Atlanta II: Toytota preview

THIS RACE: This will be the third NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field. RECENT RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at Martinsville Speedway (Oct.22), Toyota drivers ...

THIS RACE: This will be the third NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field.

RECENT RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at Martinsville Speedway (Oct.22), Toyota drivers Brandon Whitt and Todd Bodine recorded top-10 finishes. Whitt, driver of the No.38 Red Horse Racing Tundra, qualified fourth, but was moved to the back of the field following an engine change. During the race, he was able to work his way through the field and crossed the finish line third. Bodine finished 10th in the No.30 Germain Racing Tundra.

WHITT'S WORK: "When I found out where we were going to start, I said; `Oh, man, we're starting at the back at Martinsville and that's not good,'" said Whitt. "But, during practice we had a really, really good truck and our practice times were pretty consistent no matter what we did to the truck. So, I knew we had a good truck that could come back through the field -- and we proved it."

D.W. DID IT AGAIN: It was `One and Done' for Darrell Waltrip in the NCTS race at Martinsville when he made his final appearance as a NASCAR driver with a 13th-place finish. "It really was good day," said Waltrip, following the race. "I came up through the field just like I hoped -- and got into the top-15. We were right on our game plan. I passed some trucks in the pits, and I passed some trucks on the track. Then, I was a `wee' bit to fast on pit road and they nabbed me. I started 30th and moved up to 11th, then restarted dead last and got back to 13th. So, I passed a lot of trucks."

MORE D.W.: "Days like this that make you want to race again," added Waltrip, after the race. "But, in all honesty, I got what I wanted. I was very competitive and that's the way to end things. Coming back here again, I might not get that good of a result."

EARLIER THIS YEAR HERE: Earlier this year, in the first NCTS race at Atlanta (March 18), two Toyotas finished among the top-10. Chad Chaffin crossed the finish line seventh in the No.30 Germain Racing Tundra, and Robert Huffman finished 10th in the No.12 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Tundra.

POINTS PACE: After the first 21 races of 2005, three Toyota Tundra drivers are among the top-12 in the NCTS championship point standings. Todd Bodine sits fourth in the championship standings with 2,727 points, just 310 points behind leader Ted Musgrave. Following Bodine in the standings are Mike Skinner (2,691 points) in sixth-place and David Reutimann (2,554 points) in 11th-place.

SCORE SIX: Toyota drivers have registered six wins in 2005, and Toyota has ten NCTS victories since the beginning of the 2004 season. Todd Bodine recorded Toyota's most recent win at Las Vegas (Sept.24). Other Tundra race-winners this year include Mike Skinner at Richmond (Sept.8) and Bristol (Aug.24), Brandon Whitt at Memphis (July 23), and David Reutimann at Nashville (Aug.13). Bodine also recorded Toyota's first win of 2005 when he guided his No.30 Germain Racing Tundra to `Victory Lane' at Kansas (July 2).

CENTURY MARK: Bill Lester, who now calls Atlanta home, will be making his 100th career NCTS start at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Lester is in his fourth full season in the Craftsman Truck Series, and his second year driving the No.22 Bill Davis Racing Tundra. Earlier this year, he registered his best career NCTS finish -- a fifth-place finish -- at Kansas (July 2).

LOOKING TO ATLANTA: "After the Martinsville race, I'm glad to be getting back to a super speedway," says Todd Bodine. "Our super speedway program has been pretty good all year and that makes me excited to go to Atlanta. Mike Hillman, Jr. (No.30 crew chief) and the guys in the shop have worked hard to get our Atlanta Tundra ready for this race -- and I'm ready, too."

TEAMING WITH TOYOTA AGAIN: Joey Miller, 20, will return to the seat of the No.12 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports nd Tundra at Atlanta. Miller made his NCTS debut in the No.12 Tundra at Las Vegas (Sept.24), where he started 32 and finished 15th. A Minnesota native, Miller was a regular in the ARCA Series this season, winning four races and series Rookie-of-the-Year honors.

MORE FROM MILLER: "My first time driving in the Craftsman Truck Series I experienced the lowest of lows, and the highest of highs," said Miller, about his race in Las Vegas. "It started rough when I got involved in an accident in the first few laps of the race. But, we were able to come back from that and finish in the top-15 -- which was our goal heading into the race. So, the race ended pretty good."

TEAMING WITH TOYOTA AGAIN, PART 2: Justin Hobgood will be back in a Toyota at Atlanta when he returns to the seat of the No.9dGermain Racing Tundra. Hobgood made his NCTS debut at Richmond, where he started eighth and finished 23r .

HOBGOOD HAPPY: "To have an opportunity to run three more races with the Germain Racing team is a thrill," says Hobgood. "I look forward to giving this team some good, solid finishes, beginning at Atlanta. Having Todd (Bodine) as a mentor and teammate has been a huge help to me as I get used to the Craftsman Truck Series."

PLENTY OF POLES: Since the beginning of the 2004 NCTS season, Toyota drivers have started races from the pole position 14 times. Last year, Tundra drivers captured the pole position five times and this year Toyota racers have had nine poles. David Reutimann (Bristol) and Brandon Whitt (Memphis) have each registered the first pole positions of their NCTS careers this season. Along with the two first-time pole winners, teammates Mike Skinner - (California, Texas, Charlotte, Nashville and Las Vegas) and Bill Lester (Kansas and Kentucky) at Bill Davis Racing have combined for seven Toyota poles in 2005.

FIRST POLE: Last year at Atlanta, a Toyota captured the NCTS pole position for the first time. Rookie David Reutimann recorded a speed of 179.452 MPH (30.894 seconds) around the 1.5-mile oval to earn his first career NCTS pole position. Reutimann established a NCTS record by winning the pole position in his second career series start. It makes the Zephyrhills, FL-native the fastest official NCTS rookie to ever be the quickest qualifier. The previous mark was established by Greg Biffle, who in 1998 registered a pole position in his third career NCTS start.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Ted Musgrave , Bill Lester , Chad Chaffin , David Reutimann , Brandon Whitt , Robert Huffman , Joey Miller , Justin Hobgood
Teams Germain Racing , Bill Davis Racing , Red Horse Racing