It's Todd's Turn at MIS In June, Mother Nature prevented Discover' Card driver Todd Bodine from participating in the Winston Cup event at Michigan due to his Busch Series obligations in Kentucky. Nonetheless, he went on to win the Busch race ...
It's Todd's Turn at MIS
In June, Mother Nature prevented Discover' Card driver Todd Bodine from participating in the Winston Cup event at Michigan due to his Busch Series obligations in Kentucky. Nonetheless, he went on to win the Busch race while his older brother Geoffrey piloted the No. 26 machine to a solid 18-place finish. This time it's Todd's turn and he's excited to run from start to finish in the Irish Hills.
FROM THE COCKPIT:
Todd Bodine, driver, No. 26 Discover Card Racing Taurus:
What makes this track so challenging? Need for horsepower, good gas mileage, pit stops, what?"It's a combination of horsepower, good gas mileage and pit stops. The car has to handle and accelerate off of the corners and the team has to have fast pit stops to pick up or maintain track position."
"Michigan is a fast track. It's a track where the driver has to get on the wheel and drive. But, he has to have a car that will handle -- that's critical."
How much pressure do you put on yourself when it comes to qualifying. You've won three Bud Pole Awards last year, and one so far this year at Las Vegas?
"I don't put a whole lot of pressure on myself during qualifying. I always give it 110 percent when I'm in the car, whether that's qualifying or racing. If you do that every time, you can't ask for more."
What do you think of most when coming to Michigan?
"I won the first Busch race at Michigan and the next 11 finishers in the race were (Winston) Cup drivers. It's a good, fast track. I like the fast tracks and I've always run well at Michigan. Those tracks are tricky and demanding on the drivers because it's very easy to overdrive the track, but at the same time, you always have to be racing on the edge."
FROM THE WAR WAGON:
Donnie Wingo, crew chief, No. 26 Discover Card Racing Taurus: When you come to Michigan, what are your biggest challenges to tackle at a place like this?
"Fuel mileage does play a big role at Michigan, but the biggest thing is getting the car to handle. The car has got to turn well off of the corners. We'll be in good shape because we're using the same car we used at Indy (Indianapolis Motor Speedway). We'll also have Todd with us for the whole weekend, which will be great. He is very good at giving us the feedback we need to make the car do what it needs to do. That's a great skill to have in a driver."
Will you closely monitor the engine you run based on this year's one engine rule?
"With some of the engine troubles we've been having lately, we're closely monitoring the engines now. We don't try to conserve it, but we try not to put too much time on the engine during practice. In other words, we don't waste any time, but do what we need to do to get it right."
What kinds of strategies do you keep in the back of your mind? Is this a track where you may have to strategize more than other places?
"The first race (in June) didn't turn out to be a fuel race as it usually does. That's really where the strategy comes into place-- stretching your fuel. This year, it seems like everyone is trying to stretch their fuel by staying out longer and taking a gamble. But, it seems that everyone is trying to stay out of the pits because they don't want to give up track position, which is real important at Michigan. Some times it works and some times it doesn't.
"We usually layout our strategy before the race, but it usually changes once the race starts. Everything can change in an instant. We have a few scenarios, but it all boils down to how your car is working and then you adjust your strategy."
Where do you see Todd's strengths as a driver come into play at Michigan?
"Todd communicates with the team really well during a race. He'll tell us what the car needs so that it doesn't push off the corners and so that it gets around the track. That helps a great deal at a track like Michigan. One of his greatest strengths as a driver is his adaptability. You never get a car 100 percent, but we can get it close and even when we're not close enough he can still the drive the wheels off of it. He's also able change his line to better suit the car and stay competitive. Those are important things at Michigan and to the team."
Todd and the entire Discover Card team participate in Bud Pole qualifying for the Pepsi 400 starting on Friday at 3:05 p.m., ET. Sunday's green flag waves at 2 p.m., ET LIVE on TNT and MRN radio.