DAYTONA BEACH, FLA., (February 15, 2008) – The Craftsman Truck Series provided yet another thrilling three-wide finish in the ninth annual Chevy Silverado 250 as Todd Bodine was able to keep his No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota out front to win by .080 seconds after being split by Kyle Busch and Johnny Benson in the tri-oval as they were approaching the checkered flag.
The win marked Bodine’s first win at Daytona International Speedway in 34 starts in three different series and his fourth top-five finish in four Craftsman Truck starts at the “World Center of Racing.” His previous highest finish was second, which he accomplished twice – once in the Nationwide Series in 1997 and the other in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2006.
“I came here three years as a crew member, 17 years now driving, finished second and third, crashed hard, burned a couple times — this is finally it,” Bodine said. “Twenty years to get here, we’re here. I was worried because we were really loose. I was fighting it pretty hard on the last two laps. Kyle’s pretty notorious for driving hard. You always worry about him driving hard, but we’ve become pretty good friends.
“I knew he wasn’t going to turn me or anything like that. If he couldn’t get to the outside and have Johnny go with him, I knew I was okay. This is great. Geoff’s been here before. Brett deserves to be here. Finally I got here.”
Bodine’s brother Geoff is the 1986 Daytona 500 champion.
The Craftsman Truck Series has consistently supplied exciting finishes in the nine years that it has run at Daytona International Speedway, with the largest margin of victory being .318 seconds in 2001.
Busch, who finished second, had his hands full with an ill-handling truck throughout the race but was able to muscle his truck around the track and stay in the top-10. He passed two trucks on the outside coming to the entrance of pit row on the last round of pit stops and picked up five more spots due to a quick stop by his No. 51 NOS Energy Drink crew, bringing him out in third.
“My truck was bouncing all over the place all night,” Busch said. “We didn’t have a truck that would handle very good, so we were all over the place.”
Benson and the No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles team also had to overcome a lot to pick up their third-place finish. Damage sustained in an accident during practice left them unable to take part in qualifying and gave them a 35th place start. Because of work done to the truck to ready it for the race, he had to move back one more place to start at the rear of field.
Toyota swept the top-four spots under the lights at Daytona International Speedway Friday night. Toyota has had at least one truck finish in the top-three since their inaugural season in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2004.
Todd Bodine, pole-sitter Erik Darnell and rookie Justin Marks dominated the top-three spots for the majority of the race.
After the last pit stop, Darnell, who was running second, felt a vibration and slowed to bring his No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford back down pit row. Marks did not have time to react and got into the back of Darnell and both drivers received extensive damage to their trucks. It was the first time since 2005 that the pole-sitter did not go on to win the race.
Despite the damage, Marks, who was making his first start on the high banks of Daytona, was able to finish his No. 9 Construct Corps Toyota in eighth as the top finishing rookie.
Tickets for Saturday’s Camping World 300 Presented by Chevy are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or at the gate.
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