BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 8, 1999) As of April 8, 1999 - As his 50th birthday approaches (April 18), Geoffrey Bodine prefers to look back to the future. "Fifty?" Bodine said. "Are you sure I'm not turning 40? Because I feel 40!" Bodine must feel...
BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 8, 1999) As of April 8, 1999 - As his 50th birthday approaches (April 18), Geoffrey Bodine prefers to look back to the future. "Fifty?" Bodine said. "Are you sure I'm not turning 40? Because I feel 40!"
Bodine must feel like he has raced that many times at Bristol Motor Speedway, site of this Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup Series Food City 500.
He has taken the green flag at Bristol 33 times. Bodine has 13 top-5 starts here, including three Bud Poles and five 2nd-place starts, as well as six top-5 finishes. His most recent top-5 finish at the .533-mile oval was in 1994, while he was both driver and owner. Bodine finished 4th and led 160 laps that spring.
Bodine's heyday at Bristol was during his tenure with Hendrick Motorsports. He recalls one particular race, the 1988 Food City 500.
"I was driving for Rick Hendrick in 1988 and Waddell Wilson was the crew chief," he said. "That team/driver combination had a great history at Bristol. Almost every time we went to Bristol we started on the front row and had several close-to-winning experiences.
"This particular race was no different. We started 3rd and stayed up front all day. The end of the race was winding down and it was obvious Mark Martin, Bill Elliott and I had the fast cars. It came time for the final pit stop, and my crew chief decided we'd stay out because our pit stops were not quite as strong as they needed to be. So there I was, leading the race and here they come with new tires. Needless to say, a lesson was learned in 1988. Tires get you where you want to be at Bristol, not track position."
Bodine had 12 starts at Bristol with Hendrick. In those 12 races, he claimed three Bud Poles, 10 top-5 starts and 12 top-10 finishes. He also finished 3rd four times and had five top-5 finishes.
In team news, Richie Letender, jackman for the Power Team Chevrolet, was injured in Texas while jacking for Barry Bodine's NASCAR Busch Series car. Richie was hit on pit road by the No. 37 car driven by Kevin Grubb. Letender's foot was broken in six places and had extensive tendon and ligament damage.
He was immediately flown to his home in Statesville, N.C., and four days later had surgery to repair his foot. The doctors told Letender that he would be able to walk in four to six weeks, but not to expect to return to his role as jackman for at least six months.
Source: NASCAR Online