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Casey Roderick Triumphs in 38th Annual Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway
Casey Roderick survived to win the 38th Annual Rattler at South Alabama Speedway to kick off the Southern Super Series season. Credit: Southern Super Series Facebook Page

Casey Roderick Triumphs in 38th Annual Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway

From South Alabama Speedwy

While the pre-race hype centered on the names Pollard, Grill, Hemric, Smith, and Nemechek, none of the “experts” were mentioning the name Roderick. But at the end of an exciting 252 laps, it was Lawrenceville, Georgia’s Casey Roderick kissing the surface of South Alabama Speedway’s Victory Lane after the 38th Annual Hardee’s Rattler 250. The race was the first of the 2014 Southern Super Series schedule.

Roderick was near the bottom of the speed charts in practice sessions on March 14 and 15, but was third fastest when the Super Late Models returned Saturday to finish up the weekend that was postponed due to rain. He lined up 21st to start the 250 lap event, but steadily made his way through the field, stayed out of trouble, and as those pre-race favorites fell out of contention, emerged as a frontrunner. Roderick was able to hold off challengers and survived a late race restart to claim the win in the prestigious event.

Casey Smith led the field to the green flag after setting fast time last Saturday with a time of 15.170. Smith led the first nine laps before Bubba Pollard took the point on lap 10 just before the race’s first caution flew on lap 12. After the restart, Chad Finley jumped back into second, followed by Smith, Augie Grill, and Ross Kenseth. Grill was on the move and moved into second on lap 33. The field spread out single file and got some laps in at that point. Roderick was running just out of the top ten. Kenseth moved past Finley to grab third on lap 62. John Hunter Nemechek was the next car to start moving up the charts, moving into the top five on lap 86. Kenseth got past Grill for second on lap 101.

The complexion of the race changed on lap 116 when Finley’s car began to pour smoke due to a busted oil line. Behind him, several cars went spinning. During a lengthy yellow and red period to clean up the track, several drivers decided to pit for adjustments, moving Roderick up the leader board to seventh. When the field took the green, Pollard was up front, followed by Kenseth. As they exited turn two, Pollard slipped little and Kenseth got into him. The pair slammed into the outside wall and collected Nemechek, ending their night, and taking out three of the pre-race favorites.

Grill took the point and led the next two laps, but Hemric wanted to be up front. He moved inside of Grill and as they headed into turn two on lap 136, contact sent Grill spinning off the track into the bank surrounding turn two, ending his night. Roderick had gained a couple more spots, now running fifth. When the race went back green, it was time for Roderick to make his move. On the restart, he quickly moved into second behind Hemric.
After a rough period during the race, there was a 36 lap green period, and one of those “favorites” was up front cruising. Hunter Robbins moved past Roderick to gain the second spot, but was running four car lengths behind Hemric. Anderson Bowen was beginning to show his strength and got by Roderick on lap 167. But Roderick fought back and moved back into second on a lap 192 restart. This was beginning to appear to be Hemric’s race to lose. He was able to get out front by a few car lengths and cruise. Behind him, Roderick, Robbins, and Bowen were having a battle for the runner up spot.

However, as he crossed the line to complete lap 204, smoke began to pour from Hemric’s car and a lap later, he slowed and pulled to the pits. Roderick took over the lead, followed by Robbins, Bowen, Harrison Burton, and Kyle Grissom. But the fight wasn’t over. Roderick and Robbins had a great battle for the lead with Bowen and Burton right on their bumpers. On a lap 225 restart, Robbins beat Roderick to the line to lead the lap as they battled side by side. That battle went on for several laps until Robbins spun on lap 233.

Roderick led the field back to green on lap 339 with Burton the new challenger. Roderick pulled ahead of Burton, only to have the caution wave one last time, setting up a five lap sprint. Roderick brought the field to the green, but Burton spun his tires, allowing Bowen to slip by on the inside for second. Roderick led Bowen to the checkers by .167 seconds. Burton held Kyle Grissom off for third. Chris Davidson rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth went to Stephen Nasse, Kyle Bryant, Justin South, Johanna Long, and Smith.

The Grasshopper Pro Late Model Rattler 125, Presented by JR’s Lawnmower Shop, was run on Saturday, March 15. Defending race champion Korey Ruble dominated the race, but Senoia, Georgia’s Bubba Pollard made a late race charge. Pollard took the lead with four laps to go, to take the win.
Garrett Jones turned the fastest lap in qualifying with a lap of 15.434. Ruble was second with a lap of 15.492. Ruble got the jump on the drop of the green flag and took the early lead over Bayley Currey, Jones, Hunter Robbins, and Kyle Plott. Ruble led until the first caution flew on lap eleven. On the restart, John Hunter Nemechek, who started eighth, grabbed the top spot from the outside. Nemechek held the lead through numerous cautions in the next ten laps. When things settled down, Nemechek led Ruble, Jones, Pollard, and Harrison Burton.

