6/8/07

Bodine Cowboys Up at Texas Motor Speedway

Todd Bodine rolled into Texas Motor Speedway saddled with a 34-race winless streak. But with a “never say die attitude”, the Germain Racing team overcame adversity in the Craftsman Truck Series’ ninth race of the season and raced their way to Victory Lane. Bodine was clearly the pre-race favorite especially after he stopped Mike Skinner’s pole winning streak at six races and secured the number one starting position for the first time in 2007.

The defending series champion led 13 of the first 17 laps but then fell off the pace when something started going amiss under the hood of his Toyota Tundra before 40 laps were complete. The crew’s attempts to diagnose the problem were unsuccessful but despite that, Bodine’s truck came back to life on Lap 90 and started moving once more towards the front.

Fuel mileage and an ill-time caution during the race’s final round of green flag pit stops left just six trucks on the lead lap with less than 10 laps to go and they included Travis Kvapil who stayed on the track and inherited the lead. The rest of the lead lap drivers were Bodine, Mike Skinner, Rick Crawford, Ron Hornaday and David Starr, all with fresh tires for the final run.

When the field went back to green Kvapil did all he could to block the hard-charging Bodine but when the two made contact, Kvapil hit the wall and handed the lead to Bodine. Bodine easily held off Skinner during the green/white/checker finish to notch his 11th career victory. “That’s not the way I wanted to win,” Bodine said. “(Kvapil’s) a great kid but you can only block in one direction. That’s the nature of the beast. He had older tires, I had fresher tires and you just can’t block two positions. You need to leave a lane and he didn’t leave us one.”

As for the mysterious motor issue – Bodine was stumped. “We still don’t know what the problem was,” he said. “I think maybe there was some trash in the jet or something but these guys never give up.” Kvapil hung onto the lead lap and finished sixth but the Roush racer wasn’t thrilled about taking his Ford F-150 home in pieces. “I got an OK restart and Todd hung right with me,” said Kvapil. “I saw him moving around and I tried blocking a little bit and timed it just wrong or whatever and he got in the back of me. I really thought I had it saved. That’s what really kind of bums me out the most is our Ford is tore up. I’m really happy to have a fast truck and just disappointed our shot at winning there kind of got wiped out at the end.”

Skinner maintained his stranglehold on the points lead with a runner-up finish. Rick Crawford finished third and was followed by Hornaday, who led the most laps, and Texas native David Starr.

The Craftsman Truck Series teams will travel from deep in the heart of Texas to Michigan International Speedway for next week’s event.