Geoff Bodine had a long and storied career after coming out of Chemung, N.Y., and going on the NASCAR Cup trail.
One remembrance would be the inaugural Brickyard 400, when he fought for the lead, crashed and had a real fight – with his brother, Brett.
“I had a fast car,” Geoff Bodine said, “and the yellow came out. Everyone pitted, and I took four tires and Brett only took two, so he was leading out of the restart. I could tell he was slower. In Turn 3, I shot underneath him coming through the short chute. Of course, I had the wrong line to get through (Turn) 4.
“We were on Hoosiers (tires), and our car handled superior than anyone else’s, including Jeff Gordon.”
Then came the crash. And the fight.
“We were just having a family spat,” he said. “We’re better brothers now than we ever were. We were on the Oprah show after that. She had an inspirational show at the time and had us on. I hope we inspired a lot of people. We turned it around.”
Bodine made seven starts in the Brickyard between 1994 and 2002, started fourth in the inaugural, had a best finish of 12th and led 24 laps through the years.
“All the drivers want to win Indy,” Bodine said. “I love the place. It’s very difficult, and that’s what drivers like. I’ve driven an Indy car – not there. NASCAR cars are real different. You have four corners, four straightaways and you go into them at 200 miles an hour.”
Midway through his career, Bodine told everyone he wanted to be called “Geoffrey.”
“That was my given name and we had Jeff Gordon and Jeff Green, and every time someone yelled, ‘Hey, Jeff,’ I turned around. You can call me Geoff now, though.”
Bodine also has a hobby – building bobsleds. The first were called Bo-Dyns.
“I learned about it at the ’92 Olympics.” He said. “The reason the Americans had a tough time was they had second-rate sleds. Through the years, we’ve built 18 bobsleds for our team to use for free. Other countries want to buy them, but of course, we don’t sell to them.
“We just finished a new four-man sled. We tested it at Lake Placid, and it’s very, very fast. We got a lot of sponsorships out of racing. It’s a business, but we all wanted to do something for our team. Joey Logano has teamed up with us now, and it’s Bodine-Logano.”
Bodine, 64, resides in Melbourne, Fla., where he has three car dealerships. The bobsled operation is located near Charlotte, N.C.
“I still do a lot of charity work,” he said.
He suffered multiple injuries in a catastrophic accident in a NASCAR truck race in 2000 at Daytona.
“I’ve been very fortunate,” Bodine said. “The truck accident at Daytona…the Good Lord protected me.”