Hodges leads laps in All-Star Showdown before accident Carson City, NV. -- Bobby Hodges of Carson City, NV led from the pole in the Late Model portion of the 2009 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, Saturday, at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, Calif....
Hodges leads laps in All-Star Showdown before accident
Carson City, NV. -- Bobby Hodges of Carson City, NV led from the pole in the Late Model portion of the 2009 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, Saturday, at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, Calif. A late race accident sidelined Hodges, and he was credited with a 30th place finish out of the nearly 50 cars that took the green flag.
The feature, televised live on SPEED, was slated for 75 laps and had an all-star cast of drivers from all over North America. Rain delays throughout the weekend relegated the event to being shortened to just 55 laps.
Hodges debuted his new car that he will campaign in northern California for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Western Late Model division.
"It was amazing and completely different from my old car," Hodges said. "This car will give us an opportunity to win races."
The entry was previously campaigned as the 5* car with driver Jason Fensler. Fensler won two Big Dog Series features at Altamont Raceway Park in 2009 aboard the car.
"This car feels really easy to drive," Hodges said. "It's just on rails."
Hodges first hit the Toyota Speedway half-mile oval on Thursday evening, and was one of the faster cars.
After many weekend rain delays, the Late Models had a short practice session on Saturday morning. A pill draw replaced qualifying time trials, and Hodges' pulled the pole position for the feature race. The feature started just after 11 p.m.
Despite the large number of cars on the track, the field managed to click off a nearly 25 lap green flag run to start the race. Hodges traded blows with Irwindale regular Ryan Kaplan in an entertaining battle.
Hodges faded slightly to the tail of the top-five lead pack.
"We were tight in the center and that hurt us," Hodges said. "But we had a fun battle with the local driver and finally got some bearings on this track."
Kaplan and 2007 NASCAR California State champion Mark Holeman tangled on lap 50 entering turn three, and collected Hodges.
With body work hanging from the tail of his car, the Cal Poly engineering student went down pit road for repairs.
As Hodges pulled in the pits, NASCAR officials pulled out the yellow-checkers on the race event. The abrupt ending of the race knocked Hodges from a potential third place finish to instead be ranked 30th in the final rundown.
"I'm so excited that we ran so good," Hodges said. "It was a great experience to run this big show."
All attention for the Bobby Hodges Racing team will turn to the 2009 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Western Late Models.
Hodges will compete at tracks such as Madera Speedway, Stockton 99 Speedway, and All American Speedway in 2009, with hopes of gaining crucial points in the state and national NASCAR titles.
The young driver is poised for a big season after posting ten top-tens in 12 starts in 2008. Hodges' runs yielded a top 250 ranking in the NASCAR national points, despite running a partial schedule.