Las Vegas: Toyota Motorsports preview

THIS RACE: The Las Vegas 350 will be the 10th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field at the Las Vegas track -- the 19th NCTS race of the 2006 season. LAST RACE: In...

THIS RACE: The Las Vegas 350 will be the 10th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field at the Las Vegas track -- the 19th NCTS race of the 2006 season.

LAST RACE: In the most recent race of the 2006 Craftsman Truck Series season at New Hampshire International Speedway (Sept.16), Johnny Benson started second in the No.23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra and led 145 laps en route to `Victory Lane.' Following Benson to the checkered flag were Tundra drivers Mike Skinner (second), Todd Bodine (fourth) and David Starr (fifth).

BENSON BEATS EVERBODY: In winning his fourth NCTS race of the season, Johnny Benson had a dominating Bill Davis Racing-prepared truck at New Hampshire. "My Tundra was just awesome, especially in the middle of the race," said Benson, after his victory at the New England oval. "It was just unbelievable. The guys in the pits wanted to make some adjustments during the race, but it was running so good -- I didn't know what adjustments to tell them to make. We had some good stops on pit road -- which got us where we needed to be to take advantage of having a fast Tundra. I don't really know what else to say -- my truck was just incredible."

POINTS PACE: After the first 18 races of the 2006 season, Toyota drivers hold down the top-three positions in the NCTS championship point standings. Todd Bodine continues to sit atop the championship standings with 2,784 points. Trailing Bodine in the standings are second-place Johnny Benson (2,660 points) and third-place David Reutimann (2,521 points). In addition, Tundra drivers David Starr (2,450 points) and Ted Musgrave (2,450 points) are fifth in the standings.

CAN HE CATCH HIM: Johnny Benson now trails Todd Bodine by just 124 points in the Craftsman Truck Series championship point standings. "I think the only way we're going to catch Todd (Bodine) is by doing what we did at New Hampshire -- there's no other way," says Benson. "Todd and the guys at Germain Racing are consistent, and they've been that way all year long. I don't think we've been bad by any means, but when they have a bad race they're 15th or 18th, and when we have a bad race we're 22nd or 32nd. We're doing everything we can to try and get him. If we do get him great -- and if we don't we'll go down swinging."

HOLDING ON: Although Todd Bodine had another top-five finish at New Hampshire, he was disappointed at losing points in the championship chase. "Even though we finished fourth -- we lost too many points (in the championship standings)," says Bodine. "Johnny (Benson) and Rick (Crawford) are going to be tough the rest of the year -- we just can't let them beat us. If they finish third -- we have to finish second. And if they finish 10th -- we have to finish ninth. We have our work cut out for us because they're awful good. It's going to be a dogfight the rest of the year."

ENGINE CHASE: Toyota holds onto the top spot in the NCTS manufacturer's championship through the first 18 races of the 2006 season. Toyota has 126 points in the standings, 10 more points than second-place Ford and 38 points ahead of third-place Chevrolet.

LAST YEAR HERE: In last year's NCTS race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Sept.24, 2005), Toyota driver Todd Bodine captured the checkered flag and two other Tundra drivers recorded top-10 results. Bodine started third and passed Ted Musgrave on the final lap en route to the victory. Tundra drivers following Bodine to the finish line were Mike Skinner (sixth) and Brandon Whitt (ninth).

TODD TALKS LAS VEGAS: One year ago, Todd Bodine dominated the Las Vegas race in his No.30 Germain Racing Tundra, leading the field four times for a total of 114 laps, including the final lap around the Las Vegas circuit. The win was Bodine's second NCTS victory of the 2005 season and the fourth victory of his Craftsman Truck Series career. "Our Tundra was just incredible last year," says Bodine. "The longer it ran -- the stronger it got. It was just an unbelievable truck."

NEW LAS VEGAS REVIEW: "There's no question that the Las Vegas Motor Speedway that I won on last year is gone," says Bodine. "The new track has progressive banking and it drives a little bit like Atlanta. I was disappointed to see the old track go, but after we tested there with Goodyear, I'm pretty excited about getting back to Vegas."

RECORD RUN: Mike Skinner set a track qualifying mark en route to capturing the NCTS pole position at Las Vegas in 2004. The Daytona Beach, Fla.-driver circled the Las Vegas oval in 32.664 seconds (165.320 MPH). Skinner also started from the pole at Las Vegas one year ago.

SPRAGUE STRONG: Jack Sprague, driver of the No.60 Con-way Freight Tundra, has two win and three pole positions at s Las Vegas. Sprague, who recorded his first victory in a Tundra earlier this season at Memphis (July 15), captured the checkered flag in the NCTS debut at Las Vegas in 1996 and won the 1998 Las Vegas race. He started from the pole position at Las Vegas in 1997, 1998 and 2001.

TOYOTA HAS 22: Johnny Benson's victory at New Hampshire (Sept.16) was Toyota's 22nd NCTS win since the Tundra began competing in the Craftsman Truck Series at the beginning of the 2004 season. Along with nine wins this year -- four by Benson (New Hampshire, Nashville, Milwaukee and Michigan), three by Todd Bodine (Texas, St. Louis and Atlanta), one by Jack Sprague (Memphis) and one by David Star (Martinsville) -- Toyota had four wins in 2004 and nine wins in 2005.

TOYOTA HAS 27: Toyota has 27 NCTS pole positions since the Tundra began competing in the Craftsman Truck Series at the beginning of the 2004 season. Tundra drivers who have recorded poles include Mike Skinner (14), David Reutimann (six), Bill Lester (two), Brandon Whitt (two), Todd Bodine (one), Travis Kvapil (one) and Jack Sprague (one).

-credit: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , David Starr , Johnny Benson , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Bill Lester , David Reutimann , Brandon Whitt , Travis Kvapil
Teams Germain Racing , Bill Davis Racing