Todd Bodine, driver of the No. 26 Discover Card Taurus, was put on probation by NASCAR for the rest of the season after being involved in a multi-car accident last weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Bodine reacted to the decision before Friday's...
Todd Bodine, driver of the No. 26 Discover Card Taurus, was put on probation by NASCAR for the rest of the season after being involved in a multi-car accident last weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Bodine reacted to the decision before Friday's NASCAR Winston Cup practice session.
TODD BODINE --26-- Discover Card Taurus
AFTER THE ACCIDENT LAST WEEK, DID YOU EXPECT IT TO GET TO THIS POINT WHERE YOU'RE NOW ON PROBATION?
"No, not at all. You've got to have a punishment that fits the crime. If this was standard punishment for this crime, then I would understand it a little better. There isn't a driver on the track that hasn't made a mistake, and then there are some that have made big ones like I did. If they had the same punishment, so be it. Everybody has an opinion. NASCAR has its opinion and they felt this was what was necessary. Do we agree with it? No. Do some people agree with it? Probably. Regardless, we've got to abide by what they tell us to do."
WHEN YOU GOT OUT OF THE CAR YOU REALIZED THAT YOU WERE GOING TO BE BLAMED. YOU FELT IT WAS A RACING ACCIDENT AT THE TIME. AFTER HAVING SOME TIME TO THINK AND VIEW THE TAPE, HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR MIND AT ALL?
"A little bit in that I don't feel like I did wrong, I feel like I made a mistake in judgement. It wasn't a thing where I said, 'Hey, I'm gonna go three-wide and pass both of these guys because they're messing around.' I was gonna run into Ward or I was gonna go below him. I chose to go below him and that wasn't the mistake. The mistake was I gave him too much room and got in the grass. I've only watched the tape once and it made me sick to my stomach to watch it because I feel that bad about it. There was plenty of room between Ward and myself and that's what I was trying to do. I tried to give them plenty of room so I wouldn't get into them. I was trying to do the right thing, but it ended up I was too far over and into the grass. It wasn't an intentional thing. That's where I think people are going to make the judgement and say things like, 'He was driving over his head,' or 'He was being too aggressive,' and it wasn't that at all. You go back to the run before that when we were fifth on the restart. We started backing up and I was pulling over letting people go. I was trying to do the right thing and trying to do the right thing in this situation turned out to be the wrong thing."
DO YOU FEEL AS THOUGH YOU'RE GETTING THE KIND OF REPUTATION WHERE YOU'RE ALWAYS GOING TO GET BLAMED FOR AN ACCIDENT?
"A little bit. This year, in particular, I've been involved in some incidents. There have been three in Winston Cup and four or five in Busch, but there have been only two times where I've made the mistake and caused the wreck. I think in some incidents when a driver gets in an accident and then goes on TV and runs their mouth, that has a ripple effect. People remember that for a long time. So, the next time Todd Bodine is involved in an accident it's like, 'He's always in something,' because they remember what was said before. It's just a snowball and ripple-effect that keeps going."
HOW DO YOU CHANGE THAT?
"Just by hard work and trying to stay out of trouble and doing the right things. Honestly, I've been trying to do that but it seems the harder I try, the worse it gets. It's like I said about the run before that accident. I was getting out of everybody's way. I was slower than them and I wasn't holding anybody up. I was out there just trying to drive sensibly and do the right things. Then in one split second in time I made a mistake."
YOU COME TO A PLACE LIKE MARTINSVILLE NOW WHERE THERE'S A LOT OF BUMPING AND BANGING. MENTALLY, HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THIS PROBATION?
"I've got to put it all out of my head and do what I normally do and what I've been trying to do and that's race clean and courteous. I've tried to do the right things and that's what I've got to go out and continue to do. The only way to get respect back is by earning it and I feel like I've got to earn it."