Bodine and Lia in Lake Placid, New York
Donny Lia (front) and Geoff Bodine (back) pose in a Whelen bobsled at the top of the Lake Placid track.
Kohn and Holcomb, Ready to Win!
Steve Holcomb (front) and Mike Kohn (back), U.S. bobsled drivers, can’t wait to drive a sleek, black Bo-Dyn bobsled down the course this season
NASCAR Driver and Bodine Bobsled Challenge Founder Geoff Bodine promos Lake Placid event
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – Long-time NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine appeared in Lake Placid Tuesday promoting the Third Annual Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, presented by Whelen Engineering, and the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc. The challenge will be held on the Lake Placid track January 3-5, 2008.
Also at a press conference, held at the Lake Placid course, were United States bobsled drivers Steve Holcomb, of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Mike Kohn, from Chantilly, Va. The American pilots were joined by 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion Donny Lia of Jericho, N.Y. Lia, 2007 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Champion L.W. Miller of Mooresville, N.C. and road racer Boris Said, of Carlsbad, Calif. have officially committed to the 2008 event in Lake Placid.
Holcomb and Kohn Praise Bo-Dyn Sleds
In 2006-07, Holcomb had his most successful season ever, driving USA I to gold in the two-man and combined bobsled World Cup standings and silver in the four-man bobsled World Cup standings while Kohn is the two-man U.S. national champion. Both drivers had high praises for the Bo-Dyn Project and the annual Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge.
The Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, presented by Whelen Engineering, raises money for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., which creates and builds world-class, American-made bobsleds for the U.S. National Bobsled Teams for competition at the Olympic, World Championship and World Cup levels.
"All of Whelen's visual and audible warning products (lights and sirens) are designed and manufactured in the United States,” said Phil Kurze, Vice President of Motorsports for Whelen Engineering and President of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. Whelen Engineering sponsors three NASCAR development series. “We believe in creating jobs for Americans and we believe that American made products are the best in the world. That is why we are a strong supporter of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. It embodies all of the ideals that are near and dear to Whelen. Simply put, ‘Made in America’.”
“The Bo-Dyn sleds have always been pretty fast in my mind. Ever since I’ve been driving, about six years now, the Bo-Dyns have been one of the best sleds out there, no doubt about that,” said Holcomb. “When my sled came out (after the Olympics), it was kind of beat up…and we still managed to go out there and do well, and still dominate the world – which is really cool – so I’m real excited for this year to come out with some good equipment, some nicer looking stuff, because you know when you look good, you race well.”
The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Story
After watching the 1992 Winter Olympics, Bodine became interested in helping the U.S. Olympic Bobsled Team create and design their own sleds instead of relying on the old or outdated bobsleds purchased from other countries. Bo-Dyn Bobsleds (“Bo” for Bodine, "Dyn" for Chassis Dynamics) was created later that year by Bodine and his friend and chassis builder, Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics, located in Oxford, Conn. Bodine founded the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc. to help create a winning bobsled for the U.S. teams. The U. S. National Team first used Bo-Dyn sleds in 1994. Ten years after Bo-Dyn's inception, the U.S. team won three medals in Bo-Dyn Bobsleds during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, including a gold medal in women’s bobsled. The women’s team also captured a silver medal in the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy. This past season saw the U.S. bobsled team win two World Cup season-ending gold medals and two silver medals, as well as 17 World Cup medals (seven gold, nine silver and one bronze) and two World Championship medals.
“I guess there’s no one to thank more than Geoff and his commitment he’s had over all of these years, because without his commitment, we wouldn’t be where we are. It’s nice in the recent years to see the change among the athletes and staff in pride. We’re going in a new direction and it feels good,” said Kohn. “It’s exciting to see Cuneo excited again, and fired up about making the sleds even better than he already has – four Olympic medals, fourth place, a fifth place and a sixth place – not too bad in Olympic Games competitions. Multiple World Championship and World Cup medals so hopefully we can just keep moving forward. It’s nice to see the Bo-Dyn Project moving forward, with all of the drivers coming in and taking trips. It’s just nice to have those people involved and helping us and it’s a real honor for us to have them part of this.”
Donny Lia and L.W. Miller Take the Challenge
Lia is among the first drivers to officially enter this year’s Bodine Bobsled Challenge. “It’s amazing. I got here and I saw the track and I was like ‘wow!’ You don’t realize on TV how massive and how long the racetrack is,” Lia said. “I can just imagine the speed you build up coming down it, and I’ve heard stories about G forces, and hitting the turns just right, and the banking and everything involved in it. It’s just something that I can’t wait to try and it looks like a ton of fun. I just hope I can work up the nerve to get into that thing and get shot down that track.
“I’d like to just thank everybody – Whelen, and Geoff and (Bodine event organizer) John Morgan and everybody else involved in making it an opportunity for us racecar drivers to come here and race these things here in January,” he continued. “It’s going to be a ton of fun.”
Lia won his first Whelen Modified Tour Championship for car owner Bob Garbarino, who has been an owner since the early 1960s, but had no title until Lia’s.
Miller recently won his first NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Championship, which was not decided until the last lap of the last race of the season. This is the third year for this series and L.W. is the second driver to claim the championship.
Boris Said Returns
Said, son of Olympic bobsled driver Bob Said, has won three of the four individual Bodine races held over the first two years of the event.
Challenge Money Pays for Olympic Technology
Money raised from the Bodine Bobsled Challenge has gone to refurbishing the U.S. team’s fleet of 15 sleds. The average spent on each sled was $8,000-$12,000, depending on the severity of damage. A bobsled for the U.S. team costs, on average, $50,000 while the sleds used for the Bodine Bobsled Challenge average $10,000 apiece.
“We have 15 sleds. We’re real proud of that, and proud of what our athletes did last year. Last World Cup season was the best season in American bobsledding history, so we’re really proud of what our athletes have accomplished,” said Bodine, of Chemung, N.Y.
“It takes time and money. We always maintained the equipment well that our World Cup athletes are using, but we finally partnered up with the U.S. Olympic Committee and with the help of John Morgan, we’re getting more sponsorship involved with the program, and this last winter we’ve been able to spend some money and refurbish all of our bobsleds,” continued Bodine. “I believe pride goes along with performance. We preach that and see that in NASCAR, and I brought that to the sport of bobsledding years ago. We’re gonna have the best looking sleds out there this winter, the best prepared, the best maintained, and we know we have the athletes that get in these sleds, they’re the best. They proved it this last season, and now they’re gonna jump in something they can be really proud of.”
“Everyone is going to look at us and know not only were we winners last year, but we’re going to be winners from here on out,” added Holcomb. “When you look fast, you race fast. Half the battle is a mind game. When you go out there and look like a million bucks, you’re going to put some fear in their eyes. So I’m pretty excited about this year.”
For more information on the 2008 Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, presented by Whelen Engineering, please log on to www.bodynbobsled.com.