Short-track racer gets another crack at Xfinity Series
By Rick Minter/ Andrews McMeel Syndication
Super Late Model racing standout Casey Roderick is returning to the Xfinity Series this weekend at Iowa Speedway after a six-year absence from NASCAR’s No. 2 circuit.
Roderick, from Lawrenceville, Georgia, once was a top young driving prospect, quickly moving from Legends cars to Late Models to ARCA and to the Xfinity Series, where he ran 11 races in 2011 and 2012.
But his career stalled at that point, and the then-19-year-old driver was facing the prospect of never having a career as a professional racer.
By 2013, he’d taken a job working with a moving company. He was in a house in Franklin, Tennessee, packing the owner’s furniture for a cross-country move, when a friend from Georgia who owned a Late Model team called and offered him a ride.
Roderick returned home and began building a car, and the next year he won several major races, including the World Crown 300 at Gresham Motorsports Park and the Rattler at South Alabama Speedway.
He continued to find success on the short tracks, and now drives a car for Southern racing legend Ronnie Sanders.
But Roderick never gave up on his dream of returning to the upper levels of NASCAR. Now, he has a one-race deal to drive the No. 23 Chevrolet for GMS Racing.
Roderick said he likely wouldn’t have gotten the chance if his fellow Georgian Chase Elliott hadn’t recommended him.
“I don’t think this would have happened if not for Chase,” Roderick said, adding that he’s also grateful for GMS’ team manager Mike Beam and others on the team who supported him. “That’s a great group at GMS.”
Although it’s just a one-race deal, Roderick, now 26, believes he still has time to realize his dream of racing full-time at NASCAR’s highest levels.
“That’s been my goal since I was 5 years old,” he said. “I ran Xfinity before and had to come back to Super Late Model racing, but I kept the faith and believed in myself that I could succeed at that level.
“Sometimes the timing’s not right, but maybe this is the right time. It’s the best opportunity I’ve had in good equipment with good people surrounding me.”