Todd Bodine hopes new LVMS design brings similar results


           Las Vegas Motor Speedway has more banking and a new racing surface, but Todd Bodine is hoping his finishing position stays the same.

            Bodine is the defending champion of the Smith's Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at LVMS and hopes to defend his title on Saturday, Sept. 23. But to do so, he will have to navigate higher banks, which have been increased from 12 degrees to 20 degrees, and a new racing surface.

            "I don't really feel like the defending champion," Bodine said. "I've always loved Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and I was disappointed to see the old racing surface go. But after doing the tire test, I'm pretty confident we can find the winner's circle again. The track is really good. It's fast and smooth and the banking they've built into the track should be great for Truck Series racing."

            Bodine and fellow racers Dennis Setzer, Brendan Gaughan and Rick Crawford spent two days testing tires for Goodyear on the reconfigured speedway in early August. But Bodine doesn't think the extra track time will give him much of an advantage over the other drivers.

            "I don't think it gives us an edge," Bodine said. "It takes the question out of it.

We know what to expect, and we expect to have the Lumber Liquidators Toyota Tundra as good there as we normally are at the mile and a half race tracks."

            Bodine, who leads the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings by 154 points over Johnny Benson, also visited Victory Lane at LVMS in a Busch car when he won the 2001 Sam's Town 300.

            Tickets for the Smith's Las Vegas 350 are on sale now by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-644-4444 or at