NASCAR News for Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Todd Bodine to Attempt Kobalt Tools 500

Todd Bodine, who is splitting time in the Gunselman Motorsports’ No. 64 Toyota this season with his older brother, Geoff, will attempt this weekend’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, according to SceneDaily.com.

This time, while older brother Geoff pilots the No. 64, Todd will be driving the No. 35 for his Camping World Truck Series team, Germain Racing. The team appears to be an R&D squad for Germain Racing to further develop their Sprint Cup program.

“We are running the No. 35 Camry at Atlanta to gain more data for our Cup program and help us keep looking towards the future,” team General Manager Mike Hillman, Sr. said. Randy Goss, normally the crew chief for the team’s other Cup entry, the No. 13 GEICO Toyota of Max Papis, will be the crew chief.

It is unclear how many races the team will attempt, but this may be a trend for teams trying to get track time since testing has been strongly curtailed.

Atlanta Motor Speedway has always been a strong track for the youngest of the Bodine brothers. Todd Bodine’s career best finish, a third, came in the Hooters 500 there in 1994 while driving the No. 75 Factory Stores of America Ford for Butch Mock Racing. Bodine also had a surprising fifth in the marathon NAPA 500 in 1998 while driving an unsponsored No. 91 Chevrolet for LJ Racing.

Engine Issues at Las Vegas

ESPN.com reported Tuesday that the president of TRD (Toyota Racing Development), Lee White, is claiming that the engine problems that resulted in four teams running their engines (Nos. 00, 47, 82 and 83) in addition to the pole-winning No. 18 of Kyle Busch having to change engines on Friday and fall back to the rear of the field were not related in any way to Roush-Fenway’s woes.

“We’re going to take 100 percent responsibility for maybe not having all of our ducks in a row with durability testing when we got to the racetrack to be ready for the decisions the teams put the engines through to get ready for qualifying,” White said on Tuesday.

In regards to TRD’s engine issues, Las Vegas was not even the first time that they had engine woes. At Fontana, pole winner Brian Vickers was forced to change an engine right after winning the pole, negating the top spot and forcing the Red Bull driver to race up through the field. David Reutimann and Michael Waltrip joined Vickers in the back because of engine problems (Waltrip had engine problems during his lap and would have been in the back anyway).

Regarding the engine issues that affected four of the five Roush Fenway Fords on Sunday, Jack Roush is speculating that the tires played a role in the blow ups.

David Ragan and Matt Kenseth had early engine failures and finished in the back. Carl Edwards’ engine died with two miles to go, which allowed him to coast to a 17th place finish. Greg Biffle’s engine was apparently beginning to die towards the end of the race, which dropped him back to seventh.

Wimmer to Continue with Key Motorsports

In a press release on Tuesday, Key Motorsports announced that Scott Wimmer will continue as the driver of the No. 40 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series. The original deal that Wimmer signed with the team was only for the first three races of the season.

Last weekend with sponsorship from Federated Auto Parts on the No. 40, Wimmer avoided the wrecks to bring the car home in 11th place, the first car one lap down. Wimmer is currently in 34th place in the point standings despite failing to qualify for the Stater Brothers 300 at Fontana. The team is also 34th in owner points, 16 behind the No. 66 for Rusty Wallace, Inc., which is currently the last team that would be locked in if the current points were used (the No. 66 is 31st, but the No. 5 team, which is 17th, skipped Fontana and is no longer eligible to be locked in).

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About Phil Allaway

Phil Allaway
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor. Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as Tony Stewart's Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions.

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