Todd Bodine returned to the No. 30, the truck number he drove to 21 wins and two championships, in his debut for Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM). Running in the top five for most of the Pocono Mountains 125, Bodine pulled out to a late-race lead and paced the field for 16 laps before a spin on lap 48 sent him to the rear of the field. However, the driver known as “The Onion” made an impressive recovery, finishing 11th at Pocono Raceway.
In his first ever laps in a TSM truck, Bodine immediately proved that he and the No. 30 were a formidable combination. Laying down the seventh-fastest lap in the weekend’s only practice session, Bodine took the green flag from seventh when a qualifying rainout set the field by practice speeds.
After taking the green flag, Bodine quickly bonded with teammate Miguel Paludo, drafting into the second position by lap 12. Bodine radioed crew chief Jimmy Villeneuve that the Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Chevrolet was a bit tight and was having trouble arcing it into Turn 3, but was informed by his spotter that he was “killing them through the tunnel.” Bodine would get an opportunity for adjustments when he made a green-flag pit stop on lap 24, taking four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment.
As green-flag stops cycled through, Bodine advanced through the field, taking the lead on lap 31. Bodine held the top spot for 16 laps, pulling out to an impressive lead. A caution flag on lap 43 tightened up the field, eliminating the distance between Bodine and his competitors. After the restart on lap 47, it appeared that Bodine would once again go to victory lane in the No. 30 truck, but misfortune struck on lap 48 when contact with another competitor sent Bodine spinning. Relegated to restart in the 20th position, it looked like Bodine would finish outside the top-15. However, the veteran’s experience and tenacity paid off in the closing laps, and Bodine fought his way up to the 11th spot in only four laps.
“This race was a bit of a heartbreaker for me,” said Bodine. “There is no doubt in my mind that we could have won this race, and it’s a shame that we had that late-race caution to bunch us up. Unfortunately it put us in a position that resulted in a spin. It felt really good to be running up front and to feel back at home in the No. 30. Turner Scott Motorsports gave me a great truck and a great opportunity. [Crew chief] Jimmy Villeneuve did a really nice job and they gave me one heck of a pit crew. I can’t thank everyone at TSM enough, as well as Whelen Engineering and Team Fox for making this race possible.”
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series takes a week off before heading to Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, August 17. The National Guard 200 will air on Fox Sports 1 (currently SPEED) at 12:30 p.m. EDT.
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