Indy IRP: Toyota preview

THIS RACE: This will be the 11th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Indianapolish Raceway Park (IRP). There will be eight Toyota Tundras in the field at the Indianapolis short track -- the 15t NCTS race of the 2005 season. LAST RACE:...

THIS RACE: This will be the 11th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Indianapolish Raceway Park (IRP). There will be eight Toyota Tundras in the field at the Indianapolis short track -- the 15t NCTS race of the 2005 season.

LAST RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at Memphis Motorsports Park (July 23), Brandon Whitt recorded the first win of his NCTS career. At the Memphis short track, Whitt started from the pole in his No.38 McMillin Homes/Cure Autism Now Tundra and led the race three times for 54 laps en route to his inaugural series victory. Before Memphis, Whitt's best NCTS result had been a sixth-place finish at Kentucky (July 9).

A FEW OTHER FIRSTS: In addition to recording the first victory of his NCTS career at Memphis Brandon , Whitt also established several other marks. He earned the inaugural pole position of his NCTS career and he also led the field in a NCTS race for the very first time. These records were all set in Whitt's 46th career NCTS race.

BRANDON'S BEST: In his win Memphis Whitt w as trailing Ron Hornaday, Jr. heading into the final lap at , at the 3/4-mile Memphis oval. "I heard there was smoke coming out of Turn Four and thought maybe someone had blown an engine," said Whitt, following the race. "I didn't expect to see Ron (Hornaday) backing up. He saw the smoke, `checked up' and went to the bottom of the track. My spotter was telling me it was clear up high on the track, so we went up there and took it."

AT WHITT'S END: "I can't say I wasn't nervous at the end of the race," added Whitt, after the race. "I had butterflies right there at the end. This is just a perfect example of why you always need to remember that it's never over -- until it's actually over."

TWO OTHERS IN TOP-10: In addition to Brandon Whitt, Tundra drivers David Reutimann (second) and Johnny Benson (ninth) also finished among the top-10 at Memphis.

DAVID'S CAREER BEST: David Reutimann, driver of the No.17 NTN Bearings Tundra, finished second at Memphis, just 1.4 seconds behind Brandon Whitt. It marked the best career NCTS finish for Reutimann -- who had been third in the two most recent races this season at Kentucky and Kansas. Reutimann, who started the Memphis race on the outside of row one, led the field twice for a total of 58 laps.

SIX WINS, AND FIRST ONE: Brandon Whitt's win at Memphis was the sixth victory for a Toyota Tundra since the beginning of the 2004 season, and the second win by a Tundra driver this season. It was also the first Toyota NCTS victory on a short track (less than a mile).

PLENTY OF POLES: Since the beginning of the 2004 NCTS season, Toyota drivers have started races from the pole position 11 times. Last year, Tundra drivers captured the pole position five times and this year Toyota racers have had six poles. Brandon Whitt's pole at Memphis was the first for Toyota on a short track (less than a mile), as well as the first pole by a Toyota driver not from the Bill Davis Racing team. BDR teammates Mike Skinner (three) and Bill Lester (two) have combined for five Toyota poles in 2005.

POINTS PACE: After the first 14 races of 2005, four Toyota Tundra drivers are among the top-15 in the NCTS championship point standings. David Reutimann is seventh in the standings with 1,799 points, 290 points behind leader Dennis Setzer. Following Reutimann in the standings are Tundra racers Mike Skinner t(1,720 points) in 11th-place, Todd Bodine (1,673 points) in 13th-place, and Johnny Benson (1,637 points) in 14 h-place.

LAST YEAR HERE: A year ago, Travis Kvapil was the top finishing Toyota Tundra at Indianapolis Raceway Park when he crossed the finish line fourth.

SKINNER STRONG AT IRP: Mike Skinner dominated the inaugural race at IRP in 1995, starting from the pole and leading every lap en route to the checkered flag. A year later, the Daytona Beach, Fla.-driver repeated his dominant performance at IRP -- again starting from the pole and leading every lap on his way to `victory lane.'

NOW AND THEN: "In the first two events held at IRP in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1995 and 1996 I seemed to have the most dominate truck in the field," says Mike Skinner, the 1995 NCTS champion. "I think the trucks are a lot more aero.-dependant now than they were back in the early days. The tires and chassis have changed so much over the years, and the level of competition just gets higher and higher as each year passes."

TRACK TALK: "IRP was a race track that was good for me," says Skinner. "It has been very frustrating this year because we have been so good on the short tracks in the past, and we're having some problems this year. We're struggling with this No.5 team on the tracks that are less than one mile. Jeff Hensley (crew chief) and I are really working hard on trying to get our finger on the problem so we can get back to that short track form that we had at IRP in `95 and `96."

CHAD IS CHAMP: Chad Chaffin captured the checkered flag in last year's race at IRP to register the second NCTS win of his career. "IRP is my type of race track and our strong runs there in the past demonstrate that," says Chaffin. "The track reminds me of my days of racing at the old Nashville Fairgrounds where I cut my teeth and learned so much about this sport. Last year's win at IRP, on the last lap, was pretty dramatic and a big win for me."

GETTING CLOSER: "This Wyler Racing team has only been together for four races, but we're getting close to putting together an awesome performance like I did last year at IRP," says Chaffin. "This team has done an incredible job and Tony Furr definitely knows how to run the organization. Tony and I are starting to know each other real well and our performance will start to show that in the second half of the season."

EYES IN THE SKY: This year, David Reutimann hears a familiar voice during the races -- as his cousin Shawn is serving as the spotter for the driver of the No.17 NTN Bearings Tundra. It's Shawn's first season serving as David's spotter in the NCTS. In addition to working with his cousin during the NCTS race weekends, Shawn also serves as the crew chief for his brother's (Wayne, Jr.) sprint car team, and runs an auto collision repair shop in Zephyrhills, Fla.

CLOSE COUSINS: "David and I grew up together and we're real close," says Shawn Reutimann. "I think we're more like brothers than cousins. I've been going to the track with David ever since his first race in a mini-stock car up until he ran in the All-Pro Series a few years back. Basically, I've worked on David's race cars all my life -- and I'm glad to be back working with him again."

BUSY SCHEDULE: Shawn Reutimann will have a couple busy days in Indianapolis. On Thursday, he'll serve as crew chief for his brother's USAC Silver Crown race at IRP, before working as David's spotter during Friday's NCTS race.

WALLACE WITH WALTRIP: Mike Wallace will drive the No.12 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Toyota Tundra at IRP. Wallace replaces Robert Huffman in the No.12 truck.

-toyota-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Mike Wallace , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Dennis Setzer , Bill Lester , Chad Chaffin , David Reutimann , Brandon Whitt , Robert Huffman , Travis Kvapil
Teams Bill Davis Racing