Geoffrey Bodine, driver of the 09 Miccosukee Taurus, will be making his second NASCAR Winston Cup start of the season when he starts Sunday's Pennzoil 400 from the 35th position. This marks the second time in two attempts that Geoffrey...
Geoffrey Bodine, driver of the 09 Miccosukee Taurus, will be making his second NASCAR Winston Cup start of the season when he starts Sunday's Pennzoil 400 from the 35th position. This marks the second time in two attempts that Geoffrey has qualified a second car from younger brother Brett's team and he spoke about that opportunity as well as his future plans.
GEOFFREY BODINE --09-- Miccosukee Taurus
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN HAPPIER TO QUALIFY 35TH THAN YOU WERE YESTERDAY? "We were happy at Bristol when we ran the Smirnoff car and ran a lot better, but I was both happy and relieved yesterday. This is a tough field to just come in here and try to race against them just once or twice a year, but my brother gave me a good car and Yates built us a great engine. That's what it takes. Yeah, it was close and we kind of just snuck in but we're all pretty darn happy. The last time we made the race at Bristol I called these guys a rag-tag crew and they kind of misinterpreted that. They got a little upset, but it is a rag-tag crew because these guys don't normally come to the track and do this kind of stuff. It doesn't mean their not good, it means they are good because they're doing something they don't normally do. If you can come in and be successful like we've been, and qualifying for a race means you're successful with the competition the way it is now, it's pretty darn good. They've worked hard and it all paid off yesterday in qualifying."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE RACE TOMORROW? "I really believe we have a good race car. It has a lot of downforce and should be a good race car. Of course, everybody says that, but we did test here and that helped tremendously for qualifying and I hope it will pay off for our race setup too. We did a lot of long runs and we think we've got a good, competitive setup. To go out here and think we can compete with the top cars, I feel like we can and I'm going to try, but, realistically, it's an awful tall mountain to try and climb. We're gonna try and climb that mountain, but we want to just go out and have a good race and a good finish and stay out of trouble. The last time I was here racing a Cup car I got in a wreck on the back straightaway when Burton and Dale, Sr. got together and that put us out. We're hoping we can avoid all of that this time."
WHERE ARE YOU AT PERSONALLY WITH YOUR CAREER? DO YOU HOPE THIS LEADS TO SOMETHING FULL-TIME NEXT YEAR? "We know that the Miccosukee Indian and Gaming Tribe only like to do the Homestead race and Daytona. The want to be involved in the Florida races and we appreciate everything they've done for us. They've been with us for five or six years. They're great folks and we appreciate their support, but they're not gonna go any farther than that as far as sponsorship. Brett and I have been trying to work some deals where he had enough sponsorship in it for his team and then have some leftover for me, but with what happened in New York City and Washington and Pennsylvania, and what's happened to our economy, sponsorships are like finding a needle in a haystack -- even worse. So, right now, the main thrust is to get Brett enough money so he can race next year. We got good money for him to bring this car and everything here, so, hopefully, we'll have a good finish and he'll make some money. In the long term, hopefully it will attract a sponsor to his team. By him running two cars and both making the race, that's pretty good for him and his operation. This is not a two-car team that he has. It's underfunded, so we've really almost done the impossible here. Hopefully, it will attract another sponsor to him and he'll be able to get enough money so he can race. If there's something left over, we'll do something. I don't have a Busch ride anymore. I got booted out of there unexpectedly. There are some other teams in the Busch Series that are looking for some drivers and maybe something will happen there for me, but, right now, I don't have anything. I'm just floundering around and I'm trying to prove that I can still drive these things. Bristol was good and what we've done here right now has been good, so, hopefully, that will attract somebody to give me an opportunity to drive."
DO YOU STILL HAVE THE SAME DESIRE NOW TO DRIVE AS YOU DID WHEN YOU STARTED? "Oh yeah. Yesterday was pretty tough. We went out late, which was probably good because it cooled off a little bit, but it was bad because I had to stand there and watch everyone else go out. They all seemed to be picking up quite a bit from practice, so the pressure was on me to get everything I could out of the car and we did. We just squeezed in, but I think that should show people something -- that we can still handle that pressure and we can still drive. I'm just hoping something happens. I'd like to have something good happen in my racing career because lately it hasn't been very good. I'm hoping this will open some eyes and open some doors."
WHEN YOU SEE RICKY CRAVEN GET A CHANCE LIKE HE HAS NOW AND WIN A RACE AFTER SUFFERING A MAJOR INJURY, DOES THAT GIVE YOU OPTIMISM THAT IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU TOO? "Yeah, of course. What Ricky did was he came back from some injuries and won a race. He's doing really well right now, but I'm back from some injuries too. My injuries weren't as bad as his, so I'm very fortunate in that respect, but the one situation I have that Ricky doesn't have is my age. We've seen some older drivers in this sport not go out in a blaze of glory -- they went out in a pretty slow fashion -- and I think that's hurt me. I think some owners probably feel like that's what I'm trying to do, but I'm not because I will not get in a car and go on a race track if I'm not competitive. I just won't do it. I've got too much pride and dignity. I'm not saying that other drivers didn't have that pride and dignity, but what happened late in their career wasn't good and didn't look good. I know my age has an affect on being hired or given an opportunity, but everyone is different. I'm a young 52. I feel that way, I act that way, and I really think I drive that way. I'm just really disappointed because it's not like I didn't win a lot of races before the accident. I won races in everything I was in, and I know I still can with the right opportunity."