With a case full of national championship trophies, most race car drivers would happily recognize themselves for all the success they have experienced at Atlanta Motor Speedway and other race tracks across the country.
Lawrenceville, Ga.'s Casey Roderick refuses to do so and happily places the spotlight on those that helped earn him countless track, national and single event championships and victories.
"You aren't going to be successful unless you have great equipment, take care of the equipment and have good people helping you," Roderick said. "I have unbelievable equipment and our set-up guy, Doug Stevens, and my father are the reason we are experiencing our success."
Roderick is a 14-year-old racing prodigy , who competes in the Adrenalin Powersports Pro Division during Thursday Thunder, AMS' weekly summer racing series. Despite his young age, Roderick slices his way through the field with the precision and ease of a crafty veteran and he has the résumé to back-up the hype. With four AMS track championships under his belt, Roderick could be considered one of the most successful drivers to ever hit the Thunder Ring, AMS' frontstretch quarter-mile oval.
AMS track championships are just the beginning of Roderick's accomplishments, a list that includes the Legends Pro National championship, a victory in the Mason-Dixon Meltdown, a win at the PRI Invitational at Orlando Speedworld and several Pro Division track championships.
"Casey is calm, cool and collected," said Ed Clark, president and general manager of AMS and a competitor in Thursday Thunder. "On top of that, he has personality-plus. Talent shows itself and he has the mark of a champion."
Roderick experienced the pinnacle of success in just his fifth start, snagging a winner's trophy in a go-kart.
"When I was 4-years-old, my father and uncle took me to a track and let me practice a kart," Roderick said. "I knew that racing was something I would enjoy and I couldn't wait to get started."
Getting the 2007 Thursday Thunder season off to a great start, Roderick earned a victory in week one's competition, and followed that up with a top-five finish in week two. Racing Legends cars seems to have come naturally for Roderick, who lists hunting, fishing and bowling as his favorite hobbies.
"Making the switch from karts to a Bandolero was tough mainly because I always raced my kart on road courses and Bandolero racing is mostly circle-track racing," Roderick explained. "I was intimidated moving from a Bandolero to a Legends car at first because a Legends car is bigger, faster and heavier but after a few laps, it felt natural. I absolutely love driving a Legends car."
Roderick's patience, attitude and driving skill have not gone unnoticed by people throughout the racing industry.
"Casey shows maturity far beyond his age," said Pete Horne, director of Legends Cars of Georgia. "He is able to make racing decisions few drivers his age, or any age for that matter, are capable of making."
True to Roderick's form, he points the success he's experiencing at the people who helped him achieve it.
"My dad and I have a great relationship and he can look at the car on the track and tell me what it's doing before I come off the track," Roderick said. "Our family has been racing forever and I am thankful to have him help me out. Without him, I wouldn't have won any championships."
"Casey is extremely smooth in the car and that isn't just at AMS, it's anywhere," Clark said. "He is always at the top of the speed charts and day-in and day out, event-in and event-out, he is consistent. His record speaks for itself."
Roderick obviously enjoys the successes he's experienced, but he also understands there is more to racing than winning,
"I enjoy meeting people and helping them out," Roderick said. "I will help anybody with anything I can.
"I also like the people I meet when I'm racing. Evan Bell and I actually were on a bowling league together and we won the championship doing that. You meet great people in racing."
While Roderick is currently riding a tidal wave of success, he has the foresight to think about future plans now. Plans he hopes take him to the top rung of the racing ladder.
"Next year, I want to race a late-model and then hopefully race in the Busch East Series until I'm 18-years-old," Roderick said. "After that, I hope to get a ride in the Craftsman Truck Series, the Busch Series or anything like that... if that works out."
The young Roderick, for now is focused on his racing future, but there is an important milestone coming up for him. His 15th-birthday is one month away and with that comes the all-important driver's learner's permit.
"I can't wait for that," he said. "I am going to get it just about the time the summer racing series are winding down, so I can start do a little driving on the streets and maybe drive to a few of these out-of-town races and get some experience."For more information about Thursday Thunder, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211 or visit http://www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/