Kansas: Toyota preview

THIS RACE: This will be the fourth visit to Kansas Speedway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). Six Toyota Tundras are entered in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas. Bill Davis Racing will only have one entry in the field, the No.22...

THIS RACE: This will be the fourth visit to Kansas Speedway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). Six Toyota Tundras are entered in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas. Bill Davis Racing will only have one entry in the field, the No.22 Tundra for driver Bill Lester. The No. 23 Tundra with Shelby Howard will not be in Kansas.

LAST RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at the Milwaukee Mile (June 25), Wisconsin native Travis Kvapil was the first Toyota Tundra across the finish line. The defending NCTS champion started seventh in his No.24 Line-X Tundra and moved into the lead on lap 129. He led 50 laps around the Milwaukee one-mile oval, and eventually crossed the finish line fourth. Toyota drivers following Kvapil across the finish line were Hank Parker Jr. (17th), Shelby Howard (21st) and Mike Skinner (29th). Retiring early from the race were Tundra drivers David Reutimann (32nd), Bill Lester (34th) and Robert Huffman (36th).

POINTS PACE: After nine races, three Toyota drivers are among the top-12 in the NCTS championship standings. Travis Kvapil is ninth in the standings with 1154 points, 285 points behind current leader Dennis Setzer. Mike Skinner, Kvapil's Bang Racing teammate, is 10th in the standings (1143 points) and rookie David Reutimann sits 12th in the standings (1087 points). Reutimann also tops the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year standings by 17 points over Shane Sieg.

TK TALKS WI: "It was a really good team effort and I'm proud of everybody on the team," said Travis Kvapil, after the Milwaukee race. "It's great to be back up front. It's been awhile since we had a good run like that. The motor ran great, we had good fuel mileage, and everything just came together. It didn't get us what we wanted, but it has us pointed in the right direction."

AT THIS POINT: Lee White, group vice president of Toyota Racing Development, Inc., reviewed Toyota's first NCTS season to date following the Milwaukee race. "The `big picture' is that the engine is coming to life and we're seeing a lot of promise," said White. "The engineering and aerodynamic development we're doing with the Tundra is starting to pay off, certainly on the big tracks. The whole Toyota family has a lot to learn, and we're definitely still learning about the short tracks. This first season is a real learning process and that's exactly what we're doing."

NEW CREW I:In Milwaukee, Bang Racing teammates Travis Kvapil and Mike Skinner traded crew chiefs, with Rick Ren moving to Kvapil's team and Eric Phillips switching to Skinner's squad. How did the change work in Milwaukee? "We needed to do something to turn the team around," said Kvapil. "The last month or so we've really been struggling. We came to Milwaukee and were fast right off the truck, had some great pit stops, and brought our Tundra home in the top-5. Obviously, it's just one race, but it's a good start."

NEW CREW II: "Eric did a good job in Milwaukee, even though we used a brand new Tundra that hadn't run anywhere," said Skinner, talking abouthis new crew chief Eric Phillips. "Overall, Eric did a really good job and the whole team seemed to adjust to the change. Unfortunately, we had a rough night in Milwaukee and that's how we got caught up in that accident."

1 TOP 10: Last year, Bill Lester qualified on the outside of row one and recorded the best finish of his NCTS career when he crossed the finish line 10th at Kansas. In 2002, Lester had another stellar qualifying effort at Kansas when he started third on the grid, before retiring from the race after 87 of 167 laps.

HANK'S PAST: Hank Parker Jr. has made one NCTS start and three Busch Series starts at Kansas Speedway. In his only NCTS start at the track one year ago, Parker Jr. started 21st and finished 11th, completing all 167 laps. It was just his second career NCTS race. In his three Busch Series starts at the Kansas track, Parker Jr. has recorded one runner-up finish (2001), along with a fifth-place (2003).

MS IN KS: Mike Skinner has competed in two NASCAR Nextel Cup races at Kansas Speedway. Last year, Skinner started on the outside of the front row and finished 29th. In 2002, he finished 32nd at Kansas.

2 IN 10:In three NCTS starts at Kansas Speedway, Travis Kvapil has registered two top-10 finishes. He was sixth in the inaugural NCTS race at the track in 2001 and finished fourth one year ago. Kvapil has also started among the top-10 twice -- qualifying ninth (2003) and 10th (2002) at the track.

SECOND BEST: The best finish by a Toyota Tundra driver this season has been second-place. Bang Racing teammates Travis Kvapil (Daytona) and Mike Skinner (Atlanta) have both finished second.

TUNDRA TOPS: Toyota drivers have recorded nine top-five finishes, and 13 top-10 finishes, in 63 combined appearances. Along with seconds by Travis Kvapil (Daytona) and Mike Skinner (Atlanta), David Reutimann finished third twice (Atlanta and Texas), and Hank Parker Jr. was third in Dover. In addition, Kvapil has been fourth (Atlanta) and fifth (Milwaukee), and Skinner has also finished fourth (Dover) and fifth (Martinsville).

LEADER: A Toyota Tundra driver has led the field in seven of the nine NCTS races this season. Mike Skinner has been the race leader in six races (Daytona, Atlanta, Martinsville, Charlotte, Dover and Texas) for a total of 240 laps. Travis Kvapil has led three races (Daytona, Atlanta and Milwaukee) for a total of 66 laps. The races in Mansfield and Memphis did not have a Toyota driver lead the field.

2 MORE: In addition to Mike Skinner and Travis Kvapil, two other Toyota Tundra drivers have been race leaders this season. Rookie David Reutimann has led laps at Daytona (7) and Atlanta (8 laps), and Bill Lester led 19 laps at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte.

POLE NO.1:In Atlanta, a Tundra captured the NCTS pole position for the first time. David Reutimann recorded a speed of 179.452 MPH (30.894 seconds) to earn his first NCTS pole, and Toyota's inaugural pole. He set a new NCTS mark by winning the pole in his second start.

-toyota-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Skinner , Hank Parker Jr. , Dennis Setzer , Shelby Howard , Bill Lester , David Reutimann , Shane Sieg , Robert Huffman , Travis Kvapil
Teams Bill Davis Racing , Toyota Racing