Todd Bodine - Saturday media visit

Darlington

TODD BODINE, No. 30 Germain.com Tundra, Germain Racing

Does the track surface seem different from the last time you competed at Darlington Raceway? “Not really. Although the old Darlington is showing her head. Tires are wearing out real fast. The problem with that is Goodyear brought such a good tire and has such a good tire that it doesn’t slow down. It just wears out. Everybody was cording the right side tires. Once we get some rubber on the track and get racing I think it will be fine.”

Championship victory lane: 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Todd Bodine celebrates
Championship victory lane: 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Todd Bodine celebrates

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

How was your truck in practice? “We were pretty good -- pretty happy with it. It drives good and does everything I need it to do. I don’t know where those guys were getting those real fast laps. You can’t do that every lap, but we were real consistent. We were fast on our old tires and I think we’ve got something for them. I think we’ll be just fine.”

What do you think will be the biggest challenges in tonight’s race? “I think probably the single biggest challenge is going to be lapped traffic. We’ve got a lot of people that have never been here before. A lot of kids with inexperience in general. We saw a lot of it in practice with guys spinning out -- fortunately nobody really crashed hard or anything so that was good. The lapped traffic is going to be a second and a half slower than the fast trucks and the closing rate is going to be really fast. If their spotters aren’t on the ball and they’re not on the ball then we could end up with some trouble. I think that’s going to be a challenge for sure. It’s still Darlington and she’s a tough old girl. It’s going to be who’s got the best truck on the old tires is going to be up front at the end. To me, I enjoy that. I’ve always enjoyed Darlington for that reason.”

Do you have enough sponsorship to get through the season? “No, we’re not even close to set. Tire Kingdom -- I think they’re going to do four more. Valvoline’s going to do a couple and now we have one with Georgia Boot. We’ve still got a lot of races that we need to get sponsorship for, but we’re real excited about Georgia Boot because it’s such a great company. They were with (Ron) Hornaday and (Kevin) Harvick last year and decided to do a little different thing and come with us. We’re excited about it. Obviously there’s more opportunity there. It’s a great company and they’re still trying to feel their way a little bit through the sport and understand the things they need to do to promote their products. That’s why right now it’s a one-race deal. Hopefully they can step up and do some more, but right now we are still lacking a lot of races from sponsors.”

Is your sponsorship situation better this year than it was at this time last year? “A little bit. We didn’t have a deal with Tire Kingdom or Valvoline or anybody at this point last year. We’ve got more races covered that way. It’s going to get better. I keep saying that since the end of last year, but it’s going to get better. I think by the end of the season you’re going to see a lot of things happening with sponsors and a lot of these corporations are going to start cutting loose with some of their marketing money and swing it our way.”

How does only racing Darlington Raceway once a year affect your experience at this track? “Certainly -- you look at a guy like Timothy Peters -- he’d never raced here last year and he finished second. Had a really good truck, got a lot of really good experience and he’s going to be a whole lot better this time. It’s only natural that it should be that way. Some of that advantage is going to be gone, but I think that the fact that the old Darlington is kind of starting to come through to where you start slipping and sliding and tires are starting to wear out. You have to have tire management in the back of your head at all times -- those are the things that I think myself and of course Kasey Kahne and Elliott (Sadler) and (Ron) Hornaday and these guys that have run Cup cars here understand how that works. That’s always in the back of your mind and you understand that. That’s the part that’s still going to play to our advantage. The actual going around the circle and knowing where you are -- some of that’s definitely gone and that’s what I talked about earlier with these young kids that haven’t ever run here. A lot of them are still lost. I took a lot of them out this morning in the pace truck and tried to help them and Matt Crafton did the same thing with trying to make sure they don’t do the things that get them in trouble. Okay, this is what you do when you hit the wall so don’t do that -- that kind of thing. We try to speed the learning curve up so they can go out and just learn the race track. Hopefully it worked. Had a few problems this morning, but nobody hit anything so that was a good thing.”

Are young drivers still talking to veteran drivers for advice throughout the day for advice? “A lot -- in between practices I had a couple of the guys come up and say, ‘Hey, I’m feeling this and I’m doing that, but what should I do and how am I doing it wrong?’ Which is great -- I’ve always enjoyed playing that role and the guys know they can come to me for an honest answer and I’ll help them the best that I can help them. Short of handing them the springs and the shocks and setting their truck up -- I’ll do anything for them I can. They know that and they know they can count on that. Between the practices I had a few come up and after practice I had a couple. Miguel Paludo’s a good friend and he’s become a very good friend -- I’ve been helping him a lot and we talked just as I was walking over here a little bit. There are a couple kids that I am going to talk to out at the autograph thing that I saw them doing stuff wrong. It continues. You keep trying to help them. When you see someone making a mistake, you want to help them out and try to fix it for them.”

