Charlotte: Todd Bodine - NASCAR spotlight

Bodine big fan of racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 16, 2005) -- Todd Bodine (No. 66 Fiddle Back Racing Toyota) is skeptical that the grinding of the race surface has significantly altered the personality of Lowe's Motor...

Bodine big fan of racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 16, 2005) -- Todd Bodine (No. 66 Fiddle Back Racing Toyota) is skeptical that the grinding of the race surface has significantly altered the personality of Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"It's definitely different, but it's the same old Lowe's; just a lot faster and a lot smoother," said Bodine, seventh in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship standings entering Friday's Quaker Steak & Lube 200 presented by Click It or Ticket at the Charlotte-area facility.

And that's just fine with Bodine, who finished 20th as a stand-in driver for the Tom Eldredge-owned team in 2004.

Bodine has been a big fan of Lowe's Motor Speedway from the first time he saw the 1.5-mile track, one of the oldest and most historic of NASCAR's superspeedways.

"I like them all but Lowe's definitely is among my favorites," said the 41-year-old native of Chemung, N.Y., who has a combined 37 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and NASCAR Busch Series starts at the track.

"It's awesome. From the first time I was there as a crew member, it was obvious that the track had its own style and feel."

Bodine, who didn't participate in the recent open test at the facility, believes that fans are in for some interesting competition as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series joins the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge for the first of two weekends of May racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

The track can't be compared to other 1.5-mile tracks on the schedule; it's neither Texas Motor Speedway nor Atlanta Motor Speedway.

It's, well, Lowe's -- but with a twist.

"There's definitely a second groove," said Bodine. "It's still unique but with better racing than before."

Bodine was a double winner on the series in 2004 with Germain-Arnold Motorsports. He moved to Eldredge's operation when the Wyoming native switched to Toyota and tapped veteran crew chief Tony Furr to direct what's become one of the series' strongest teams.

Bodine finished third at Daytona and added a fourth at Martinsville and seventh in St. Louis. He's led three of the year's first six races.

"This is really a totally different team," said Bodine. "Bringing in Tony was a big key with his experience and knowledge. That's what's allowed us to come out of the box so strong."

Bodine has been around the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series from the beginning. His first race, at Heartland Park Topeka in July 1995, resulted in a 20th-place finish.

He's amazed at how far the series has come -- not only in 10 years but from 2004 to the present. "I compare it to [NASCAR NEXTEL] Cup racing," said Bodine. "There are no gimmes here; you've got to earn everything. You've got 15 teams that can win."

Bodine believes he can add Fiddle Back Racing to that list of winners -- possible at Lowe's.

All it takes is the right strategy since, according to Bodine; most of the series' drivers are equal in terms of skill.

"Track position is going to be everything," he predicted.

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine