The NASCAR-Olympics Connection

February 16, 2010

The "Night Train" four-man bobsled team is a favorite for the gold medal in Vancouver. Among its sponsors is Twin Cities-based Allianz Life Insurance of North America.

A couple of us were talking about the Olympics the other day, and I mentioned Geoff Bodine, the former NASCAR driver who started developing bobsleds back in the 1990s in the belief that racing technology could make the U.S. teams more competitive. “Remember when Geoff Bodine was making bobsleds?” I asked.

Well, little did I know that he’s still making them, and quite successfully. Bo-Dyn Bobsleds are used by all the top U.S. teams and we’ve had quite a run of success with Geoff’s sleds.

Since 2000, the U.S. four-man bobsled team has taken silver at the world championships in 2003, bronze in 2004 — and gold in 2009. The two-man team took the bronze in 2009. The women have been consistent contenders, racking up bronze medals at the world championships in ’04, ’05 and ’07, and silver medals in 2000, ’01 and ’09.

In Olympic competition, the U.S. four-man teams took silver and bronze in 2002, while the women’s two-woman teams took the gold medal in 2002 and the silver in 2006.

This year, driver Steve Holcomb is a threat for Olympic gold in both the four-man and two-man events. Holcomb’s trademark is a jet-black Bo-Dyn sled known as the “Night Train,” which he drove to victory at the 2009 world championship. He also finished atop the season-long World Cup standings.

(Local note: Twin Cities-based Allianz Life Insurance of North America is a major sponsor of the U.S. bobsled and skeleton teams.) 

So, kudos to Geoff Bodine, who won a few races in his day, including the biggest one of all: the Daytona 500. One of his Bo-Dyn sleds could be in the winner’s circle next week in Vancouver.