Bodine spins then wins in Kentucky
Todd Bodine tried to outrace Kyle Busch. When that didn't work, the NASCAR Truck Series veteran decided to outsmart the Cup star.
Bodine recovered from a mid-race spin -- one started when Busch edged a little too close to Bodine's rear quarterpanel -- to end Busch's three-series winning streak at four with a brilliant fuel-saving run Friday night at Kentucky Speedway.
The series points leader managed to squeeze out 58 laps on one tank of fuel to beat Johnny Sauter and Aric Almirola while ending Busch's two-week stranglehold on Victory Lane.
"Our misfortune turned out to be our fortune," Bodine said of his fourth win of the season.
Sauter was second, followed by Almirola, Jason White and Ricky Carmichael.
Bodine exacted a little revenge on Busch.
The two got together briefly last week at Chicagoland, where Busch eventually rolled to his fourth consecutive win across NASCAR's three national series.
They were at it again at the bumpy 1.5-mile oval in northern Kentucky. They were battling for the lead just past the race's halfway point when Bodine got loose trying to take the lead from Busch on Lap 82. He lost control coming out of Turn 4 and slid onto the infield grass. His truck was largely unscathed and he pitted on Lap 92.
Bodine wasn't supposed to make it 58 laps on one tank, yet he managed to sip enough gas to make it hold up and extend his points lead on Almirola to 261 points with seven races to go.
"I'd like to thank Kyle for driving dirty and pushing us down," Bodine said in Victory Lane. "That made us get the gas."
The remark angered Busch and the two exchanged pleasantries. Bodine didn't back down from his comment, saying he's getting tired of Busch's seeming lack of respect for his fellow drivers.
"Unfortunately, I've always had a lot of respect for Kyle," Bodine said. "Slowly but surely I'm losing it."
Busch, who will look for a record-breaking 11th win in the Nationwide Series on Saturday in Atlanta, was not approached for comment afterward.
He began the day hoping to match Fred Lorenzen, Richard Petty, Bobby Allison and David Pearson as the only drivers to win five consecutive NASCAR events.
Busch qualified fourth but had to move to the rear of the field after making repairs following his qualifying run.
No biggie. He wasted little time making his way through the field. Busch was in front by Lap 55 and appeared ready to continue the dominance that began two weeks ago at Bristol, when he swept the Truck, Nationwide and Cup race. He backed it up last week in Chicago and clearly had the fastest truck Friday.
It just wasn't so great on fuel mileage. He pitted under green with 23 laps remaining, ceding the lead to Bodine who kept his right foot gingerly on the throttle as the laps wound down.
Bodine crossed the finish line with a couple of ounces to spare. Not bad for a truck that needed a serious facelift after getting banged up in Chicago. The truck was in the shop Sunday and had a new engine by Monday.
Five days later, it was good enough to help Bodine pick up his 21st career Truck victory.
Bodine hopes there are more checkered flags in his future. He knows he'll have to beat Busch to get there. He's hoping the supremely talented Busch, however, will learn some manners.
"It's not just the Truck Series, it's every division he races," Bodine said. "He's so good. He's without a doubt one of the best drivers NASCAR has ever seen ... he doesn't have to drive like that to win races but he does and he's getting away with it because NASCAR won't do anything about it. He was mad because I called him out on it."
* Denotes Rookie
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