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Bodine defends Daytona truck title; Canada's Fitzpatrick 4th

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The Sports Network
2/14/2009 12:30:11 AM
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Daytona Beach, FL (Sports Network) - Todd Bodine overcame a passing penalty and held off Kyle Busch in the closing laps to win Friday's NextEra Energy Resources 250 Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway for the second year in a row.

J.R. Fitzpatrick of Cambridge, ON, came in fourth in the race. Fitzpatrick has now secured a ride with TRG Motorsports for the opening five races of the Camping World season.

Bodine, in his unsponsored No.30 Toyota for Germain Racing, beat Busch to the finish line by 0.249 seconds to become the first repeat winner in 10 season- opening truck races at Daytona.

"I can't believe it," Bodine said. "During the whole race, I'm following guys, under and behind them, and they're all fighting with their trucks, just bouncing all over. This thing was rock solid all night. It never pushed and never got loose."

Bodine was slapped with a pass-thru penalty on pit road after he dipped below the yellow line to grab the lead from pole sitter Colin Braun in the early stages of the race. Bodine fell back to 27th in the field.

"I wasn't worried a bit, not one bit," he said. "We were running times faster than the leaders, so I wasn't worried about it. I knew the caution would come out eventually, and it did, and it worked in our favor."

Bodine passed Braun and grabbed the lead for the final time with 11 laps to go. A caution for debris set up a six-lap shootout to the finish.

Bodine won his fourth straight superspeedway race. He also recorded his 16th career victory in the series.

Busch made several attempts to pass Bodine on the final lap, but settled for a second consecutive runner-up finish at Daytona.

"I've tried two years in a row to do something, and neither one of them have worked," Busch said. "I'm an idiot when it comes to the last lap in these trucks."

Terry Cook, J.R. Fitzpatrick, and Ron Hornaday, Jr. completed the top-five. Sixth through 10th were: Tim Peters, Mike Skinner, Matt Crafton, Braun and rookie Tayler Malsam.

The 100-lap race saw its share of wild crashes.

Brian Scott was in the middle of a three-wide battle for position on the sixth lap, but made contact with T.J. Bell and then spun into Mike Bliss. The caution set up the first round of pit stops.

As part of NASCAR's rule changes for the Truck Series this year, teams are limited to five men over the wall, instead of seven, and pit crews can either change tires or refuel, not both as in the past, on their stop.

On Lap 48, a multi-truck pileup ensued on the tri-oval after Bodine made contact with James Buescher, putting Buescher into a spin. Reigning series champion Johnny Benson and series newcomers Johnny Sauter and Ricky Carmichael suffered significant damage to their trucks and were knocked out of the event. Shane Sieg, Dennis Setzer, Jason White, Stacy Compton and Larry Foyt also were involved in the incident.

"It's just an unfortunate situation," Carmichael said. "(The team) kept telling me that I was doing a great job, but then I wrecked. I don't know what happened...It's just an unfortunate thing."

Carmichael, making his series debut in the Kevin Harvick-owned No.4 Chevrolet, finished 24th.

Benson settled for a 26th-place finish in his debut for Red Horse Racing.

"I'm not sure where (Carmichael) came from, but he definitely came from a long way, and the time that I did see him, I tried to beat him, but I couldn't," Benson said. "He came up on us too fast."

Brent Raymer's truck got loose on the backstretch and then shot straight into the backstretch wall on Lap 68. A hung throttle caused it to hit the wall again. Raymer climbed out of his truck and appeared to be uninjured.

Jason White lost control of his truck and hit David Star, who then bumped into Rick Crawford on Lap 80.

The next race is scheduled for Saturday, February 21st at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA.

Todd Bodine (Photo: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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(Photo: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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