June 07, 2006

Racing Reporter

Kenseth's Tire Gamble Pays Off At Dover

Matt Kenseth overtook his teammate Jamie McMurray with three laps remaining to win Sunday's Nextel Cup Neighborhood Excellence 400.

While about half the teams elected to pit during the race's final pit stop, Kenseth's No. 17 DeWalt Ford team decided not to stop for fresh tires.

"The call not to get tires was made by the driver," said Kenseth. "It was his call. I just felt like we were faster than the four cars that were in front of me, and felt like it was worth the shot."

When green flag racing resumed on lap 370, Kenseth immediately moved past Jeff Burton for the third spot. With 12-laps remaining, Kenseth began battling Kevin Harvick in the No. 29 for the second spot.

He was able to get by Harvick on lap 394, and set his sights on his teammate. Three laps later, it appeared McMurray slipped a little and slid up the track. It opened the bottom up and Kenseth shot by underneath for the lead.

"It was great racing," continued Kenseth, "Because there were three guys racing there at the end and no one wanted to give an inch. The little opening I got when Jamie went high helped, because it's so hard to pass here when you're racing side-by-side."

It was Kenseth's second win of the 2006 season. His other victory came in the second race of the season at Fontana, CA. The second-place finish was McMurray's best finish of the season."I thought we had it," said McMurray, "We've struggled most of the year, but we've run better the last two weeks, and so this week was a good one for us."

Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Kyle Busch rounded out the top-five. Points leader, Jimmie Johnson started from the back of the field, had two spinouts, and was two laps down at one point, but came back to finish sixth.

"This is as good as a win," said Johnson. "We just fought and fought all day long. The car wasn't right from the beginning, it was loose and hard to drive."

Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. completed the top-10.Ryan Newman, the polesitter finished 14th. Tony Stewart, who injured his shoulder last week, relinquished his seat to Ricky Rudd after the first caution. Stewart ran 39 laps with his broken right shoulder blade before giving way to Rudd, who finished the day two laps down in 25th position.

Bodine Planning Move To Cup

Todd Bodine, driver of the No. 30 Germain Racing Toyota in the Craftsman Truck Series is planning to drive a Toyota in the Nextel Cup Series. Despite the uncertainty of sponsorship, Bodine, who is the current Truck points leader, says he believes he will run as many as 16 races next season.

"The only way I plan on leaving Germain Racing is if they put me in the ground, or I'm kicked out of NASCAR," said Bodine. "That means I'm here to stay."

According to Bob Germain, Bodine may actually run a couple Cup races this year. "We actually have a sponsor that we're talking do, and we may wind up running some Cup races for them this year," said Germain. "We can't really give out everything, but at this point, Todd will be driving a Cup car for us some time in the future."

Bodine, a native of Chemung, N.Y., the youngest of three racing brothers, is a chassis specialist who got his start in racing in Modifieds in Connecticut. As a child, he began working at the family-owned Chemung Speedrome. At different times in his career he worked for the Buck Baker Driving School and as a fabricator for various race teams.

Bodine ran full-time in the Cup Series in 1994 and 1995 for owner Butch Mock. The 1994 season remains Bodine's best Cup campaign. He finished 20th in the series standings with seven top-10 finishes in 30 starts. Over the next several seasons, Bodine was shuffled around the Cup Series, running for several different owners in several part-time rides. Bodine made his return to a full-time seat in the Cup Series in 2001 and, despite some promising runs, battled bad luck and mechanical trouble on his way to an unfulfilling 29th in the point standings.

His best racing success has come in the Busch Series, where he finished second in 1997 after an intense battle with good friend Randy LaJoie. He finished third to LaJoie in 1996. He has 14 career Busch Series victories.

In addition to Germain Racing, Toyota will also offer support to Bill Davis Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, and Team Red Bull.

Racing Trivia Question: Which Cup team does Scott Riggs drive for?

Last Week's Racing Trivia Question: Jody Ridley of Chatsworth, GA has one career NASCAR Winston Cup victory. Where did he get the win? Answer. Jody Ridley's only Winston Cup victory came in the 1981 Mason Dixon 400 at Dover.

You may read additional racing stories at race500.com.

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