CASEY RODERICK- A POSITIVE PRESENCE IN PALM BEACH DAWSONVILLE, GA (March 1, 2010) -- Casey Roderick's just a fresh-faced 17-year-old rookie, but he raced more like a veteran in last weekend's Tire Kingdom 150 at Palm Beach International Raceway,...
CASEY RODERICK- A POSITIVE PRESENCE IN PALM BEACH
DAWSONVILLE, GA (March 1, 2010) -- Casey Roderick's just a fresh-faced 17-year-old rookie, but he raced more like a veteran in last weekend's Tire Kingdom 150 at Palm Beach International Raceway, the road course in Jupiter, Fla.
The young Bill Elliott Development driver from Lawrenceville, Ga., who had just one prior ARCA start under his belt, put his No. 51 Monolith Hospitality Dodge at the top of the leader board in practice then won the pole with a new one-lap track record of 93.235 miles per hour.
He continued to impress in his first road course start, leading 21 laps in Saturday's race, some of them in the rain, before transmission failure ended his would-be Cinderella story.
Roderick led the 34-driver starting field to the green flag, but he and Justin Marks raced a little too hard on the start, and they led a parade of six drivers who missed the first turn.
After serving a stop-and-go penalty, Roderick fell in line in 13th place, then drove his way to third place by Lap 6.
During Laps 7 and 8, the field was under a full course caution, but the Bill Elliott team did not pit. On Lap 9 Roderick took over the second place position, and a lap later had the race lead.
Light rain started to fall on the course just 20 laps into the event, but the rains soon picked up. There was no longer any light gray -- and therefore dry - race track for spotter Bill Elliott to steer his rookie driver toward.
But unlike NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, ARCA was prepared to race in the rain, and Hoosier had "wet" racing tires ready to run.
On lap 22, the caution flag flew once again, this time for rain. Roderick and his No. 51 Dodge, fielded in a joint effort by Phoenix Racing and Bill Elliott Racing with sponsorship from Monolith Hospitality, were called to the pits for rain tires. Roderick came onto pit road leading the race and reentered the field third after stalling the car on exit.
By Lap 26 the race was back under green flag, and Roderick was busy working with spotter Bill Elliott who himself only had experience on rain tires during practice at Watkins Glenn in the 90's, on the new feel that was under him in his first experience with rain tires. It didn't take the young rookie long before he and Elliott were deciding on the best place to pass the two drivers ahead of him. After one pass on the backstretch and another in Turn One on Lap 34, Roderick was back in front and had run up about a five-second lead on the field.
But his good fortune was about to run out.
On Lap 41, Roderick radioed to his crew that he thought first gear was gone. Veteran road course racer Justin Marks passed Roderick on Lap 42 just as Roderick radioed in that first and third gear were now gone. By Lap 44, what had started out a fairy tale weekend ended with a broken transmission.
Roderick said, "It was an awesome weekend. I learned a tremendous amount; from racing on rain tires to restarts on the track. Mentally there is a lot to think about during a road race. I learned a lot on my pit-stop too. I entered way too soon, didn't keep my foot on the brake which made it hard on the front tire changers and then stalled the car on exit. That's a lot of good information to take with me to the next race."
Elliott was equally pleased with the weekend's events saying, "I am proud of what everyone did, we did everything we could except win the race. The boy, (Roderick), did a good job and he had a lot of opportunities not too."
-source: bill elliott racing