Las Vegas, NV — Todd Bodine and the No. 11 Toyota Care team entered NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition this Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a brand-new, Red Horse Racing built chassis in tow. After starting from the 10th position, Bodine came back from a spin on lap one in the Smith’s 350 with the help of crew chief Rick Gay’s strategy calls and adjustments to the Toyota Care Tundra. “The Onion” marched through the field after recovering from the incident and grabbed a fifth place finish.
Electing to focus on race runs for the majority of the lone practice session on Friday afternoon, the No. 11 team found a good balance they were comfortable with for the race. Bodine qualified 10th on Friday evening and began the move toward the front at the drop of the green. Avoiding tragedy on the very first lap, Bodine saved his Tundra from damage when the truck broke loose and went for a loop coming off of turn four. Gay brought his driver down pit road for four tires and adjustments to help tighten up the Toyota Care machine.
Reminding his driver there was plenty of racing left, Gay brought Bodine down pit road once again 10 laps later under caution to take another swing at the handling. After restarting just outside the top-25 after his spin and the following two pit stops, Bodine wasted no time with the new balance in his Toyota Care Tundra to pick his way up through the field, reaching the top 15 on lap 25. Loose handling conditions continued to linger for Bodine, but his Red Horse Racing crew was given another chance for changes on lap 77 and performed a fast pit stop to get their driver back out in the seventh spot.
“Just stick with me Todd, I promise if you keep this Tundra in one piece, we’ll make the right adjustments and you’ll be up there to fight for the win at the end,” Gay radioed to his driver after the stop.
Inching his way towards the front, Bodine relayed to his crew that the adjustments were helping each time, and maintained his position until a critical caution flag period came on lap 103; allowing Bodine to make another pit stop for more adjustments. Gay made a quick strategy call as “The Onion” came into his pit stall, electing to take just right side tires to put him second in the running order. Picking his way through three-wide traffic after the restart, Bodine came through the congestion unscathed and settled in to the fifth spot.
Bodine would get another shot at the restart with less than 20 laps remaining, but didn’t have quite enough for the rest of the leaders in front of him. A solid fifth place finish with the newest Red Horse Racing built chassis went in the books for the two-time series champion at the conclusion of Saturday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series main event.
“I think my Toyota Care team was the hardest working team on pit road tonight,” Bodine explained. “We were so loose to start the race and my crew chief, Rick Gay, made some great calls and we made a ton of adjustments. But as typical racers do, we over adjusted it a little. I just got really loose on the first lap and couldn’t catch it, but to come back after a spin, make as many adjustments as we did and have a shot at the win, I really can’t complain.”