Ruble regained the lead on lap 48 and the field settled in and got some laps in. Ruble led at the halfway point over Nemechek, Jones, Burton, and Pollard. Pollard switched places with Burton on lap 74, with Mike Garvey getting past Burton three laps later to move into the top five. Pollard continued his climb up the leader board on lap 88, getting past Jones. With 25 laps to go, Ruble led Nemechek, Pollard, Garvey, and Jones.
The running order stayed the same as laps ran down, but Pollard had something left for the last ten laps. He moved inside of Nemechek on lap 116 to move into second and set his sights on Ruble. Ruble, meanwhile, had to deal with not only Pollard coming from behind, but also a lapped car just ahead. Pollard used the slower car to his advantage, running Ruble down and pulling even with five laps to go.

Pollard completed the pass the next lap and pulled away to win by a little over half a second. Nemechek, making his first start at South Alabama Speedway, came home third. Garvey was fourth with Plott fifth. Sixth through tenth went to Jones, Davey Coble, Burton, Derek Scott, Jr., and R.S. Senter.

In other Saturday action, Brandon Curren led all 75 laps to win the Modified Feature, but it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Curren grabbed the lead from the pole with Parker Pugh on his bumper. Parker stayed glued to Curren’s bumper until spinning on lap 16. Chris Cotto took up the challenge on Curren after the restart. Curren was able to put a little distance between himself and Cotto, but caution flags kept erasing those leads. AT the halfway point, Curren led Cotto, Jeff Letson, Heath Mills, and Jim Wall. Curren continued to lead, but a new threat was coming from behind. Donnie Hamrac, who started twelfth, had made his way to third and was challenging Cotto for the runner up spot. Hamrac pulled to the outside of Coto as they ehaded to the stripe to complete lap 68. As they crossed the line, there was contact and both Cotto and Hamrac slammed into the outside wall. Both were done for the night. That left Mills to challenge Curren. Curren led the field to green with seven laps to go. He was able to slip away from Mills by .238 seconds as the checkers flew. Donald Crocker came back from a flat right front tire to take third. Letson was fourth, followed by Mario Lupi.

In the Street Stock Feature, Johnny Otto and Chad Roberts battled back and forth for the lead over the last ten laps. In the end, Otto took the lead for good with three laps to go to collect the win. Brandon Odom led the field to the green flag and led the first lap. Chris Salter led the second circuit before Roberts took control on lap three. While Roberts was easing away from Salter, Otto was making his way through the field from his thirteenth starting spot. By halfway, he was running fourth behind Roberts, Salter, and Dennis Thomas. Otto passed Thomas on lap 51 and then Salter three laps later. By then, Roberts enjoyed a sizable lead. Otto began to cut into that lead each lap. He closed to Robert’s bumper with about ten laps to go. Otto wrestled the lead away from Roberts on lap 45, but Roberts beat him to the line to lead lap 47. Otto fought back to regain the lead for good on lap 48 and led the final three laps to take a well deserved win. Roberts was second, followed by Thomas. Salter was fourth and Odom fifth.

In Friday’s action. Cameron Henderson took the lead on lap four and cruised home with the Super Stock Rattler Feature. Bubba Winslow led the first three laps before Henderson took control. Gary Davis moved past Winslow one lap later but couldn’t keep up with Henderson’s pace. Davis chased Henderson the rest of the race, but Henderson kept his distance and took the win. Winslow was third, followed by Jessie Reid and John Weaver.
In the Roadrunner Feature, Charles Gardner took the lead on lap three and led the final 23 laps to take the win. Bobby Rhodes led the first two laps from the pole position before Gardner charged to the front. Chad Roberts came from the eighth starting spot and presented Gardner a stiff challenge. Roberts moved into second on lap nine and was all over Gardner, at times pulling alongside. But Gardner held his ground and Roberts slipped with two laps to go allowing Gardner to pull ahead and take the win.

Jonathan Johnson continued his winning ways in the Coyote class, coming from the seventh starting spot to take the win. Danny Thompson grabbed the early lead from the outside pole. Thompson led the first nine laps before Johnson and Lee Rogers slipped by. Johnson and Rogers fought for the lead over the course of the race. Rogers led laps 19 and 20, but Johnson fought back and took the lead for good on lap 21. Rogers kept the pressure on Johnson, but Johnson led him to the checkered flag. Thompson stayed close in third with Brian and Adam Missildine following in fourth and fifth.
Shep Lucas took the lead on lap ten and went on to capture the CupLite Rattler Feature. Jason Fowler charged from the fourth starting spot to grab the lead on the first lap. Fowler led the first nine laps until Lucas took over. Once out front, Lucas, who started tenth, pulled away from the field to take and easy win. Jack Whittle came from the ninth starting spot to finish second. Adam Salter crossed the line third, followed by Buffalo, New York’s Neil Dietz, and Fowler. However, Salter and Dietz failed post race inspection, moving Fowler to third. Dylan Northey and Charlie Hercus moved up to fourth and fifth.

