Todd Bodine won the Kroger 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Kentucky Speedway in an exciting finish by inches over Greg Biffle. Bodine and Biffle were banging fenders though turn four and coming to the checkered flag. Biffle slid sideways as the...
Todd Bodine won the Kroger 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Kentucky Speedway in an exciting finish by inches over Greg Biffle. Bodine and Biffle were banging fenders though turn four and coming to the checkered flag. Biffle slid sideways as the cars approached the line, giving a very slight advantage to Bodine (the victory margin was only 0.036 seconds.) Biffle spun into the infield after he passed the flagstand.
Biffle had gotten the jump on Bodine on a restart from a red flag with only three laps to go. Cleanup from a blown engine on Hermie Sadler's car had caused the race stoppage, called by NASCAR officials so the race could finish under a green flag condition. Prior to the red, on lap 190 (of 200), Bodine had passed Biffle on the outside to take the lead, his first of the day.
Tony Rains finished third, followed by polesitter Scott Riggs, Scott Wimmer, Jamie McMurray, Kerry Earnhardt, Ricky Hendrick, Kenny Wallace and Shane Hall, the only cars remaining on the lead lap.
Several fast cars were caught off-sequence on their pit stops when the yellow flag was waved to clean up debris on lap 173 after many cars had made green flag stops putting them behind by a lap. Of those, only Biffle and Hendrick were able to remain on the lead lap after the debris caution. Other drivers who had contended during the race had departed the race with blown engines, including Ron Hornaday, Jr. on lap 104 and Jason Keller on lap 143. Keller's early departure spoiled his chance to move up in the points after Jack Sprague's earlier accident.
The race was stopped last night on lap 86 (of 200) when heavy rains doused the racetrack at about 9:30 pm., and was restarted at 1 pm this afternoon under mostly sunny skies. The top ten for today's restart was Biffle, Keller, Jay Sauter, Tim Sauter, Tony Raines, Brian Vickers, Mike Wallace, Randy LaJoie, Kevin Lepage, and Kevin Grubb.
Last night, at the start of the race, pole-sitter Riggs took the lead and pulled out to a 4 car-length lead over second-qualifier Jay Sauter, with Sprague, Jason Keller, and Larry Foyt falling in line behind. Before the leaders could complete a full lap, two cars, driven by Bodine and Stanton Barrett, drifted wide in turn 3. Bodine caught his slide, but Barrett spun into the wall and was out of the race. Bodine fell back from the top ten to 18th place.
When the green flag flew again to start the third lap, Hornaday made one of his famous restarts, coming from 9th position to pass Sauter for second place. Wimmer also started well and passed Sauter on lap four and Hornaday on lap five.
The race stayed green until lap 36, when Hank Parker Jr. had contact with Johnny Sauter in turn 2 and spun hard into the wall. Parker's car was too damaged to continue. Prior to that yellow, the front group was having a great battle, with Riggs leading Jay Sauter, Wimmer, Keller, Hendrick, Biffle, and Jack Sprague, all of them lined up nose-to-tail. Hendrick had been especially impressive over the segment, passing eight cars in that time.
Biffle waited out the overnight break as the leader after he got a strong restart from the race's fourth caution flag on lap 73. When the rains came, the race had just been slowed for the fifth time by a crash involving Sprague, Bobby Hamilton, Jr., and Foyt. Sprague, running sixth, had gotten loose in turn 4 and spun into Hamilton, sending them both into the outside wall. As other drivers tried to avoid that wreck, Foyt was hit and sent hard into the wall near the start-finish line.
The win was Bodine's first Busch series victory of the 2002 season and the 14th of his career. He leaves Kentucky with the 16th position in Busch Series points. Sprague still leads the points following the race, with Riggs 68 points behind in 2nd, Biffle another 42 back in 3rd and Keller 4th only 19 points behind Biffle.
After a Kentucky Speedway record crowd of 71,299 showed up for last night's racing, only 18,111 spectators returned today for the completion of the event.