Touring the Middle East: Former NASCAR Cup driver Geoffrey Bodine, oldest of three driving brothers (NASCAR NEXTEL Cup pace car driver Brett Bodine and 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Todd Bodine), has just returned from a 10-day trip which took him to Bahrain, right off Saudi Arabi. Bodine made the trip at the request of the U.S. Navy. "I was there to let our troops know somebody cares and to entertain them some, too," said Bodine. Bodine said our troops are "very upbeat and believe everything they're doing over there is the right thing and right way to do it. They are doing a lot of humanitarian things which never get reported and that's what I figured I had to do: come back here and tell people the truth about what's going on over there." Bahrain is close to Iran and four to five hours from Iraq.

This was Bodine's third trip to the Middle East, having been to Iraq and Afghanistan on former trips. Bodine said he spent all his time onboard ships - 13 total - including aircraft carriers, battleships and destroyers. "I even got to drive one of the aircraft carriers," said Bodine, who made a stop at the Time Warner Media Center at Lowe's Motor Speedway this afternoon, after returning from the trip on May 25. While in Bahrain, Bodine was treated to a trip to the newly built Formula 1 track in Bahrain.

"They had what they called Australian V-8s, powered by Corvette engines," said Bodine, who finished third in the 1994 Coca-Cola 600 in a race many people thought he should have won, had it not been for a late-race tire change. "They were fast and, within three laps, I was beating my instructor. I still like racing and I'd still like to be racing, but I'm out of a job and I was able to go over and, hopefully, do some good. They baked me a cake and served me ice cream on my last night there, and ice cream is a big thing over there. So, if you have any extra ice cream, send it to our troops. And remember our troops on Memorial Day (Monday, May 28)."