6 drivers to compete in Whelen Bobsled Challenge
The Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge is set to take place Jan. 2-4 in Lake Placid, N.Y., with a host of NASCAR drivers lined up for the fourth annual event.
Recently-crowned NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion Johnny Benson heads a list of six NASCAR drivers set to slide into bobsleds this weekend. Todd Bodine, Joey Logano, Brian Loftin, Philip Morris and Boris Said will round out the NASCAR contingent.
The event will once again be sponsored by Whelen Engineering, title sponsor for three of NASCAR’s weekly and touring series – the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
“We take great pride in being a longtime sponsor of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc.,” said Phil Kurze, Vice President of Motorsports for Whelen Engineering and President of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. “When the title sponsorship of this event became available, we were very excited about the opportunity to support such a wonderful event.”
The Bodine Bobsled Challenge will see NASCAR drivers pilot specially-made bobsleds down the track in Lake Placid’s Olympic Sports Complex, site of the 1980 Winter Olympics. In Race 1, all the drivers will be compete against the clock as they take two runs down the track. Race 2 will feature head-to-head racing between NASCAR and NHRA drivers, with the winner from each division set to square off in the final heat for bragging rights. The NHRA will be represented in the challenge by POWERade Pro Stock Champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Top Fuel drivers Morgan Lucas, JR Todd, and Bob Vandergriff.
Also set to compete in the event is road course racer Eric Curran and Sprint Car driver Tom Tolbert.
Said, a part-time NASCAR driver and analyst for ESPN’s NASCAR coverage, will enter the event as the favorite. A five-time Bodine Bobsled Challenge winner, Said’s only loss in the first three years of the event, either during the timed or head-to-head portions, came in a match-up against Kevin Lepage in 2005.
Benson, who captured his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title in 2008, will compete in the Bodine Bobsled Challenge for the second year in a row. The same can be said for Logano, who will be a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender in 2009. Todd Bodine, brother of event founder and former NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine and 2006 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, has competed in the Bodine Bobsled challenge each year of its existence.
Champion drivers Loftin and Morris will represent NASCAR’s touring and weekly ranks. Loftin captured his first NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour title in 2008 and will make his debut at Lake Placid this weekend. Morris, who also participated in the 2007 Bodine Bobsled Challenge, earned his second career NASCAR Whelen All-American Series crown this past season.
“Getting to compete in the Bobsled Challenge was one of the highlights of my 2006 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship,” Morris said. “To be able to go to Lake Placid and run the same courses that the Olympic guys do and experience what they experience is pretty outlandish for me.”
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion Ted Christopher was extended an invitation, but will not participate due to prior commitments.
The Bodine Bobsled Challenge is geared to raise money for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, which was started in 1992 by Geoff Bodine. The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project has built American-made bobsleds for United States athletes competing in the World Cup, World Championships and Olympic Winter Games. Funds raised from the Bodine Bobsled Challenge go directly to this project.
SPEED channel is set to televise four hours of the Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge on Jan. 18 at noon and Jan. 25 at 2 pm. MRN Radio has signed on to provide live coverage of the Bodine Bobsled Challenge all three days.
Sources: NASCAR PR