With a pack of trucks jockeying for position behind him, Todd Bodine held off Kyle Busch and Terry Cook to win the season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
The 2008 February winner at Daytona, Bodine became the first driver to defend a victory and the first repeat winner at the 2.5-mile track. With the victory in the first race held under new series title sponsorship and new pit-road rules, Bodine stretched his string of truck series superspeedway wins to four.
Busch was sitting second behind Bodine as the field took the white flag for the final lap, but Busch slipped back through turns three and four and couldn't catch Bodine in the final quarter-mile. Driving the unsponsored #30 Toyota for Germain Racing, and surviving an early pass-through penalty for passing below the yellow line that separates the racing surface from the apron, Bodine beat Busch to the finish line by 0.249 seconds.
Cook was third, followed by J.R. Fitzpatrick and Ron Hornaday Jr. Tim Peters, Mike Skinner, Matt Crafton, polesitter Colin Braun and Tayler Malsam completed the top ten.
The race featured six cautions for 30 of the 100 laps. Under new pit road rules that prohibit teams from re-fuelling and taking tyres on the same stop, most cars made two pit stops under yellow.
"This truck is phenomenal," said Bodine, who won the 16th truck series race of his career. "It just drives so good. I've said it all week, that Daytona is a handling track. You've got to handle. You've got to get around the corners comfortably.
"I watched everybody all night fighting their trucks, and I was just sitting out there riding and driving beautiful like I was rolling down the highway."
Busch chided himself for not being able to time a last-lap move properly.
"The truck was good - the driver screwed up," Busch said. "Going down the back, I got into Todd getting into turn three and it kind of shot him ahead, I guess, and I couldn't get my momentum built back up, and Terry wanted to get to my outside.
"I just can't figure out when to make a move, because if I go before the last lap, and I make a move, everybody's just going to get overzealous behind me, go crazy and start wrecking. I don't know what I could do different, but I've got to figure something out."
Contact from Bodine sent the Ford of James Buescher spinning on Lap 48, triggering a massive wreck at the end of the tri-oval. One of the victims was defending series champion Johnny Benson, who finished 26th in his first outing in the #1 K&N Toyota.by Reid Spencer/Sporting News