The Callahan Report: Todd Bodine Gets First 1997 BGN Win...Finally
20 October 1997FONTANA, CA: It took him long enough, but Todd Bodine finally got his 1st BGN victory of 1997 today. It was the tenth BGN victory of his career. The NASCAR BGN Kenwood Home and Car Audio 300 was the third from the last race of the season.
The race should have been sponsored by a calculator company. It seemed none of the crews had one that worked, with the exception of Bodine's. Many of the leaders ran out of fuel on the track, eliminating their chance at victory. Bodine's crew won the fuel mileage calculation game and the race. Bodine drove the last 71 laps (142 miles) on one tank of fuel.
"I can't believe it's taken us this long," said Bodine. "We had a lot of chances to win. These guys worked hard. I'm just glad to get a win for the team this year." He continued, "We didn't have the fastest car today, but we knew coming into this race that it was going to be a fuel-mileage race. I think the entire team deserves the credit for the win. It was a long time coming.''
The victory was rewarding, but Bodine will need to close ground quicker than he did today if he plans to catch Randy Lajoie for the series points title. Bodine gained 46 points on the leader with his victory. He now trails Lajoie by an even 200 with only two races remaining on the 1997 schedule. Lajoie finished tenth in the race.
If Lajoie continues oh his current pace, he will be the first driver in ten years to take back to back championships in the BGN series. Larry Pearson accomplished the feat in '86-'87.
Steve Park sat on the pole and stayed close to the front all day. Park finished second in his Chevrolet for his 19th top ten finish of the season. Park moves on to NASCAR Winston Cup next year.
The competition resumes next Saturday at the North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, NC. The race will be the AC Delco 200.
Top Ten Finishers:
1. Todd Bodine
2. Steve Park
3. Matt Kenseth
4. Michael Waltrip
5. Robert Pressley
6. Mike Dillon
7. Glenn Allen
8. Dennis Setzer
9. Mike McLaughlin
10. Randy LaJoie