How do you feel your team has done and how is the series after two races? “Our performance has been pretty good. In Daytona we had a fast truck and got caught up in a wreck. Phoenix -- running fifth and we made some adjustments that we were going to be a lot better. I don’t know if we could have won, but we could have definitely been a top-five and maybe a top-three truck and got caught up in a crash again. Our luck has just been horrible. Our philosophy is to go every week and you do the best you can and what happens, happens. You can’t control everything. We’re pleased with our performance. A lot of people felt like us taking on three other trucks was going to really hinder our performance and the quality of equipment that we were going to put on the track and it hasn’t a bit. We’ve got four trucks here and I would put them up against any truck in the garage area as far as being good race trucks. That hasn’t been an issue. The state of the series is pretty obvious. We’ve got probably the best field of trucks that we’ve ever seen in the history of the series and we do have a lot of younger kids coming in so the experience level may be down a little bit, but we’ve got a lot of kids that have a lot of talent and a lot of future and a lot of promise. The state of the series is strong -- really strong. I think you’re going to see by the crowd that we’re going to get here tonight -- everybody kind of didn’t understand why we’re here as a standalone race last year. Last year they struggled for attendance -- there’s no doubt. It was kind of last minute thing, but they’ve really been promoting it and they’ve been doing a great job in the area. You’re going to see a great crowd tonight. I’ve heard so many good things about what’s going on. The series as a whole is really strong. The fan base is up. The ratings are up. The truck count is up and the quality of equipment is up. Everything about it is up and that speaks volumes for it.”

What is the difference between driving a Cup car and driving a truck at Darlington Raceway? “It’s day and night. It truly is day and night. With our trucks, we run through one and two wide open. A good truck you just run wide open and you don’t even think about lifting. It’s that stable. In three and four you drive them so hard compared to a Cup car -- how far you drive it into the corner before you let off the gas is incredible. We’re way down in the corner before we let off the gas. Then you just use a little bit of brake and then you’re back wide open in the gas when you’ve got a good truck. In a Cup car, you’re letting off and just barely hitting the brake a little to float it in there and just wait for it to start sticking and then you kind of go again. It’s day and night. I think that’s why a guy like Kasey (Kahne) or Elliott (Sadler) who is used to running Cup cars here -- to get in this truck is so much fun. I know Elliott is having a blast. I haven’t talked to Kasey yet. That’s what makes it fun.”

What will it take to get back to the top of the points in the new points system? “I’m not the brightest mathematician in the world, but from what I look at it and I look at the old system and I look at the new system -- there’s really not a lot of difference. The size of the number is different -- that’s the biggest thing. If it’s a one point spread now -- in the old system we had five-five and then it was three from there back. Those front three got an extra two points is the way I look at it. The similarity -- it’s not a whole lot different. It’s about consistency -- it’s about staying up front and not getting in trouble. The bonus program is a little bit different so it puts a little bit of emphasis on that bonus program. It’s going to be the same thing it’s always been - consistency and finishing races and finishing in the top-10 and top-five.”

Can you break the string of non-championship contending drivers to win truck races this season? “That’s what we’re here for -- not to finish second. Daytona -- that race was won because those two drivers understood that bump draft from the Cup cars. I think if the truck guys had more time and more experience doing those things, the other two wouldn’t have broken away from the pack like that. I will say one thing kind of off the subject a little bit, everybody talked about Michael (Waltrip) losing that spoiler and winning the race -- that’s not what won him the race. He won the race because he was smart and I just want everybody to know that. That made the margin of victory a little bit bigger -- that’s all that did. That’s the case there -- that was experience and that was knowledge of how to do that to break away from the pack and separate themselves and be that one of them was going to win the race. Phoenix -- the Cup guys, the trucks that those guys are running are phenomenal trucks with great race teams. You put a driver of that caliber in there -- they’re going to run up front and they’re going to have a shot to win the race. A guy like myself, we got caught up in a crash. We weren’t probably going to win the race, but we were going to be up front. (Ron) Hornaday didn’t have a perfect truck so there’s other factors involved than just those guys being that good. They are that good -- there’s no doubt about that, but there’s other factors involved and you have to look at the whole picture to understand that. Now to say that truck guys can’t run with them is a very unfair statement and you’re going to see that tonight. They’re going to be up front -- there’s no doubt about it.”

-toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Matt Crafton , Kasey Kahne , Eric Gilbert , Timothy Peters , Miguel Paludo
Teams Germain Racing
Tags bodine, camping world, darlington