By Anthony Rhoads
Casey Roderick is just 12-years old but he's already a racing veteran.
Roderick began racing when he was 5 and two years later became a national champion in the World Karting Association.
In 2003, he made his Thursday Thunder debut in the Bandolero Bandits Division at Atlanta Motor Speedway and when the season ended, he was crowned the division champion. He followed that up with eight wins and a second-straight points title in 2004.
Now, he's moving up to Legends cars as he will be competing in the Semi-Pro Division at Thursday Thunder, which starts its eighth season next Thursday.
"I feel good about it," Roderick said. "I just felt like I could move up and compete. I think we'll be all right, hopefully everything will turn out good."
Roderick is looking forward to competing in the Legends cars, which are 3/8 replicas of classic cars from the 1930-40s.
"These are a lot easier to drive (than the Bandoleros)," Roderick said. "They handle a lot better,they steer a lot better and there's more horsepower and I like that."
Roderick has his sights set on a career racing in NASCAR and he hopes to follow in the footsteps of Reed Sorenson, the former Thursday Thunder competitor who is now racing in his first full season in the Busch Series.
"I hope we can do the same thing," Roderick said. "If we don't, then all right, I'll do something else but my goal is Nextel Cup. Hopefully, by the time I'm 18, we'll do Hooters ProCup. That's my goal to be a racecar driver. I think he's accomplished a lot right now," Roderick said. "He's done it the right way. He went to ASA in the right time and Ganassi picked him up. I think he did an awesome job doing what he did. I think I'm just as good a driver as he is. It's just a matter of money and sponsorship."
While it's obvious sponsorships are essential to driving in NASCAR, they're just as vital to grass-roots racing such as Thursday Thunder.
"Hopefully we can get a NASCAR sponsorship to help us go through the different cars up to Nextel Cup," Roderick said. "Hopefully, I'll be a NASCAR driver someday."
Whether or not he makes it to NASCAR, Roderick said he has enjoyed racing at Thursday Thunder.
"It's been a good experience for me," Roderick said. "I've raced against a lot of good drivers and I've made a lot of friends. What I like is the family environment; you meet a lot of people and the fans are great."