Bodine Wins at Darlington, Stretches Points Lead
By Jared Turner
Special to the Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
DARLINGTON, S.C. — In a season where seemingly nothing can go wrong, good fortune smiled on Todd Bodine once again in Saturday night's Camping World Truck Series Too Tough To Tame 200 at Darlington Raceway.
Bodine cruised to his second straight win and third this season in the first truck race at Darlington since 2004.
"We've got it going on," Bodine said after collecting his 20th career win and stretching his series lead to 231 points over Aric Almirola, who finished ninth. "Here we are fast every week. It's nice to be able to get in something and drive this way."
Timothy Peters finished a distant second after starting from the pole and having the dominant truck early. Ron Hornaday Jr. came home third after leading briefly when he beat Peters off pit road under the third of nine cautions. Johnny Sauter was fourth and rookie Austin Dillon in fifth.
The difference in the race was a call by Bodine's crew chief, Mike Hillman Jr. With Bodine running second to Dillon with 47 laps to go, Hillman elected to leave Bodine on track when Dillon pitted for tires and fuel under caution.
Dillon's team expected the rest of the front-runners to pit one more time, but Bodine and the others never did as a late flurry of cautions allowed Bodine to stretch his fuel to the finish.
His No. 30 Toyota went the final 71 laps without stopping.
"As the cautions fell, we knew we were going to be real close," Hillman said. "We needed about 15 laps (under caution) when we came down pit road, and we were three or four laps to the good."
The victory came in Bodine's second truck start at the rugged 1.366-mile oval that hosted its first NASCAR race in 1950.
"It's incredible. It's a great feeling to be able to win at Darlington," said Bodine, who won a Nationwide race at Darlington in 2003.
On a night that featured plenty of spins and general mayhem, Darlington lived up to its reputation as one of the toughest tracks in NASCAR.
Brian Ickler, Mike Skinner and Ricky Carmichael were among the contenders eliminated in accidents. Carmichael took the hardest hit, slamming the Turn 4 wall head-on after being clipped in the right-rear quarter panel by the spinning truck of Mario Gosselin.
"That's typical RC luck right there," Carmichael said. "I just can't do anything."