It started two years ago, at the conclusion of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season when Carl Edwards bluntly stated in victory lane at Atlanta, “Are you kidding me?”
Edwards had just been made aware that the man he was chasing for the championship, Jimmie Johnson, had rallied back to finish second and extend his point lead over Edwards heading into the final three weeks of the season. His exclamation summed up what that day in Atlanta was like and it made one wonder what the other 35 races would be remembered for if they had to be described in just a few words.
It led to a year in review of sorts, quotes that stood out from the drivers who participated in another memorable racing season.
This year though, they’re being split into three sections for each series, the first debuting this week with the Camping World Truck Series. Here’s a look back on the 2010 season which saw Todd Bodine win his second championship.
Daytona: “I can’t believe it – this thing drove like a Lexus tonight. I can’t believe it – I’m going to Disney World!” —- Timothy Peters
Winning at the Daytona International Speedway can bring even the toughest of men to their knees and Peters experienced it first hand back in February. On the last lap he roared past friend Todd Bodine for the win thanks to a push from Jason White. It was the second of Peters career.
Atlanta: “We probably have a third of the field out on the race track … if they want this one [truck] they can come have this one too.” — Kevin Harvick
New race trucks are the fast race trucks and Harvick and his company, KHI, have built their reputation on that motto. It’s why as he stated, many of the trucks racing have been bought by other teams from his company. After winning at Atlanta, Harvick said they could buy that truck from him too.
Martinsville: “Fifth, I’m not going to complain. Except for spinning out maybe.” —Johnny Benson
After winning the 2008 NWTS championship, Benson never got to defend his title, only competing in eight events in 2009. Late that season he was injured while racing in a SuperModified race at Berlin Raceway and for a while was in serious but stable condition. He recovered well but still didn’t get a ride to come back into the series full time for 2010, however Billy Ballew let Benson drive his truck at Martinsville where he earned a top five finish.
Nashville: “I gave the guitar to Sam [Bass] and told Sam if he wanted to do any damage to my truck, he could have it.” — Kyle Busch
After winning his first race in his own equipment Busch went to victory lane to receive the winner’s trophy, a custom made guitar from artist Sam Bass. The world watched to see what Busch would do with the guitar since the last time he was in Nashville’s victory lane he smashed it to pieces in front of Bass. This time around it stayed in one piece even though Busch offered Bass a chance to make things even.
Kansas: “I couldn’t help but sit there and think as I was trying to save it … that darn [Ron] Hornaday got me again within a month’s time.” — Johnny Sauter
They are two of the fiercest drivers on the circuit and when they get together the fans get a show. In Martinsville, Hornaday spun out Sauter and the two got into an argument on pit road. At Kansas while racing for the lead the two again tangled and did a synchronized spin that somehow didn’t produce any damage and they were able to race to the finish with Sauter getting the win.
Dover: “Put it this way, that trophy is not at my house on a mantle.” — Aric Almirola
Finally Almirola was able to do the burnout and take home the trophy. Whiling driving for Joe Gibbs Racing back in 2007, Almirola played substitute driver for Denny Hamlin on the weekends that Hamlin went back and forth between Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series tracks. Such was the case at Milwaukee where Almirola practice and qualified the car and then started the race. Even while dominating the call was made for Hamlin to get in the car and he eventually went on to win. Almirola got credit in the history books, however he was already long gone from the track after dealing with the frustration of being taken out of the car.
Charlotte: “Yeah, it gets a little old, getting on TV for wrecking or doing whatever.” — Brent Raymer
It’s very rare to see a racecar or truck just burst into flames, but as Raymer discovered, it does happen. While coming down the frontstretch his No. 85 became a giant fireball under the hood and fortunately Raymer was able to get stopped and get out. It was not a highlight reel that Raymer wants to become accustomed to making.
Texas: “I wasn’t going to wreck the whole truck because of that one problem.” — Ken Schrader
Running for Kevin Harvick Inc. has given many drivers the best opportunities to get themselves in victory lane and if Schrader had a few more laps in the Winstar World Casino 400k, he could have been the next driver to do so and not finish fifth. That came after fighting back from two laps down when he had a tire go flat under the green flag.
Michigan: “Just suck at Michigan.” — Kyle Busch
Never at a loss for words, Busch said what he felt was the deciding factor during the final few laps at Michigan where Aric Almirola beat Busch and Todd Bodine for the win.
Iowa: “Like I’ve said from the beginning of the year, I wanted to do it for the fans too.” — Austin Dillon
Winning your first career race already brings questions, but when you win a race driving a black No. 3 it brings more questions about winning in that number. For Dillon, the grandson of Richard Childress, he accomplished both and wants to be able to use the number for many years to come.
Gateway: “Man, I burned my butt bad and my back even got burnt. That’s why I lay down in here [media center] on the cold floor.” — Todd Bodine
Driving race trucks can be a difficult job and as Bodine found out, it can be even more difficult when your truck starts to fry you. The heat inside his No. 30 Toyota was so bad that he started to get burned through his firesuit but still finished fourth.
Indianapolis: “I changed my tennis shoes, changed all my luck stuff.” — Ron Hornaday
Coming off his fourth championship in 2009 it was expected that Hornaday would pick up right where he left off this season. But numerous crew chief changes and crashes made that difficult to do and soon he was out of the 2010 championship fight. More importantly, he was still winless heading into the 12th race of the year, the longest he’s ever gone into a season. Finally his luck changed in Indianapolis.
