GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 23 Hills Bros Coffee Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Bodine didn't go to Memphis and do a rain dance, but he didn't mind the showers that postponed yesterday's NASCAR Busch Grand National race. Kenny Wallace had planned to race a...
GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 23 Hills Bros Coffee Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Bodine didn't go to Memphis and do a rain dance, but he didn't mind the showers that postponed yesterday's NASCAR Busch Grand National race. Kenny Wallace had planned to race a Busch car in Memphis and return to Martinsville to compete in today's Old Dominion 500 in the No. 23 Hills Bros Coffee Dodge Intrepid R/T. The rain kept Wallace in Memphis for the Busch race today and gave Bodine, a 53-year-old NASCAR Winston Cup veteran from Chemung, N.Y., a chance to show his stuff for car owner Bill Davis. Bodine has four Winston Cup victories to his credit at Martinsville, which was also the site of his first Winston Cup victory.
"It's great to get back in a Dodge. The last time I drove a Dodge I believe was 1971 at Pocono in a USAC race. I was driving a Dodge Challenger the first week and it blew up. My team car was a Dodge Daytona. Bill Moyer owned the car. The guy who was driving it, his wife was going to have an operation the next weekend, so they needed me to come back and drive it. I jumped in that big Dodge Daytona with a hemi in it, and I finished 10th. That was the one and only time I've driven a hemi in my career. I've driven 440 wedge engines and small block Chrysler engines but never a hemi. Now I'm back in a Dodge, so that's pretty neat. We slipped in qualifying. We made a adjustment before qualifying to make it better and it made it worse and we didn't run very well. The second practice yesterday, we conferred with the 22 car and they were running really good. We changed our car and it came to life and ran pretty well.
"I believe I've won 15 or 16 total races at Martinsville. The past is great. It's fun to look back at and remember, but that's the past. The present is what people look at, and that's what's important. I still feel like I can get around this track. I feel like I can get around any track. You have to go out there and prove it, so today's the day.
"I used to complain about the rain because I was dumb, but without the rain, without the water, we'd all dry up and die. I don't complain about the rain whether it's in Memphis or here in Martinsville. It's pretty important to all of us. It's tough on Kenny. He wanted to come here and race. I'm glad I'm able to do it today. Hopefully it won't rain here and we'll get in at least 250 laps before it does. The original plan was to come here and qualify, practice the car and get it ready for Kenny to race. Right now, we're in a situation where I can run the race. If that changes, we'll deal with that. I'll be in Atlanta next week and then Homestead. My son is driving a truck, and I'm driving a Busch car and a Cup car at Homestead.
Harry Gant is the oldest driver to win a Winston Cup race and he was 52. Do you think you could break that record today?
"I feel good. I still think I can do it with the right equipment and team. That's so important today. When I first got in this sport there were maybe five good teams. Then there were 10 or 12 and then 15 and now there are 35 good teams out here every week. The competition level is definitely stronger now. If you're not with one of those strong teams with all the resources they have, your chances of winning are slim. It still could happen. We don't give up, but you have to realize reality, and that's reality."
TALK ABOUT WINNING YOUR FIRST CUP RACE HERE
"It was our eighth race together with Rick Hendrick. Harry Hyde was the legendary crew chief. I think it was the day after my birthday. This has been a pretty special place for me with all the wins I've had here, but that first Winston Cup win made it real special. Maybe today will be another win, maybe my last win."
HOW'S THE TRACK?
"They didn't grind it. They dug it up. We were hoping they were going to grind it. It they grinded it, it would have smoothed the bumps out a little bit and that would have been good. We're not quite sure what they did. It's wearing the tires a little more. It might create two lanes for racing. It might be just what we needed, I don't know. We're starting way in the back (41st). We need track position. We might go with a two-tire stop or no tires the first stop. We'll see what happens."
WHAT KIND OF FINISH WOULD YOU BE SATISFIED WHAT WITH TODAY?
"I thought about that last night. I included some of that in my prayers last night. A top 15 would be good. A top 10 would be great, and a win would be unbelievable. I've won races when everyone, including myself, least expected it. Today could be one of those days, who knows. Strange things can happen. Hopefully all good things will happen for us today. This can be a tough place. I need to show people I can still race. You don't want to be stupid out there. You take enough chances every time you go around the track. You need to eliminate the unnecessary chances because they cause trouble."