News & Media

Truck Preview: Bodine seeks to notch first win of '11 at Texas

November 04, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service,

Reigning Truck Series champion and six-time winner at TMS finds solace at track

Reigning Truck Series champion Todd Bodine doesn't know if he'll return to Germain Racing next season.

Bodine does know that wherever he lands for 2012, he won't be happy with another season like 2011.

"When you go to a place that you know you can run well, you kind of have a little extra confidence knowing that you can go there and do it again."


With just two races left on the 25-race schedule, it's quite plausible that the two-time Truck Series champion will fail to reach Victory Lane just one season after collecting four wins in a runaway march to the title.

Hampered by sponsorship uncertainty, atypically average equipment and just plain bad luck, the best Bodine can realistically hope to finish in the standings is fifth -- a far cry from 2010 when the veteran driver often ran roughshod over the competition.

But while he won't repeat as champion, Bodine would be hard-pressed to find a pair of tracks that play more to his favor than the two that remain on the 2011 schedule.

A six-time winner at Texas Motor Speedway, site of Friday's WinStar World Casino 350k, Bodine has demonstrated a mastery of the l.5-mile oval like few others.

"When you go to a place that you know you can run well, you kind of have a little extra confidence knowing that you can go there and do it again," Bodine said. "It's a place that we really look forward to going to."

Ditto for Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of the season finale on Nov. 18. Bodine has a pair of victories in six starts at the south Florida track, and could thus conceivably close out the season 2-for-2 after being denied victory in the first 23 events.

Win or not, Bodine is ready to put 2011 behind him.

What many prognosticators expected to be a repeat championship season quickly went south for the Chemung, N.Y., native when he recorded just one top-five finish in the first seven races.

By the start of the summer stretch, Bodine's title hopes were toast, and serious questions had emerged about whether lack of sponsorship would force him to abandon a full-time run.

But thanks to a sponsor-sharing partnership forged between Germain and Randy Moss Motorsports, Bodine wasn't forced to sit out a race. And his results have steadily improved since, with him recently moving all the way to sixth in the standings after spending much of the year outside the top 10.

Not that Bodine, a 21-time Truck Series winner, is ready to celebrate.

"We're not pleased at all with it. We're used to finishing in the top five every week," said Bodine, who has 11 top-10s but just five top-fives in his 23 starts. "And to finish sixth and seventh and eighth and 11th and 12th, that's just not what we're about. It's not acceptable for the standards that we've set for ourselves. We're not pleased with that performance at all."

Bodine isn't, however, overly concerned about the possibility of going winless for the first time in seven full seasons of Truck Series competition.

"You can't go to Texas or Homestead and put all that on your shoulders," he said. "You've just got to go there to try to do what you can do and win the race."

Clinch Scenarios

Drivers' championship
Austin Dillon currently holds an 11-point lead over James Buescher, and 15-point leads over Ron Hornaday and Johnny Sauter, and will clinch the drivers' championship at Texas with the following:
-- Dillon wins the race and leads the most laps
-- Buescher, Hornaday and Sauter finish 33rd or worse
In short, Dillon needs to leave Texas with a 48-point lead over Buescher and Sauter, and a 49-point lead over Hornaday to clinch the championship.
Kevin Harvick Inc. (No. 2 Chevrolet) currently holds a 72-point lead over Kyle Busch Motorsports (No. 18 Toyota). KHI will clinch the owners' championship at Texas under the following circumstances regardless of where the 18 truck finishes:
-- 19th or better (no laps led)
-- 20th or better (one lap led)
-- 21st or better (most laps led)
In short, the 2 truck needs to leave Texas with a 49-point lead over the 18 truck to clinch the championship.

* Texas: Lineup | Practice 1 | Practice 2