Motorsports Insider: Fort Worth has treated Todd Bodine well, and maybe it will again

Posted Wednesday, Jun. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information Series update Sprint Cup Wild card: How much does a win help? Tony Stewart, out of the top 20 a week ago, is now the wild-card leader thanks to his victory last week. Hamlin disappointment: Denny Hamlin is back where he started. His 36th-place finish last week wiped out the gains he had made the previous two weeks. He is 74 points out of 20th. Two weeks ago, he was 76 points out. He had gotten within 53 points. Gen-6 speed: Seven qualifying records have been set this year. Nationwide Iowa debut: Regan Smith will put down his first laps at Iowa this week. He has 114 Nationwide starts, but none at Iowa. He’s driving for JR Motorsports. Camping World Truck Gaughan streak: Brendan Gaughan has shot up the driver standings with four consecutive top-fives. He was 28th before the streak and comes to TMS in third. He is a four-time winner in Fort Worth. TMS debut: Jeb Burton, second in the driver standings, will make his first run at TMS. But his crew chief, Mike Hillman Jr., won six times at TMS with Todd Bodine. IndyCar Tight standings: Last year, 100 points separated the leader from 10th place in the driver standings. This year, it’s 57. Four drivers have led the series. Four, four, four, four: Scott Dixon’s two fourth-place finishes in Detroit last weekend gained him four spots in the standings — to fourth. NHRA Breakthrough: Shawn Langdon has four career wins, three of them coming this season. The latest was last week at Englishtown, N.J. He leads the Top Fuel standings. Funny Car: Matt Hagan is at the top of the standings after last week’s runner-up finish. Five drivers have been the leader in nine events this year. 87.5Percent of Tony Stewart’s Sprint Cup victories that have come in June and beyond (42 of 48). They said it “It’s really unique. There are 25 guys who can win a race, and I don’t think there is any other championship where you can say that.” IndyCar Series driver James Jakes, on the six winners from six countries in seven races so far.

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Todd Bodine is in Fort Worth this week, and right now, that’s got to be one of the highlights of the season for the veteran NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver.

He can breathe some Texas air, eat some Texas food and again step foot on a track that has given him a lot of good times. In fact, the best times of his career.

The 49-year-old from Chemung, N.Y., won six times during a 12-race span at Texas Motor Speedway from 2004 to 2010. He won both his series championships in that stretch.

“Texas, I’ve won there six times,” he said. “Definitely a special place. I love running there.”

But Bodine is not thinking about championships. He’s thinking more about making quality laps for ThorSport Racing, which has him in the No. 13 truck, sharing a crew with ThorSport’s ARCA team for driver Frank Kimmel.

“Two vehicles, one race team. It’s not easy,” Bodine said.

He is not complaining. ThorSport has good resources — Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter are first and fourth in the driver points in the truck series, and Kimmel leads the ARCA series.

But Bodine is itching for a chance to prove his worth. He’s in his first year with ThorSport. Last year, he drove for Red Horse Racing. He’s been a vagabond since Germain Racing, where he won his championships, closed shop in 2011. He won 21 times for Germain. He’s only won once since.

“We knew what we were signing up for,” Bodine said. “You always hope for the best, and we’re working hard. But we knew it was going to be difficult on these guys.”

Bodine is going to do everything he can for the truck team. Everyone’s reputation, and his own career hopes, are riding on it.

“Why would I think about retiring?” he said. “It’s not time to retire. I still enjoy this. I still think I can do this. The time will come eventually, but it’s not here yet.”

Kanaan’s day

Tony Kanaan, whose victory in the Indianapolis 500 proved so popular in the IndyCar garage, is in for some pomp in Mansfield on Thursday.

Kanaan is getting a key to the city, which is declaring it “Tony Kanaan Day in Mansfield.” Mansfield is the headquarters for sponsor Mouser Electronics, whose name was on the car Kanaan drove to victory at Indy.

The celebration begins with Kanaan’s arrival at Mouser, 1000 N. Main St. in Mansfield, at 5 p.m. Fans are encouraged to arrive early.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @calexmendez

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