KANSAS CITY, Kan. (July 3, 2005) -- Robert Huffman's No. 12 Toyota Tundra crossed the start-finish line in 18th-place as the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event concluded at Kansas Speedway Saturday afternoon.
"It was hard for us to pass because the truck was too tight," said Huffman. "We got a lap down. We were out front and messed around there and got it back. When we got our lap back, we thought we might end up with at least a top-15 finish or maybe a top-10 finish. Then, the 75 truck ran into us. I guess he spun out in the middle of the corner and got us. Our front end was tore up after that. We had to nurse it home."
Huffman's No. 12 Toyota Tundra was one of six Toyotas to start in the top-10. After starting in sixth-place, Huffman was 14th when he made his first pit stop at Lap 30.
"We struggled at the beginning because we were too tight," said Huffman. "There was a caution that came out, which allowed us to come in to take four tires and do whatever else we needed to do."
Huffman pitted again under caution at Lap 53 for adjustments and fuel while in 19th-place. Restarting 17th at Lap 56, Huffman then pitted for four tires at Lap 67 under caution.
"The truck was still really tight," said Huffman. "We decided to come in and make some adjustments to try and free it up. Then we pitted again for tires not long thereafter."
In 22nd-place during the restart at Lap 74, Huffman tried to stay on the lead lap as the leader (Todd Bodine) filled his mirror at Lap 110. As the No. 12 Toyota Tundra went one lap down, Huffman waited for another caution.
"We were hoping to catch a caution there," said Huffman. "We finally did and were able to pit around Lap 121 for tires, but by that time we were not the first truck one lap down. So, we didn't get our lap back at that time."
Restarting 20th at Lap 143 one lap down, Huffman was in front of the field. Huffman got the caution he was waiting for around Lap 150 and his No. 12 Toyota Tundra returned to the lead lap.
"We made it back on the lead lap," said Huffman. "After the caution came out, we pitted again. The guys went down on the track bar and made an air pressure adjustment."
With a top-15 finish in his grasp, trouble found Huffman with about ten laps to go.
"We were running 16th when something happened to David Starr and he kind of run over us," said Huffman. "He spun in the middle of the corner and we were committed to the outside. After he ran into us, basically the front end was tore up. I think all the fender bracing was rubbing the front tire. We couldn't go very hard after that. There was just nothing I could do to avoid it. We could've had a top-15finish if it hadn't been for that."
Huffman finished 18th and is now 23rd in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings. Huffman looks forward to Kentucky Speedway next weekend where he finished 10th last season in the No. 12 Toyota Tundra and has two NASCAR Goody's Dash Series wins to his credit.
"I enjoy racing at Kentucky because I've had much success there," said Huffman. "Ihad a couple Dash wins there. It was where we got Toyota's first NASCAR win. That was the first year the Dash carsvisited Kentucky. Then, last season we had a good run there in the No. 12 Toyota Tundra. I think we'll dowellat Kentucky next weekend."
Live race coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, July 9th begins atx p.m. EDT on SPEED Channel. MRN Radio will broadcast the event.