It didn’t quite look the same but the result was all too familiar.
A poor qualifying effort forced Casey Roderick to charge from 20th to the front, eventually holding off Stewart Friesen to win the North-South Super Late Model Challenge at Fairgrounds Speedway for the second consecutive year.
The race was co-sanctioned by the Southern Super Series, CRA Super Series and CARS Tour, producing a star-studded entry list with contenders from all across the country. It’s a battle the south won in the form of Roderick and Ronnie Sanders Racing out of Georgia.
“Man, I am so pumped,” Roderick said in Victory Lane. “We’ve had some bad luck with these Super [Late Model] races. It’s a brand-new race car, it had 30 laps on it when we showed up today. I just want to thank Fury Race Cars and everybody at their facility to give me the opportunity to come up to their shop and build this race car for two weeks.”
Roderick actually struggled to find speed in the first half, but a mid-race adjustment was the catalyst for a race-winning charge.
“The car felt decent, it just wasn’t fast,” said Roderick. “I was struggling a little bit to start with, getting off the corner. It came to me, and I started rolling the center really good. That’s where I started making up my time. I wasn’t necessarily getting off the corner better, just rolling the center better.”
Friesen, making his asphalt Super Late Model debut on a weekend off from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, had several chances to push Roderick out of the way but raced the veteran with respect.
“I’ve watched him on TV a good bit here lately, running good in the Truck Series,” Roderick said of Friesen. “He deserves to be up there, he’s a heck of a wheelman. I was just happy to be able to go toe-to-toe with him and come out on the good end.”
Friesen ran a Gary Balough inspired No. 112 in his debut.
“These guys did a great job preparing this race car,” Friesen said. “It’s super cool to bring back the 112 in tribute to Gary. Great mentor and a great friend of mine. I’m definitely bummed about second, but we were there and we were close. I kind of screwed up that last restart.”
Brock led a majority of the first 60 laps from the pole, trading the position with Stephen Nasse and Willie Allen. He lost the lead for good on Lap 69 when Friesen drove by him, but was satisfied with the effort.
“We thought we saved and saved for the end,” Brock said. “Apparently, we didn’t save enough. We’re going to take this to Toledo, kick the season off right, and go after this championship.”
The most notable incident took place on Lap 11 when contact from Steve Wallace sent Mason Mingus into the wall in Turns 3 and 4. Mingus confronted Wallace in the pit area and a melee broke out.
— Tim Clagg (@Clagger01) April 7, 2018
Another pair of veterans in Bubba Pollard and Donnie Wilson were also eliminated in the first 20 laps due to a mechanical failure and opening lap crash respectively.
The complete results can be found below.
- Casey Roderick
- Stewart Friesen
- Johnny VanDoorn
- Noah Gragson
- Josh Brock
- Corey LaJoie
- Stephen Nasse
- Paul Shafer Jr.
- Jared Fryar
- Carson Hocevar
- Corey Heim
- Logan Bearden
- Anthony Cataldi
- Hunter Jack
- Connor Okrzesik
- Dan Fredrickson
- Matt Wallace
- Darrell Gilchrist
- Raphael Lessard
- Jon Beach
- Molly Helmuth
- Allen Karnes
- Austin Kunert
- Willie Allen
- Preston Bores
- Justin Ashburn
- Cole Williams
- David Green
- Logan Runyon
- Tyler Ankrum
- Steve Wallace
- Mason Mingus
- Bubba Pollard
- Donnie Wilson
- Boris Jurkovic
- Tristan VanWeiringen
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