NASCAR hires Brett Bodine for R&D work
By DAVID POOLE
The Charlotte Observer
NASCAR has added former driver Brett Bodine to its research and development staff as a special project engineer, with his initial focus to be working on cost-saving initiatives with the on-going development of the "car of the future."
Bodine will work out of the NASCAR R&D center in Concord alongside Gary Nelson, who is the sanctioning body's managing director of research and development.
Bodine, 45, drove in 480 races in what is now the Nextel Cup Series, winning once at North Wilkesboro in 1990. He also became a car owner in 1996 after buying the No. 11 team from Junior Johnson.
A lack of sponsorship forced him to suspend his racing operations during the 2003 season. His last race came at Michigan last June.
In addition to his experience on the track, Bodine comes into his new job with a degree in mechanical engineering from State University of New York at Alfred. Bodine is a native of Chemung, N.Y.
"We're delighted to have Brett on board," NASCAR president Mike Helton said.
"He's been such a steadfast member of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series garage over the years, and he's done it all - he's built race cars, he's worked on race cars and he's driven race cars. He brings a new perspective that we're glad to tap into."
Nelson is working on a car of the future that could include, among other things, a larger greenhouse area, a more boxy and therefore less aerodynamic shape and a new location for the driver's seat that would move competitors farther away from door area and, therefore, potential impacts.