Two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Todd Bodine has not raced in NASCAR in over four years, and particularly not in the Trucks in over eight. While it was safe to assume the and current FOX analyst was retired for good, one little factoid was looming over him: he only needed six more races to reach 800 career NASCAR national series starts. Such a round number is so nice that Marcus Lemonis and Halmar Friesen Racing have signed him on for a six-race deal in the 2022 Truck Series season.
Lemonis, the head of Truck Series title sponsor Camping World, first entertained the idea on Twitter (which is not as preposterous of a premise as one might think) by launching a campaign called #goodsamOnion in which fans were to give Lemonis 800 reasons why he should fund a ride for Bodine. Many figure including Truck drivers Grant Enfinger, Zane Smith, and even HFR owner Stewart Friesen pitched in, with Friesen tweeting at Lemonis, “Here’s a reason. #goodsamOnion”. Bodine eventually confirmed the effort’s success in October.
His schedule begins on 4 March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, followed by Darlington Raceway (6 May), Texas Motor Speedway (20 May), Sonoma Raceway (11 June), Nashville Superspeedway (24 July), and Pocono Raceway (23 July).
“We are excited for the opportunity to reach the 800-start mark with top equipment from the team at HFR,” said Bodine in a press release. “It’s also great to be back with Toyota. We have 23 wins and two championships with Toyota, so I’m proud to achieve this milestone in a Tundra. I have already heard from several Camping World Truck Series drivers, who have never raced against me in the past, they sound as excited to race me as I am to come out of the FOX Sports Studio for these six races and race them.”
Nicknamed “The Onion”, Bodine has raced in all three national series (Cup, Xfinity, Truck) from 1992 to 2017. He has 241 career Cup Series starts between 1992 and 2011 with twenty-one top tens, seven top fives, five poles, and a best finish of third at Atlanta in 1994.
While he did not see much success at the top level, his lower series statistics are far more impressive. In 333 Xfinity Series races between 1986 and 2017, he notched fifteen wins, 90 top fives, 160 top tens, and a runner-up points finish in 1997. The 2017 Charlotte race, where he finished thirtieth for SS-Green Light Racing, is his most recent national series start to date.
After scoring top tens in all five of his starts during the inaugural Truck season in 1995, Bodine was a series regular from 2004 to 2013. Mainly driving for the now defunct Germain Racing, he won the 2006 and 2010 championships to go with 22 race victories, 92 top fives, 124 top tens, and seven poles. However, his time in the series ground to a halt after a poor 2012 campaign with Red Horse Racing as he finished outside the top ten in the standings before running just eight races in 2013 for ThorSport Racing and Turner Scott Motorsports. His last Truck race was an eleventh that year at Pocono.
Of the six tracks on Bodine’s 2021 itinerary, he has enjoyed strong runs at Texas as a six-time Truck race winner while he recorded wins at Darlington and Nashville during his 2010 championship run. Bodine also won at Darlington in the Xfinity Series in 2003 while his lone Vegas victory came there two years prior. Sonoma was on the Truck calendar from 1995 to 1998, though Bodine did not race there in said series; however, he made five Cup starts at the California road course and scored a top ten in 1995.
Halmar Friesen Racing fields the #52 for Friesen on a full-time basis. In 2021, the team’s second year with Toyota, Friesen finished sixth in points with seven top fives and nine top tens. 2021 also saw the team introduce a second truck, the #62, for his wife Jessica at the Bristol and Knoxville dirt races; after missing the former due to the qualifying heat races being rained out, she finished twenty-sixth at the latter.
“It’s the kiss of death in the Camping World Truck Series when Todd picks Stewart to win on TV, so we’re excited to get him out of the studio and into our HFR Tundras for his run to 800 career starts,” quipped HFR co-owner Chris Larsen.