Newton, IA. — Persistence paid off for Todd Bodine and the No. 11 Toyota Care team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol 200 presented by Hy-Vee on Saturday night. Numerous adjustments to the Toyota Care Tundra throughout the weekend paid off during the 200 lap main event at Iowa Speedway and set Bodine up for a chance to compete for the win. “The Onion” vigilantly picked his way forward from his 15th place starting position for a third place finish, his best result since his win at Dover in June.
Quiet on the radio from the drop of the green flag until the first caution period on lap 24, Bodine rode near his 15th place starting position and radioed to crew chief Rick Gay that he was too tight on the exit of the turn. Taking the opportunity to bring his driver down pit road, Gay called Bodine to the pits for a chassis adjustment and fuel only to help his handling condition. The call seemed to help the handling in the Toyota Care Tundra, and set the No. 11 team up for another quick adjustment and four tire stop just 12 laps later, pitting with the rest of the lead pack.
Over the next 30 laps, Bodine remained quiet and steadily moved his way forward as Gay read off lap times to his driver over the radio. Spotter Terry Cook provided steady encouragement and coaching for the two-time champion throughout the night, welcoming Bodine into the top-five in the running order on lap 65. From that point on, “The Onion” quietly kept himself in contention and within striking distance of the leaders.
Pit strategy calls by Gay throughout the night set Bodine up for a green flag pit stop on lap 141. With different agendas up and down pit road, Bodine was caught one lap down when the caution came out shortly after on lap 165. He was in position however to take the wave around, allowing him to get his lap back and start at the tail of the field. The strategy gave Bodine enough fuel to make it to the end, and placed him within striking distance of the lead for the restart.
After moving up from 10th to second after returning to the lead lap, three late race incidents bunched up the field for the closing 20 laps and allowed Bodine a chance to close the gap between himself and the leader. Using his veteran experience to his advantage, Bodine powered forward and battled for the lead with three laps to go and cleanly drove through three wide traffic to come out with a third place finish.
“Red Horse Racing is just awesome. My No. 11 team has stuck behind me and worked so hard through all of the bad luck we’ve had this season and just did an outstanding job all weekend to make this Toyota Care Tundra fast and competitive,” Bodine said.
“We had three good trucks. Timothy and Parker got in trouble unfortunately, but we just plugged along. We weren’t really good in the beginning and my crew chief Rick Gay made some great adjustments to really make this Tundra come to life. It was a good night for us and well deserved by this entire team. Hopefully we’ve finally got this monkey off our back.”