Thursday, January 7, 2010

Geoff Bodine

Geoffrey Eli Bodine was born on April 18, 1949 in Elmira, New York, his younger brothers Brett and Todd are also NASCAR drivers.

Geoff’s father and grandfather built Chemung speedway when he was a year old, which gave Geoff the advantage of being able to practice racing at an early age.

He started practicing racing at his families track in the micro-midget division when he was just five.

Geoff loved to drive so much he disguised himself as a lady and entered a PowderPuff Division Race when he was only 15.

In 1978, Bodine won more races than any other Modified driver in recorded history driving against the greats, Richie Evans, Jerry Cook, Jimmy Spencer, and Ron Bouchard, with Dick Armstrong and Billy Taylor as his crew chiefs. Bodine started 84 events and won 55 of them. For these fifty-five victories, Bodine is credited in the Guinness Book of World Records with the "Most wins in one season". He also won track championships at Stafford Speedway, Shangri-La Speedway, Spencer/Williamson Speedway, and Utica-Rome Speedway in his prestigious racing career.

In 1979 he made his first Winston (Sprint) Cup start.

His rookie year in the Winston (Sprint) Cup series was in 1982 driving for Cliff Stewart; he earned the Rookie of the Year title and his first Winston (Sprint) Cup pole in only his 19th start, which was at the Firecracker 400.

His first Winston (Sprint) Cup victory in 1984 on his 69th career start at Martinsville while driving for the well respected historic car owner Rick Hendrick.
Geoff's biggest win of his career came at the 1986 Daytona 500 while driving the #88 Hendrick Motorsports car sponsored by Levi Garrett.

He won the 1987 International Race of Champions (IROC) championship.

Bodine is the co-owner of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Company. His bobsled interest started during the 1992 Winter Olympics when the U.S. Bobsled Team was having a tough time during competition. Bodine learned that the sleds being used were all imported and not built locally. He felt that he could help the team win with better bobsled technology derived from his racecar engineering background and experience. With these beliefs, Bodine took a few runs in a bobsled at Lake Placid, New York to confirm his feelings and to learn more about the sleds, and in 2002 the USA team, who was driving his bobsleds won a race for the first time in 50 years.

In mid-1993, Bodine purchased the race team of the late Alan Kulwicki and toward the end of the season, and he took over as the driver with Motorcraft as the sponsor.

Geoff's final win in the NASCAR Winston (Sprint) cup series came in the "Bud At the Glen" at the Watkins Glen International Raceway in his home state of New York, in August of 1996 when pit stop timing led to him to taking the lead in his QVC Thunderbird while the other drivers pitted. Bodine managed to hold off the field the rest of the way beating Terry Labonte to the line by 0.44 seconds to claim the win.

In 1997, he won the pole at Atlanta with a speed of over 197mph which is a record that still holds for that track due to the repaving that was done before that race.

In 1998 he was honored as one of "NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers" during NASCAR's 50th anniversary celebration.

In 2000 Geoff was driving in the Truck race at Daytona when he was involved in a vicious wreck. He was three wide in the tri-oval when the trucks beside him made contact and slid up, causing him to fly into the air and slam into the fence and catch on fire, he barrel-rolled down the track, caught on fire again, and got hit by a few more trucks until he came to a stop in only the roll cage; 13 trucks was involved, which was one of the biggest wrecks in Truck series history. He broke his right wrist, right cheekbone, right ankle; he also broke a vertebra in his back, and had a concussion. Nine fans were injured in this wreck. After this wreck he missed 20 races leading him to finish 45th in points.

Geoff, his brother Todd, and Larry Gunselman started a race team in 2009. Geoff attempted to qualify the #64 Toyota for the 2009 Daytona 500.

Geoff currently races in ISCARS DASH touring series which is sanctioned by the American Speed Association (ASA).

Bodine has always been a great leader in the modernization and update in safety to the Winston (Sprint) Cup series in introduced power steering and full-faced helmets to NASCAR. He has served as a volunteer fireman and is now a board member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Geoff has driven for some of the best car owners in NASCAR, such as, Junior Johnson, Bud Moore, Rick Hendrick, his brother Brett, and he has owned his own cars. He has 565 starts, 37 poles, 18 wins, and nearly $16 million in winnings during his illustrious Winston Cup (Sprint) cup series career.

Bodine currently lives in Cornelius, North Carolina while preparing for the 2010 Olympics and his company hopefully helping win a bobsledding championship.