Atlanta Motor Speedway Offers Brett Bodine Hope For 2003 Season
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
It¿s been a rough start to the 2003 Winston Cup season for Brett Bodine, but he¿s hoping Atlanta Motor Speedway is the track where he can turn his year around.
The driver/owner of the No. 11 Hooters¿ Ford team got the encouragement he was looking for during this week at Atlanta when he was fastest during Tuesday¿s test, posting a lap of 29.56 seconds (187.551 mph).
The team continued testing on Wednesday and continued to gain valuable information for the March 7-9 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend. Also testing on Wednesday were Jamie McMurray, Robby Gordon, Jeff Fultz and Elliott Sadler, who had the fastest lap of the day at 189.150 mph (29.31 seconds).
¿We¿re going to run good here in Atlanta ¿ we¿re going to qualify good and run good,¿ said Bodine.
That¿s the kind of hope the team needs right now. They are under intense pressure to perform well at Atlanta. Not only is Atlanta the headquarters for the team¿s sponsor, but it will be the first race they will attempt to qualify for since Daytona ¿ where they didn¿t make the field. Because of limited funding, Bodine¿s team is forced to run a partial Winston Cup schedule and hasn¿t run a race since November of last year.
¿There¿s a lot of pressure on all of us. We¿ve got to prove to Hooters that we are worthy of their sponsorship,¿ the veteran remarked. ¿We need some positive things to happen for this race team.¿
Bodine was bitterly disappointed when he failed to qualify for the Daytona 500, then sat out at Rockingham, marking the first Winston Cup race since 1988 that Bodine did not attempt to qualify. The veteran driver will have to wait one more week before climbing back behind the wheel, but he will be involved with this weekend¿s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas ¿ only this time he¿ll be calling the race, not driving in it. Bodine will join PRN radio as a guest announcer.
¿I¿m looking forward to working with Doug Rice and Mark Garrow up in the booth. That will be a lot of fun,¿ said Bodine. ¿The three of us have been friends for years so it¿s just going to be a lot of fun to work with them and hopefully, being a driver and an owner, I can add another dimension to the broadcast.¿
While Bodine may eventually end up in the broadcast booth, he feels like he still has something to prove on the track. For now, that starts with making the race in Atlanta.
Bodine and the rest of the NASCAR Winston Cup stars will kick off the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend next Friday, March 7, with Georgia Power Qualifying Day. Don¿t miss Saturday¿s ARCA 400, featuring the best up-and-coming drivers in the country. The weekend culminates on Sunday, March 9, with the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Great seats are still available and start at just $25, and three-day weekend packages are available for just $59. Call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211 for more information.