Atlanta II: Round 22 preview

Points Tighten But Bodine Boasts Huge Edge In Final Four Races DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 23, 2006) -- A solid finish coupled with the championship leader's bad luck has put Johnny Benson (No. 23 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota) closer to Todd Bodine...

Points Tighten But Bodine Boasts Huge Edge In Final Four Races

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 23, 2006) -- A solid finish coupled with the championship leader's bad luck has put Johnny Benson (No. 23 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota) closer to Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota) than any challenger since June 1.

Just 79 points separate the pair heading into Saturday's EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

For Benson, a four-time winner in 2006, that's the good news.

The former NASCAR Busch Series champion, however, is going to have to overhaul Bodine on tracks on which the latter has excelled.

Bodine no doubt welcomes the championship being decided on 1.5-mile speedways. Three of the four final races -- Atlanta, Texas Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway -- are 1.5-mile configurations.

Bodine counts seven 1.5-mile victories including two in 2006. (See chart below.)

He won in Atlanta in March, edging Mark Martin (No. 6 Scotts Ford), and heads to Texas on Nov. 3 pursuing a third consecutive victory.

Bodine is the defending winner at both Phoenix and Homestead -- tracks that completed a three-win streak that closed out the 2005 season and elevated Bodine's team to third in the championship.

And Bodine's take on all of this? He's not overconfident -- no matter what the record book says.

"We've got the good experience and we've got the confidence, but we aren't looking at any of the final four races as guarantees," said Bodine. "We have to stay on top of our game and keep focused."

-credit: nascar

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Johnny Benson , Mark Martin