Pocono: “You sit at home a lot, wondering if you’re ever going to make it back to victory lane.” — Elliott Sadler
His Sprint Cup Series career hasn’t been anything to brag about lately so Sadler knew that he needed to do something to get his confidence back. When Kevin Harvick asked him to drive his No. 2 truck for the first ever run at Pocono, Sadler jumped at the chance and made sure that he took full advantage.
Nashville: “We did it in style of Germain Racing: We went out and just stomped on them.” — Todd Bodine
When it’s your year, it’s your year. For Bodine that was the case in 2010 as he began to break all the records he set in his championship season of 2006. At Nashville he led 91 of 150 laps on his way to his second win of the season.
Darlington: “That’s typical RC luck right there.” — Ricky Carmichael
On the opposite end of the spectrum, when it’s not your year, it’s not your year and Carmichael was finding that out the hard way. On a hot Saturday night in Darlington, the Lady in Black feasted on his. No. 4 Chevrolet after Mario Gosselin sent him head on into the turn four wall.
Bristol: “This thing deserves to be in victory lane, it looks pretty cool. I don’t know how to do the Ickey Shuffle but I would have tried.” — Ron Hornaday
Driving a No. 33 Tide machine didn’t bring Hornaday the same luck it brought Darrell Waltrip in the Daytona 500 back in 1989. After winning, Waltrip got out in victory lane and performed Ickey Shuffle dance and Hornaday was ready to perform his version had he won Bristol instead of finishing third after coming back from spinning.
Chicago: “You hate to run second, especially to Kyle [Busch].” — Todd Bodine
If the 2010 is remembered for anything it’ll most likely be the numerous battles between Bodine and Busch, more than just for the owners championship. The two found themselves racing each other for wins nearly every weekend and in Chicago it ended better than what it would the next week.
Kentucky: “It’s not just the Truck Series, it’s every division he races. He’s so good. He’s without a doubt one of the best drivers NASCAR has ever seen … he doesn’t have to drive like that to win races but he does and he’s getting away with it because NASCAR won’t do anything about it. He was mad because I called him out on it.”— Todd Bodine
While racing for the lead Bodine spun while on the inside of Busch’s No. 18 Toyota and had to fight his way from the back of the pack. In doing so it allowed Bodine to go into fuel conservation mode, which won him the race and in victory lane he called Busch’s driving dirty. Busch confronted Bodine who said that Shrub didn’t like being called out on TV.
Loudon: “He just drove us dirty and got the win.” — James Buescher
He was just a few laps away from his first career win when the caution came out and it put Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick on his rear bumper. That’s when Busch drove Buescher all the way up into the wall coming off turn two, cleared him and won the race. Afterwards he gave Buescher the middle finger on the cool down lap before saying he did what he had to do. Buescher was none too pleased and felt Busch had crossed a line.
Las Vegas: “This guys are the shh … bomb.” — Austin Dillon
After winning his second career race, Dillon went to thank his team for the great truck they put underneath him, and he nearly utter a four-letter word that would have resulted in a fine.
Martinsville: “I won Martinsville!” — Ron Hornaday
After getting off to a tough start to the season, Hornaday and his team finally found their rhythm. It was good timing to as Martinsville started the tradition of giving away Grandfather clocks to the winners as they do in the Sprint Cup Series and Hornaday was the first to collect. According to him though, had they given them out sooner he may have had more incentive to win at the paperclip.
Talladega: “I probably shouldn’t even be doing interview right now because I’m obviously biased because I finished second … A part of me feels like I let my guys down, we didn’t win, but a part of me feels like I got robbed.” — Aric Almirola
It was the closest finish in NASCAR history but not everyone was happy, certainly not the guy that finished second. When Kyle Busch pulled out to pass Almirola coming to the finish line he got sideway and went below the yellow line, to which Almirola cried foul. NASCAR said that since Busch was trying to control his truck and because he was already ahead of Almirola, there would be no penalty.
Texas: “You’ve got nothing good to say you probably shouldn’t say anything at all.” — Johnny Sauter
Finishing second doesn’t make losing feel any better and when you have a truck as strong as Sauter did, it makes you feel that much worse. Sauter led 31 laps and was leading during the final half of the race when he ran out of fuel on a green flag run. After limping back to pit road he would rally to finish second but it wasn’t where he expected to finish.
Phoenix: “They [crew] were excited about it before we came down here, and any time these guys get excited about building a truck back at the shop, you know as a racecar driver that you’re going to have a good hot rod, and we certainly did.” — Clint Bowyer
He hadn’t raced in the NCWTS in three years but when climbing aboard a truck from KHI it doesn’t take long to become reacquainted with it. Bowyer dominated the race by leading 80 of 150 laps for his second career truck win.
Homestead: “Thank you ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, that right there is the KB show. Woot!” — Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch just knows how to win and does so in dramatic fashion. Friday night he won for the eighth time in 2010 and 24th of his career, after rubbing the wall after contact with Johnny Sauter. The win also helped Busch clinched the owners championship for his first year team, Kyle Busch Motorsports. Todd Bodine was officially crown the 2010 series champion.
Be on the lookout next week for the review of the 2010 Nationwide Series season.