BROOKLYN, Mich. - Just before he lost his Hooters Restaurants sponsorship because it was determined that the company wasn't getting enough exposure, Brett Bodine crashed into the wall very hard yesterday during practice for today's NASCAR Winston Cup Sirius 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Bodine suffered a broken right collarbone. He will be replaced by older brother Geoffrey, who announced his retirement at Daytona last February and hasn't raced this year.
Bodine's car appeared to sustain a cut right-front tire. He made slight contact with the outside wall near the exit of Turn 1 and then sped across the track and hit an inside tire wall on the exit of Turn 2 almost head-on.
Bodine climbed out of the car, but was carried by safety-crew members to a waiting ambulance and taken to the infield care center. He was then transported to an area hospital for further evaluation.
Mike Hillman, Bodine's crew chief, was asked if he ever saw an impact like the one that involved Brett, with the car actually getting airborne after recoiling from the impact.
“I'm glad they put those tires down on the inside wall because that really helped a bunch,” he said. “They're really working hard at this soft-wall issue and taking care of these drivers.
“The safety we've incorporated in these cars the last couple of years is immense, and that's a tribute to the safety NASCAR wants to see and what we want to see for our drivers. That makes it a lot easier to walk out of these infield medical centers.”
Brett Bodine had qualified 27th-fastest on Friday for today's race. Another brother, Todd, will start 41st after taking a provisional starting position.
Brett Bodine said yesterday morning before his crash that he was officially notified that Hooters will not sponsor his team following today's race.
ANOTHER SELLOUT: Today's Sirius 400 at MIS is officially sold out, marking the 25th straight sellout of a Winston Cup race at MIS. All reserved seats were sold as of early yesterday, with only a few $40 general-admission infield tickets remaining.
MIS has sold all 136,373 reserved seats in the grandstands around the two-mile oval, and another 20,000-plus tickets for the infield. The huge crowd would make MIS the third-largest city in Michigan today, trailing only Detroit and Grand Rapids.
MIS has sold out every Winston Cup race on its schedule since the June 1991 Miller Genuine Draft 400.
SIMILAR, BUT DIFFERENT: Christian Fittipaldi is an MIS veteran, but he has not raced there in a stock car.
Fittipaldi ran eight times at the track in open-wheel races from 1995-2001, and was among the top 10 twice. He will start in the 18th row today.
He said there are a lot of differences between driving a Champ Car and a stock car at MIS, especially in that the open-wheel cars use more of the track from top to bottom, and that they go about 30 mph faster.
Fittipaldi will be racing for Petty Enterprises, which fired John Andretti last week. He raced for the team at Texas this year and in one NASCAR race last year.42.11068 -84.24795