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Riding high

Bodine is in Truck Series’
driver’s seat this season

He eagerly returns to Kentucky,
where he has had good luck

By Don Ward
Editor

(July 2006) – Todd Bodine is riding high through this season’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, proving that consistency can get you far.

Todd Bodine

Photo courtesy of
Toyota Motorsports

Todd Bodine is the third
in a line of racing brothers
from Chemung, N.Y.

The Chemung, N.Y., native is atop the driver point standings after having posted three victories and eight top-five finishes through 10 races.
“We’re consistent – that’s been the key to our season,” said Bodine, 42, during a June 19 telephone interview from his shop in North Carolina. “We just work hard to put ourselves in the right position to win races and get up in front whenever we can.”
Bodine comes into the July 8 “Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers” race at the Kentucky Speedway optimistic that he can capitalize on his familiarity with the track, after having finished second to Dennis Setzer there last year and having won the Busch Series race there in 2002 in dramatic fashion. The Busch race was decided in the final 1,000 yards. when Bodine went high in Turn 4 to try and pass Greg Biffle. As the duo came down the front stretch, the cars bumped side-by-side twice with the second bump causing Biffle to spin just before the finish line. Bodine claimed the checkered flag as Biffle crossed the finish line sideways and came to a rest in the infield. The margin of victory for Bodine over Biffle was 0.036 seconds.
While Bodine still races an occasional Busch Series race and plans to drive a Nextel Cup car at the Brickyard at Indianapolis, he has been focusing primarily on the Truck Series for his Toyota Tundra team owner Stephen Germain.
“Laps are laps, no matter what you are driving, so any time you get time on a track, it’s going to make you better,” he said. He likes Kentucky because it is a 1.5-mile track that offers speed and challenges in the turns. Bodine says after the Kentucky truck race, his team will stay at Sparta to test a Cup car in preparation for the Brickyard.
He says the team is planning to stay with the trucks next year but also compete in about 15 Cup races in NASCAR’s “Car of Tomorrow.” On May 30, NASCAR tested the new car design, which is a bigger, boxier vehicle with a front-end splitter that NASCAR has designed to eventually replace the slick aerodynamic models that manufacturers have spent the past decade developing. NASCAR plans to phase in the new cars completely by 2009. The next test day is set for Aug. 21 at Michigan.

Age: 42
Hometown: Chemung, N.Y.
Resides: Davidson, N.C.
Family: Single; daughter, Ashlyn, 7.
Career Highlights: Began racing modifieds in the northeast in 1983. Made first NASCAR Cup series start in 1992. Earned Cup pole five times, including three times in 2001. Made 225 Cup Series starts during career. Won seven Busch Series poles and 15 wins. Was second in Busch Series standings in 1997. Won five Truck Series races last year to finish third in driver points. He has won three times so far this season to take the points lead.
Truck: Toyota Tundra
Team: Germain Motor Co.
Owner: Stephen Germain
Crew Chief: Mike Hillman

Bodine came off a strong season finish last year in trucks, winning the last three races and locking up a third-place finish in the point standings. Overall, he posted five victories, 12 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes in 2005. At season’s end, he trailed Dennis Setzer by only 18 points and champion Ted Musgrave by 73.
“We really haven’t changed anything major from last season – we have the same team, same equipment. We had it going at end of last year and just came in this year trying to improve,” he said.
Bodine hails from a family of three brothers known for racing. His brothers, Geoff and Brett, are no longer racing so Todd says the family legacy now rests with him. “I don’t feel any added pressure – that’s something you put on yourself, and I try not to think about it.”
He started his racing career driving modifieds in Connecticut, while working for the family-owned Chemung Speedrome. At different times, he has worked for the Buck Baker Driving School and as a fabricator for various race teams.
He ran full time in the Cup Series in 1994 and 1995 for owner Butch Mock, with 1994 remaining his best Cup season to date. He finished 20th in point standings with seven top-10 finishes in 30 starts. Later, he drove for various Cup team owners and returned to Cup full time in 2001.
His best racing success was a second-place season finish in the Busch Series in 1997. He was third in points the previous year.
Bodine is certainly riding high this season and will be considered the truck to beat at Kentucky. “I’m in the best position I’ve ever been in – I’ve got the best truck, the best team, the best manufacturer. We’re going to keep our heads down and our elbows up and ride this thing all the way to the end of the season.”

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