BUSCH: Bodine, dozen BGN drivers test at Miami

HOMESTEAD (Oct. 11, 2000) – Todd Bodine has run every NASCAR stock car race held in South Florida, but is still looking for his first victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway. On Wednesday, the New York native tested his Phillips 66 Chevrolet ...

HOMESTEAD (Oct. 11, 2000) – Todd Bodine has run every NASCAR stock car race held in South Florida, but is still looking for his first victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

On Wednesday, the New York native tested his Phillips 66 Chevrolet Monte Carlo at the Speedway in hopes of winning the Nov. 11 Miami 300, the 2000 NASCAR Busch Series finale.

Bodine was among 12 drivers testing in preparation for the Nov. 10-12 weekend, which also includes Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 presented by Discount Auto Parts NASCAR Winston Cup race. Good seats are available for both races, and may be ordered by calling the ticket office at (305) 230-RACE, by visiting any Ticketmaster Ticket Center, or order online at www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com.

Bodine has competed in all five runnings of the Miami 300, scoring two top-10 finishes. He also raced in the inaugural Pennzoil 400 last year, finishing 27th in the NASCAR Winston Cup event.

“I’ve always run well here,” Bodine said. “I’ve always had good cars. Unfortunately, I’ve never had the success that goes with it. Last year, we had a shot to win the Busch race. It was going to be myself or Junior (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and we ended up getting caught up in a wreck at the end of the race. I’ve had bad luck, but I enjoy the racetrack.

“I like South Florida for sure. It’s always nice to come down here to the sunshine and the warm weather. We wish we had a little time to spend down here to relax instead of just practicing.”

Bodine’s strategy on the first of his two-day test session was to learn how different combinations would work on his car.

“A lot of people come down and practice for the race,” Bodine said. “Right now, we’re testing. We’ve got some ideas and things we’re doing. We’re not just trying to go fast, we’re trying to learn what our ideas do at this track. Tonight, we’ll sit down and go through our notes and figure out what we feel is the best and put it all together. Tomorrow, we’ll come out and get set up for the race.”

Other drivers testing on Wednesday at Homestead-Miami Speedway included Hut Stricklin, Ashton Lewis, Jason Leffler, Curtis Markham, David Green, Jason Keller, Michael Ritch, Mike Stefanik, Elton Sawyer, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Petty. Testing concludes on Thursday.


Winston Cup veteran Hut Stricklin tested the No. 88 Pontiac for Jarrett/Favre Motorsports and said there’s a good possibility he’ll be pulling double duty when he returns to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Nov. 11-12 Pennzoil 400 weekend.

Jarrett/Favre Motorsports, which fields the No. 11 Pontiac in a full schedule for Jason Jarrett, will field a second car for Stricklin if sponsorship is secured.

“We ran two teams at Michigan,” Stricklin said. “Jason drove one and I drove the other. We’re working on sponsorship right now. It costs a lot of money to run two cars. Right now, we’re testing here and we’re pretty close to a sponsorship deal to come back here. Hopefully, we can get that deal behind us and run two cars here.”

Stricklin, who drives the No. 90 Hills Bros. Ford in the Winston Cup Series for Junie Donlavey Racing, says his team has kept focus on the job at hand during the test session. “It’s a great place,” Stricklin said. “The weather is beautiful all the time. It’s still serious business though.”

Jimmie Johnson shook down his No. 92 Alltel Chevrolet fielded by Herzog Motorsports. He’s looking forward to returning to Miami and improving on his 39th-place finish in last year’s Busch Series finale.

“Everybody gets a warm, fuzzy feeling about coming to Florida to go racing,” Johnson said. “I’m looking forward to coming back. I hope we’ll have a good time down here. It’s been a good track for me. Big, flat tracks have always been good to our team. With a full year of experience under our belt, I’m looking forward to coming back.”

Curtis Markham tested the No. 29 Hot Rod Magazine Pontiac for Joe Gibbs Racing. Markham plans to make his debut in the car at Phoenix and also race in Miami. Joe Gibbs Racing fields full-time Busch Series teams for Jason Leffler and Jeff Purvis.

“That’ll be the first two races,” Markham said of his schedule. Markham hopes his test session continues to improve. “We had a list of things we wanted to try. So now we have a list of things not to try when we come back,” Markham said.

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Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Todd Bodine , Jason Keller , Jason Leffler , Kyle Petty , Elton Sawyer , Hut Stricklin , Jimmie Johnson , Jeff Purvis , David Green , Jason Jarrett , Ashton Lewis
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing