JOLIET, Il. – Even though the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is enjoying its last off-weekend of the season, there’s still plenty of racing action with both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series competing this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.
Of particular note, two drivers will reach significant career milestones in Saturday night’s American Ethanol 225 NCWTS race.
David Starr, driver of the No. 81 NCCER/BYF Toyota, will become only the fifth driver in series history to start 300 races.
“It’s an honor and I’m excited,” Starr said Friday. “Ever since I was three years old going to the race track with my father, this is what I’ve always wanted to do in life. … I’m just blessed and glad to be part of this sport still. So, it’s pretty cool.”
Rick Crawford is the all-time starts leader in NCWTS annals with 334 (he’ll start 335 Saturday), followed by Terry Cook (314), Ron Hornaday Jr. (309) and Dennis Setzer (304).
Starr comes into Saturday’s race ranked 16th in the points. He admits it’s been a rough road for him the last few seasons, with his last trucks series win coming in 2006.
“I’m past hungry,” Starr said. “I’m starving to get back up front.”
In addition, Todd Bodine will start his 200th career race in a truck, giving him the unique distinction of being the only driver in NASCAR history to have 200 or more starts in all three of the sport’s national series.
“The sport has changed a lot, there’s no doubt about it,” said Bodine, who has been competing in NASCAR since his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race in 1986. “But the one thing that hasn’t changed is sitting in that seat, holding that steering wheel, it’s still about turning left and going as fast as you can go.
“I think that’s one thing that a guy like myself, that grew up working on race cars and building race cars, that’s one reason why we can still be competitive week in and week out, is the understanding of how to do that and do that with some success and do it consistently.”
Starr downplayed his own milestone, yielding the spotlight to Bodine’s achievement.
“I think what Todd has accomplished, 200 in each major series, that’s incredible,” Starr said. “[Starting[ 300 in the truck series, I feel blessed and honored and that’s pretty cool, but that doesn’t compare to Todd’s 200 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
“This milestone, compared to Todd’s, is a night and day difference. That’s a major accomplishment. No other driver in our sport has that, so that says a lot about his longevity.”
Bodine’s start Saturday night will be the 766th overall start of his NASCAR national series career, including 241 NASCAR Sprint Cup starts, 325 NASCAR Nationwide starts and 200 in a truck.
“Even though I’m one of the senior members around here – Hornaday [Ron Hornaday Jr.] actually has me beat for that – but we still can do it, we can still adapt to it and understand it,” Bodine said.