Loudon: Todd Bodine race report

Discover Card crew inching closer after 6th place finish at "The Miracle Mile" It was the survival of the fittest at the track known as the" Miracle Mile". Fourteen caution flags dictated the race pace due to slick track conditions. However,...

Discover Card crew inching closer after 6th place finish at "The Miracle Mile"

It was the survival of the fittest at the track known as the" Miracle Mile". Fourteen caution flags dictated the race pace due to slick track conditions. However, it was the slick calls in the pits and heads up driving by the No. 26 Discover Card team that culminated in the crew's best finish of the season - 6th place.

"It was an entire team effort today," said Bodine. "Heads up thinking in the pits by Donnie (Wingo) and the guys helped us pick up significant track position when racing for it was at times, pretty treacherous. We gambled a little bit by pitting one final time on lap 204 for adjustments and gas. If the race went green the rest of the way, obviously we would have run out of gas. But, we anticipated there would be more cautions, and we were right. I coasted my way, literally, for quite a few laps under those yellow flag periods. We gambled, and it worked."

Since Bodine did not qualify the Discover Card Ford due to a Busch scheduling conflict, he had to drop to the back of the field from 32nd to 42nd when the green flag waved for today's New England 300. Nonetheless, the original loss of track position didn't faze Bodine as he dodged five caution flags within the first 75 laps. It was during this time he radioed to the team to say he needed the car to rotate better through the center of the corners. A series of pit stops under caution on laps 20, 30 and 59 were completed to address the issue. Meanwhile, the biggest issue for drivers was the excess tire rubber build up in turns three and four. Drivers like Tony Stewart, Michael Waltrip and Elliott Sadler did all they could to avoid the wrath of the turns but failed.

With 100-laps to go, Bodine was good to go with the car's handling but needed a boost to break into the top 15. Wingo and the crew decided to roll the dice so-to-speak on lap 203 after Michael Waltrip took a spin in the fourth corner. An air pressure adjustment, four tires and fuel were completed in under 17-seconds. Then with one lap to go before the race went back to green, Bodine was called back to the pits to make sure the tank was topped off with fuel. That's when the team's plan was put into action... race to the end with no more pit stops. Their strategy worked as fuel conservation was made possible thanks to several more caution flags being thrown on laps 232, 242, and 270.

By lap 278, Bodine had worked his way up to seventh place when things started to heat up. Dale Earnhardt Junior drove under the Discover Card car in hopes of making the pass. However, Earnhardt's aggressive move backfired sending him into a spin while Bodine gathered his car back up to capture a well-earned sixth place finish. Ward Burton claimed the New England 300 followed by Jeff Green, Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Ryan Newman and Bodine.

The Discover Card driver went on to add,"I couldn't have asked for a better scenario this weekend. My hats off to my older brother Geoffrey for stepping in and subbing while I was at Gateway for the Busch race. He had a solid qualifying effort in the No. 26 on Friday and backed it up with two really good practices that allowed for me to start off with a good set-up. He got it pretty close. That says something about this Discover Card team. We can start 42nd at New Hampshire and finish 6th. Next week it's Geoffrey's turn to shine in the Discover Card Ford. I've got to stay put in Pikes Peak for the Busch race so what better person to put in the car than Geoffrey. With three career wins at Pocono, my older brother obviously loves that place. He'll have fun driving our car that's for sure."

-h/cm-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Ward Burton , Dale Jarrett , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Jeff Green , Elliott Sadler