Casey Roderick used every veteran trick in the figurative book but it wasn’t enough to overtake a dominant Augie Grill in the closing laps of the Alabama 200 on Saturday night at Montgomery Motor Speedway.
The two Deep South aces took very different paths to the first two positions upon reaching the final 15-lap dash to the finish.
Grill led all but two laps, while Roderick spent most of the race outside of the top-5, due to an ill-handling race car.
Most of the field, including Grill, pit for their four extra tires during a caution on Lap 110. Roderick decided to hold off on his tires, saving them for a different caution on Lap 138.
The difference was almost enough to close the gap over the final 15 laps, but Grill was too good. Roderick gave him one shot to the back bumper but it wasn’t enough to remove him from the bottom of the track.
The win was Grill’s fifth in the Hunt for the Bear and came by virtue of defeating the winner of the previous two Alabama 200s.
“That sounds pretty cool,” Grill said in a Victory Lane interview heard over the public address system. “That was a hard fought one at the end. I was hoping that race would have stayed green until the end. I knew Casey would be better because he has 28 lap fresher tires and I knew he would be tough.
“We got a little tight at the end, made it tougher than it needed to be at the end, but we’ll take it.”
Roderick had several chances to move Grill beyond the one shot with five laps to go, but wasn’t as aggressive as he could have been, especially considering the bitter rivalry the two have often endured within Pro Late Model competition.
“I didn’t mean to get into him when I did,” Roderick said. “I got into the gas good off 2 and he wiggled a little bit and I got into him and made it worse, backed off. We’ve had our run ins over the years, but I respect Augie a lot and I’m not going to do that to him to win another race.
“I want to do it the right way.”
For the longest time, it looked like the race would come down to Grill vs. Bubba Pollard — the only other driver to have led (2) laps on Saturday night.
Pollard stayed with Grill on each restart but fell off the pace with a mechanical issue with 36 laps to go.
From there, it was a matter of Grill controlling the race and Roderick working his way through the field. In fact, Roderick wishes he could have taken his tires a little later.
“I wish we could have waited for at least one more caution, but you don’t know when or if it’s going to come, ” Roderick said. “He was faster by about a second and he would have lapped us, and that would have been it.”
Ultimately, Grill captured his record-extending fifth Hunt for the Bear, having accomplished the fete from 2007-2011 prior to Saturday’s breakthrough.
“That’s pretty cool, I’m not sure anyone is going to beat that,” he said.
The complete results can be found below.
- Augie Grill
- Casey Roderick
- Jackson Boone
- Connor Okrezsik
- Justin South
- Dylan Fetcho
- Jake Garcia
- Blaise Rutherford
- Jason Furrow
- Kyle McCallum
- Jeff Dawkins
- Micheal House
- John Bolen
- Bubba Pollard
- Martin Latulippe
- Chris Davidson
- Ryan Paul
- Colby Howard
- Nick Jenkins
- Ryan Herbert
- Micheal Bolden
- Daniel Bolden
- Perry Patino
- Aiden Eldridge
- Jojo Wilkinson
- Tyler Porter
Note: Short Track Scene was not at this event but watched online via a Pay-Per-View broadcast