Sawalich Wins Orange Blossom, Roderick Claims Title in Tense Finale

'Respect' was the talking point from the Super Late Model closer for the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.


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William Sawalich closed out the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing by winning the Orange Blossom 100, while Casey Roderick claimed the World Series’ Super Late Model championship in an eventful finale.

Sawalich took the lead from Bubba Pollard with 11 laps to go in the 100-lap race, scoring his second win of the World Series.

“I knew our long-run car was really good coming into this, so I was super confident. We didn’t have great starting speed for the race, but we made our way through the field and had some good battles.”

An engine failure during the Clyde Hart Memorial on Tuesday derailed Sawalich’s chances at the World Series championship, but it also gave him and the Wilson Motorsports team the ability to focus singularly on chasing trophies to close out the week.

“We were just going for wins after we blew that motor. We were going for wins all along. Wins make championships.”

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We were going for wins all along. Wins make championships.

William Sawalich

After the Clyde Hart Memorial on Tuesday night, Pollard had no intentions of racing at New Smyrna Speedway for the remainder of the World Series. However, he showed up on Saturday for the Orange Blossom 100 after a conversation with his wife.

“We were riding home from Disney and she’s like, ‘Why don’t you go race?’ I’m like, ‘Nah, that’s crazy, we’re going home.’ We got to talking, got to thinking, and said, hell, why not?”

Pollard was in contention for the win that night before an issue of his own, but he felt Tuesday’s car was faster than what he had on Saturday night, despite leading 24 laps.

“We had a good car on Tuesday night. I feel like it was better Tuesday night than it was tonight. It got tight, we got greedy and wanted more in practice. We’ve got fast cars and we’re going to win some races.”

“It’s good racing with him. He’s clean, he does a good job. He’s got a lot of experience with a great team in the past year. It’s fun racing with him.

“He did what he needed to do to win. The race track is tight, that’s what it’s about. I’d rather race with him than a lot of these guys here.”

While Pollard expressed his respect for Sawalich, tensions were high between the young driver from Minnesota and the newly-crowned champion.

The two made contact several times while battling for position early in the race, with frustrations carrying over from Thursday night's Super Late Model race.

For Sawalich, he felt it was necessary to stand up for himself and earn Roderick's on-track respect.

"I think it was just over getting respect," said Sawalich. "I didn't feel like I had the respect I needed from him earlier in the week. I'd say I gained that back and had a good, hard battle."

However, Roderick also felt he had been roughed up by Sawalich and his Wilson Motorsports teammate, Gio Ruggiero, throughout the evening.

"What I got around the 2 [of Sawalich] there the second time after he knocked me out of the way, for whatever reason, I don't know what his problem is. I watched the footage last night. He said I ran him dirty last night. I don't see anything I did wrong there. People don't like to lose, I know I don't. I guess both team cars were trying to get after me tonight. What they don't know is they don't faze me at all."

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I don't know what his problem is. I watched the footage last night. He said I ran him dirty last night. I don't see anything I did wrong there.

Casey Roderick

Roderick soldiered to a sixth-place finish after a brake line issue and a run-in with the lapped car of Trenton Hence.

"We had a mechanical issue there with a brake line," added Roderick. "I don't really know if that was foul play or not. I know every inch of this car was touched today, nuts and bolts, and it was tight.

"There's no way to prove it, but if someone were to do something like that, it'd be pretty crappy."

Roderick leaves with the World Series championship, but wishes he could have added a third win to close out the week.

"I just wish we could have finished it off with a third win. The car was really fast tonight. I really wanted to win again for these guys and take home the championship that way. It was a really good week. We learned a lot. Being behind the wheel every day was really cool. I haven't been able to do that before, so it's cool to experience.

"It's a great opportunity. I want to thank Team Platinum and everything they're doing, creating an alliance with Anthony Campi Racing. It's a great fit for us. They've got fast race cars every weekend, and I'm looking forward to the next one."

FEBRUARY 19, 2023

  1. William Sawalich
  2. Bubba Pollard
  3. Gabe Sommers
  4. Brad May
  5. Connor Mosack
  6. Casey Roderick
  7. Gio Ruggiero
  8. Austin Teras
  9. T.J. Duke
  10. Billy VanMeter
  11. Steve Weaver, Jr.
  12. Nicholas Naugle
  13. Stephen Nasse
  14. James Lynch
  15. John Coffman
  16. Trenton Henick
  17. Patrick Thomas
  18. Brandon Short
  19. Nick White
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