Loudon: Toyota preview

THIS RACE The Sylvania 200 will mark the ninth race at New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS) for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). There will be eight Toyota Tundras in the field at New Hampshire. LAST RACE -- In the most recent...

THIS RACE The Sylvania 200 will mark the ninth race at New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS) for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). There will be eight Toyota Tundras in the field at New Hampshire.

LAST RACE -- In the most recent race on the NCTS schedule at Richmond International Raceway (Sept.9), three Toyota Tundras finished in the top-10. Todd Bodine was the first Toyota driver to the checkered flag, finishing fourth in his debut driving the No.30 Germain/Arnold Racing Tundra. Following Bodine to the finish line were Robert Huffman, who recorded a sixth-place finish, and Mike Skinner, who crossed the finish line in 10th-place.

POINTS PACE -- After 17 races, three Toyota drivers are in the top-15 in the NCTS championship standings. Travis Kvapil is seventh in the standings with 2,250 points, 250 points behind first-place Bobby Hamilton and just 174 points from third-place Carl Edwards. Mike Skinner (2,124 points) is ninth in the standings and David Reutimann (1,988 points) is in 15th-place.

ROOKIE RACE -- After 17 races, Toyota driver David Reutimann sits atop the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year standings with 179 points, 22 more than second-place Tracey Hines. Toyota driver Robert Huffman is fifth in the rookie standings with 124 points.

TODD TERRIFIC AT RIR -- The newly created Germain/Arnold Racing NCTS team made its series debut at Richmond with Todd Bodine driving the No.30 Tundra. Bodine crossed the finish line fourth and was the top finishing Toyota driver. "To come to Richmond with a brand new Craftsman Truck team, qualify third and finish fourth -- everyone at the team is ecstatic," said Bodine, following the race. "I've struggled this year trying to find a good situation for myself. Don (Arnold) and I talked earlier this season and couldn't work anything out. We talked again not too long ago -- and here we are now in the truck series with Toyota."

TODD'S VERY FIRST TRUCK RACE -- In his first NCTS race driving a Toyota, Todd Bodine qualified third and finished fourth. In his very first NCTS race in 1995 -- at the Heartland Park road course in Topeka, Kan. -- Bodine also qualified third and finished fourth.

MORE ON TODD IN A TRUCK -- While Germain/Arnold Racing will be making only their second NCTS start at New Hampshire, driver Todd Bodine does have previous experience in the NCTS. Along with his Tundra debut at Richmond, Bodine made NCTS starts at Kansas (15th) and Charlotte (20th) earlier this season. Also, in 1995 Bodine made five NCTS starts at Topeka, Richmond, Martinsville, North Wilkesboro and Mesa Marin. During his NCTS career, Bodine has recorded two top-fives and six top-10s in eight races.

HUFFMAN'S HIGHLIGHT -- Robert Huffman, driver of the No.12 Innovative Motorsports Tundra, recorded his best career NCTS ndfinish with a sixth-place at Richmond. Huffman worked his way through the field at Richmond starting 22 and moving into 17th-place at the halfway point; 12th-place with 50 laps remaining; and seventh-place with 20 laps left. "It was a great day for us," said Huffman, after the race. "I was trying to be patient and take my time working my way to the front. We had a great Tundra, the guys made some really good calls in the pits, and all the adjustments we made during the race helped."

CAN ROBERT ROLL? -- Since the NCTS race in Kentucky (July 10), Robert Huffman has four top-10 finishes, and has bettered his career best finish four times. In Kentucky, Huffman recorded his first-ever NCTS top-10 when he was 10th to the checkered flag. He then finished ninth at Michigan (July 31) and eighth at Nashville (Aug.14). And, in the most recent race at Richmond, Huffman was sixth. "We've been up and down all season," says Huffman. "One race we're pretty good, the next week we struggle. We need to be more consistent. The race in Richmond, and our recent testing at Chicagoland and Milwaukee, should really give us some momentum the rest of the season."

SKINNER SURVIVES RICHMOND -- "I usually run really well at Richmond, but for some reason John th (Monsam, crew chief) and I struggled there during practice and qualifying," says Mike Skinner, about his 10 - place finish in the most recent NCTS race. "John and I had a rough day. But, John and all the guys on the team really worked their tails off and by the end of the day we managed to get a top-10 finish."

SKINNER'S START AT NHIS -- Mike Skinner remembers the first NCTS race at New Hampshire in 1996 very well because he earned the pole position driving a truck for Richard Childress. "I remember that first race at New Hampshire because we had everybody covered in practice and qualifying," says Skinner. "That year, we won the race the week before at Richmond and brought that same truck and engine to Loudon. Back then you would run the engine for a couple races. We were fast in practice, then we won the pole and we were leading the race. But, then we had some motor problems and couldn't finish."

NH HURRICANE ESCAPE -- Mike and Angie Skinner live in Daytona Beach, Fla., but they've survived Hurricanes Charley and Frances with minimal damage. However, several years back, bad weather from another Hurricane seemed to be following them. "Three or four years ago there was a hurricane that was heading to Florida before the New Hampshire race weekend, so Angie and I decided to head out of town early," says Mike Skinner. "We went to North Carolina, but the hurricane seemed to be following us with all its bad weather. So, we decided to go to New Hampshire several days before the race weekend. But, we still couldn't escape the bad weather. We had three days to see the state and we had nothing but three days of rain. All we could really do was eat some lobster and do some shopping."

TRAVIS TOUGH AT NH Travis Kvapil has made three NCTS starts at New Hampshire and has registered three top-10 finishes. In his first start at the track in 2001, the Janesville, Wis.-driver crossed the finish line second. Then, in both 2002 and 2003, Kvapil recorded seventh-place finishes at the Loudon, NH-track.

LESTER HAS TWO -- Bill Lester has tmade two NCTS starts at New Hampshire and has recorded two top-15 finishes at the track. He has finished 13 h (2003) and 14th (2002) at New Hampshire.

FIRST FOR A FEW -- Johnny Benson, Todd Bodine, Robert Huffman, Hank Parker Jr. and David Reutimann will all be making their first NCTS starts at New Hampshire. Benson, Bodine and Parker Jr. have all competed at the track previously in the Cup or Busch series, but never in the Craftsman Truck Series.

NEW ADDITION -- Hank Parker, Jr. and his wife Wendy welcomed the birth of their second child, Madison Hope Parker, on Saturday, Sept.11 at 11:00 in the morning. Madison weighed in at 7 pounds and 10 ounces.

TOYOTA TRIUMPHS -- Toyota earned its first-ever NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory when Travis Kvapil captured the checkered flag at Michigan International Speedway (July 31) in his No.24 Bang Racing Line-X Tundra.

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 career NCTS pole position, and Toyota's inaugural pole.

TV TIME -- Sylvania 200, NHIS, Saturday, Sept.18, 1:00 PM (Eastern), SPEED Channel

-www.toyotamotorsportsmedia.com.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Hank Parker Jr. , Johnny Benson , Bill Lester , David Reutimann , Carl Edwards , Robert Huffman , Travis Kvapil