It’s not quite a matter of team before individual at Rowdy Manufacturing but it’s darn close.
Super Late Model general manager Cody Glick has received an amazing amount of buy-in from those who purchased turn-key cars from the first-year chassis supplier operated by NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch and industry mainstay Justin Oertel in 2019.
There will be eight cars representing the stable at Five Flags Speedway for the Snowball Derby this week: There are three from Wilson Motorsports driven by Derek Kraus, Cole Butcher and Casey Roderick. Chandler Smith is driving the Kyle Busch Motorsports house car.
There are also the family-owned cars piloted by Matthew Craig, Brandon Oakley, Preston Peltier and Boris Jurkovic.
And each of them have bought into the philosophy that if they can’t win the fabled Tom Dawson Trophy, they want it to be one of the other Rowdy drivers — not completely a shared sentiment across FURY, Port City, GARC and Senneker.
Sure, they might feel that way deep down and even say it when presented the question, but Rowdy Manufacturing customers have fully embraced the concept.
They live it.
Donnie Wilson frequently represents the brand, espousing pride when talking about his Rowdy cars, with driver Casey Roderick frequently decked-out in a Rowdy hat and sweater during race weekends this autumn.
Wilson Motorsports, Kyle Busch Motorsports and Jeff Craig Racing crew members often spend time going in and out of their respective haulers. Under Glick’s direction, Rowdy has become more than just a team, but rather a unified family of drivers and mechanics.
“This is what I promote — we want a Rowdy car in Victory Lane every week,” Glick told Short Track Scene on Monday. “This is how it’s going to work. If you learn something during the race weekend, it better get shared. And if it’s a private test, where you spent the money to learn something, that’s yours and we understand that.”
And that’s a fair request from Glick because Rowdy Manufacturing’s full-service agreement with customers mean they each have access to him — a former Kyle Busch Motorsports engineer and crew chief.
The Rowdy cars have been immediately competitive out of the shop this year totaling upwards of 30 victories entering Derby week — not bad for a program totally built from scratch after Busch purchased the assets of Hamke Race Cars last winter.
“I don’t think people understand how much we’ve gotten done in such a short amount of time,” Glick said.
And a lot of that is a testament to the buy-in Glick has received from the owners and drivers like Wilson.
“They’ve put out some really good race cars,” Wilson said. “We’re all working together to get them to go as fast as possible, as quickly as possible. Racing is racing and luck will always play a large role in it, but if we all run top-5, then we’re each going to have a chance. That’s good for everyone.”
Matthew Craig says he has no problems sharing data and working with the overall group.
“Donnie’s team, we all converse,” Craig said. “We go our separate ways, obviously, but we all want a Rowdy to win as much as anyone else. Cody has done a really good job of keeping us together.”
Glick says he offers each team a baseline set-up for every track during the course of the season. He’s also understanding that each driver will have different needs, but he’s there to offer feedback for anyone that needs it.
“What we’ve learned is that a team like the Craigs, they are educated racers and they generally know what they need,” Glick said. “But that won’t be the same for everyone. So, I offer 100 percent support. It’s tough with the west coast guys because I don’t think they do they math on what time it is in North Carolina, but I’m answering the phone at 1 a.m. sometimes.”
And that sometimes means putting out proverbial fires too.
Roderick caught blowback for racing the leaders, including Rowdy drivers Smith and Jurkovic, while being several laps down in the closing stages of the All-American 400. Roderick believed he had been wrongfully placed a lap down and wanted to prove the point that he should have been racing for the lead.
His decision, in the eyes of his fellow Rowdy competitors, resulted in a rival chassis reaching Victory Lane in the form of Mason Mingus driving for Wauters Motorsports.
Smith and Jurkovic both mentioned the Rowdy connection as a point of contention, but that’s a byproduct of the culture Glick has created.
The issue with Roderick quickly blew over and was treated as a racing deal and Glick is glad to have the two-time and reigning Southern Super Series champion in the stable.
“Casey is a really really good racer,” Glick said. “And I think Donnie would agree that he’s made their entire program better. He’s really talented and I’m excited to see what he can do this week because he’s one of the best at Pensacola.”
Glick’s initial goal this season but to have 10 cars at the Snowball Derby. He has eight. He wanted to build 30 overall cars and build 28.
It’s been a good year and the sky is limit when looking towards 2020.
“We have put in the work all summer and our cars are right there,” Glick said of his personal Snowball Derby forecast. “The last Blizzard race at Pensacola, Craig was right there. Casey is the champion for a reason.
“I won’t say it will be a disappointment if we don’t win the Derby, because it’s really hard to win the Derby, but I would personally be disappointed if we don’t.”