tampabay.com

Martin wins race, Bodine truck title

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published November 18, 2006


HOMESTEAD - Mark Martin made his last race in a Roush Racing truck memorable, winning Friday while Todd Bodine wrapped up the series championship with a 21st-place finish.

Martin, who will end a 19-year association with Jack Roush's team in Sunday's Ford 400, won for the sixth time in 14 truck races this season.

"No. 6, golly," said Martin, who next season will drive a part-time Nextel Cup schedule with MB2 Motorsports and part-time truck schedule with Wood Brothers/JTG Racing. "This has been the time of my life. Driving this truck has been the highlight of the year, for sure. This is sweet."

Bodine fought a vibration from the beginning that got worse throughout the 134-lap race on the 1.5-mile oval. But he was never really challenged for the points lead in the season finale as runnerup Johnny Benson had his own troubles.

First, Benson was hit by the spinning car of Chase Miller. Benson managed to stay on the lead lap but later cut a tire and lost three laps while pitting under the green flag.

When Bodine, who won three races this season, reached the pits, older brother Geoffrey, an ex-Cup driver, handed him a cell phone with their mother on the line.

"I told her we finally did it," Todd Bodine said. "We've been racing for a lot of years. I've got brothers racing, cousins, nephews, and it's the first time we've won something this special. I can't imagine what it means to me, to my family.

"We did what we had to do, but it's a shame we had to race that way. At the very end, the tires were vibrating so bad I couldn't go any faster. That's not our style, but I couldn't go any faster."