While the rest of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series campaign is enjoying a much deserved weekend off, the same can’t be said for Germain Racing and 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Todd Bodine.
Instead of taking the opportunity to work on their trucks, or enjoy Lake Norman, the group will unveil their latest project this weekend at Gateway International Raceway as Bodine and Co. have built a TOYOTA Camry in preparation for Saturday night’s Gateway 250.
Business has picked up at the team’s Mooresville shop, and the step up, if you will to the NASCAR Busch Series puts the rest of the competition on their toes not only for this weekend but for the remaining nine NBS events the team plans to run this season.
Rumor in the garage is that Bodine, who’s enjoyed monstrous success in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, will return to NASCAR’s minor league series next year with the determination to give Japanese manufacturer TOYOTA their first stock car championship. If the rumors become a reality, Bodine is the cream of the crop for 2008.
In 19 years of NASCAR Busch Series competition, Bodine has racked up 316 starts, 15 wins, 89 top fives, 157 top-10s and seven poles. Bodine’s stats have proven that he’s a fighter. With that comes the fierce competitor that he is, not to mention his unique driving style we’ve all become accustomed to.
Bodine’s lone start of the year came at The Milwaukee Mile last month when the Chemung, New York native stepped in for NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and fellow TOYOTA colleague Dave Blaney aboard Todd Bruan’s No. 10 Camping World Camry.
The results were smashing. After qualifying strongly in the top-10, Bodine found some trouble with a fellow Camping World machine driven by newbie Tim McCreadie. Despite a wrinkled fender, the damage would prove to be no match for Bodine as he thundered from the back of the pack to capture sixth in his first outing ever driving a TOYOTA Camry in race competition.
“I love my TOYOTAS,” said Bodine in Milwaukee. The muscle that his No. 10 Camping World TOYOTA showed gives Bodine plenty of confidence that his No. 03 Germain TOYOTA will be as good, if not better when the team unloads for practice Friday.
Bodine is competing at a track that has been plenty kind to him in the past. In all, Todd, the youngest of the Bodine racing clan has acquired six Busch starts and from 1998 to 2000. He posted three consecutive top-10 finishes with a best finish of third driving the No. 66 Phillips 66 machine in 2000.
Extending the records just a bit, Bodine has also found victory lane at the Illinois track last season driving the No. 30 Lumber Liquidators TOYOTA Tundra after starting third. His other previous start for Fiddleback Racing yielded a seventh place finish also carrying the TOYOTA banner.
Luckily, Bodine doesn’t have to go far to find good help for the race. His entire NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series crew will all take a leap for their driver and look to give Germain Racing a good, strong and potential dominant showing.
“We are all really excited and prepared to take the next step to run TOYOTA’s in another division and be as competitive as we are in the trucks,” said crew chief and leader Mike Hillman, Jr.
Hillman, Jr. knows that taking a jump to the Busch Series is not a walk in the park, but with a veteran driver and a well defined crew that he has helped assemble at Germain Racing, it sure makes his work a whole lot easier.
Germain Motor Company, Lumber Liquidators, Team ASE and Snap-On will all sport their decals on Bodine’s automobile in his seventh NBS attempt at Gateway.
TOYOTA has been kind to Bodine at Gateway in the trucks. And Bodine knows he can win at Gateway. So don’t be surprised if he will attempt to glorify the executives with their first NASCAR Busch Series win this Saturday night in his Busch debut for Germain Racing.