Handling plagues Bodine at Dover

An evil-handling No. 13 SealMaster Toyota plagued defending Lucas Oil 200 race winner Todd Bodine Friday at Dover International Speedway and the end result was a two-laps-down 19th-place finish for the two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion.

The ThorSport Racing driver's finish, coupled with Ron Hornaday Jr.'s 12th-place run, dropped Bodine from a tie with Hornaday for 14thin the championship coming into the sixth race of the season to a tie for 15th with Tim George Jr., who smacked the wall late in the Dover race and finished 25th.

 

Bodine is now 22 points behind former ThorSport driver Dakoda Armstrong, who is 10th in the standings, but Bodine's encouraged as the series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for Friday evening's WinStar World Casino 400k, the seventh race of the season.

 

ThorSport's trio battled alternately loose and tight handling throughout practice day last Thursday, particularly through the bumpy Turns 3 and 4, and while their race runs were decent, all three trucks were lacking sheer speed compared to the competition.

 

Bodine was 18th of 35 trucks on the practice 1 speed chart with his best of 17 laps a 24.251-second, 148.447 mph run. Bodine ended Happy Hour in 27th, after running 21 laps with his best in 24.422 seconds, 147.408 mph. Bodine's best lap of the day was 23rd-fastest overall.

 

But while his ThorSport teammates, point leader Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter, both picked-up considerable speed in qualifying Friday morning, Bodine did pick up half a second, but only lined-up 25th for the race, his sixth start for ThorSport, all this season.

 

The race was a continuation of the frustration that crew chief Jeriod Prince and his team had experienced the day before. Bodine's truck struggled with handling that was alternately loose and tight in the same ends of the track and never really achieved a comfortable balance.

 

Bodine was 17th on the overall rundown at the halfway point and at one point was running as high as 13th, but shortly after that on a green-flag pit stop exchange the truck lost a lap that it was never able to make up, and ultimately it lost a second lap before finally finishing 19th.

 

The series now moves to Texas, where Bodine has won six times, the last four of those victories coming in the early summer races in 2006-2007 and 2009-2010.

 

Thorsport PR

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Steven B. Wilson

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