THIS RACE: The season-opening NASCAR Craftsman Series (NCTS) race at Daytona International Speedway will be the sixth Craftsman Truck Series race at the Florida track. There will be nine Tundras in the field at Daytona. LAST YEAR HERE: In the ...
THIS RACE: The season-opening NASCAR Craftsman Series (NCTS) race at Daytona International Speedway will be the sixth Craftsman Truck Series race at the Florida track. There will be nine Tundras in the field at Daytona.
LAST YEAR HERE: In the Daytona NCTS season-opener last year, two Toyota Tundras recorded top-10 finishes. Todd Bodine ended up third and Johnny Benson crossed the finish line 10th.
RETURNING TO THE ROSTER: Seven drivers who piloted Tundras a year ago will be back in Toyotas for 2006. All three drivers at Bill Davis Racing -- Johnny Benson (No.23), Bill Lester (No.22) and Mike Skinner (No.5) -- will return, as will David Reutiman (No.17) and Joey Miller at Darrell Waltrip Motorsports. Jack Sprague (No.60), who ran a limited schedule in a Tundra last season, will be back at Wyler Racing, and Todd Bodine (No.30) returns to Germain Racing.
TWO TO DEBUT: At Daytona, two drivers will be making their first starts in a Tundra. Ted Musgrave, the 2005 NCTS champion, will make his debut in a Toyota when he takes the steering wheel of the No.9 Team ASE/Germain Toyota Tundra. David Starr, driver of the No.11 Red Horse Racing Tundra, will also be making his first Tundra start at Daytona.
LEADERS OF THE PACK: In 2005, Todd Bodine won a series-high five races and Mike Skinner had a series- high seven pole positions. Bodine, driver of the No.30 Germain Motor Company Tundra, had wins at Kansas, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Texas and Miami. Skinner, pilot of the No.5 Toyota Tundra, qualified first at California, Charlotte, Texas (2), Nashville, Las Vegas and Atlanta. Overall, Toyota drivers won nine races and captured 13 poles during the 2005 campaign.
KEY TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP: "This is going to be my third season starting the year with Germain Racing and I think we have an opportunity to win the championship," says Todd Bodine, who finished third in the championship standings last year. "I think having success is really all about people, and having the right people is the key. We have that with Mike Hillman (team manager) and Mike Hillman Jr. (crew chief) leading our team."
T'N'T: "I'm looking forward to having Teddy (Musgrave) driving a second truck for Germain Racing and being my teammate," adds Bodine. "It's definitely going to make our team stronger, and I think it's also going to make me stronger. Teddy and I respect each other and we get along well. He's not only a good driver, he's a good guy. Sometimes, you can have a teammate who's fast on the track, but not a good person away from the track. That's definitely not Teddy. He's a good guy and he's fast."
CAN IT CONTINUE: Last year, Todd Bodine finished the season with three consecutive wins in the season's final three races (Phoenix, Texas and Miami). "It's hard to carry momentum from one season into the next year," says Bodine. "So, I'm not sure winning the races at the end of last season will help us this year. But, one thing that our wins did do was make the off-season better and make it a lot easier to getthrough the winter."
TAKING TO A NEW TEAM: "I'd been with Ultra Motorsports my whole career in the Craftsman Truck Series, but this year it's a whole new program with Germain Racing," says Ted Musgrave, driver of the No.9 Team ASE/Germain Toyota Tundra. "They have some history in the series, and I know what the team did last year with Todd (Bodine) -- winning a bunch of races and ending up third in the points. I also know the experienced guys at the team, and having a teammate like Todd (Bodine), will make the transition easier."
SCHOOL DAYS: "I think moving to a new race team is similar to being a kid and moving with your family," explains Musgrave. "You have to start out going to a different school where you have new teachers and new classmates -- and it just takes some time getting used to everything. That's almost like what I'm going through."
SHIP SHAPE: "Things are in pretty good shape for this season -- in fact, I feel like this is the best shape we've been in since I've been back in the Craftsman Truck Series," says Mike Skinner, driver of the No.5 Toyota Tundra. "All our Tundras from last year have been updated and upgraded -- I think they're more refined than a year ago."
READY TO ROLL: This year will be David Reutimann's third season driving for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports. "We're eager to get the Craftsman Truck Series season underway at Daytona," says Reutimann, driver of the No. 17 Team Tundra Racing Toyota. "Last year, there was a big difference from our first year together as a team. We turned the corner and got really strong at midseason. We were able to capitalize and get our first win. Since it was a big difference from our first year to our second season, I can't wait to see how this season unfolds."
SECOND START: Rookie Joey Miller will be making his first Craftsman Truck Series start at Daytona, but he has started one race at the Florida track. "Last year was my first time running at Daytona in the ARCA race, and it was definitely different," says Miller, driver of the No.12 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Tundra. "I had never raced at a superspeedway up until that point. To finish in the top-10 in my first time at a superspeedway was pretty cool. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the finish line. The car was really loose and my car spun around and got into a big wreck."
BROADCAST TIME: SPEED Channel coverage of the NCTS race at Daytona International Speedway will begin at 8:00 PM (Eastern) on Friday, February 17. The race is tentatively scheduled to start at 8:15 PM (Eastern).
<pre> 2006 LINE-UP: The Toyota NCTS line-up at Daytona:
Driver Truck T eam Johnny Benson No.23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra Bill Davis Racing Bill Lester No.22 Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing Mike Skinner No.5 Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing Joey Miller No.12 Toyota Tundra Darrell Waltrip Motorsports David Reutimann No.17 Team Tundra Racing Toyota Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Todd Bodine No.30 Germain Motor Company Tundra Germain Racing Ted Musgrave No.9 Team ASE/Germain Toyota Tundra Germain Racing David Starr No.11 Red Horse Racing Tundra Red Horse Racing Jack Sprague No.60 Con-Way Tundra Wyler Racing