CYPRESS, Calif. — When the USAC/CRA Sprint Cars Series kicks off its 24th season of racing at Cocopah Speedway on January 27-28, Brody Roa will be in a different ride.
Roa is set to join forces with Tom and Christy Dunkel, aboard the No. 17R throughout the year.
The season opener will be broadcast live on SPEEDSPORT.tv.
Last year, Roa freelanced during the season. The 31-year-old started 37 races on 18 different tracks in four different states. He competed in five different types of cars in seven different sanctioning bodies.
Roa’s plans include the entire 27-race USAC/CRA schedule, and four open competition races at the Imperial Valley Raceway. Roa may also make some starts in the USAC/West Coast Sprint Car Series.
Initially, Roa was going to do the usual and race his own car in CRA. However, a conversation with the Dunkel’s a couple of weeks ago changed everything.
“We went to dinner about a week and a half ago under the impression we were going to talk about the 360 races I was going to run for them,” Roa said. “I threw something out to them about doing something with the 410 stuff. Him and Christy went back and talked about it. It ended up that they now have the 410s HD (HD Industries) used to have.
“We are going to run a Tom & Christy Dunkel/Inland Rigging/BR Performance Race Team this year. We just bought a brand new DRC. We got that two weeks ago or maybe less than that. We just finished that up last Wednesday night. We are going to fire it up tomorrow. We sold our Eagles and we have our trailer up for sale. Kind of big changes.
“I am very excited to represent Tom, Christy, and Inland Rigging running in the new No. 17R.”
“Man, this is huge,” said car owner Tommy Dunkel. “Just kind of hearing it out loud for the first time from you, kind of gives me goosebumps. It is a major deal for me. I have grown up watching major league sprint car racing at Perris (Motor Speedway) my entire life. To be able to be a part of it in our capacity leading up to this year with Brody and a few other drivers has been huge.
“Now to step things up a bit and become a major player in Brody’s operation is going to be great. To team up with guys like them, who are so good and nice guys in the pits, but they come out swinging every weekend. That is kind of my style. I like to show up and try to win and have nice equipment. Those guys are at the top of their league. To team up with them is really major for me. We are really excited about it.”
Up until now, the offseason has been anything but normal for Roa and his team. In late December, some may have noticed quite a bit of his equipment up for sale. There were queries wondering if the Garden Grove, California racing star was going to hang up his helmet.
The questions intensified earlier in January when his trailer went up for sale. However, Roa is back and ready for another successful season.
“We sold a chassis & body and a complete roller,” Roa said. “We put a new DRC together with everything from the chassis we sold. We are basically keeping like one spare of everything. Other than that, everything is up for sale.
“We have probably got enough to build like six cars with everything we have back at the shop besides the big stuff,” Roa continued. “We have small components we probably had stashed away in that shop for 10 years. We definitely have not sold everything yet.”
Amidst all the changes, Roa is thankful for the constants in his life.
“HD has given us so much over the last ten years,” Roa said. “They have been on the side of the car and a huge part of our program for so many years. Without them, we never would have achieved the successes we accomplished. I will always be thankful to Mike, Jim, and HD.”
“I would also like to thank family and friends who are part of our racing effort,” Roa said. “My family Tailor and Addison, parents Brett and Eden, Uncle B, Joe, Zac, Tyler, Tracy, and looking forward to joining family teams with Tom, Christy, and Ava Dunkel.”