Kicking off the final four race stretch to close out the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, Todd Bodine and the No. 11 Toyota Care Tundra team travel to Martinsville Speedway this Saturday for the Kroger 200. After a disappointing and abrupt end to his run two weeks ago at Talladega, Bodine is ready to take on the competition and the challenging .526-mile paperclip-shaped short track. He enters this weekend’s events with two second place NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finishes at Martinsville Speedway to his credit, and knows that in order to get to victory lane he will need track position all day to keep him in contention for the win.
“At Martinsville, you have to have luck and stay out of the wrecks. There’s a lot of short track bumping and banging, but it’s important to keep all the fenders on it. You also need track position, so it’s important to qualify well so you can stay in the front. If you’re in the back, you have to burn the tires off and burn the truck up to get to the front, and then you take that chance of knocking the fenders off,” Bodine explained.
Even with a good qualifying position, “The Onion” knows there will still be obstacles to avoid throughout the 200 lap competition.
“It’s going to be important for us to stay out of trouble, because as always with short track racing, there will be close calls and accidents to avoid. I’m confident that The No. 11 Toyota Care team will bring a good Tundra that’s got enough forward bite to get off the corners and last the whole race.”
Previous Race Recap: Entering the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fred’s 250 powered by Coca-Cola on Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway, Todd Bodine was the only series regular with two wins at the 2.66-mile track. Utilizing that past experience, Bodine quickly showed his restrictor plate racing skill from his seventh starting position and lead his Red Horse Racing teammates in the draft through the first segment of the race. Unfortunately, an incident at the halfway point cut short his chances of mixing it up for the victory, as Bodine’s No. 11 Toyota Care Tundra suffered significant damage due to contact from another competitor, ending his day in the garage with a 33rd place finish.
Chassis History: The No. 11 Toyota Care Tundra team and crew chief Rick Gay have prepared Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra chassis 003 for this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway. Bodine has wheeled this Tundra four previous times this season, including for his victory at Dover International Speedway, and a third place qualifying effort and solid run at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Do you remember your first race at the track? “In 1985, I ran a late model stock car and ran really well, but we had a battery issue and ended up not finishing where we should have. I grew up going to Martinsville watching my brothers race modifieds. I’ve changed many tires on pit road there, so to get the opportunity to go out there and drive and be part of the history of my family there is a pretty neat experience every time.”
With bad luck putting you out of the championship chase, what are your goals for the next four races? “Well you put everything that’s happened this year behind you because that’s racing and that’s part of it. I’ve done it my whole life and I understand that those things happen. Our performance on the track has been pretty good, we’ve just had bad luck and you have to look at that and be realistic in your expectations. We’re not in the points race, so our expectations are to run as well as we can and compete for wins along the way, and do our best to prepare for next year.”