NEW SMYRNA, Florida (February 12, 2015) – – Welcome to 2015.
After capturing Rookie of the Year honors in the Pro Cup Series last year, Codie Rohrbaugh and his Grant County Mulch Racing (GCMR) team made the decision during the off-season to elevate their program to the next level.
With plenty of options to consider and after much thought, Rohrbaugh and his team knew they had to build on the progression they made in their three NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) starts from last year.
The team will expand their program from three K&N Pro Series East races in 2014 to a minimum of 10 events this season from the team’s shop in West Virginia.
The team’s season will kick off with Sunday night’s Hart 2 Heart Breast Cancer Foundation 150 from New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway where Rohrbaugh will debut the newly designed No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet.
“Man, I can’t tell you how excited we are that race season is here and we’re ready to go,” said Rohrbaugh. “It’s been a quiet off-season for us, but we’ve been busy. We’ve focused our attention on building competitive and nice looking cars. Our hope is when we unload this weekend at New Smyrna, we’ll find ourselves in a good spot.”
The Petersburg, West Virginia native added, “We made a lot of progress in the Pro Cup Series last year, but their new format wasn’t what we were looking for long term. NASCAR is where I want to be and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series will be the stepping stone for me and our family-owned team to make those strides to bigger and better opportunities down the road.”
Even though the 22-year old hasn’t tackled the tight 0.48-mile asphalt oval before, the likable driver is hoping the experience he obtained in his K&N Pro Series East debut at Five Flags (Fla.) Speedway last summer will pay some dividends. Still, Rohrbaugh knows his weekend could be filled with some challenges, but he knows that just comes with the territory.
“Even I realize that I’ll face some uphill battles this year, but I’m okay with that,” mentioned Rohrbaugh, who holds a career K&N best finish of 13th. “It’s all part of the learning process. The progression from the Pro Cup Series to K&N last year wasn’t easy, but we made strides and that’s what was important. I have a great team behind me and I know if we don’t set our expectations too high, we’ll be able to conquer them and set higher goals as the season marches on.”
Of course, a good finish on Sunday night will help Rohrbaugh and his Mark Tuff led team capture some early season momentum as the Grant County Mulch Racing aims for their first top-10 finish in their fourth race.
“I know the competition is going to be tough on Sunday, there are a lot of good cars, but I think we’ll turn some heads,” said Rohrbaugh. “I think we can use the first practice to make sure I’m comfortable with the track and then steadily see what kind of muscle we can flex with our No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet. I think we should be able to qualify inside the top-24 and then go race. I would be disappointed if we didn’t bring home a top-15 finish on Sunday night.”
Rohrbaugh is one of 15 rookies pre-entered for the series’ second trip to the iconic Florida short track.
The Hart 2 Heart Breast Cancer Foundation 150 is set for Sunday, February 15. The 150-lap (72 miles) feature is scheduled to take the green flag shortly after 7:30 p.m. The race will be tape-delayed on NBC Sports Network with an air date on Thursday, February 19 at 10:30 p.m. All times Eastern.
PHOTO CAPTION: Codie Rohrbaugh, driver of the No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) competition for Grant County Mulch Racing.