By: Ashley McCubbin
While out for dinner one night, a friend of Todd Bodine’s turned him to and let him know he needed only six more races to reach 800 career National starts across NASCAR top-tier series. Although a cool thought to reach it, he said it did not resonate quite yet.
However, after an individual at Fox Sports 1 looked it up and there were only 27 other guys who have ran that many races, the idea became to resonate more.
“To me, it’s just longevity and the ability to stick around the sport that long and be successful and have enough respectful owners that want to keep giving you rides,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “I think one of the cool things is I’ve done it all three series – right now, I’m the only one that has over 200 starts in all three series. I think that’s pretty cool also.”
This season, Bodine intends to reach that number by running six NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events for Halmar Friesen Racing. It marks the first time the 2010 champion has driven one of the pick-ups since 2013.
“Really, I don’t see a whole lot of difference,” he commented. “The trucks are pretty much the same bodies, the motors have less horsepower. They do have a little more sideforce, little more downforce – so far to this point, they haven’t driven a whole lot different. A lot of people talk about how you have to keep the momentum up with these motors not having a lot of horsepower, and that’s the same thing it was in the old days. You want to keep the momentum up, and not let up off the gas as much as possible.
“It really doesn’t seem much different today than it did back then.”
So far, he has ran three races with a best finish of 10th at Darlington Raceway. The additional events will see him do battle at Sonoma Raceway, Nashville Superspeedway, and Pocono Raceway. He noted if he could have expanded the tour for 2022, it would have included more short tracks.
“The Truck Series started on short tracks, every driver in NASCAR started on short tracks, and its part of heritage in where we came from,” he explained. “I think in general, not only just the Truck Series but Xfinity and Cup in general, we need more short tracks. We need to get back to our roots more. Basically, any short track you want to pick.”
Regardless how this year goes, Bodine has left his mark on the sport, courtesy of not only the aforementioned championship but 22 victories in Truck Series competition, along with 15 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
“I’ve had several things that have happened, moments that have happened that make you proud of what you have accomplished,” he commented. “It’s really hard to pick one. I’ve had this question before and it’s tough. I think the main thing is the fact that as a career, I’ve had the longevity. I got started very late, I didn’t start in the Busch Series until I was 27-years-old. To be able to have that kind of career in general, that’s probably one of the things I’m most proud of.”
Based on the career he has had, combined with knowing the current landscape of the sport, he admits in his advice to the next generation it can be difficult.
“When I started racing, we got our opportunities because our talent and how good we were. In today’s world, that a lot of times it becomes secondary to how much sponsorship you have,” he stated. “It’s tough but if you really want do it, you have to persist and race the short tracks, and try to attract some sponsors and get out there to hustle and get money to move up the ladder.
“If you can get enough money to run a few truck races, then run a few truck races. Try to get in good stuff so you can showcase your talent, but it’s a tough world to be a racecar driver.”
Categories: Interview, NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series
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