BOB BODE CONFIRMS HIS SON WILL COMPETE IN 10-RACE SLATE IN 2021
Veteran nitro Funny Car owner/driver Bob Bode confirmed to CompetitionPlus.com he plans to have his son, Bobby, 18, compete in a 10-race schedule in 2021 in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.
“The last couple of months we’ve been putting parts together, short blocks and heads,” Bob said. “We’re planning to start the season in Gainesville (Fla.).”
The Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville March 12-14 is the season-opening national event.
Bobby Bode, driving his father’s Funny Car he bought from Tim Wilkerson, completed his license in St. Louis Oct. 5.
Bode made his NHRA nitro Funny Car debut at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented By Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park, Oct. 23-25. He qualified No. 7 at 4.024 seconds at 259.51 mph before being upended by Blake Alexander in the first round.
Bobby also competed at the season finale the Dodge NHRA Finals, Oct. 30-Nov. 1 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway but failed to qualify.
“Hopefully, we will pick up running pretty good,” Bob said. “We ran good in Houston and we hope to continue that. We had some burnt piston problems in Vegas, the altitude got us there. We had too much compression and it kept shutting off the oil pan pressure gauge so it would shut the engine off early. Bobby did a good job there just the car let us down.”
In addition to Gainesville, the elder Bode said Bobby will compete in Phoenix (April 23-25), and either Pomona, Calif. (April 9-11) or Las Vegas (April 16-18) and Houston (May 21-23), Norwalk, Ohio (June 24-27), Brainerd, Minn. (Aug. 18-19), Indianapolis (Sept. 1-5), St. Louis (Sept. 24-26), Las Vegas (Oct. 29-31) and Pomona (Nov. 11-14).
“Every year we think we might go somewhere else rather than Brainerd, but we can’t because it is like a hometown race,” Bob said. “The fact I got a Wally there (in 2010) is pretty cool. It would be fun to see if the lightning could strike again for Bobby up there. That would be cool.”
Getting to this point in Bobby’s career is something Bob has enjoyed see unfold.
“It seems like it has happened quick, but it has taken a long time,” Bob said. “I go all the way back when he started at 8 years old, thinking some day he could drive this nitro (Funny Car). For me it is a dream come true because who knew if he was going to be good enough? Who knew if he was going to like it enough? Fortunately, he loved it and he’s pretty darn good at it. I got kicked to the curb pretty quick with Bobby driving, but it sure is good for the sport to see a young kid coming along.”
Bobby and Bob’s trek to compete in the nitro Funny Class were vastly different.
“Driving comes natural to Bobby and I didn’t start driving until I was 50, so I had to work really hard to get decent at it,” Bob said. “For Bobby, it is natural because he grew up sitting in the race car. I like working on the car and his favorite part is driving the car.”
Bob estimated Bobby made around 1,000 passes in his Junior Dragster.
“He’s familiar and comfortable going down the track,” Bob said. “Now, we just need to get him comfortable between 200 and 300 (mph) by letting him do it a little more and it is coming along pretty good. It’s amazing to watch him drive. When I’m up there and I’m not so nervous I’m smiling on the inside like crazy. It’s the coolest thing a dad can do to watch his son race.”
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