TALLADEGA, Ala. – After successfully making his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards superspeedway debut at Daytona, rookie Codie Rohrbaugh returns to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for Friday afternoon’s General Tire 200 looking to make the most of a second chance.
After starting 18th in the season-opening Lucas Oil 200, Rohrbaugh in his No. 7 Grant County Mulch Dodge kept his nose clean for most the race, but on Lap 75, he found himself a victim in a multi-car crash that left him with a damaged race car and a 14th place finish.
While disappointed with the outcome, but encouraged by their performance, the Grant County Mulch Racing team opted to fix their Dodge Charger to make his second start of the season in the fourth race of the year.
“I can’t wait for Talladega this weekend,” said Rohrbaugh who shifts his concentration from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East to ARCA in 2017. “At Daytona, we really ran our own pace. We had a goal and really meant all those goals – except for being able to drive the car back to the garage.
“I just had nowhere to go,” he recalled of his Daytona crash. “Thankfully, the car wasn’t in too bad of shape and we were able to repair it and get it ready for my Talladega debut. I learned a lot at Daytona and I’m anxious to keep up with that learning curve at Talladega.”
When asked what exactly he learned during his 75 laps at Daytona, Rohrbaugh joked about where to begin.
“You know the biggest thing I learned at Daytona was about the draft itself,” he said. “These cars can be a little difficult to drive or maneuver in the draft. I found myself backing out of a situation and it seemed like forever to gain back that progress. It was a lot of trial and error for me. Whether that was running the high line or deciding who to draft with – I was learning something almost every lap.”
Remembering his Daytona experience like it was yesterday, Rohrbaugh expects a lot of the same components to come into play into Friday’s 76-lap race – but he also hopes some of what he experienced in his superspeedway debut will aid his progress.
“I have a pretty good idea of who I feel comfortable around,” Rohrbaugh said. “Most of the drivers that were at Daytona will be at Talladega, so I hope to be able to work with some of them. From my seat, I plan to be a little more aggressive. I know that one wrong move can ruin my day and others too – but I just want to be able to put ourselves in a good place to get towards the end of the race and then see what happens from there.”
In two of his three career ARCA starts, the likable short track driver has finished inside the top-15, which includes a 13th place effort in his ARCA debut last fall at Kentucky Speedway.
Knowing that Talladega’s unpredictableness could open doors for him to potentially earn his first top-10 finish, a result that would likely see the Grant County Mulch Racing team back on the tour sooner rather than later.
“A good finish helps everything,” the driver said with a smile. “We come out here wanting to win; just like everyone else. But, we realize this step up for us to the ARCA Racing Series is a big leap.
“The competitors and teams are no joke. The cars are nice, the equipment keeps getting stouter and we’re trying to catch up. My guys have done an unbelievable job and I think we’ve made some great headway towards catching up to them. I’m eager to see where the rest of our ARCA season goes.”
In 13 previous NKNPSE starts, the 23-year-old has a best finish of ninth at Stafford (CT.) Motor Speedway in August 2015. A ninth-place qualifying effort at Bristol Motor Speedway in April 2015 is his best time trials effort to date.
In three ARCA starts, he has a best finish of 13th at Kentucky Speedway after starting a career-best 11th in Sept. 2016.
Marketing partnership opportunities are available for the No. 7 Grant County Mulch Dodge for the 2017 ARCA Racing Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East 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 2017 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Fri., May 5 with an hour and a 50-minute practice session planned from 8:30 a.m. – 10:20 a.m. General Tire pole group qualifying is set for later in the day at 2:30 p.m., with the race set to take the green flag shortly thereafter at 5:00 p.m. ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the weekend’s activities, while the race will be live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1). All times are local (Central).
PHOTO CAPTION: Codie Rohrbaugh, driver of the No. 7 Grant County Mulch Dodge in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards for Grant County Mulch Racing. (Photo Credit: Grace Krenrich).