Kvapil Takes Second in Toyota's First NCTS Race DAYTONA, Fla. (Feb. 13, 2004) - Toyota indicated it will be a contender in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series right front the start as Travis Kvapil led seven Toyota Tundras with a second place in the...
Kvapil Takes Second in Toyota's First NCTS Race
DAYTONA, Fla. (Feb. 13, 2004) - Toyota indicated it will be a contender in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series right front the start as Travis Kvapil led seven Toyota Tundras with a second place in the Florida Dodge Dealers 250 behind winner Carl Edwards.
Kvapil, the defending series champion, put Toyota in the lead for the first time ever on lap eight. Kvapil led a total of four times for 15 laps in the No. 4 Line-X Toyota Tundra and edged Mike Wallace at the finish line for second. David Reutimann finished ninth and had his No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra in the lead for seven laps. Mike Skinner also led for six laps in the No. 42 Toyota Tundra before being knocked out by a 15-truck accident just past the race's halfway point. Skinner finished 28th overall.
"We definitely had a truck that was capable of winning," Kvapil said. "I was doing alI could to stay in line and pick up one place there at the end, and that's the way it worked out. I'm disappointed we didn't win, but we're focused on capturing the championship again, and it looks like we have the team, the manufacturer and the sponsor to make it happen."
It was Toyota's first-ever race in the Craftsman Truck Series after capturing the NASCAR Goody's Dash Series Championship in 2002 with Robert Huffman. The Tundra race trucks did their first full tests at Daytona in January.
"If you had told me six weeks ago that we would come down here and qualify two trucks in the top 10, lead the race and finish second, I wouldn't have believed you," said Jim Aust, President of TRD, U.S.A., Inc. "This is a great start and we can't wait to go to Atlanta."
Bill Lester finished 16th on the lead lap in the No. 22 LidRock Tundra despite suffering front and rear body damage. Hank Parker, Jr., finished 18th in the No. 21 Daytona U.S.A. Tundra after suffering ignition troubles. Shelby Howard was knocked out in the same wreck that claimed Skinner and finished 29th in the No. 23 Toyota Tundra.
Robert Huffman, the defending Dash Series champion who is moving with Toyota into the Craftsman Series this year, slammed the wall hard on lap 25 when he checked up for a caution flag and bumped from behind. He was examined and released unhurt from the infield care center.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series resumes on March 13 at the Easycare 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel.
TOYOTA NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series QUOTES
JIM AUST (Toyota Vice President of Motorsports and President and CEO of TRD, U.S.A, Inc.) "If you had told me six weeks ago that we would come down here and qualify two trucks in the top 10, lead the race and finish second, I wouldn't have believed you. This is a great start and we can't wait to go to Atlanta."
TRAVIS KVAPIL (No. 24 Line-X Toyota Tundra) - "We definitely had a truck that was capable of winning. I was doing all I could to stay in line and pick up one place there at the end and that's the way it worked out. We're focused on wining the championship again and it looks like we have the team, the manufacturer and the sponsor to make it happen."
MIKE SKINNER (No. 42 Toyota Tundra) - Skinner led six laps before being caught up in a 15-car wreck on lap 52. "They were trying to wreck our there for about four laps and finally got it done. We showed tonight we're going to be a force to reckon with. It took me about half a lap to be running second (from his 14th starting position).
ROBERT HUFFMAN (No. 12 Toyota Tundra) - "The Tundra was running really great and I think we had a really good shot tonight. I feel really bad for all the Innovative Motorsports guys. Everyone at Toyota and TRD did a great job giving us a really great race truck."
DAVID REUTIMANN (No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra) - "I made some big mistakes early on. I just couldn't figure out where to run on the race track. But the truck ran great and we've come light years. I'm so happy with the effort of everyone at TRD and Darrell Waltrip who worked 24 hour days to get us ready."
BILL LESTER (No. 22 LidRock Toyota Tundra) - I was able to put the Tundra anywhere I wanted until the nose got pushed in. Later I got clipped in the left rear. I was really happy with the chassis and engine. Now I'm looking to the rest of the season, especially the next race at Atlanta, my home."
HANK PARKER JR. (No. 21 Daytona U.S.A. Toyota Tundra) - "We had a really good start and were working our way up the field. But, then we had ignition box problems which forced us to pit every 15 laps or so. Otherwise we were running great and I thought we had a really good shot."