Bodine Earns Bobsled Title In Lake Placid
Todd Bodine carried over his success from Saturday's qualifying round to the finals as he earned his first Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge championship Sunday at the Olympic Sports Complex.
The top qualifier on Saturday, Todd Bodine was first out of the chute in Sunday's first round of Race 1, which featured NASCAR and NHRA racers competing against the clock for a trip to the podium. His maiden run of 49.83 seconds stood as the fastest in the round as the top eight of 12 drivers advanced. In the second round, with the race order inverted, nearly each driver that went bested the one before him. Joey Logano, who went next-to-last, posted a 49.56 to set the bar for Bodine. The younger brother of the event's namesake did not disappoint as he crossed the finish line at 49.35. Bodine's two-round combined time of 1:39.18 earned the Race 1 title.
"I've had a good sled," Bodine said. "During qualifying and the first round I had really clean runs. The second round wasn't quite as fast as Larry's [Gunselman], and what I needed to do was just stay with them, and we got it done."
Logano, in his second year of competition in the Bodine Bobsled Challenge, finished with a combined time of 1:39.58. Logano, who will contend for the 2009 Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, earned his first invitation last year as the 2007 NASCAR Camping World Series East championship. Gunselman came in third at 1:39.60. Gunselman's second run of 49.33 seconds was the fastest run of either round in the morning session.
Morgan Lucas was the highest finishing NHRA competitor in Race 1 at 1:39.83.
Boris Said, the defending Race 1 champion and five-time winner in the Bodine Bobsled Challenge settled for a sixth-place finish.
The event also included NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion Brian Loftin, who finished eighth in his first bobsledding experience. Philip Morris earned a return trip to Lake Placid with his second NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship in three years, finished 10th.
Sunday afternoon's Race 2 featured two rounds of eliminations and two head-to-head competitions. NASCAR was represented by Todd Bodine, Geoff Bodine, Logano and Said while the NHRA contingent included Lucas, Jeg Coughlin J.R. Todd and Bob Vandergriff. Geoff Bodine and Vandergriff were eliminated in the first round while defending race winner Said and Coughlin failed to advance past the second round.
In the semifinals of Race 2, which pitted the two fastest NASCAR and NHRA drivers against each other for a spot in the championship, Todd Bodine once again edged out Logano with a time of 49.25 for an advantage of .71 seconds. Meanwhile, Lucas defeated Todd by .03 seconds to earn a spot in the finals against Bodine.
For the final round, Bodine and Lucas were setup in competition Bo-Dyn sleds used by the USA National Bobsled team. USA Men's Coach Brian Shimer served as brakeman for Bodine while Women's Team Coach Bill Tavares rode with Lucas.
Lucas, who was defeated by Said in the 2008 Bodine Bobsled Challenge Race 2 finals, registered a 47.78-second run in the articulated sled, nearly two seconds faster than his semifinal run. In Bodine's run, the NASCAR veteran had gained on Lucas' time through nearly every stage, but rolled the sled coming out of Turn 18. Bodine and Shimer were fine, but Lucas took home the title.
"I felt bad about wrecking the sled, but I had this old-time racer tell me once, ‘boy, if you can't win, be spectacular,' and we were spectacular," Todd Bodine said.
In the three-day event a total of 12 drivers piloted specially-made bobsleds down the track in Lake Placid, site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. The Bodine Bobsled Challenge is geared to raise money for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, which was started in 1992 by former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Geoff Bodine, who partnered with Chassis Dynamics. The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project has built American-made bobsleds for United States athletes competing in the World Cup, World Championships and Olympic Winter Games.
Funds raised from the Bodine Bobsled Challenge go directly to the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. The annual dinner auction held in conjunction with the event took place at the Lake Placid Crowne Plaza Hotel & Resort Saturday night with proceeds also benefiting the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. Whelen Engineering Vice President for Motorsports and Bodine Bobsled Project President Phil Kurze was satisfied with the results.
"The auction was on par with last year's successful event," Kurze said. "In 2010, with it being an Olympic year, we look for the Fifth Annual Bodine Bobsled Challenge and auction to be an even bigger and better event."
SPEED will televise four hours of the Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge on Jan. 18 at noon and Jan. 25 at 2 pm.
Race 1 – Timed Competition
Driver, Rd. 1 (Secs.), Rd. 2, Combined
1. Todd Bodine, 49.83, 49.35, 1:39.18
2. Joey Logano, 50.02, 71.29, 1:39.58
3. Larry Gunselman, 50.27, 49.33, 1:39.60
4. Morgan Lucas, 50.27, 49.56, 1:39.83
5. Jeg Coughlin, 50.36, 49.97, 1:40.33
6. Boris Said, 50.72, 49.68, 1:40.40
7. Eric Curran, 50.77, 49.81, 1:40.58
8. Brian Loftin, 50.86, 50.20, 1:41.06
9. Danny Bagwell, 50.93
10. Philip Morris, 51.10
11. Bob Vandergriff, 51.28
12. J.R. Todd, 51.44
Race 2 – Elimination Competition
First Round – NASCAR
1. Todd Bodine, 49.53 seconds
2. Joey Logano, 49.60
3. Boris Said, 49.62
4. Geoff Bodine, 50.06
First Round – NHRA
1. J.R. Todd, 49.24
2. Morgan Lucas, 49.38
3. Jeg Coughlin, 49.59
4. Bob Vandergriff, DNF
Second Round – NASCAR
1. Todd Bodine, 49.28
2. Logano, 49.70
3. Said, 49.88
Second Round – NHRA
1. Todd, 49.42
2. Lucas, 49.62
3. Coughlin, 49.93
Semifinals – NASCAR
Todd Bodine (49.25) def. Logano (49.96)
Semifinals – NHRA
Lucas (49.56) def. Todd (49.59)
Finals – NASCAR vs. NHRA
Lucas (47.78) def. Todd Bodine (48.22)