The USA broke a 62 year old gold medal drought in men’s bobsled when it took the four man bobsled gold in Vancouver. The driving skills (and sheer mass) of Steve Holcomb were essential to the team’s victory, as was the sled built by Bo-Dyn Bobsleds. While you may not have heard of Bo-Dyn Bobsleds, you’ve probably heard of one of its owners, NASCAR racer Geoff Bodine.
Geoff Bodine founded Bo-Dyn Bobsleds with partner Bob Cuneo, of Chassis Dynamics. Familiar with the engineering and materials necessary to build competitive race cars, Bodine approached Cuneo after watching the U.S. bobsled team struggle with their foreign made sleds at the 1992 winter olympics. Bo-Dyn Bobsleds was founded the same year, with a mission of incorporating current race car technology into a domestically designed and manufactured bobsled.
The initial results weren’t promising. The U.S. national team began using Bo-Dyn sleds in 1994, but struggled without a victory until the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake City games saw the U.S.take two medals in four man bobsled (silver to USA 1, bronze to USA 2) and a gold in the two woman category. After 8 years of effort, it appeared that Bo-Dyn was on the right track.
Differences between a Bo-Dyn sled and one from their foreign competition aren’t readily apparent to an untrained observer, and Bo-Dyn doesn’t publish any information that would help their competition. As close as Bo-Dyn comes is admitting that their sleds are significantly quieter than the competition’s; could this indicate an advantage in runner technology? Aerodynamics? Shell stiffness or composition? Bodine isn’t saying.
After eighteen years of effort, Bodine’s passion for the sport of bobsledding hasn’t dimmed; he was trackside at Vancouver to see Holcomb drive Bo-Dyn’s Night Train to a track record and olympic gold medal. In an effort to raise money for the USA Bobsled Team, Bodine sponsors the Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge each January, where race fans can watch their favorite NASCAR, IRL and NHRA drivers compete in a weekend of bobsled racing and general hoonage. Bodine also raises money via donations and the sale of Team USA merchandise. Want to sponsor a sled or buy a Night Train t-shirt? More info here.