DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., -- Todd Bodine has celebrated his 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship enough. Bodine is now ready to turn his attention to historic Daytona International Speedway and the season-opening Chevy Silverado HD 250 on Friday night, Feb. 16 as he chases his first Daytona victory and back-to-back Craftsman Truck Series championships. "You work so many years to get to this point to be the champion," Bodine said at the lunch break on Friday in the DIS Media Center. "Every year you start off at Daytona. You go through the season working your tail off and you get to the end and you didn't quite get there. Well, this year we got there and when we got there -- it's like now what do you do. The only thing I know how to do is go back and go to work and try to do it again. We're definitely looking forward to trying to get it done again." Bodine has never won at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR's premier track, but hopes to change that in the 8th annual Chevy Silverado HD 250. The New York native has finished second and third in the last two Chevy Silverado HD 250s. "It's different ever year," said Bodine, who was 10th fastest in the morning session with a lap of 175.442 mph. "It's a different animal but underneath the skin, it's the same old Daytona. Same bumps, same slick track just a different piece to drive. It's always fun to come down here. It's enjoyable to get back down here and smell the fumes and drive the thing a little bit and get that fix that we needed after the winter. We're ready to go." For Bodine, racing at Daytona International Speedway is not so much physical on the driver, but mentally draining. "The one thing that separates Daytona and Talladega from other race tracks is that these tracks are more mentally demanding than physically demanding," Bodine said. "You run a restrictor-plate race and your brain is fried after the race. Your body is not because it's just not that physically demanding. Your brain, every second you are thinking and looking ahead and looking behind and beside you and what's this guy going to do and what's that guy going to do. Whoever coined that phrase that it's a high -speed chess match hit it right on the head. That's exactly what it is." First out and fastest of the day: Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 6 Roush Racing Ford, was the first driver on track on Friday to kick off the three-day NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series test and he ended up the fastest. Kvapil turned the fastest lap of the morning session with a lap of 178.681 mph in the No. 6A Ford and turned the second fastest lap in the No. 6B Ford with a speed of 178.285. In the afternoon session were drafting sessions were permitted, Kvapil was fastest again in the No. 6B Ford with a lap of 186.521. Kvapil, the 2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, is making a return to the Craftsman Truck Series after a two-year stint driving in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. The Wisconsin native drove the No. 77 Kodak Dodge for Penske Racing in 2005 and the No. 32 Tide Ford for PPI Racing in 2006. "I'm a big race fan, so I never left watching the truck series," Kvapil said. "Definitely in the couple of years that I've been away, the competition level is ever increasing, like in any series does. I know it's going to be tougher this year than any season. "We have a bunch of great teams coming back, and guys like (teammate) Erik (Darnell) are going to be strong right out of the box, and some of the rookies from last year are going to be better. I'm excited about it. In my opinion, Roush Racing is the best team out there in the truck series, for sure. We've got strong trucks and good, veteran crew chiefs now. "Me and Erik, we come from similar backgrounds, so we're going to become really good teammates and help each other out. We're both from the Midwest and Late Models, so I think we're going to click and it's
going make this team even stronger. It's going to take what it always takes - a lot of consistency. You need to win races, but you need to finish every race in the top 10." Go Hoyas: Brendan Gaughan is showing off his school pride during this weekend's test. Gaughan, who graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in business management and played basketball and football for the Hoyas, is showing off the Georgetown name on the panels of his No. 77 Dodge. The reason for the Georgetown stickers is just so Gaughan, who ran at special Georgetown paint scheme in a Craftsman Truck Series race last season, can needle his crew chief Bryan Berry, a University of Miami graduate. "We had a Georgetown decal sitting on a shelf," Gaughan said. "Because my crew chief went to a rival former Big East school, I did it to upset him." NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champions present: This weekend's test at the Daytona International Speedway features a total of six past and present NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champions. The former champions include Mike Skinner, Travis Kvapil, Ted Musgrave, Ron Hornaday, Jack Sprague and current champion Todd Bodine. NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder Fan Fest: The NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder Fan Fest for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will be on Saturday. The NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder Fan Fest events start at 5 p.m. but fans will be able to enter the NEXTEL FANZONE beginning at 9 a.m. to watch all of the exciting testing action. Admissions for the NEXTEL Cup Fan Fest dates are $15 while Busch and Craftsman Truck Series admissions are $10. Fans will be able to get a sneak peek on NASCAR teams as they prepare for Speedweeks 2007 with inquisitive fan forums with many of their favorite drivers as well as enjoying all the state-of-the-art amenities in the popular NEXTEL FANZONE. Also included in NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fests will be bands, show cars, pit stop demonstrations, displays, a silent auction and passenger hot laps around the 2.5-mile tri-oval in pace cars (additional $20). Speedweeks 2007 tickets available: Tickets for Speedweeks 2007 events, including the 49th annual Daytona 500, are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or by logging onto www.racetickets.com
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