Martinsville, VA — Making his 775th career NASCAR national series start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, two-time champion Todd Bodine was ready for short track battle in the No. 11 Toyota Care Tundra. After starting from the 12th position, Bodine made contact with the wall while battling inside the top-10 in the opening 20 laps of the event. A chain reaction on the following restart produced further damage to Bodine’s Tundra and ultimately left him with a 22nd place finish.
Pleased with results from a test prior to the Martinsville race weekend, Bodine and his team were confident in their chances at the Virginia-based short track. After searching for the right balance and enough drive off of the corner during both practice sessions on Friday, crew chief Rick Gay made changes for qualifying to Bodine’s Tundra that helped him secure the 12th starting position.
“The Onion” wasted no time after the green flag dropped as he carefully picked off the competitors in front of him one by one. Shortly after moving inside the top-10 after 20 laps of racing, Bodine pushed up into the outside wall coming off of turn four, causing right side damage to his Toyota Care Tundra. The yellow flag waved shortly following the incident, and Gay elected to bring Bodine down pit road to assess and repair the damage. After the pit stop, Bodine restarted just outside the top-25 due to the amount of trucks ahead of him that chose to stay out instead of coming to pit road.
Just after retaking the green flag, Bodine fell victim to a typical short-track domino effect as some competitors bunched up as they took off around him. While some had the chance to slow down in time, those around Bodine did not and the No. 11 Tundra was hit from behind and pushed into the truck in front of it as well. Thankfully, another caution period came just a few laps later and gave the Toyota Care crew a chance to repair the extensive damage. Both incidents seemed to change the handling for Bodine and though they occurred within the first 35 laps of the event, he was unable to regain the speed he had prior to the damage. Despite the handling conditions he battled with for the remainder of the afternoon, Bodine steered clear of any further trouble to bring home a 22nd place finish.
“Typical Martinsville short track racing gave us trouble early today and contact with the wall and a jam up on a restart gave our Tundra some damage. This Toyota Care crew did a great job making repairs to the damage we did receive and that’s the difference between finishing where we did and much further back. We just couldn’t make enough adjustments to put us back where we were in the opening laps and get a better finish,” Bodine said.