Bodine wraps up Truck Series title




 
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November 18th, 2006  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Bodine wraps up Truck Series title




MIKE HARRIS

Associated Press

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Mark Martin made his last race in a Roush Racing truck a memorable one, pulling away for a hard-earned victory Friday night, while Todd Bodine wrapped up the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship with a 21st-place finish.
Martin, who will end a 19-year association with Jack Roush's team in Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, won for the sixth time in 14 truck races this season.
"No. 6, golly," Martin said. "This team is just spectacular. The only thing better would be to win Sunday night, too.
"This has been the time of my life. Driving this (No.) 6 truck has been the highlight of the year, for sure. This is sweet."
Martin will drive a part-time Nextel Cup schedule with MB2 Motorsports next season and a partial truck schedule with the Wood Brothers/JTG Racing team.
"It's not like it's getting cut way too short," he said about leaving Roush. "If it had happened 10 years ago, then I'd be emotional. But it's been a good long ride."
Bodine fought a vibration from the beginning that got worse throughout the 134-lap race on the 1.5-mile oval. But he was never really challenged for the points lead in the season-finale as runner-up Johnny Benson had his own troubles.
First, Benson was hit by the spinning car of Chase Miller. Benson managed to stay on the lead lap but cut down a tire and lost three laps while pitting under the green flag.
Benson, who trailed Bodine by 112 points entering the race, was 26th in the race and 127 points behind the new champion. Although Bodine's final race wasn't spectacular, he was solid all season, taking the lead in the fifth race and keeping it.
When Bodine, who won three races this season, drove his Germain Racing Toyota into the pits, older brother Geoffrey, a former Cup driver, handed him a cellphone with their mother on the line.
"I told her we finally did it," Todd Bodine said. "We've been racing for a lot of years. I've got brothers racing, cousins, nephews, and it's the first time we've won something this special. I can't imagine what it means to me, to my family.
"We did what we had to do, but it's a shame we had to race that way. At the very end, the tires were vibrating so bad I couldn't go any faster. That's not our style, but I couldn't go any faster."
Bodine, who has his first five truck victories this season, said he wasn't disappointed.
"Todd did what he had to do," Benson said. "We had such a small outside chance that we were going to win."
Brendan Gaughan came back from a bad pit stop early in the race to finish second, followed by Erik Darnell, who wrapped up Rookie of the Year honors, Bobby Hillin Jr., Jack Sprague and Joe Nemechek.
 


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