Todd Bodine on his brothers, working hard and going fast
Todd Bodine grew up watching his older brothers, Geoff and Brett, race cars. After years behind the scene, he finally took to the track himself. Todd, now almost 37 years old, is starting his fifth season on the Winston Cup circuit still looking for his first win. We slowed him down at Daytona for this edition of 10 Questions.
1. Are you a better driver today because your brothers have been so successful?
For sure, yeah. They've definitely helped pave the way for me. I've never relied on their reputation or their abilities to get me a job or get me a ride. I've always worked for what I've gotten. And they've made sure of that. They never gave me anything. They made me work for it. And I think that's one reason they may respect me for that.
2. Did you have to earn respect from people in the business, people who might think you were born into it and didn't have to work at it?
Crew members in the garage ... they were around when I wasn't driving, when I was just working on cars. So it gives them, I think, more respect for me to know that I started off building these cars, working on them, crew chiefing them, before I ever drove them.
3. What about the expectations people had for you because of your name?
When I first started driving in Busch Grand National, people expected me to go out and win races right away. I had 42 races my whole life. People didn't realize I had no experience. They expected me to run up front 'cause Geoff and Brett both ran up front.
4. How were you able to escape the shadow? Have you?
For the last seven years, I've been my own driver. I came out of the mold of being Geoff and Brett's little brother. That was -- I won't say that was one of my goals -- but that was something I really wanted to happen. I didn't want to have to rely on their name to get me places. I wanted to make my own name. And I think I did, very quickly.
5. Here are some basics questions we've been asking people during Speedweeks. When was the last time you drove 500 miles not going 'round and 'round in circles?
Last year, coming to Daytona. We usually drive to Daytona. We're down here for so long, it's easier than renting a car. It's only 7 1/2 hours.
6. How far is too far to drive in a street car?
Seven and a half hours. [Laughs]. We fly to Richmond to race, and that's a four-hour drive. Our time is so precious now. We don't have any to spare.
7. What's the fastest you've ever gone in a street car?
To be honest, I don't think I've ever gone over 100.
8. You act like that's nothing.
Ah, it isn't. That's one of the advantages of being a race car driver. We don't have to go around the street hot-rodding. We can do it on the racetrack. I go down the highway 5 mph over the speed limit. That's what I run. I don't worry about going 90.
9. What the fastest you've ever been caught?
Speeding? Sixty five in a 55. That was in '96. That was my last ticket. It was on the way to the South Boston race, and I ended up winning the race.
10. What's one option you can't do without on your street car?
A lot of them, actually. Probably the cruise control. I would end up going faster and faster and faster.