His engine sputtered early in the race. And he was unable to overcome winner Kyle Busch despite a series of late-race restarts in Wednesday night’s caution-filled O’Reilly 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Yet Todd Bodine, who drives for locally owned Germain Racing, climbed out of his No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota wearing a big smile following the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event.
The second-place effort lifted the team to the No. 4 position in the season points standings.
“We’ve struggled the last month and a half, running really well and getting caught up in wrecks, and just dumb things happening,” Bodine said. “Last week, we got third in Nashville and we got second tonight. So hopefully we got this Germain race team turned around and going in the right direction again.”
Bodine said he was concerned about his truck’s engine coughs early on.
“The last half of the race it didn’t do it, but it did it really bad there one time. It kind of worried me, but it didn’t do it after that. I was keeping it cleaned out really good on the restarts and on the cautions and trying to keep it cleaned out.”
Busch’s No. 51 Toyota was the class of the field, as the hottest driver in NASCAR captured his 17th victory of the year, including his Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series endeavors.
Bodine’s Germain Racing teammate, Justin Marks, finished 22nd.
The next race for the truck series will be the Camping World 200 on Sept. 6 at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis.
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Germain Racing’s Mike Wallace is among the entries for tonight’s Nationwide Series event at Bristol, the Food City 250.
Wallace goes into the event eighth in the series points standings. He is 40 points behind seventh-place Busch, who has started 21 Nationwide Series events this year compared to Wallace’s 25. Wallace has one top-five finish to his credit and six top-10s.
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Though he was not one of the eight cars on the lead lap at the end of the race, Naples’ Billy Bigley Jr. racked up another top-10 finish Wednesday night in USAR Hooters Pro Cup action on Bristol’s high banks.
In the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division event, Bigley finished one lap down to winner Caleb Holan of Abingdon, Va.
It was Bigley’s eighth Pro Cup appearance of the season and he racked up top-10 finishes in all but two of those outings.
Bigley is fourth in the Southern Division points standings.
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The Immokalee Regional Raceway drag strip hosted its 13th points race of the season this past weekend. Also on the card was the Hameetman Racing Engines-sponsored Quick 16 race.
The Quick 16 “bump” was a 4.69 and the No. 1 qualifier ran a 4.33, making for some really fast — and close — competition. In the final round, No. 9 qualifier Mark Brown won over No. 16 qualifier Wayne McCall by running dead-on (4.61) with a .514 RT. McCall logged a 4.72 ET on a 4.69 dial with a .529 RT.
Combo class honors ultimately went to Larry Langley over Trevor Beard. Langley posted a 5.31 ET on a 5.30 dial with a .522 RT. Beard ran a 7.38 ET on a 7.37 dial with a .526 RT.
In the Sportsman class final, Tom Booher topped Forrest Snell. Booher ran dead-on (6.67) with a .533 RT while Snell ran a 6.68 ET on a 6.69 dial with a .529.
In the Junior Dragster final, Ethan Doty beat Brandon Cullotto by running a 7.93 ET on a 7.90 dial with a .557 RT. Cullotto ran a 8.05 ET on a 7.90 dial with a .501 RT.
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The Sportsman drivers will be back in the spotlight Saturday night at the Charlotte County Motorsports Park in Punta Gorda. They will run a 50-lap feature and Bradenton’s Steve Gainey will be gunning for his fourth straight checkered flag.
The Open Wheel Modifieds will run a 35-lap feature and the Florida Suncoast Outlaw Street Stock machines will do battle. The lineup also includes a Faster Pastor race, the Thunder Trucks, Pro 4 and Fab 4 drivers.
The pit gates on Saturday will open at 9 a.m. Front gates open at 4 p.m. and racing starts at 6.
There will be no practice tonight in lieu of the go-kart action at the 3/8-mile, paved oval.
Last week’s feature event, the United Dirt Late Model Challenge Series 50-lapper, was a quick one. The dirt-track specialists seemed to like the pavement as it took winner Johnny Collins of Jacksonville only 13 minutes to complete the caution-free event.
A recap of last week’s top feature finishers follows:
* Legends — 1. Josh Williams; 2. Codey Benoit; 3. Chelsea Schilling.
* Fastrucks — 1. Ross Chastain, 2. Dustin Breeden; 3. Mario Romay.
* Thunder Trucks — 1. Wally Smith; 2. Randy Kile; 3. Tom Pryor.
* Road Warriors — 1. Chris Onken; 2. Chris Scott; 3. Jeff Firestine.
* United Dirt Late Models — 1. Johnny Collins; 2. Mike Bresnahan; 3. Mark Whitener.