NASCAR Legend – Geoff Bodine

Geoffrey Eli Bodine is best known for his success in NASCAR. During his 51-year career, he was involved in many forms of racing, starting with micro-midgets at the age of 5 and working his way up to Cup racing. He was famous in the Northwest for wining more modified races than any other driver and is named in the Guinness Book of World Records with “Most wins in one season”.

Geoff is the oldest of three brothers who have all been racecar drivers. He was born into a family with a passion for racing. His dad and grandfather built Chemung Speedrome in New York soon after Geoff was born and it didn’t take long for him to develop his racing skills at this track.

About the age of 30, he made his first start in the then Sprint Cup series. His first full season was in 1982 when he was named Rookie of the Year. During the mid 80’s, Geoff’s hunger for victory began to rise and he became an aggressive and skilled driver, dominating many of NASCAR’s events. He began to develop a burning rivalry with Dale Earnhardt and there was tension on and off the track. It is said that once when Earnhardt caught his son Dale, Jr. playing with a #5 Geoff Bodine toy car, he took it from the boy and destroyed it.

This rivalry led to a conference with NASCAR officials. Geoff has driven for some of the best known car owners in NASCAR such as Junior Johnson, Bud Moore, and Rick Hendrick as well as driving his own cars. Daytona International Speedway has been a very eventful track for Geoff. He gained his biggest victory there in 1986 at the Daytona 500. It’s also the site of one of the most horrific and terrifying wrecks in NASCAR history. Geoff was driving in the Craftsman series when his truck along with 13 others, was involved in a vicious crash. Geoff’s truck was thrown into the barrier fence and exploded into a massive fireball. Nine fans were injured and Geoff suffered several broken bones. He missed over ½ of the 2000 season. However, two years later he once again returned to Daytona for the Daytona 500 and proudly finished third.

Not only was Geoff a success on the track, but he also was the innovation behind several racing products. He helped introduce power steering and full face helmets into Cup racing. He also designed a special spring-loaded seat that’s now used in several racing series and a line of detailing products.

In addition to auto racing products, Geoff was involved in building a more competitive bobsled for the U.S. Olympic team. With his engineering background and the technology and experience he gained from racing, he created Bo-Dyn Bobsleds which made the U.S. team more competitive. Today, Geoff Bodine is very involved in his community serving as a volunteer fireman and a board member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and he’s still involved in the BoDyn program and the Olympic Bobsled team.

Jacquelin Burkhammer

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