When it comes to great starts, few sprint car drivers could match Brody Roa’s stats through his first nine races of the USAC/CRA season. The driver had five wins, three second-place finishes, and one fifth-place result. Last Saturday, he looked to be on the verge of his ninth win of the year and his second Salute to Indy victory at Perris Auto Speedway when a tangle with a lapper left Roa with a 15th-place finish and a destroyed race car.
The night started off well enough for the veteran driver who lives in Garden Grove, California. He qualified fourth fastest in the 18-car field and then placed third in his heat race.
For the main, Roa, driving the white #17R, began the 30-lap race on the inside of the second row. After moving into the runner-up spot, he bided his time and stalked the leader. Finally, on lap 10, he made his move and took first place. The friendly racer then established a good size lead and seemed to be headed for another win. However, things were about to change.
Lapped traffic, which was tough on all the drivers who were up front on the night, started slowing Roa’s progress on lap 19. It bit him and the inland Rigging Team hard on lap 20.
“Lapped car got me,” Roa lamented about the tangle. “Right as the yellow was coming out, I was going to slide the lapped car, and he cut a hard left. I got the right rear over his left front. That was game over. Backed it into the fence and junked everything but the front axle. Chassis, rear end, driveline, radius rods, arms, shocks. Spun the motor backward. I have a front axle sitting in my garage that I can use right now.”
Fortunately, Inland Rigging owner Tommy Dunkel had ordered a new chassis a couple of weeks ago. Initially, there was no urgency to get it ready. Suddenly it had to be called into action to replace the car that was destroyed after contacting the hard turn three PAS wall.
“A couple weeks ago we got a second DRC chassis from Joe Devin,” Roa said. “It went to my parent’s house and it was just sitting in their garage. We were going to get it powder coated and put stickers on it just in case we needed it. Well, we needed it sooner than we could do all of that. So, this week we rushed it over to Kelly Inman to get it powder coated. He got it done pretty quick for us, so we will pick it up tomorrow (Friday the 2nd) and I will pick up decals tomorrow. Next week we will slap it together. The motor is at Shaver’s getting checked out. Just to give it a once over. It is never good when they spin from forwards to backwards that fast.”
The only good thing about the night was that Roa came into it with a 137-point lead in the USAC/CRA Championship standings.
“I am super thankful for that,” Roa said. “That crash can be our one gimme for the year. You can’t have many of those. I was really pushing to start the year off the way we did as our second daughter is due in a month in a half or so. Hopefully, she likes racing, too, and decides to come on a Sunday.”
Despite the disastrous results, and destroyed car, Roa went home 99 points ahead of the second-place driver.
The brand new Roa/Dunkel Inland Rigging team merchandise, including shirts, is now available. You can see the shirt design in the photo below. The shirts will be available in the pits or online at the following link https://bit.ly/3IDLNEZ.
The team wants to thank the following sponsors for making the 2023 season possible. Inland Rigging, Dunkel Farms, United Asset Sales, Osborne Speed & Machine, Sander Engineering, “Biker” Bruce Fischer, ALR Virtual Services, Burris Racing, Caltrol, Competition Suspension, K-1 Race Gear, Molecule, Rod End Supply, Driven Racing Oil, Baldwin Filters, and NGK Spark Plugs.