Bobby Bode, 18, is inching closer to receiving his nitro Funny Car license.
The son of veteran nitro Funny Car owner/driver Bob Bode, tried to complete his license on Aug. 10 at a private test session at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, but he was only able to make one of the three full passes he needed to get cleared to drive.
“He just needs two full pulls to get the license,” Bob said. “He smoked the tires twice (on runs Aug. 10) and he got one full pass in. He did three full passes after Indy 2 (July 20) (in a test session). He was driving good (at the test session Aug. 10). We just screwed up a couple of times (with the setup). We were really disappointed when we didn’t get it (his license) finished after Indy 3 because he was leaving for school and we were afraid he wasn’t going to get it done this year.”
Bobby is a freshman business major at Arizona State University in Tempe. The elder Bode said Bobby is scheduled to take part in private test Sept. 12 in Indianapolis to finish his licensing requirements.
Bob said Bobby would have made his nitro Funny Car debut at the U.S. Nationals Sept. 4-6 in Indianapolis had he received his license Aug. 10. When Bobby does get his license, he will drive his father’s Ford Mustang, a car he bought from Tim Wilkerson.
“I knew when he smoked the tires that first hit on Monday, we were really disappointed because we knew we were not going to get enough runs in,” Bob said. “Some of it was good, because Bobby had never had to drive with tire smoke. When we looked at the graph, he lifted within four-tenths of a second after the tire smoke. I’m about three tenths and he’s going to get better than me.”
Assuming the NHRA Mello Yello Series schedule stays the same Bob is hopeful Bobby will make his debut Oct. 2-4 at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals in St. Louis.
“I’m glad he’s doing this I think he’s going to be better than me,” Bob said. “I want him to be safe and make the right decisions going down the track. When he hits the gas, I’m a nervous wreck until I see the car slowing down after four seconds.
Now the elder Bode is focusing on competing at the U.S. Nationals. Bob has competed in 177 career NHRA national events and had one victory in Brainerd, Minn., in 2010.
“For awhile I thought I wouldn’t be racing (at the U.S. Nationals) I thought Bobby would and now I’m going to race there again,” Bob said. “I have been going there 20 years and it is always exciting to compete there. Looking at he car count, it looks like they are going to have 18 cars and we are going to have to be on our game. If it is my last one before Bobby takes over, I’m looking forward to it and I’m excited to move forward with him.
We have a pretty good car. We have all run Indy so much we are getting better at it and that helps. We qualified 10th (at Indy 3) and we probably could have been in the top half, but the car got out of the groove. We have some good stuff going on and we just have to keep all of our pieces together.”
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