Daytona 500: Geoffrey Bodine press conference

GEOFFREY BODINE --09-- Miccosukee Indian Gaming Taurus Third place finish "I really don't know how incredible it is. This team only runs a few races and James Finch only has two cars. We had them both here -- two speedway cars -- but they're...

GEOFFREY BODINE --09-- Miccosukee Indian Gaming Taurus
Third place finish

"I really don't know how incredible it is. This team only runs a few races and James Finch only has two cars. We had them both here -- two speedway cars -- but they're two darn good cars and James, I need to thank him for allowing me to drive his car. I thank the Miccosukee Indian Gaming Tribe in southern Florida for stepping up their program. They've helped us for about four or five years and they've certainly stepped up this year with a lot of money to get this car here. We're gonna run again here and they just told me on pit road, 'don't worry about Talladega,' they're gonna sponsor us for that, so things are already on an upswing for us. But, you know, especially after two years ago. Two years ago I was in the hospital just listening to this race. I heard these guys over here running around. I watched TV when I was awake. It was a little tough there, I had a lot of morphine in me back then, so to come back here and prove -- not only to prove because I knew with good equipment I could do the job, but I guess I did prove that the wreck didn't take anything out of me. From day one I wanted to get back in a race car and I did pretty soon after that wreck.

"We didn't do all that well, but, like I said, you need good equipment to show what you can do as a driver. Elliott will tell you that and every driver will tell you that. I'm happy for Elliott and the Woods. My team did a great job in the pits too. It takes all of that. We can't do anything without those guys changing those tires and putting those springs and shocks in the car and waxing it down and bringing it here. We all know the Wood Brothers are super. I've been a fan of them forever. I almost got in their car a couple of times to drive it. I probably wish I had, but I'm just so thankful that I'm here and I'm still racing and James gave me this opportunity today."

IS THIS ONE OF THE WILDEST 500 FINISHES YOU'VE BEEN A PART OF? "As far as closeness in racing, yes. Accidents, we've seen some bad accidents here, so I don't know if this is the wildest in that respect. The finish, we've seen some great finishes here, so this is just another race at Daytona and a couple of years from now people will have forgotten how good it was."

WHERE WERE YOU A YEAR AGO TODAY AND DO YOU THINK YOU HAD A CHANCE TO BE BACK IN RACING? "A year ago today I was here in Daytona, but I never came to the race track on race day. I was here for my brothers. I love those guys and I was here for them, but I just couldn't bring myself on Sunday morning to come to the race track. It wasn't because of the traffic jams either, it's just very hard to be here and not be in the Daytona 500. Today felt a whole lot better when I woke up knowing that I was gonna be in the race."

WERE YOU HAPPY WITH THE RULES TODAY? "That's the way it's supposed to be -- drivers are supposed to put a little skill into driving these cars and, today, if you had a good car and a good driver you could make some moves."

DID THE YELLOW LINE CAUSE SOME OF THE ACCIDENTS? "No. We all have to race by those rules. In Thursday's race, I made a mistake. I was crowded below the yellow line. I didn't do that on purpose. I should have backed off, but I haven't raced here in a while and I forgot. I didn't really pass anybody, but I should have backed off and fell back a little bit and I would have been okay. Today, we used the yellow line. We got as close to it as we could without going underneath it to protect ourselves. If somebody wanted to go down there, it was up to them. We saw cars going below it in wrecks and spinning around. I don't know what happened in all of those wrecks, but all I was worried about was missing them. I'm sure Elliott was too."

IS THIS A ONE-RACE DEAL WITH FINCH? "James Finch is a super nice gentleman. I brought him a sponsorship to both Daytona races and Homestead and he said, 'Well, we're gonna run Daytona. We're gonna let you drive Talladega even if we don't have a sponsor.' That's the kind of guy he is. Hopefully, today we did get some sponsorship for him for those races. These things cost a lot of money to put together and take to races, so, hopefully, that will all work out good for us."

COULD YOU RACE SOONER THAN TALLADEGA? "I don't really know. Like I said before, James only has two Winston Cup cars and we used them both here. We need sponsorship and once we secure sponsorship for some more races, then we'll start building some cars and be ready. There are a lot of cars out there for sale. Maybe we'll get one from the Wood Brothers or somebody else, but I really don't know what our future plans are. Hopefully, they're gonna be good and we'll get racing sometime."

YOU WERE 16TH ON LAP 180 AND THEN GOT TO 3RD. HOW DID YOU GAIN SO MUCH? "I drove my blank off. Johnny made some adjustments that one pit stop. We came in and changed tires and that car just took off. I never lifted. You couldn't out there today. If I was inside, I kept it wide open. If I was in the middle it was wide open -- outside it was wide open. Other guys were having to lift and giving me spots and we just kept working our way up through."

HOW DID YOU HELP WARD AT THE END? "I don't know. I was helping myself. I don't think I helped Ward. On the restart, I watched where Ward was gonna go and then I watched was going on behind me and I moved low. Elliott moved high because they were gonna go around him. I really didn't help Ward at all. Elliott got by me on the back straightaway and I gave him a shot and helped him. We were all trying to help each other at the time because once you got a line it's really hard to pass. Those Dodges are fast and I had a little damage to my front end, so I thought it was gonna be tough for me to do anything but just hold my spot. Elliott helped me by just being right there and staying low. That's all I did."

DID NASCAR GO TOO FAR WITH THE RULES CHANGE? "I'd just have to repeat what Elliott said. He's exactly right. The cars were faster in the draft, but they moved around more. That's why the pay us to drive those things and I thought it was great."

-ford racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Geoffrey Bodine