Casey Roderick, Randy Hill Racing & Co. Record Top-25 Finish In Nationwide Debut
WATKINS GLEN, New York (August 14, 2011) - - Making a NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) debut at a road course is not exactly the norm, but that is the challenge rookie driver Casey Roderick, Randy Hill Racing (RHR) and Go Green Racing (GGR) faced at Watkins Glen International for the Zippo 200.
The 19 year-old Lawrenceville, Georgia native had recently competed in the previous three ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards events with Randy Hill Racing and Spraker Racing Enterprises before entering Watkins Glen.
Roderick and his No. 39 Abilene Christian University Ford Mustang team faced a battle during practice. While fighting a free racecar, Roderick had no testing experience in a Nationwide Series car and was forced to learn on the spot in the weekend’s only two hour practice session. Roderick turned twenty laps and posted his fastest lap, good enough for 22nd overall on his last lap in practice.
Qualifying in group five, Roderick picked up from his practice time by nearly three tenths of a second, and continued to show great improvement with limited track time. Roderick qualified 24th, the best qualifying effort for the No. 39 team in the past five races.
As the race began, Roderick quickly made timely moves and picked up two positions on lap one and found comfortable track position in 22nd to gain experience in the early stages. With lap times constantly improving, Roderick was looking for a way to crack the top 20 as he moved up to 21st in the No. 39 Abilene Christian University Ford. Before the team’s first green flag stop on lap 19, the Georgia native reported that his No. 39 Ford Mustang was snug in most corners but began to free up as the run went along.
Roderick learned a valuable lesson coming into his pit box, as he slid through his sign, but chalked it up to experience. Quickly after the round of pit stops, the race’s first caution flew at lap 25, which left Roderick one lap down.
A long green flag run through the middle portion of the Zippo 200 gave Roderick the opportunity to gain spots back lost on pit road. By lap 60, Roderick had moved back to his starting position of 24th and found himself racing for the Lucky Dog position to get back on the lead lap. However, the cautions did not fall the ACU Racing team’s way, even with Roderick posting his fastest lap of the day on lap 74.
Just shy of the white flag, Roderick’s learned another rookie lesson after spinning in the inner loop with two laps to go, running 23rd forcing just the second yellow flag of the day. Recovering from the spin and surviving a green-white-checkered finish, Roderick finished his Nationwide Series debut 25th.
“I was just glad to make a lot of progress throughout the race and the weekend,” Roderick said. “After never running a Nationwide car at any time, I felt like we really made progress and we were the most competitive near the end of the race. At this point, that’s what I look for, is to keep getting better and better every time we get on the track. It was real fun to have Abilene Christian University on the car this weekend, and it’s neat to see a different type of organization be involved in NASCAR and I feel very fortunate to be a part of it with Randy Hill Racing.”
Team owner Randy Hill was more than pleased with the overall weekend with Roderick and Go Green Racing at Watkins Glen International.
“I’m so pleased to be with Casey and be a big part of his growing career,” Hill said. “We came here to get more experience under our belt as a team, Casey as a driver and myself in an ownership type role. Watkins Glen is a great venue and everyone at Abilene Christian University have been a pleasure to work with to promote mobile learning and we enjoyed working with them every step of the way this weekend. I couldn’t be more proud of Casey and especially the Go Green Racing team for their effort this weekend.”
Randy Hill Racing will take a brief break from competition and begin preparing for a stretch of races this fall with Roderick at the helm. The team’s official plans will be announced in the coming weeks.
For more on Randy Hill Racing, please visit randyhillracing.com.