(Cypress, CA, August 12, 2019) With Brody Roa headed back into his sprint car for the first time since his journey to the Midwest, it is time to recap what happened on tour. While it did not go as planned, it was another racing experience that ended on a high note at Tri-City Speedway in Haubstaudt, Indiana when he finished seventh in the main event.
The trip saw Roa compete nine times in 11 days with the USAC National Sprint Car Series. All nine races were on different tracks. The first race on the trip was at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway and was not part of “Indiana Sprint Week.” The final eight comprised ISW.
The weather looked anything but promising for all the races the first week. Rain was in the initial forecast, but much to the delight with drivers and fans alike, it stayed away and all the races got in. However, sizzling temperatures combined with extreme humidity made conditions miserable for all involved.
After the first five nights, the heat and humidity subsided, and the last four races of the trip were conducted in much friendlier conditions.
Eldora Speedway, Rossburg, OH, July 17th: Roa attacked one of the countries fastest and most intimidating racetracks for the first time in his career. Twenty-eight cars showed up and for a first-timer, Roa qualified very well nabbing the 12th spot with a lap of 16.953. He followed that up with a fifth-place finish in his heat and an automatic ticket to the main event. For the main, he started in the 12th spot. As the laps counted down, he slipped back to the 20th position before moving forward late in the race to finish 17th.
Gas City I-69 Speedway, Gas City, IN, July 18th: Forty-three cars were on hand and split into two groups for qualifying. In the first group, Roa timed in 13th quick at 12.425. Overall, that lap was 19th fastest. Being 13th in his group instead of 12th meant that he had to start inside the fourth row in his heat, rather than on the pole. Four cars transferred to the A-main from the heat and Roa placed sixth. That put him in the B. He started 12th in that B main and had to finish sixth to earn a ticket into the main event. The 28-year-old had the #91R moving forward but was seventh when the race ran out of laps. Frustratingly, he missed the transfer by one spot.
Plymouth Speedway, Plymouth, IN, July 19th: Another blast furnace type day greeted the cars and fans who showed up for round #2 of “Indiana Sprint Week” at Plymouth Speedway. This time Roa qualified 14th in the second group with a time of 14.032. Overall, that was 22nd fastest of the 38-cars on hand. He started on the fourth row of his heat for the second straight night and things did not go as planned. Early in the race, there was a tangle going into turn three and Roa took a nasty flip. Fortunately, he was uninjured, but the car was not and he was done for the night.
Kokomo Speedway, Kokomo, IN, July 20th: The team quickly put the disappointment of Plymouth behind them and rolled out the spare car when it got to the track known as “Indiana’s Baddest Bullring.” The rebound was nice as 40 cars showed up and Roa qualified 15th fastest overall and was ninth quick in the first group. The green #91R started on the outside of row one and he led the first four laps of his heat before getting body checked out of the top spot in turn two on the fifth circuit. From there he stayed in second for the duration to get straight into the main event. For that main, he started 16th and early on, broke into the top 10. When it was all over, he had a 14th place finish and the team rolled it back into the trailer and headed to the next race.
Lawrenceburg Speedway, Lawrenceburg, IN, July 21st: The fifth straight night of racing before the boys got a two-day break was at the Lawrenceburg Speedway. Thirty-cars showed up for the Sunday night affair and Roa qualified 20th with a time of 14.641. Starting on the outside of row one in his heat, he took the lead on lap two and won by a half straight. The previous two years at the banked track located in southern Indiana, Roa finished 8th and 9th. On this night he started 18th in the main and a small mechanical problem knocked him out of the race on lap two with a disappointing 21st place finish. Disappointing yes, but perhaps lucky as well. Moments after he pulled off, there was a large, multi-car tangle that would have been just in front of him had he still been on the track.
Terre Haute Action Track, Terre Haute, IN, July 24th: After a two-day break in the schedule, Roa and the team returned to action on the biggest track in Sprint Week, the Terre Haute Action Track. Thirty-two cars showed up for the first race of the second half of the series and Roa qualified 19th fastest at 22.019. He followed that up with an impressive run in his eight-lap heat race leading the first seven circuits before ending up second and securing a spot in another main event. For the main, he was coming from deep within the field in 18th. When it was over, he came across the line in 17th.
Lincoln Park Speedway, Putnamville, IN, July 25th: One night after Terre Haute, it was on to Lincoln Park Speedway for round #6. Unfortunately, it was just one of those nights that happens from time to time for every team in racing. Of the 40 cars on hand, Roa timed in 37th fast. A disappointing ninth-place finish in the heat led the team to call it an early night and get ready for the final two races of the series.
Bloomington Speedway, Bloomington, IN, July 26th: The trek to the red clay oval saw the team show up with a renewed vigor after the Lincoln Park disappointment. Roa was again 13th in his group and again had to come from the fourth row in his highly competitive heat race. Throughout the race, the green #91R advanced forward. He caught the car in the last transfer spot with one lap to go and he made the move for the final transfer going into turn three. Roa could have slid up into the driver on the outside and knocked him out of his way. Unlike some, he does not race that way and rather than risk wrecking his car and the other driver’s car, he decided to settle for fifth and try to get to the feature through the B Main. Starting ninth in the B, Roa methodically worked his way forward and took the final transfer spot into the A Main with two laps to go. Getting into his fourth main event in the first seven races of the series, he started and finished 19th.
Tri State Speedway, Haubstaudt, IN, July 27th: Roa saved his best result for last at “Indiana Sprint Week.” The final race before the boys started the trek home was at Tri-State Speedway and the #91R was fast out of the box. Another field of 40 cars jammed the pits and Roa was in the first group of 20 qualifiers. He turned in a lap of 13.992. That was good enough for fifth in his group and 11th best overall. Starting fourth in the first heat looked to be a good omen. However, chaos in front forced him to take evasive action and stop in turn two on the original start to avoid a tangle. That meant he had to go to the back for the restart. He then proceeded to put on a show coming from the rear to second in just three laps. He pulled away from the third-place car and maintained second for the duration to get a direct spot in the main event. He started on the front row of the main event and brought it home seventh for his best finish in the physically and mentally demanding series.
“Well now that everything is cleaned up and the car is torn down and Indiana Sprint Week is over, it was not the week we were hoping for,” Roa posted on his Facebook page. “But we learned some new things and had a good run to cap it off with a 7th at Haubstadt. I could never repay Brett Roa, Zac Bozanich and Joe Gibb for the hell they went through the last two weeks. I think it was a huge test for all of us and I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to do it with.”
“Huge thank you to all of the people that made the week possible,” Roa continued. “HD Industries, Burris Racing USA, Mike Burris OC, CSI Shocks, The Original Loose Bruce, Sander Engineering, Driven Racing Oil, K1 RaceGear, Molecule Sports, Smokey Mountain Beef Jerky, NGK Spark Plugs and Maxim!”