Casey Roderick, driver of the No. 9 Ford for the Bill Elliott Driver Development team, is gearing up for an action-packed weekend at SpeedFest 2009 at Lanier National Speedway Jan. 23-25 in Braselton.
Roderick will run both the CRA Super Series-sanctioned 200-lap Super Late Model race and the Georgia Asphalt Series (GAS)-sanctioned 100-lap Pro Late Model race.
The CRA SpeedFest 200 will mark Roderick’s first start in a Super Late Model car. In eight career Late Model starts, Roderick has three top-five’s, six top-ten’s and one pole; his worst finish has been 11th.
By entering both races, Roderick is eligible for the $10,000 bonus for any driver who can win both events. If no driver pulls off the feat, the driver with the highest average finish from the two races will receive a $2,500 bonus.
Sixteen-year-old Roderick, a native of nearby Lawrenceville, is one of Georgia’s most successful Legends Racing drivers and was handpicked by NASCAR legend Bill Elliott to join his driver development program in July 2008.
Roderick quickly started turning heads when he nearly won in his first start in the No. 9 BEDD Ford in an ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour race in August.
He followed that up with another second place and two eleventh-place finishes in the ASA SAT in 2008.
Roderick’s first — and only — start in the Georgia Asphalt Series came in August 2008 at Peach State Speedway in Jefferson.
Roderick led for 20 laps until his car developed a tight condition and finished in eighth.
Roderick also has one start at Mobile, Ala. International Speedway, where he earned his first LM pole; and two at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., including his first trip to the annual Snowball Derby in December, where he competed in the Snowflake 100, one of the biggest Pro Late Model races of the year. Roderick went two-laps down early in the race with a flat tire and battled his way back onto the lead lap to finish third.
In December, Roderick joined Elliott at Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina where he tested an ARCA car and made his first laps on a superspeedway.
Elliott hopes to start Roderick in select ARCA and other Late Model events in 2009.
SpeedFest 2009 marks the first major Late Model event of the year and has become a tradition of North vs. South drivers, attracting stars from the Champion Racing Association, Georgia Asphalt Series, Pro All Stars Series, American Speed Association, the Snowball Derby, the All-American 400 and many others.
The annual event began five years ago at the USA International Speedway (Lakeland, Fla.); after the track closed its doors in 2008, officials announced that SpeedFest would move to Lanier National Speedway in 2009.
The racing action kicks off with open practice for all Super and Pro Late Model competitors Friday, Jan. 23.
Saturday’s schedule includes two practice sessions and qualifying for each division. On Jan. 25, the GAS PLM SpeedFest 100 goes green at 2 p.m., followed immediately by the CRA SLM SpeedFest 200.
Lanier National Speedway is located at One Raceway Drive, Braselton, GA 30517.
For more information, call the track at (770) 967-8600 or visit www.LanierSpeedway.com.
For more information about the Bill Elliott Driver Development program, visit www.BillElliott.com.
About Bill Elliott Driver Development: NASCAR legend Bill Elliott created the Bill Elliott Driver Development program as a means to pay forward the years of support, guidance and hard work from family, friends and fans that catapulted him to stardom in NASCAR’s top series.
Based on the principles of teamwork, strong work ethic and positive attitudes, the program aims to guide young drivers through the highs and lows of life in auto racing.
As a mentor to the young drivers, Elliott hopes to groom them into leaders on and off the track; to develop their media skills and allow them to be comfortable in various public situations; to cultivate feedback and communication skills to help them become productive team members; and to provide seat time in various types of racing equipment to develop their driving skills.
The BEDD team, which operates out of the Bill Elliott Racing shop in Dawsonville includes Chase Elliott, Casey Roderick, Mitch Cobb, Trey Poole and John King.