Race number three for the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco came down to a battle of the Caseys on Friday night at Five Flags Speedway. Defending Southern Super Series champion Casey Smith and defending Blizzard Series champion Casey Roderick duked it out throughout the 125-lap race, before Roderick eventually prevailed.
Three lead changes highlighted the battle between the Caseys before Roderick, the ‘local’ champ, stood on top of the podium after taking the lead on lap 78 and and holding off Smith through three late restarts.
“We had a really good car tonight,” said Roderick with a smile after the 125 lap event. “That’s the best car I’ve ever had here.”
Roderick set fast-time in qualifying, picking up the $500 Engine Builders bonus, and started back in seventh after the re-draw.
The race opened with former series winner Kyle Grissom on the pole and he took off at the drop of the green, opening up a 12 car-length advantage before Smith ran him down and got by to lead lap 6.
While Roderick was making his way to the front from the drop of the green flag, Smith appeared to have the dominant car during the early stages of the race.
Smith, of Austin, Texas, led the most laps (63) of anyone in the 27-car field, but Roderick was just too strong in the end.
“We weren’t pushing the car hardly at all,” said Smith, the defending series champion. “I kind of let him go when we were getting into lapped traffic and thought that maybe he would burn his stuff up but his car was just that good tonight.”
Zane Smith rounded out the podium after breaking his left pinky finger earlier in the afternoon and felt like his No. 77 team has things back on track after a couple sub-par performances in recent months.
“I’m just happy to be running back to normal, the way we had been running,” Smith said in his post-race interview. “We struggled there for a little bit. Win or not, as long as we’re running up here with these guys, I’m stoked.”
2013 Southern Super Series champion Bubba Pollard and early leader Kyle Grissom completed the top five.
For Roderick, the race winner, his weekend is not yet complete. He has another race on his schedule for Saturday night in Alabama.
“I’ve got to thank everyone who has helped me with this car,” stated Roderick. “Ronnie Sanders, Ronnie is here with me tonight and I’m going run his Pro Late Model tomorrow night up at Montgomery.”
The next event on the Southern Super Series schedule will be a Gulf Coast double-header beginning on Friday, May 27 back at Five Flags and then on Saturday May 28 at Mobile International Speedway in Irvington, Alabama.
For more information on the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco, visit www.southernsuperseries.com.
-Southern Super Series/51 Sports Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com
Southern Super Series – Race No. 3
Five Flags Speedway – Pensacola, FL
|16||01||Derek Scott Jr|
|25||99N||Wayne Niedecken Jr|