Bodine wins Sam’s Town 400 (Toyota again)
FORT WORTH—Todd Bodine made a remarkable comeback from an early engine problem to win the Sam’s Town 400 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.
Bodine started from the pole but slowed on the 35th lap and fell from third to 18th. He made several pit stops and his Germain Racing team thought it was a carburetor problem, but were never able to find it. “We think maybe some trash got in the jet,” Bodine said, “but we didn’t find it. Somehow, it cleaned itself out.”
Bodine’s Toyota had to race from the back of the field in the 1.5-mile track and steadily climbed into the top 10. He was eighth, but 15 seconds behind leader Ron Hornaday when a round of green-flag pit stops began with 20 laps to go.
Bodine, having nothing to lose, had pitted at the end of a caution period on lap 87 and had a fuel advantage over the rest of the leaders. When they pitted with 18 laps to go, Bodine took the lead.
The No. 30 team was preparing to pit when the caution came out on lap 156, with 167 scheduled. The caution flag came at a perfect time for Bodine, who took four tires and fuel on his stop.
There were only six cars on the lead lap. Travis Kvapil stayed out and took the lead; Rick Crawford, Mike Skinner, Hornaday and David Starr also pitted, took four tires, and followed Bodine out.
With less than 10 laps to go, the leaders were lined up single file for the restart on lap 163. Kvapil, on used tires, held Bodine off for a lap. As the approached Turn 1, Kvapil’s Ford tried to block Bodine on the outside. Bodine moved inside and Kvapil tried the block again.
Bodine hit him in the tailgate and Kvapil spun into the inside barrier. “I’m not happy about that, but you only get to block in one direction,” Bodine said. “I was going to the outside and I was going to give him the bottom. He blocked me and I went to the bottom. He blocked me again and I hit him.”
Kvapil’s spin brought out the race’s final caution and forced a green-white-checkered restart on lap 168.
Bodine edged away from Skinner’s Toyota and led both laps, winning by .188 of a second. Bodine’s victory was the 11th of his NCTS career and his first since this race last year. Bodine has four wins in six NCTS starts at Texas. It tied Brendan Gaughan’s series record for most wins at one track.
Skinner finished second, followed by Crawford, Hornaday, Starr and Kvapil.