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NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Veteran Edges Gunselman In Qualifying

   NASCAR Camping World Truck Series veteran Todd Bodine put his experience in a bobsled to good use Saturday evening when he turned in the fastest time in qualifying for the Fourth Annual Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge at the Olympic Sports Complex.
   As one of two drivers that competed in each of the previous three Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenges, Todd Bodine, younger brother of the challenge’s namesake, recorded afternoon practice runs of 52.14 and 52.26 seconds. As the last driver up in the qualifying round, the younger Bodine turned in a 52.20 in time trials to just edge Larry Gunselman at the top of the board by .01 seconds.
   “We’re not professionals at this, so we just try to get a clean run every time down,” Todd Bodine said. “The cleaner the run, the faster you go, and that was a pretty clean run. We got through [Turn] 17 and down the straight-away good and it just ended up being the fastest run.”
Gunselman, who made 17 starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2008, posted the two fastest afternoon practice times (51.81/51.85), but his qualifying run of 52.21 was bested only by Todd Bodine.
   Morgan Lucas, a NHRA Top Fuel driver, was third-fastest in Saturday’s qualifying at 52.40 seconds.
   Also representing NASCAR in the event is five-time Bodine Bobsled Challenge winner and part-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Boris Said, 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Joey Logano, 2008 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Champion Philip Morris and 2008 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Champion Brian Loftin.
   Among those NASCAR drivers, only Loftin is a bobsledding rookie.
   “I feel like I’m learning a lot every time, but there’s still a long way to go,” Loftin said. “It’s a totally different ballgame, but it’s definitely a lot of fun.”
   Loftin was eighth-fastest in qualifying with a time of 52.82 seconds.
   “It’s a lot more violent, and things happen a lot faster,” Loftin said. “Sixty miles an hour in a bobsled feels like about 150 in a car.”
   Also participating this weekend is road racing specialist Eric Curran and Danny Bagwell from the ISCARS Dash Touring Series along with NHRA racers Jeg Coughlin, J.R. Todd and Bob Vandergriff.
   The brakemen for each of the drivers are New York State National Guardsmen.
   Even host Geoff Bodine, a former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and founder of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, participated in the practice session but did not have a run in time trials. He will compete only in the head-to-head portion of Sunday’s finals.
   The racers pilot specially-made bobsleds down the track in Lake Placid , site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. In Race 1 on Sunday, all the drivers will compete against the clock as they take two runs down the track. Race 2 will feature head-to-head racing between the NASCAR and NHRA drivers, with the winner from each division set to square off in the final heat for bragging rights.
   The Bodine Bobsled Challenge is geared to raise money for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, which was started in 1992 by Geoff Bodine, who partnered with Chassis Dynamics. The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project has built American-made bobsleds for United States athletes competing in the World Cup, World Championships and Olympic Winter Games. Funds raised from the Bodine Bobsled Challenge go directly to this project.
   SPEED channel is set to televise four hours of the Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge on Jan. 18 at noon and Jan. 25 at 2 pm. MRN Radio is also providing live coverage of the Bodine Bobsled Challenge all three days.

Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled ChallengeQualifying
Race Sunday; Qualifying Saturday
Olympic Sports Complex, Lake Placid, N.Y.

      Driver, Time (Secs.)
  1. Todd Bodine,        52.20
  2. Larry Gunselman, 52.21
  3. Morgan Lucas,      52.40
  4(t). Philip Morris,      52.74
  4(t). Jeg Coughlin,     52.74
  6. Eric Curran,           52.76
  7. Joey Logano,        52.78
  8. Brian Loftin,           52.82
  9. Boris Said,            52.87
10. J.R. Todd,              53.14
11. Bob Vandergriff,   53.22
12. Danny Bagwell,     53.30

Source: Jason Cunningham / NASCAR
Posted: January 3, 2009


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