Saturday, June 11, 2022

INTERVIEW: Todd Bodine on the start of his Truck Series career, and his march to 800 starts

PHOTO: Brock Beard

by Brock Beard
LASTCAR.info Editor-In-Chief

Prior to practice at the Sonoma Raceway on Friday, June 10, I spoke with Todd Bodine, driver of the #62 Camping World Toyota in the Door Dash 250.

One team you drove for in Cup and Trucks was Don Arnold at Arnold Motorsports. Tell me about that.

Don't call it Don Arnold. He was in it for six months, and that was it. When we first started, it was ‘04 and then full-time in ’05, it was Germain Racing. (Just the Truck team or also the Cup team?) Cup was just a couple of races to have fun. That was Arnold, that was in ’04 for a little bit, but it wasn’t a big deal. was you know, for a little bit but wasn't a big deal. . . Don was an early partner that they bought out early. But it was all Germain. (With Arnold), it was run a couple races, and he figured out it cost way too much money and didn't want to be a part of it.

When you drove for Germain Racing, was the intent to build the program into a Cup team?

No, we were very happy with the Truck Series. As a racer, you want to be a part of anything that gives you the opportunity to be more successful. And with that Truck Series, that truck team, and the support of Toyota TRD, we had everything we needed to be successful. And that's all you want. It wasn't about getting to Cup, and we didn't care about getting to Cup. It was about racing the Trucks and winning championships and races. And that's what we did. Mike Hillman, Sr. put the team together and brought Mike Jr. in as a crew chief. And from so many years of being in the sport, they knew good people to hire. And they were very fortunate that every person they hired on the team was a good worker and good at their job. And we really had one of the probably first super teams in the Truck Series and we didn't have a weak point. And like I said with the backing of Toyota and TRD and all their technical support. We were the first ones to go out and really show that this is how it should be done. We kind of took the model off of a Cup team and the way things were done and applied it to the Truck Series. And it proved out to be what you need to do.

What did you do to prepare for this race?

I ran the sim a little bit a couple of weeks ago. Didn't make many laps without spinning out (laughs). It was interesting to say the least - a sim is so different than real life, something like this. And I've done that for the ovals. . .I just think that to do it on this road course. . .there's too many variables that made it not realistic for me. I mean, there's no way that it's gonna be that loose, and that free. Just spin out that easy. Now some of these guys do some of these kids got in there, they make laps and they can make time and they're fast. But they're kids and they grew up with video games. If you treat it like a video game, it's a whole different thing. So I'm not too worried about it. I mean, am I going to be the fastest? No, not by a longshot. I'll be middle of the pack. It's about being here, having fun, making the laps, and having another race.

How did you pick these last few races to reach 800 starts?

Well, there's really no science to it. I sat down with my boss at FOX, she gave me nine races, that she would be okay with me not being on the show. Out of those nine races, I had to pick six. The first criteria for picking the races that I was going to run is what racetracks and can we have the most fun after the race?. . .We want to win races. We're here to win the race. But it's really about having fun for six races, enjoying it. I've been doing this my whole life. And when you do it as a profession, you don't get to enjoy it as much as you should, because you're so focused on winning and doing well and the things that you got to do. These six races aren't about that. These six races are about having fun, enjoying the sport that I grew up loving my whole life, and that's what we're doing. We raced Vegas - how can you not have fun in Vegas? Darlington is my favorite track of all time. Texas, I won six races there, so we had to run there. Here at Sonoma, we’ll be staying for two days after the race tomorrow and we're going to wine country and tours and different things and having fun. We got friends out here. Then going to Nashville - that's the next race, and we're gonna stay for a couple days after the race and have fun. And then we're gonna wind it up with Pocono. Pocono was as close to home as I could get. But we my wife is from that area, and we've got a lot of friends there. We're going to have to have like 125 Tickets for the grandstands. And NASCAR has been really good at getting letting us have people come in the garage area. And then after that race that night, one of our local friends has a pub in town and we're gonna have a retirement party. And that's gonna be it.

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