BUSCH: Todd Bodine IRP preview

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. --- Todd Bodine believes Indianapolis Raceway Park owes him one. The Chemung, N.Y. - native has come close to winning the Kroger 200 on more than one occasion, but has managed to come up short of the win each time. Bodine's...

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. --- Todd Bodine believes Indianapolis Raceway Park owes him one. The Chemung, N.Y. - native has come close to winning the Kroger 200 on more than one occasion, but has managed to come up short of the win each time. Bodine's most recent outing at the half-mile oval turned out the same as before. As the driver of the Phillips 66 prepares for the upcoming Kroger 200, he has redemption on his mind. Bodine has seven NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division starts at Indianapolis Raceway Park. In those seven starts Bodine has only two top-10 finishes and one top five. Whether it be mechanical problems or late race accidents, victory lane has eluded Bodine at Indianapolis. "We've had great race cars at Indianapolis just about every time we have raced there," Bodine said. "For some reason, we have never been able to win. It really borders on being ridiculous when I sit back and think about all the problems we've encountered there." Bodine's most recent performance at Indiananapolis has also been his best showing. Bodine finished a close second to winner Jason Keller during the 1999 Kroger 200. Bodine, who started the event in seventh place, paced his charge to the front until the handling on the Phillips 66 Chevrolet came around during the second-half of the race. "A good-handling race car and good pit stops put us in contention for a win last year at IRP," Bodine explained. "We had a great race car on long runs last year at Indianapolis. We didn't have a lot of green flag racing at the end of the race last year, so we didn't get the chance to make a good run at Jason (Keller) for the win. "A lot of caution flags are typical for short tracks like Indianapolis. The track is a little more than half a mile in length and it's pretty flat. There is room for two-wide racing. On small tracks the lead cars quickly get caught up in lapped traffic which tends to bring out the caution flags."

Bodine was in position to score a good finish during the 1997 event at the half-mile oval. Running in the top 10 during the majority of the race, Bodine was caught up in an accident with only eight laps to go. "That's a pretty bitter end to a good night," Bodine recalled. "Randy (LaJoie) won the race that year, and we were gaining on him. My typical luck prevailed and we ended the night pretty far down in the running order." Bodine thought his luck had turned around at IRP in 1998 when he and his Cicci-Welliver Racing team put together a fair qualifying effort of 18th place. Handling problems, however, prevented a top-10 finish. "The list of things that have gone wrong for us at Indianapolis goes on and on, but it still comes back to the same thing - I want a win there," Bodine said. "We hit on a great race set-up there last year, and hopefully some of that will still work for us this year. The new Monte Carlos and the new tire has thrown pretty much everyone in the Busch Series for a loop. "If we can hit on a good racing combination and get a little luck in our corner, this Phillips 66 team should be able to wear them out at Indianapolis."

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Todd Bodine , Jason Keller