MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Danny Bohn recognizes the long list of drivers who have forged a trail to the top levels of NASCAR after starting their careers in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Drivers like Steve Park, Mike Stefanik, Jimmy Spencer, and more recently Ryan Preece, have all used the modifieds as a stepping stone to reach the national stage.
This weekend, Bohn is becoming the next driver to do the same, as he makes his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series debut with On Point Motorsports in the No. 30 Toyota Tundra.
Bohn takes the wheel of the same truck that Brennan Poole has driven to moderate success in the Truck Series this season, hoping to establish his name as one that can contend alongside some of NASCAR’s current national touring stars.
“There’s not many people who get this opportunity, and when you modified race, that’s not typically the way to progress up the ladder,” Bohn said Friday. “Most people get in fender cars and late models and stuff like that. The modified is kind of a different animal. You’ve seen it through the years, not many people jump from a modified into one of the top three series. To be able to do that is really special for me.
“It’s just really an honor to be here and hopefully I can represent the short track world in a positive way this weekend.”
Interestingly enough, Bohn’s shot at the Truck Series level came in part from a modified connection that On Point Motorsports has – crew chief Steven “Bones” Lane.
“This deal really happened through Bowman-Gray (Stadium),” Bohn explained. “Bones, the crew chief on our truck, goes to the Stadium, and we got talking over there and then I came out to the shop and explored the opportunities. I said, ‘Man, how do I get one of those things?’ We were able to put a deal together, thankfully, and it’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do, but never really thought I’d get the opportunity.
“We’re going to try to make the best of it this weekend and see what happens.”
Bohn noted that Martinsville was the obvious choice for his Truck Series debut, not just because it’s the traditional “approval track” for NASCAR officials, but because the racing style is similar to what he’s accustomed to in the modified ranks.
“Partially it does go back to the approval process, but this track is pretty much the same animal is what I’ve grown up racing on … between Wall Stadium and winning the championship at Bowman Gray in a modified,” Bohn said. “This is just a little bigger, but it’s going be the same beating and banging, missing wrecks and stuff like that. I felt like this would probably be the best race from my first race. And I mean most people would disagree, but this is how I grew up racing, more or less.
“We’ll do this one and see how this goes and you know, possibly do some more.”
As far as differences between the modified and the heavier trucks, Bohn said he felt plenty of them during a trio of 50-minute practice sessions on Friday afternoon.
Bohn was able to participate in an extra, rookie-only practice held prior to the full opening practice session following the lunch hour.
“I think the racing aspect is not going to be much different. I think just the vehicle is going to be a little bit different,” said Bohn. “I grew up racing on radial tires and you know, modifieds that are a thousand pounds lighter than this thing, with a lower roll center and stuff like that. So I’ll probably have to take a step back in a sense, you know, and not try to hustle it as much and just let it do what it’s going to do.
“With the modifieds too, you’ve got Nerf bars and on these, we’ve got fenders and doors, so you’re not going to be able to rub as much or or use the front bumper as much.”
As far as Bohn’s goal for Saturday’s NASCAR Hall of Fame 200? That’s a simple one.
“Survive,” he noted with a smile. “As long as we do that, we’ll be alright.”