Geoff Bodine still looking for ride

1986 Daytona 500 winner, Geoff Bodine, said Wednesday he still hopes to have a deal in place to compete in NASCAR's premier race on Feb. 26, as well as the invitation-only Budweiser Shootout that will be held eight days earlier.

"We are cautiously optimistic we will be racing at Daytona," Bodine said during a stop in Jacksonville as he was driving back to his Melbourne, FL, home from Charlotte, NC. Bodine, 62, is looking to expand his participation in the Sprint Cup Series after competing in four events with Tommy Baldwin Racing last year. Prior to 2011, he had made just one start on the senior circuit since 2004. "We have the sponsorship. We'll be all right," he said.

"The wheels are in motion and hopefully soon we will be making some announcement." Bodine has sponsorship for a minimum of 15 Sprint Cup races from Luke & Associates, a Florida-based health care provider to the U.S. military. He and Luke & Associates had hoped to hook up with a team before the end of the year, with the sponsor also seeking an ownership role. In recent weeks several mid-tier teams have inked new deals, including Baldwin with David Reutimann.

Bodine wasn't concerned with some teams' recent announcement plans, saying, "All of the options that we were considering are still available." Having raced last year and being a former Bud Shootout winner and the 1986 Daytona 500 champion, Bodine is one of the 33 drivers eligible for the Shootout race. Elmira Star Gazette

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