Close But Not Quite For Bodine At Charlotte Motor SpeedwayNine seasons of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition have sent only two champions to Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Victory Lane. Ted Musgrave won the track’s inaugural race in 2003. Four-time champion Ron Hornaday Jr. collected the hardware twice, in 2007 and 2009.
Todd Bodine, a two-time titleholder, bids to add his name to that short list in Friday night’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200. A victory would erase a major gap in Bodine’s resume. Despite winning 21 times in trucks and another 15 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Bodine has yet to capture a points-paying race in Charlotte.
Bodine has done just about everything but win at CMS. He finished second to Kyle Busch in 2010, the best of a trio of NCWTS top fives. His Nationwide record shows five top fives in 21 starts. Friday’s race will be Bodine’s 49th at Charlotte in NASCAR’s three national series.
He has won what’s now called the Sprint Showdown, Saturday’s last-chance entry into the Sprint All-Star Race. "I have always run well here but never got to victory lane in the points race," Bodine said.
Red Horse Racing will roll out the same No. 11 Toyota in which Bodine finished fifth last month at Kansas Speedway.
"Charlotte is definitely its own animal. The corners have a sharper radius than most of the other 1.5-mile tracks. The majority of them have long sweeping corners, where Charlotte does not," Bodine said. "You're challenged with the handling of the track because of the tighter turns, which makes Charlotte a lot more difficult than the others."
Hornaday Ready To Resume Winning WaysRon Hornaday Jr., a month shy of his 54th birthday, can set one record and extend another at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Hornaday has won at least one race in seven consecutive seasons – including four a year ago – a NASCAR Camping World Truck mark he shares with Kyle Busch. He’s also working on a streak of seven consecutive pole-winning campaigns and 11 overall.
Charlotte has been one of Hornaday’s best tracks, on which he ranks first in Driver Rating (115.1), Average Running Position (6.088), Fastest Laps Run (100), Laps in the Top 15 (855) and Laps Led (169). He’s the only currently active series driver with multiple victories but continues to look for his first Keystone Light Pole at the 1.5-mile track.
Hornaday got off to a slow start in 2012 as he moved from Kevin Harvick Inc. to Joe Denette Motorsports. A sixth-place finish at Kansas Speedway, however, boosted the four-time champion to seventh in the standings, 11 points out of the top five.
"We have done some testing, found a few things and the boys have been working hard making updates on our intermediate trucks, getting the drag out and getting good down force," said Hornaday, whose last victory came at Las Vegas last October. "We weren't far off, but I feel like these changes will put us back in the hunt."
Consistency Crafton’s Hallmark In CharlotteFour years have elapsed since Matt Crafton scored his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2008. Another "W" could put Crafton, 10th in the standings, back in the championship picture.
Crafton finished on the lead lap in his first eight starts at CMS, a streak that came to an end with a 26th-place finish a year ago. Both he and ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter, 16th in points, could use a little intermediate track tonic. Both of Sauter’s series victories came on 1.5-mile tracks (Kansas and Las Vegas).
Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Toyota, needs one top-five finish to become the 13th driver to reach 50 career top fives.