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Rain at Dover helps Bodine end winless drought

June 01, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com

DOVER, Del. -- Let it rain!

At a race track where a casino is an integral part of the complex, Todd Bodine gambled and won big.

Despite spinning early in Friday's rain-shortened Lucas Oil 200, Bodine remained on the lead leap, and with a contrarian pit strategy, he worked his way into the lead. When rain forced NASCAR to call the race after 147 laps, Bodine was the winner, breaking a drought of 37 races dating to 2010.

Dover

Results
Pos.DriverMake
2. Parker Kligerman Ram
3. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet
4. Nelson Piquet Jr. Chevrolet
5. Cale Gale Chevrolet

The two-time series champion won for the 22nd time in his career after fending off an assault from Parker Kligerman, the race runner-up. Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick, who dominated the first half of the race, was third when NASCAR called the event after a second stoppage for rain.

Nelson Piquet Jr. finished fourth and Cale Gale fifth.

* Final Laps | Victory Lane | Post-Race Reactions

Bodine came to the pits on Lap 98 and remained on the track when Harvick, Timothy Peters, James Buescher and series-leader Justin Lofton surrendered top-five positions by pitting for fuel before the resumption of the race after the first rain delay on Lap 124.

Harvick's truck, lightning fast in clean air, tightened in traffic, and Bodine was able to hold the top spot until a second rain shower necessitated the ninth caution on Lap 143. Four laps later, with no chance to dry the track before nightfall, the race was over.

Bodine credited Red Horse Racing crew chief Rick Gay with the race-winning call.

"We didn't have the best [truck Friday], but Rick made a great call," Bodine said. "I didn't realize what he was trying to accomplish, or how close we were on fuel, but it worked out. You don't like to win 'em this way, but you know what? I've lost 'em this way, so I'm going to take this one, and we're going to go to the house.

"Kevin had the best truck, but racing isn't always about having the best truck. It's about strategy and putting yourself in the right position, and Rick Gay did that for this team."

Harvick began to assert his dominance as soon as the race began. By the time the engine in Jason White's No. 23 Ford blew on Lap 12, Harvick had opened a 3-second leader over hard-luck Johnny Sauter.

A contender for the series championship last year, Sauter brought his truck to pit road under the fifth caution on Lap 98 because of a power-steering failure. The long stay on pit road dropped Sauter to 18th in the running order, the last truck on the lead lap.

Harvick held a comfortable lead when Wes Burton's spin and contact with the inside wall caused the sixth caution of the afternoon. Rain began to fall while the field circulated under yellow.

Notes-n-Nuggets

• Todd Bodine scored his 22nd career win in his 196th start and first win at Dover in his eighth start.
• Dover is the 14th different track at which he has won.
• Todd Bodine is the 12th different winner in 13 races at Dover.
• Todd Bodine recovered from a spin while running 10th on Lap 68.
• Todd Bodine was 12th at the time of the first red flag.
• Red Horse Racing scored its seventh career win, first at Dover and second of the season (John King at Daytona).
• Toyota scored its fifth win at Dover, all in the past five races.
• Parker Kligerman (second) tied his career-best finish for the third time.
• Kevin Harvick (third) led a race-high 96 laps.
• Nelson Piquet Jr. (fourth) tied his best finish this season and best at Dover.
• Cale Gale (fifth) posted his best career finish.
• Ty Dillon (sixth) has finished in the top 10 in the past eight races.
• Timothy Peters (ninth) has finished in the top 10 in all six races this season.
• Justin Lofton (10th) has finished in the top 10 in all six races this season; he leads the points by one over Timothy Peters.
• Ron Hornaday and Miguel Paludo were running fourth and fifth, respectively, at the first stoppage. Hornaday later crashed and finished 27th; Paludo dropped to 12th.

NASCAR brought the field to pit road on Lap 121 and red-flagged the event for 15 minutes, 23 seconds, but the rain abated and provided an opportunity to restart the race on Lap 124.