Veteran Todd Bodine tames Darlington
DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Experience usually rules at Darlington Raceway -- and almost no truck racer had more experience there than Todd Bodine.
Now, Bodine can add a Camping World Truck Series victory to his Darlington success.
Bodine led the final 47 laps and held off pole-sitter Timothy Peters in the final two restarts to take the Too Tough To Tame 200 on Saturday night.
"Knowing the little things that make you go fast and the little things that make you go slow. That means a lot," Bodine said. "Experience is definitely a big part of running well at Darlington."
Bodine had made 38 starts at Darlington before this weekend, which included a Nationwide Series win in 2003 when he slid over the finish line after a last-lap tangle with Jamie McMurray.
"After this race, it's something like 6,700 laps I've run around here," Bodine said. "That's a lot of experience."
All of it helped him take the checkered flag in the series' first visit to Darlington in six years.
Bodine, 46, was one of the old hands at the rookie drivers' meeting who cautioned them to temper the aggressiveness on Darlington's egg-shaped layout.
"I put the fear of the 'Lady in Black' in them," he said.
But it was Bodine who stayed poised and patient while Peters and Ron Hornaday Jr. led 76 of the first 100 laps.
During the seventh caution, Bodine pounced and remained out on the track when other front-runners ducked in for fuel and tires.
"Todd does a good job saving gas," crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. said. "And we figured if everybody was staying out, we'd be playing good."
Bodine went the final 71 laps without pitting. He finished a half-second in front of Peters. Darlington veterans in Hornaday Jr. and Johnny Sauter took third and fourth.
It was Bodine's second consecutive truck win after last week at Nashville and he lengthened his series points lead to 231 over Aric Almirola.
Peters thought he had a good run on Bodine, but had to deal with slower trucks on the track, many with drivers unfamiliar with Darlington's quirky surface and layout.
"It can steal your momentum," Peters said.
Bodine will try and win for the third time in 12 days when the trucks race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday night. He doesn't plan to takes his eyes off the week-to-week grind no matter how large his championship points lead.
"There's too many variables in racing. Too many things you can't control that can take you out of it," Bodine said. "It's never over and we're not going to approach it that way."
The truck series had run at Darlington from 2001 through 2004. Timing, along with Darlington losing one of its two NASCAR weekends in 2004, kept the trucks from coming back until this year.
A crowd of about 15,000 was on hand.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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