NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As the laps wound down Sunday at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, Chandler Smith could see the rear bumper of Casey Roderick’s No. 25 getting further and further away from him.
He wasn’t happy about it.
Smith felt that Roderick cost him a legitimate shot at winning the 2019 All American 400 at the .596-mile oval, after Roderick raced among the leaders while being three laps down in the closing stages of the event.
Mason Mingus went on to win last year’s All American super late model feature and the iconic guitar trophy that came with it, while Smith was left fuming over what might have been.
Sunday night, Smith again had to simmer at falling short in the All American 400, but this time there was no sense of “what could have been.” Smith just flat out got beat.
Roderick drove away to a 2.6-second victory in his self-owned No. 25, while Smith’s Wilson Motorsports-prepared No. 26 faded to a distant runner-up finish and the 18-year-old Georgia young gun walked away frustrated.
“This sucks, especially with what happened last year, I did not want to get beat by Casey to be completely honest with you,” Smith said. “That’s what I’m the most pissed off about. It is what it is. He’s worked hard on that race car, so I have respect for him for that.
“On the other side of it, I remember what happened and it sucks.”
Smith passed Roderick briefly for the top spot on the night’s final restart with 28 to go, but Roderick retook command four laps later and sailed off into the Tennessee night.
“I knew if I stayed calm, I would pass him back,” Roderick said. “I just drove into 1 too hard and got loose on the restart. My car was free all night and I just drove in too hard trying to stop him from getting too far ahead.
“We banged doors a little bit going into 3 when I passed him back. I thought I gave him enough room.”
Told what Smith said about losing to him, Roderick nodded before offering his take.
“I don’t blame him for (saying) that,” Roderick said. “We’re racers, man. We don’t like losing. That’s my internal thoughts too.”
With back-to-back runner-up finishes in the All American 400 and a part-time NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season that has been nondescript at best on his recent scorecard, Smith’s attention now turns toward his final two scheduled races of the year – the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway Friday night with the Truck Series and the Snowball Derby in December in Pensacola, Fla.
Regarding the Derby, specifically, Smith is hoping to improve on a record which includes four top-seven finishes in four starts, but no victories in the year-end super late model classic.
“I hope we have a good car for the Derby,” Smith said before walking away. “I really hope.”