Bristol, Tenn. — Starting the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 race day on Wednesday at Bristol Motor Speedway with a convincing practice and qualifying effort, two-time series champion Todd Bodine looked to have put his streak of misfortune in the rear view. After starting the night from the third position, Bodine kept his No. 11 Toyota Care Tundra within the top-five, saving his equipment for the closing laps to make a run for the win. His chance contending for that victory was stolen away by another competitor with less than 40 laps remaining, as Bodine was sent spinning after contact into the turn four wall. With irreparable damage, Bodine finished 31st.
Crew chief Rick Gay and his Red Horse Racing crew helped Bodine find speed early during Wednesday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) practice sessions, adjusting on the balance of their Tundra to get Bodine turning better through the exit of the turns. “The Onion” followed up his practice efforts with a third place qualifying effort, giving him a prime spot ahead of the pack of traffic for the green flag.
Remaining quiet on the radio for the entirety of the first segment of the race, Bodine only radioed to Gay under the first caution on Lap 82 that he was a little loose in and off the corner, but needed only minor adjustments. A flawless stop by the Red Horse pit crew sent Bodine back into NCWTS competition in second behind teammate Timothy Peters, with four fresh tires, a small chassis adjustment and enough fuel to make it to the finish.
Working with Peters on the restart, Bodine settled comfortably into the runner up spot where he remained for the next sixty laps. Spotter Jimmy Kitchens worked to help Bodine search for a better line to help his Tundra through the turns, finding a suitable line just a half a truck length above the bottom lane to help him ride through the final stages of the night. Less than ten laps later, a caution on lap 148 bunched the field up once again for the restart setting up tight racing quarters for most of the field. While battling for the third position, another competitor slid up into the left side of Bodine’s Toyota Care Tundra, cutting down the left rear tire. With no control heading into the next turn, the No. 11 spun around and made contact with the outside retaining wall. Unable to repair the damage with less than forty laps remaining, Bodine and his crew ended the night with a disappointing 31st place finish.
“Unfortunately this has been the story of pretty much every race since Dover for us,” Bodine explained. “This racing is so close and so competitive, it’s hard for drivers with less experience to understand that there are a lot of times during the race that you just have to let off. A younger driver pushed up into us and cut down our left-rear tire and there was nothing I could do. I’ve got nothing against him, but there’s times where you just have to say it wasn’t the time to pass and let off the gas so you don’t wreck yourself and those around you.
“It’s really hard to look at the results from our last few races because this Toyota Care team and all of Red Horse Racing do such an amazing job building these Tundras. We had a great shot at the win today or at the very least a top-three finish. Just disappointing to send another fast Toyota Tundra home without a good finish to show for it.”