Bill Elliott Racing’s Casey Roderick exceeded even the highest expectations in his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway, during the American 200 Oct. 10.
After starting from the rear of the field for a minor rules violation, 17-year-old Roderick drove the unsponsored No. 51 Dodge to the front and took the checkers in second place between race winner Parker Kligerman and 2009 series champion Justin Lofton in third.
“This was my first ARCA race, and what better way to start off your first race,” said Roderick. “I just want to thank Bill Elliott, James Finch and all the guys that came together to make this deal happen. Finch’s Nationwide (Series team) crew couldn’t be here today — but they were here with me for the test — and we had a couple Wood Brothers (Racing) guys and, man, it was awesome.
“On the long run, we had the best car out there, I think,” continued Roderick. “And track position was very crucial. There at the end on that last caution, they got together in front of me, and I got hit from behind and that got Parker (Kligerman) out front a long ways, but I caught him a little bit, closed about half the gap, and that was about all I had.”
Roderick, who qualified the No. 51 Dodge in third place behind Chad Finley and Lofton, started the 200-lap race from the rear of the field after a rookie mistake on pit road.
“I stopped on pit road there at the beginning of the race. I had to stop and change my (steering) wheel, which I did,” Roderick explained. “And that’s why I had to go to the back in the beginning. But it was good experience for me. I passed every single car on the racetrack, and it was very cool to do that.”
Team owner Bill Elliott called the shots from atop the pit box and ordered a track bar adjustment and four fresh tires during the first stop - Roderick’s first experience on pit road.
Roderick crossed the finish line 2.557 seconds behind Kligerman to finish second in his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut at Rockingham Speedway.
Lofton, who finished third, won the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series driving championship by five points over Kligerman, who scored his tenth win this season.
For more information, contact Bill Elliott Racing at (706) 265-3030.