Memphis: Toyota preview

THIS RACE: The O'Reilly 200 will be the eighth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Memphis Motorsports Park. There will be eight Toyota Tundras in the field at the 3/4-mile Memphis oval -- the 14th NCTS race of the 2005 season. LAST...

THIS RACE: The O'Reilly 200 will be the eighth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Memphis Motorsports Park. There will be eight Toyota Tundras in the field at the 3/4-mile Memphis oval -- the 14th NCTS race of the 2005 season.

LAST RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at Kentucky Speedway, three Toyota Tundras finished among the top-five. Todd Bodine guided the No.30 Allman Brothers Band Tundra to a second-place finish and David Reutimann ended up third in the No.17 NTN Bearings Tundra. Mike Skinner, driver of the No.5 Bill Davis Racing Tundra, crossed the finish line fourth.

TODD TERRIFIC AGAIN: Todd Bodine's second-place finish at Kentucky Speedway -- where he crossed the finish line .249 seconds behind race-winner Dennis Setzer -- was his fourth top-five of the year. "I had a run on Dennis (Setzer) on the white flag lap heading into Turn Two and my truck broke loose on me," said Bodine, after the race. "After that, I had to fall back in line. All night I could get off the corner really good, but I couldn't get into the corner the way I needed. But, a first (Kansas) and a second right in a row isn't too bad -- we'll take it."

BRANDON'S BEST: Brandon Whitt, driver of the No.38 McMillin Homes/Cure Autism Now Tundra, registered the best result of his NCTS career at Kentucky when he crossed the finish line sixth. "It was definitely a good feeling to get that first top-10," said the 22-year-old driver. "We've had some good runs, but we just haven't been able to put together the good finish. We've been looking for that momentum to kick us forward and into the top-10 -- and we finally found it at Kentucky. We finished where we were running most of the race, which is what we needed."

DEJa' VU FOR TWO: At Kentucky, both Bill Lester and David Reutimann duplicated stellar accomplishments from the previous weekend's NCTS race at Kansas. Lester was the fastest qualifier at Kentucky, earning his third career NCTS pole position, after pulling off the same feat at Kansas. Reutimann's third-place result at Kentucky -- the same finishing position he had at Kansas -- equaled his best career NCTS finish. Last year, the 2004 NCTS Rookie-of- the-Year also finished third at Atlanta and Texas.

POTENT PAIR: Driver Todd Bodine and team manager Mike Hillman make a potent combination at Germain Racing. In 11 NCTS starts driving the No.30 Tundra -- eight races in 2004 and three starts in 2005 -- Bodine has registered three wins, six top-fives and seven top-10 finishes. In addition to his win at Kansas Speedway, Bodine picked up victories at California Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway a year ago. "It's great being back home with Germain Racing," says Bodine. "Mike Hillman and Mike Hillman, Jr., have done a great job with this race team, and my communication with the Hillmans has picked up right where we left off last year. It definitely shows because in the past few races we've been running out front."

POINTS PACE: After the first 13 races of 2005, several Toyota Tundra drivers are among the top-15 in the NCTS championship point standings. Mike Skinner is eighth in the standings with 1,644 points, 285 points behind leader Dennis Setzer. Following Skinner in the standings are Tundra racers David Reutimann (1,624 points) in ninth-place, Todd Bodine (1,579 points) in 12th-place, and Johnny Benson (1,499 points) in 14th-place.

LAST YEAR HERE: A year ago, Hank Parker, Jr. was the top finishing Toyota Tundra at Memphis Motorsports Park when he crossed the finish line in 12th-place.

MIKE IS MOVING UP: In the past six races, Mike Skinner has recorded four top-five and five top-10 finishes, and now sits eighth in the championship standings, 285 points behind current leader Dennis Setzer. The driver of theh No.5 Bill Davis Racing Tundra has finished fourth (Kentucky, Kansas and Texas), fifth (Michigan) and 10t (Dover), and has led a total of 230 laps in the last six events. In all sixraces, Skinner has qualified among the top -10, including a pole (Texas) and on the outside of row one (Kansas and Michigan).

SKINNER NOT STOPPING: "We keep knocking on the door, and one of these days it will open up," says Skinner, talking about returning to the winner's circle. "My guys at Bill Davis Racing have been doing an awesome job all year and I think my crew is the best on pit road. We'll just keep going after it."

FIRST NASCAR POLE NCTS RIDE: David Reutimann earned his first NASCAR pole position at Memphis in 2003. "That year, I had an opportunity to qualify the No.7 Busch car for Greg Biffle at Memphis," says Reutimann. "We were fast off the trailer and practice went really well. We ended up being in the top-five on the practice sheet, and then I went out and got the pole. After getting that pole, I had a chance to say on national television that I was looking for a ride. A couple of days after that I got a call from Darrell Waltrip."

DAVID IN THE DIRT: "There's a 15-lap heat race at the 1/4-mile dirt track at Memphis on Friday night that I'm looking forward to running," says Reutimann. "Several Craftsman Truck Series drivers have signed up for the event. You've got some drivers there that have a lot of dirt experience, and then some that don't have any. Dirt racing is where I got my start. Actually, it's all I did and all I wanted to do. I had years of experience on dirt before I ever attempted to race anything on pavement. That's kind of what I am, just a `dirt guy.'"

CHAD HAS BEEN HERE: Tennessee-native Chad Chaffin has the most experience among the Tundra drivers scheduled to race at Memphis. Although Chaffin has four NCTS starts and three Busch Series starts at the track, this will mark his first race behind the wheel of a Toyota. His best NCTS finish at Memphis was a fourth-place result in his first series start at the track in 2001. He also started on the outside of row one in the 2003 NCTS race.

NEVER BEEN HERE BEFORE: Veteran drivers Johnny Benson and Todd Bodine, as well as rookie Shige Hattori, have never participated in an NCTS race at Memphis. Benson and Hattori have never raced at the Memphis circuit, while Bodine has made two Busch Series starts at the track.

HALF-WAY OVERVIEW: "Sometimes evaluations are pretty tough to make," says Johnny Benson, about the first half of the season. "We've had some really good runs, and we've also had some finishes that didn't really show how good we've run. Obviously, we wish we were further up in the point standings. I think we've had a little bad luck that has kept us from gaining some points, but we're moving in the right direction."

BROADCAST TIME: SPEED Channel coverage of the NCTS race at Memphis Motorsports Park will begin at 8:00 PM (Eastern) on Saturday, July 23. The race is tentatively scheduled to start at 8:15 PM (Eastern).

-toyota-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Greg Biffle , Johnny Benson , Dennis Setzer , Bill Lester , Chad Chaffin , David Reutimann , Brandon Whitt
Teams Germain Racing , Bill Davis Racing