Get ready for an exciting weekend of racing in the Craftsman Truck Series. That’s right… it’s that time again. Championship weekend. Sure, most eyes will be on the Nextel Cup Series Chase for the Cup, but my eyes sit on the Craftsman Truck Series race. And although he has a 112-point cushion over second place Johnny Benson, Todd Bodine doesn’t have it officially in the bag quite yet.
Of course, if history has anything to say, Bodine has more than a reasonable shot to be crowned the 12th champion in the history of the Craftsman Truck Series. In nine of the past 11 seasons, the driver leading the points going into the final race has won the championship.
But it doesn’t always happen that way. Prior to the final race of the season in 1999, Greg Biffle had a 21-point lead over second place Jack Sprague. Sprague ended up winning that race; Biffle finished seventh. Sprague was crowned champion by a mere eight points. In 2003, only 39 points separated first and fourth in the points standings. Brendan Gaughan led Ted Musgrave by 26 points, Travis Kvapil by 34 points and Dennis Setzer by 39 points. Gaughan’s hopes for winning the championship were dashed when he was involved in a crash. Kvapil finished sixth, the highest of the four drivers, and beat out Setzer, who finished seventh, by just nine points.
Bodine has raced just once at Homestead, but he won that race after starting in ninth. Bodine has to finish just 28th or better to clinch the championship, but in a field of 36 trucks, it’ll take just one flat tire, one accident, one mechanical failure to boost Benson right back into the picture. Benson has a solid history of running well at Homestead; in two career starts here, he finished 11th in 2004 and third in 2005.
Sure, the odds are definitely stacked against Benson winning the title, but Bodine can’t rest easy just yet. That’s why they run the final race! Hopefully, the Truck Series title will come down to the final laps… as it always should.