THIS RACE: The Kroger 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Martinsville Speedway will be the 15th Craftsman Truck Series event at the Virginia half-mile track. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field at Martinsville. LAST...
THIS RACE: The Kroger 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Martinsville Speedway will be the 15th Craftsman Truck Series event at the Virginia half-mile track. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field at Martinsville.
LAST RACE: In the most recent race of the 2006 NCTS season at Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 17), Toyota picked up its first NCTS win of the season -- and four Tundra drivers finished among the top-five in the final results. Race-winner Todd Bodine was followed to the Atlanta checkered flag by Tundra drivers Johnny Benson (third), Ted Musgrave (fourth) and David Reutimann (fifth).
TODD TAKES ONE: Tundra driver Todd Bodine made a spectacular four-wide pass late in the Atlanta race -- and then held off a charging Mark Martin in a green-white-checkered finish -- to register his first NCTS win of the season. "If Mark (Martin) had gone high, there's no way I would have held him off," said Bodine, about the late race restart. "When I saw Mark go low, I knew that was my chance to win We were able to keep Mark pinched . down and keep our truck wound up. That's what we needed and it made all the difference."
GREAT EIGHT: Todd Bodine now has eight wins in 26 NCTS races driving the No.30 Germain Racing Tundra - - meaning he has taken his Tundra to `Victory Lane' almost once in every three starts with the Germain team. In addition to his victory at Atlanta, Bodine has won NCTS races at California, Kansas, Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix and Texas (2). Along with running with Germain Racing this season, Bodine started 15 races with the team in 2005, and eight races in 2004 with the Germain team.
BENSON'S BEST: Johnny Benson finished a season-best third at Atlanta -- although late in the race he thought he may end up higher in the final results. "For a minute there at the end of the race I thought we were in the cat-bird seat," said Benson, following the race. "All we needed was for Todd (Bodine) and Mark (Martin) to get together and we could've snuck through and won it going away."
POINTS PACE: After the first three races of the 2006 season, six Toyota drivers are among the top-10 in the NCTS championship point standings. Todd Bodine is second in the standings with 535 points, just 25 points behind leader Mark Martin. Tundra drivers behind Bodine in the standings are third-place Ted Musgrave (495 points), fourth-place David Reutimann (458 points), fifth-place Johnny Benson (433 points) and sixth-place Jack Sprague (432 points).
FOUR IN FIVE IN ALL THREE: In the first three NCTS races of the 2006 season, four Tundra drivers finished among the top-five in each race. In addition to the race results at Atlanta, four Tundra drivers finished among the top-five at Daytona (Feb.17) and California (Feb.24). At Daytona, race-wi ner Mark Martin was followed to the n checkered flag by Tundra drivers Todd Bodine (second), Ted Musgrave (third), Mike Skinner (fourth) and Jack Sprague (fifth). At California, race-winner Mark Martin was followed to the California finish line by Todd Bodine (second), Ted Musgrave (third), David Reutimann (fourth) and Jack Sprague (fifth).
LAST YEAR AT MARTINSVILLE: A year ago, in the Spring NCTS race at Martinsville Speedway (April 9, 2005), Toyota drivers Todd Bodine (fourth), Chad Chaffin (fifth) and Mike Skinner (ninth) had top-10 finishes.
TODD TALKS MARTINSVILLE: "It will definitely be different running at Martinsville than at the speedways we've raced on the first few weeks," says Todd Bodine. "I'm looking forward to racing at Martinsville. I grew up around the track, graduated high school about 45 minutes from the track (Rocky Mount, Va.), and remember watching my brothers (Geoffrey and Brett) race Modifieds at Martinsville. I also won a Cup pole (2001) at the track and have a few top-10s there."
BENSON BEFORE: Johnny Benson has 16 NASCAR Cup starts at Martinsville, along with five NCTS starts at the Virginia short track. "The trucks are fun to race at Martinsville, but it's a track that's brutal on the truck bodies," says Benson. "Martinsville is a place where people seem to think, `Well, we can just run into each other because it's a short track.'"
REUTIMANN RIGHTS WRONGS: "We always had trouble at Martinsville, but last October we went there with a different truck and a new attitude, because we knew what we were doing wasn't working," says Tundra driver David Reutimann. "And we had an exceptional truck -- although we ended up breaking the rear end in the race. We didn't qualify well, but we marched right to the front in the race. Martinsville used to be a track I hated to go to, but now I'm looking forward to going back."
MARTINSVILLE MAN: One person who has more experience than most drivers at Martinsville won't be in the starting line-up. Jeff Hensley, who has hung up his driver's suit and is in his second season as crew chief for Mike Skinner's No.5 Bill Davis Racing Tundra, knows Martinsville as well as anyone. Growing up in Ridgeway, Virginia, just six miles from Martinsville Speedway, Hensley spent considerable time at the track and is very familiar with the circuit. He competed in 10 Busch Series races at Martinsville between 1982 and 1985, recording six top-10 finishes.
MARTINSVILLE MEMORY: "The first time I raced at Martinsville was in 1982," says Hensley. "I think it was the first year of the Busch Series. I had run a race at Caraway (N.C.) Speedway and decided to try and make the Martinsville race. There were 50 or 60 cars there and I had to run a qualifying race just to get into the 250-lap feature. I managed to finish second in the heat to make the race. Then we ran the big race -- running against guys like Jack Ingram, Tommy Ellis and Tommy Houston -- and we finished ninth. It was a big deal just to make the race, let alone finish in the top-10."
MIKE HAS ONE: Mike Skinner has one NCTS victory at Martinsville, winning the 1996 race at the track.
CENTURY MARK: Mike Skinner made his 100th career NCTS start at Martinsville in last year's Fall race. Skinner, the inaugural NCTS champion in 1995, has 18 career NCTS wins -- including two wins in the No.5 Tundra last year.
TUNDRA DEBUT: Jack Sprague made his debut in a Toyota at Martinsville last Fall, when he takes over the steering wheel of the No.60 Wyler Racing Tundra. Sprague is a three-time NCTS champion (1997, 1999 and 2001).
2006 LINE-UP: The Toyota NCTS line-up at Martinsville Speedway: Driver Truck T eam Johnny Benson No.23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra Bill Davis Racing Bill Lester No.22 Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing Mike Skinner No.5 Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing Joey Miller No.12 Curb Records Tundra Darrell Waltrip Motorsports David Reutimann No.17 Team Tundra Racing Toyota Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Todd Bodine No.30 Lumber Liquidators Tundra Germain Racing Ted Musgrave No.9 Team ASE/Germain Toyota Tundra Germain Racing David Starr No.11 Red Horse Racing Tundra Red Horse Racing Jack Sprague No.60 Con-Way Tundra Wyler Racing