Adam Salter held off Dylan Wolfe to take the Mini Sportsman Feature win. Kyle Sims led the first three laps before Wolfe charged into the lead. Wolfe led for three laps before Salter got by on lap seven. Salter and Wolfe battled the rest of the way with Salter winning in the end. Dustin Monday was third, followed by Sims and Lon Howell.
South Alabama Speedway will reopen on April 5 with local racing. For more information, contact the track at (334) 565-3539, or visit the track’s web site at www.southalabamaspeedway.com.

SOUTHERN SUPER SERIES
38th Annual Hardee’s Rattler 250
South Alabama Speedway
Kinston, AL
Official Results

1. Casey Roderick
2. Anderson Bowen
3. Harrison Burton
4. Kyle Grissom
5. Chris Davidson
6. Stephen Nasse
7. Kyle Bryant
8. Justin South
9. Johanna Long
10. Casey Smith
11. Hunter Robbins
12. Dennis Reno, Jr.
13. BJ Holley
14. Daniel Hemric
15. Augie Grill
16. Allen Karnes
17. TJ Reaid
18. Keith Cahela
19. Ross Kenseth
20. Bubba Pollard
21. John Hunter Nemechek
22. Chad Finley
23. Zak Hausler
24. Bobby Knox, Jr.

Grasshopper Pro Late Model Rattler 125, presented by JR’s Lawnmower Shop

1. Bubba Pollard
2. Korey Ruble
3. John Hunter Nemechek
4. Mike Garvey
5. Kyle Plott
6. Garrett Jones
7. Davey Coble
8. Harrison Burton
9. Derek Scott, Jr.
10. RS Senter
11. Steven Davis
12. Perry Patino
13. Brandon Brilliant
14. Bryce Duhlaban
15. Cole Rouse
16. Dwayne Buggay
17. Dalton Grindle
18. Josh Adkins
19. Bayley Currey
20. Ryan Redmon
21. Shane Nalley
22. Matthew Wragg
23. Hunter Robbins
24. Justin Ashburn
25. Rusty Sanford
DNS Will Mack

Modified

1. Brandon Curren
2. Heath Mills
3. Donald Crocker
4. Jeff Letson
5. Mario Lupi
6. Rick McCarson
7. Jacob Permenter
8. Cameron Berry
9. Terry Davis
10. Donnie Hamrac
11. Chris Cotto
12. Jim Wall
13. Parker Pugh
14. Brandon Odom
15. Kip Whitehead

Super Stock

1. Cameron Henderson
2. Gary Davis
3. Bubba Winslow
4. Jessie Reid
5. John Weaver
6. Jamie Ater
7. Jeremy Burchfield
8. Drew Green
9. Ricky Harrelson
10. Adam Salter
11. Johnny Otto

Street Stock

1. Johnny Otto
2. Chad Roberts
3. Dennis Thomas
4. Chris Salter
5. Brandon Odom
6. Todd Valdez
7. Travis Slawson
8. Darrell Cawley, Jr.
9. Jonathan Johnson
10. Dylan Wolfe
11. Mike Wolfe
12. #28
13. Daniel Davis
14. Gary Davis
15. Billy Maxie
16. Daniel Parker
17. Ricky Strickland

Roadrunner

1. Charles Gardner
2. Chad Roberts
3. Ricky Strickland
4. Jake Daniels
5. Danny Monaghan
6. Bobby Rhodes
7. Timothy Wilmot
8. Tim Peters
9. Bubba Deaton
10. Nick Petrie
11. James Harris

Coyote

1. Jonathan Johnson
2. Lee Rogers
3. Danny Thompson
4. Brain Missildine
5. Adam Missildine
6. Ralph Sanders
7. Keith Missildine
8. Dylan Wolfe
9. Garrett Bullock
10. Wesley Goleman

CupLite

1. Shep Lucas
2. Jack Whittle
3. Adam Salter
4. Neil Dietz
5. Jason Fowler
6. Dylan Northey
7. Charlie Hercus
8. Lance Blacker
9. Karl Williams
10. Carroll Williams
11. Kevin Sherwood
12. Corey Tillman
13. Weston Spivey
14. Rick Northey

Mini Sportsman

1. Adam Salter
2. Dylan Wolfe
3. Dustin Monday
4. Kyle Sims
5. Lon Howell
6. JR Watson
7. Tim Chesser
8. Chris Weaver
9. Donnie Howell

About Mike Neff

Mike Neff
What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Sprint Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Thursday with Tech Talk. Mike works as track announcer for Millbridge Speedway and East Lincoln Speedway, local bullrings based outside of Charlotte, and pops up everywhere from Athlon Sports to SIRIUS XM Radio.