2010 Bobsled Challenge Set
January 6, 2010 | 3:17 P.M. EST
Three-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Champion Philip Morris and 2009 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Champion George Brunnhoelzl III are slated to compete in the Bodine Bobsled Challenge, which traditionally features a mix of NASCAR and NHRA participants.
This weekend will mark the first time that Brunnhoelzl has ever slid into the seat of a bobsled, something he’s anticipated since he clinched his first Whelen Southern Modified Tour title last fall.
“It’s something I’ve been excited about,” Brunnhoelzl said. “NASCAR did a great job with everything as far as celebrating the championship, and this really caps off a perfect offseason of being a champion. Whelen does a great job with the Tour, as well as with the Bodine Bobsled Challenge, so I really can’t wait.”
Unlike the bobsled rookie Brunnhoelzl, Morris has competed in the Bodine Bobsled Challenge twice previously, and looks forward to a return to Lake Placid.
“I’m really looking forward to going, it’s a lot of fun, and a pretty wild ride going down that mountain on a piece of metal,” Morris said. “This will be my third time, and I’m looking forward to trying a couple of different things I didn’t get to last year. Getting to hang out with the Olympic team, I’m always asking them for pointers on how to pick up speed, so I’m looking forward to trying some new stuff.”
Other active drivers representing NASCAR in Lake Placid will be 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year Joey Logano, 2006 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion Todd Bodine and part-time NASCAR driver and ESPN analyst Boris Said. Additionally, former drivers Geoff Bodine – the event’s founder – and Randy LaJoie are on the entry list.
By virtue of their 2009 championship seasons, Brunnhoelzl and Morris were invited to the event by Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project President Phil Kurze, who is also Vice President for Motorsports at Whelen. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion Donny Lia was also extended an invitation, but will not participate as the birth of his first child nears.
The Bodine Bobsled Challenge will once again be held on Mount Van Hovenburg in rural Lake Placid, site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, and the 2009 World Bobsled Championships. Following practice sessions on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, competition will begin with qualifying runs on Saturday afternoon. Sunday morning will see all 12 participants compete in Race 1, which will consist of two rounds to determine the fastest overall competitor, based on time. Sunday afternoon’s Race 2 will pit the fastest NASCAR drivers against the fastest NHRA participants in a head-to-head challenge.
Representing NHRA will be Jeg Coughlin Jr., Shawn Langdon, Morgan Lucas and Melanie Troxel. Off-road racer Carl Renezeder will round out the list of competitors.
With five combined Race 1 and Race 2 titles to his credit, Said is the most decorated participant in the history of the Bodine Bobsled Challenge. Todd Bodine was winner of last year’s Race 1, but was defeated in his head-to-head match-up with Lucas in the championship run of Race 2.
The Bodine Bobsled Challenge is geared to create awareness and greater funding for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc. Geoff Bodine joined forces in 1992 with auto racing designer Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics in Oxford, Conn., to create made-in-America bobsleds for the United States men's and women's national teams. Since 2002, the Bo-Dyn effort has produced one Olympic gold medal, two silvers and a bronze. Additionally, U.S. team member Steve Holcomb ended a 50 year world championship drought when he drove his four-man Bo-Dyn sled to the world title in Lake Placid last February. The men's and women's squads have claimed numerous World Cup medals this season - five gold medals among them - in the run-up to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
"The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc. has been able to become successful due to the support of the United States Bobsled & Skeleton Federation and the sponsors who have provided financial and material support for the advanced design research and manufacturing of the Bo-Dyn bobsleds,” said Kurze.
Funds raised from the Bodine Bobsled Challenge go directly to the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. The annual dinner auction held in conjunction with the event will take place at the Lake Placid Crowne Plaza Hotel & Resort Saturday night with proceeds also benefiting the corporation.
“We would not be able to accomplish this without the support of all of the sponsors and drivers who participate in our annual Challenge event,” Kurze said. “We have also received a record number of donations through our website (www.bodynbobsled.com) in the past month and we hope that this continues. Every single dollar helps us to provide the best for the best."
Action from the Fifth Annual Lucas Oil Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen Engineering will air on SPEED on Jan. 24 and Jan. 31.