TOLEDO, Ohio (Oct. 13, 2017) -- When it's all said and done, Petersburg, W.V.'s Codie Rohrbaugh will have made 8 ARCA starts in 2017, wrapping up with the Kansas 150 Oct. 20.
If the season didn't shake out exactly as he wished, if nothing else, those that participate in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards now know that when the No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet is in the house, there's going to be another fast car in the line-up. Through the good and bad, Rohrbaugh got an eyeful.
"We learned a lot," said Rohrbaugh. "It was kind of a bad luck year. On the good side, we had so much speed everywhere we went but had terrible luck in the races…wrecks, bad pit stops…we had a little bit of everything."
To be sure, there were bright spots too. Rohrbaugh finished a career-best 8th at Michigan Int'l Speedway. He also shined at Pocono Raceway in both attempts on the 2.5-mile triangular superspeedway.
"I think Pocono was my favorite from this year. We had good speed right from the get-go."
Despite General Tire pole qualifying getting rained out in June at Pocono, Rohrbaugh started 4th, based off of practice speeds which went in the books before the rains came. He also led 3 laps in the race en route to his 12th-place finish. He came back and qualified 7th in the next Pocono race and finished 11th.
"Pocono is not an easy place to get around. It's more of a driver's track, so I suppose everyone feels like they have the upper hand."
As a sidebar on Pocono, Rohrbaugh actually qualified on the pole in the first race, but a late crash in qualifying from the 77 car prevented the completion of the entire session, prompting series officials to scratch qualifying all together.
Rohrbaugh also opened the season with respectable 14th-place finishes at both Daytona and Talladega. Knowing that he'll be in composite body cars at Daytona and Talladega in 2018, he's already entered in the open test at Talladega coming Nov. 7-8. Rohrbaugh loves the composite body cars.
"I definitely think it's the way to go. You don't have the expense of hanging a steel body, and another thing…I think they look good, and that's important from a fan base. I also think they make for better racing…the series showed that this year. They suck up really good which makes for really good racing. Everything I see with the new bodies is all positive."
With an eye on the composite body test at Talladega, Rohrbaugh's immediate focus is turning his bad luck into good luck in the Kansas finale. Rohrbaugh got caught up in skirmishes in his last intermediate track attempts at Chicagoland and Kentucky.
"We definitely want to end our season with a strong run…build some momentum for next year. We've got the speed (Rohrbaugh qualified a career-best 5th at Chicagoland and 8th at Kentucky). I expect a top-five run. We've been running in the top-5 every time out…we just need to finish it out."
In the meantime, it's back to the grind to earn a living. Rohrbaugh works for his grandfather's Grant County Mulch company based out of West Virginia. On this day, Rohrbaugh was doing some tig welding on an aluminum radiator for the family business.
"It's my grandfather's mulch business. My whole family is involved. We've got eight or nine locations…our biggest yard is in Baltimore. We'll take the timber side of the business, then chip it down and make mulch out of it. Our biggest customer is Lowe's."
Kansas ARCA 150 kicks off Triple-Header Weekend
The Kansas 150 also serves as the show-opener for big triple-header weekend of racing to include the NASCAR Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 300 Saturday and the Monster Energy Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 Sunday.
The Kansas 150 marks the 17th consecutive ARCA race at Kansas since the series debuted on the 1.5-mile superspeedway in 2001 – Jason Jarrett the inaugural winner. Other ARCA winners at Kansas include Frank Kimmel, Shelby Howard, Ryan Hemphill, Chad Blount, Scott Lagasse, Jr., Scott Speed, Parker Kligerman, Ty Dillon, Alex Bowman, Spencer Gallagher, Mason Mitchell and Chase Briscoe.
Practice for the Kansas 150 is from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 20, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 2:30 p.m. The 17th Kansas ARCA 150 is scheduled to get the green flag at 7:47 Friday night, with live coverage on FS2. ARCAracing.com will also feature Live Timing and Scoring and Live Chat of all on-track activities.