a potent enough car to compete for the Tom Dawson trophy, but that some additional work is still required.
“I feel better now after the practice this weekend, felt like I learned some things and that we can come back to the shop this weekend and prepare a little bit better for this Derby week,” Roderick told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I think there’s still some gains to be made to be at the level we need to be to win the race. I’ve had a couple good years down there, just not any luck. We’re looking for a smooth clean race and to be there at the end. If the car is running halfway decent at the end, you’ll have a shot to win.”
“It’s always good to get a little bit back and keep putting it back into the program; that’s what we do all year with the races we won,” Roderick explained. “It’s pretty cool to run as many races as we’ve run this year. I think I’m at 40 right now and 18 wins, best year I’ve had in a long time. Hopefully we can apply everything we’ve learned throughout the year to our Super program and win the biggest race of the year.”
Where consistency has been present in Super Late Model competition, Roderick and the Ronnie Sanders-owned team have reigned supreme across the Pro Late Models ranks in the Southeast. The squad not only has the race wins, but three track championships, including the Allen Turner Pro Late Model title at Five Flags, where he swept the all the race wins. Despite a perfect record, Roderick knows that the Snowflake 100 is a whole different animal.
“Even though we won every race the Pro’s ran down there this year, it’s going to be tough to pull off the Snowflake. There’s going to be some good competition like always. Everybody wants to come to the biggest race of the year,” Roderick said. “You’ll see people from all over that are really good. That’s what makes it fun though. We’ll see what happens, we’ll try to be on our A-game when we show up, tweak it a little bit and line up for the race.”
With two Late Models ready to compete in the two divisions, the pressure is on in the Sanders camp to give Roderick the best and smoothest Derby week possible.
“It’s a lot of preparation from just getting everything organized for that week. From the people that are going to organizing the trailers to getting the cars ready at the shop. There’s a lot of prep work that a lot of people don’t realize, that aren’t close to this type of racing. We’re doing the best we can with what we got to work with and I think we’re ahead of schedule right now.”
Despite the challenges, Roderick firmly believes he is one of the biggest threats on both Saturday and Sunday of Derby week.
“They’re definitely going to have to contend with us in both races, hopefully. I have a lot of confidence going into the weekend. Just going to treat it like every other race we’ve run; go down, work hard, and do our best.”
Race fans unable to make it to Pensacola, FL for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby can watch Roderick and over 100 other Late Model drivers via a live, television-style broadcast on Speed51.com. Live video tickets for the race can be purchased now by clicking here.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA, RI & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com