TALLADEGA, Ala. – Ready. Set. Restart.
After a strong run in February’s ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season-opener at Daytona International Speedway was thwarted after a Lap 23 accident, Codie Rohrbaugh and his Grant County Mulch Racing (GCMR) team head to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for Friday afternoon’s General Tire 200 determined to rebound.
The former NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) competitor has emerged as a strong restrictor plate racer thanks to hard work by his Mark Huff-led team and diligent commitment by Rohrbaugh to further elevate his craft.
“I’m ready to get back behind the wheel of our No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet,” said Rohrbaugh. “We really had such a strong car at Daytona and got wiped out.
“We’ve spent the two and a half months since getting the car repaired and I think we’ll go back to Talladega and showcase the same speed we had at Daytona.”
The 2.5-mile superspeedway of Daytona introduced the composite race cars for superspeedway racing in the ARCA Racing Series. While the Mooresville, N.C.-based team showcased the flange-fit car at intermediate tracks across the country, Rohrbaugh insisted racing them on a breathtaking fast superspeedway like Daytona took some time to get adjusted.
“The composite cars are a little slower than the steel-body cars, but they also react different too,” offered Rohrbaugh. “There can be some good closure rate with these cars and they can be darty in traffic too.
But, I think the series did a great job getting these cars accumulated to plate racing and I think the fans are in for a good show on Friday afternoon.”
Last April at Talladega, the Petersburg, West Virginia native contended for a top-10 finish and even saw himself in the hunt for his first ARCA Racing Series victory, but a late-race caution set him to pit road for fuel leaving him just a lap to recover. He finished 14th.
Knowing that Talladega carries some unfinished business – Rohrbaugh is eager to redeem himself in his second start at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
“We played our cards almost right last year,” recalled Rohrbaugh. “We minded our manners and kept ourselves out of trouble and when we were set to make our move to the front, a caution came out and we had to pit, otherwise we were going to run out of fuel.
“I was still somewhat content with our performance – because we were competitive and went from like 20th to 14th in the final lap. Maybe Talladega will be a little kinder the second time around.”
Talladega kicks off a busy upcoming stretch of races for Rohrbaugh and his family-owned team.
In addition to the final restrictor plate race of the season, they plan to enter the upcoming races at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and Michigan International Speedway in the next month and a half.
“We’re running a limited schedule, but our schedule is going to increase a little this year – mainly all of the big tracks,” he said.
“The guys have been working hard on the Talladega car and then getting the Charlotte test car ready. From there, it’s the Charlotte race with the Pocono test and race shortly thereafter. It’s going to be busy, but I’m ready. More than ready. We just need to have a good showing for Grant County Mulch. They’ve put a lot of faith and effort into my racing career and I’d like to reward them with some strong results this season.”
In 11 career ARCA starts, Rohrbaugh has a best finish of eighth at Michigan International Speedway (June 2017) after starting a career-best eighth at the same 2.0-mile speedway.
Marketing partnership opportunities are available for the No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet for the 2018 ARCA Racing Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series seasons and beyond. Interested inquiries are encouraged to contact email@example.com.
The General Tire 200 (76 laps | 202 miles) is the fourth of 20 races on the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Fri., Apr. 27 with an hour and fifty-minute practice session from 8:30 a.m. – 10:20 a.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 2:30 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag later in the day shortly after 5:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), while ARCARacing.comwill stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (Central).
Credit: Grant County Mulch Racing (GCMR)