Todd Bodine waited years – two decades to be exact – to win a NASCAR national touring series championship. Now he’s done it and in the process the 42-year-old Bodine of Chemung, NY set a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series single-season winnings record.
Bodine, driver of the #30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota, Germain Racing co-owners Bob, Steve and Rick Germain and crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. celebrated their 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship on Sunday evening at the Grand Floridian Hotel at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Their haul – $1,046,680 – represents the most lucrative season in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history. Broken down, Bodine had race winnings of $604,310 and received a NASCAR/Craftsman point fund of $345,120 and manufacturer and special awards of an additional $97,250.
In the latter category, Bodine won the $25,000 Goodyear Tire Award, $11,000 Sunoco Diamond Performance Award, $10,000 Mobil 1 Command Performance Award and $15,000 Toyota Award to co-owner Steve Germain. The team’s grand total broke the 2000 winnings record of Greg Biffle – the only previous competitor to win $1 million in a season – of $1,002,510.
The series’ 12th season produced a record point fund and award distribution of $2,031,600. And, for the first time in series history, 10 drivers won more than a half-million dollars a single season. Runner-up championship finisher Johnny Benson (#23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota) wound up second on the 2006 money list with $770,157 that included point fund of $163,931 and the $10,000 Checkers/Rally’s Double Driver Thru Challenge Award.
Benson, a former NASCAR Busch Series champion, also was named the series’ Most Popular Driver. He is the 11th different recipient of the award voted by NASCAR’s membership.
Also presented during Sunday’s ceremonies was the $10,000 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award to Beach Park, Ill.’s Erik Darnell (#99 Woolrich/Northern Tool + Equipment Ford), at age 23 the second-youngest to claim freshman honors. Darnell is the fifth Roush Racing competitor to achieve rookie of the year status.