THIS RACE: This will be the 10th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. There will be nine Tundras in the field at Texas -- the final race of the 2005 NCTS season.
RECENT RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at Phoenix International Raceway (Nov.11), Todd Bodine picked up the victory in the No.30 Germain Racing Tundra, and three other Toyota drivers recorded top-10 finishes. Tundra drivers following Bodine to the Phoenix finish line were Johnny Benson (third), David Reutimann (seventh) and Mike Skinner (ninth).
TODD'S RECENT TRIUMPH: Todd Bodine passed fellow Tundra pilot Johnny Benson with 41 laps remaining at Phoenix, and then held on to the lead following a red flag and a late race restart, en route to the checkered flag. "Our Tundra was just incredible and my guys did a great job in the pits getting us out first," said Bodine, following the race. "We needed `clean' air -- and once we got out front I knew my Tundra was going to be good. I was trying not to spin the tires on the restarts because I knew that Ron (Hornaday, Jr.) is tough on them (restarts)."
TWO STRAIGHT FOR TODD: At Phoenix, Todd Bodine registered his second straight NCTS win and the sixth NCTS victory of his career. "It's a great feeling to come out and get two wins in a row," said Bodine, after the race. "I have a great race team, and Toyota and TRD give us everything we need to run up front on a weekly basis -- so it's up to us to go out and do it. And, we've got the race team to do it."
PICKING UP THE POINTS: Since rejoining the Germain Racing team at Milwaukee (June 24) in race 11, Todd Bodine has moved from 15th in the NCTS championship standings to third-place -- in 14 races. During the points-producing streak, the Chemung, N.Y.-driver has recorded four wins, four seconds and two thirds.
WINNING WAYS: Tundra drivers have registered eight wins in 24 races this season, and Toyota has 12 NCTS victories since joining the Craftsman Truck Series at the beginning of the 2004 season. Todd Bodine has driven his Tundra to the winner's circle four times in 2005. In addition to his win at Phoenix (Nov.11), Bodine has crossed the finish line first at Texas (Nov.4), Las Vegas (Sept.24) and Kansas (July 2). 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).
SEASON TWO IN REVIEW: "This year has progressed extremely well for the Tundra program, after a slow start," says Jim Aust, vice president, Toyota Motorsports and president, TRD, U.S.A., Inc., talking about the 2005 season. "I think it took some time for our teams to get themselves in order and get the synergy back -- especially with the Germain team. They started with a different driver before getting back together with Todd (Bodine), and they've really come together since. We've doubled our win total from a year ago and we've more than doubled the number of poles -- and those were some of the things we were looking to accomplish this season."
POINTS PACE: After the first 24 races of 2005, three Toyota Tundra drivers are among the top-10 in the NCTS championship point standings. Todd Bodine sits third in the championship standings with 3,272 points. Following Bodine in the standings are Mike Skinner (2,003 points) in fifth-place and Jack Sprague (2,962 points) in eighth-place.
LAST YEAR HERE: A year ago at Homestead-Miami Speedway, David Reutimann was the top-finishing Toyota driver with a fourth-place result in the No.17 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Tundra. Reutimann also captured the pole in record fashion (171.255 MPH/31.532 seconds) at the 2004 season-finale in Miami
`HOME' TRACK: "Homestead is a great facility and it's pretty close to home," says David Reutimann, a Zephyrhills, Fla.-native. "Last year was my first time there and we had a good run in the race, as well as a good qualifying run. It's a mile-and-a-half track and I really like those tracks -- and we seem to be pretty strong at those places."
EARNING POINTS: "We can definitely get back in the top-10 in points at Homestead, although we're pretty much out of time to do much else," says Reutimann, talking about the NCTS point standings. "The mechanical failures we've had have taken us out of contention. If it wasn't for that, we'd be in the top-five right now. We're going to Homestead to race into the top-10 in points and to try to win the race. If we go there, run good and win the race, that would help a lot of things. It will also give us momentum going into next year."
TODD'S TRUCK DEBUT: "This will be my first time running in the Craftsman Truck Series at Homestead," says Bodine. "I really like the new configuration of the track -- which makes for great racing for the drivers and the fans. Obviously, we have a lot of momentum heading into Friday's race, and I'd like nothing more than to finish up the year with three straight wins."
TODD HAS TAKEN MANY LAPS: Beginning with his first NASCAR start at Miami in 1995, Todd Bodine has qualified for 11 races at the track -- including three Cup Series starts and eight Busch Series races. During his Miami career, the Chemung, N.Y.-driver has recorded two top-five finishes in the Busch Series. His best Cup Series finish at the track was an 11th-place in 2003.
THREE IN THE TRUCKS: Mike Skinner, driver of the No.5 Bill Davis Racing Tundra, has made three NCTS starts at Miami. In 1996, the Daytona Beach, Fla.-resident started second, led 74 laps and crossed the finish line in 20th-place. The following year, Skinner qualified 18th, led 33 laps and finished fourth. A year ago, in Toyota's NCTS debut at the track, Skinner crossed the finish line sixth. Along with his three NCTS starts at Miami, Skinner has made the field in five other NASCAR races at the Florida oval, including four Cup Series races.
BENSON HAS BEEN HERE: Johnny Benson has started one NCTS race at Miami in his No.23 Bill Davis Racing Tundra, as well as nine NASCAR Cup and Busch races at the track. Benson's racing resume includes five Cup starts and four Busch races at Miami. In a Cup car at Miami, Benson has registered two top-10 finishes. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-native also has a fourth-place finish (2003) in the Busch Series at the Florida oval.
WHITT'S STRONG STARTS: In the past 12 races, Brandon Whitt has qualified among the top-10 in 11 of the events. His starting positions include a pair of poles (Memphis and Phoenix), as well as starting on the outside of row one at Richmond. He's also started his No.38 Red Horse Racing Tundra third twice and fourth once.