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NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Chevy Silverado HD 250

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Stock Car Racing Topics:  Chevy Silverado HD 250

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Chevy Silverado HD 250

Todd Bodine
Mike Hillman, Jr.
February 15, 2008


DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA

KERRY THARP: Guys, thanks for putting on a good race for us tonight.
We are pleased to be joined by tonight's race winner of the Chevy Silverado 250. That's Todd Bodine, driver of the No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota and his crew chief, Mike Hillman.
Your first victory in 34 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series or Nationwide Series or Craftsman Truck Series here at Daytona International Speedway. How does it feel to win here at this big track?
TODD BODINE: Oh, boy, finally to get it done, it's pretty incredible. You know, we've been coming here for 17 years as a driver, three years as a crew member, 20 years total. Finally to get to Victory Lane, it was incredible.
I mean, I seen my brother here. You know, this racetrack has been pretty cruel to us. Now it's been pretty good to us in a couple ways. To finally get it done, it's just an incredible feeling.
KERRY THARP: Mike, your thoughts? What did you see from up top the box tonight?
MIKE HILLMAN, JR.: You know, it was a little scary up there because we've had ourselves in position to win these races here before. Just to come home with a win, it was pretty awesome.
KERRY THARP: Let's take questions for Todd or Mike.

Q. Todd, last night after you qualified, you sounded very confident. I never heard you that way before a race. What did you know that it would work out the way you thought it would?
TODD BODINE: Well, Daytona is a handling track. This truck won at Talladega, sat on the pole and won the race at Talladega, which is a pure speed track it's so smooth now.
Daytona is a handling track. It always has been, always will be. Our truck was driving so good in practice, I knew when those guys got slipping and sliding we would have something for them. Sure enough, we did.
Unfortunately, you know, when I was in front of Erik Darnell I got a little loose. When I was behind Erik, I was a little tight. You know, that's part of racing at speedways, and that's part of racing at Daytona. When all that was going on, my truck was still driving good. And when you're truck's driving good, it just makes it a lot easier to pick and choose and do what you need to do to get to the front.

Q. Todd, I assume you were in Victory Lane when Jeff won in '86.
TODD BODINE: No.

Q. You weren't?
TODD BODINE: No. I was back in North Carolina building my late-model stock car.

Q. How much better is this than that?
TODD BODINE: Well, it's different. I'm not going to say it's better because it's just different. You know, when you watch your brother, or in some cases your father, go to Victory Lane in the Daytona 500, there's a lot of pride in that. There's a lot of pride in knowing that your brother accomplished something that not a lot of people can accomplish or even get the opportunity to accomplish.
So, you know, there's self-pride of having a brother accomplish that and understanding what that means. And now to get here as a driver, to accomplish that, it's a whole different feeling. You know, it's pride and almost a little bit of redemption for myself. 17 years, what did you say, 34 races?
KERRY THARP: 34 races.
TODD BODINE: 34 races here at Daytona and the first time in Victory Lane. And I've been so close before, second and third. I've had bad crashes here before. To finally redeem myself and then do it, that's a whole different feeling. It's a whole different outlook on Victory Lane.
You know, the one thing that makes me a little sad is Brett never got here. You know, as deserving as he is as a driver and owner, he deserved to be here also. But they were both in Victory Lane with me.

Q. Todd, could you talk about what this means to the team, especially with the Hillmans, both Senior and Junior. Then, Mike, talk about winning this with your dad.
TODD BODINE: Well, I mean, it's not uncommon knowledge. I mean, everybody knows the relationship that the Bodines, not only myself, but Brett and myself, have with Mike, Sr. and Mike, Jr. and how many years we go back.
When I first started racing in '91, Mike, Sr.'s garage was right next to mine. We'd be working till midnight every night. We'd stop and have a beer, we'd go home. We just got to be friends back then.
He's probably going to shoot me for telling y'all this. But after the race was over, Senior came on the radio crying. That's how much it meant to him to get to Victory Lane, and it meant that much to me to get him here.
You can accomplish a lot in racing. You can go places. You travel the country. You see the country. You do things. There's nothing like being in Victory Lane at Daytona. It doesn't matter if it's in a Cup car or a Nationwide car or a Truck Series or a go-kart. You're standing in Victory Lane at Daytona. That's the Super Bowl, man. It doesn't get any better than this.
For me to be able to do that for Senior means a lot. You know, it's funny, the kind of relationship that Junior and myself are forming as friends. I mean, hell, we're brothers. I mean, we just don't have the same last name. That's pretty neat to be able to do it.
You know, to see how far he's come in a short period of time as a crew chief, it's pretty incredible. Makes me proud as a brother.

Q. Todd, could you tell us what was going through your mind that last lap.
TODD BODINE: Oh, hell, just hold 'em off, man (laughter). I was scared to death. You know, the last lap going into one, you know, I knew that Kyle was holding back every lap trying to get his run timed. We come off of two and he'd be two car lengths back. We'd come off of two the next lap and he'd be three. He was trying to time it and get his run perfect.
I kind of screwed him up because I went into one and let right off the gas and made him stay on my bumper. That messed his run up down the back straightaway.
And then when him and Johnny got racing through three and four there, and he was blocking Johnny and they got way back there I was like, Oh, this is not happening. They had enough time - I thought - to draft me down the front and get by me by the start/finish line.
That's why I went all the way to the apron. I figured, If they're going to follow me down here, they're going to have to pass me in the grass.
I knew it was going to be tough. Fortunately they ran out of racetrack.

Q. Talk about winning with your dad.
MIKE HILLMAN, JR.: The bond we have, me and my dad, my brother Mark works for us on the truck, too. It's really special the way our family works together. I'm blessed to be able to spend every day with my dad at work and all day long.
TODD BODINE: When he's not cussing him.
MIKE HILLMAN, JR.: That's part of it. It's been that way for 29 years, and that's not going to change.
Like Todd said, we're all family. Everybody that works at Germain Racing has a lot of heart, digs in really hard, and they're all part of our family. To be able to lean over and give your dad a hug, have him tell you that he loves you, he's proud of you, there's nothing like that.
Go to Victory Lane at Daytona with these guys, it's just special.
KERRY THARP: Congratulations. Well-put.
TODD BODINE: Let's go par-tay!



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