(Original Speed51.com story published on SouthernSuperSeries.com with permission.)
Before the 2019 Southern Super Series season began, no driver had ever won multiple titles in the six-year history of the tour. That changed Sunday afternoon at the conclusion of the season-ending Hart to Heart 100 at New Smyrna Speedway.
With a fourth-place finish in the Southern Super Series’ first-ever visit to the Florida half-mile oval, Casey Roderick became the first multi-time champion, winning the series championship in back-to-back years. Overall, the Lawrenceville, Georgia driver now has seven championships to his credit over the last three years.
Roderick accomplished his most recent feat working with two different teams over the course of the season, joining Donnie Wilson and Wilson Motorsports for the final two races after parting ways with long-time car owner Ronnie Sanders.
On Monday morning, Roderick was quick to thank his former car owner and 1977 Snowball Derby champion for what he and his team did in 2019 and in years past.
“It feels good, it’s a good accomplishment that I was able to do that. I had a lot of people who helped me get to this point,” Roderick told Speed51.com. “I’ve got to thank Ronnie Sanders for everything he’s done for me over the last few years of running together. We’ve had a lot of good memories to look back and think on. I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish together and I couldn’t have won this championship without him helping me out. We had to go a different route at the end of the year and we went with Donnie (Wilson) to finish out the season with Ronnie getting out of racing but it turned out good.”
The day started out with a strong qualifying run, but quickly went sour at the onset of the 100-lap main event. He and the Wilson Motorsports team made the call to hit pit road under an early caution to make adjustments. The call proved to be a good one, as he worked his way back through the field to a fourth-place finish and the Southern Super Series championship.
“We worked hard to get the car where I needed it,” he said. “Practice went well yesterday and we had a really good qualifying effort. Starting the race off the car was different than what it was in practice. We made the call to come down pit road and make some adjustments to go back out there. It took the whole race to get back up there but I felt like it was the right choice.”
After winning close to 30 races between Super and Pro Late Models in 2017-2018, none of Roderick’s 2019 wins came behind the wheel of a Super Late Model. He finished second three times in Southern Super Series action with three other top fives in the 10-race schedule, while also adding a second in the Speed51 Super Select and a fifth in his ARCA Midwest Tour debut at the Milwaukee Mile. He says the belief he can win is there, it’s just about pulling it off.
“I’m confident in my ability to win these races, it’s just you got to have everything line up perfectly each race,” he stated. “The car’s got to be strong, you’ve got to be smart, everything across the board. There’s multiple pieces of the puzzle you’ve got to put together and make perfect, but it’s just one of them deals where you can’t give up even though it’s frustrating mentally. I’ve been really close, I felt like I should’ve won four or five of them this year, I just haven’t pulled it off.”
With 2020 racing plans uncertain as of now, Roderick goes into the All American 400 and the Snowball Derby with an added chip on his shoulder. While the speed has been there, he says they have to work on getting the results at the end of each race.
“It gives us some good momentum but we have a little work to do. We’ve got to figure out our tire game and make sure this doesn’t happen anymore,” he said. “We’ve got real good speed in practice and qualifying, it’s only the start of the race that’s challenging. We’ve got to get that figured out.”
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-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com / Melissa Strahley