Entering the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola on Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway, Todd Bodine was the only series regular with two wins at the 2.66-mile track. Utilizing that past experience, Bodine quickly showed his restrictor plate racing skill from his seventh starting position and lead his Red Horse Racing teammates in the draft through the first segment of the race. Unfortunately, an incident at the halfway point cut short his chances of mixing it up for the victory, as Bodine's No. 11 Toyota Care Tundra suffered significant damage due to contact from another competitor, ending his day in the garage with a 33rd place finish.
Throughout Friday's lone practice session, the two-time series champion and his team worked to find the best setup under their Toyota Care Tundra for the draft. Making only minor adjustments, the team was happy with the speed and stability of their Tundra, and showed it during qualifying. Scoring a seventh place starting position for Red Horse Racing's 300th NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start, Bodine began the afternoon by leading his two teammates in the draft through the first 15 laps of competition. Under the first caution on lap 16, crew chief Rick Gay brought Bodine down pit road for fresh tires and adjustments, a differing strategy from most of the field. The stop put Bodine near the tail of the field for the restart, away from his drafting partners.
With help from spotter Jimmy Kitchens, Bodine remained patient and cautiously worked his way forward one position at a time. Under the next caution 15 laps later, Gay and the No. 11 Red Horse Racing pit crew gave Bodine two more fresh tires and gained him a few spots up to the 18th spot for the restart. With teammate Kligerman taking tires on his stop as well, the two were able to link up and draft together to make progress for several laps before getting broken up in the mix.
Shortly after losing touch with Kligerman, Bodine was pushing his way up through the low line on lap 47 when he was hit hard on the right side of the Toyota Care Tundra from another contender who spun on the backstretch. Bodine's Red Horse Racing crew made every attempt to fix the damage over the next several laps, but deemed the damage too severe and finished the day in the garage with a disappointing 33rd place finish.
"I'm not really sure how we got damaged or who ran into me, but we had a miscue on an early pit stop that put us further back in the pack than what we wanted to be. Our Toyota Care Tundra was fast and I was happy with it, but it was hard to pass with the competitors I was around. I tried a couple moves and the guys back there were a little out of control, so I just tried to ride around the bottom until the perfect opportunity to move up. It's just really hard that far back in the pack with all the air moving around, so it's easy for something like that to happen," Bodine explained.
"We had a shot to get a good run, but we put together a solid qualifying effort and I'm happy for our teammate Parker Kligerman getting his first win on Red Horse Racing's 300th start. That's a cool ending to the day."