Nashville: Toyota preview

THIS RACE -- This will be the 4th visit to Nashville Superspeedway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). Seven Toyotas are scheduled to compete in the Toyota Tundra 200 at Nashville. STRONG SUPPORT IN TN -- Toyota will be hosting over ...

THIS RACE -- This will be the 4th visit to Nashville Superspeedway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). Seven Toyotas are scheduled to compete in the Toyota Tundra 200 at Nashville.

STRONG SUPPORT IN TN -- Toyota will be hosting over 9,000 of its associates and team members from various Toyota manufacturing facilities and sales offices -- including 8,000 from the Toyota Tundra assembly plant in Princeton, IN. The remaining associates are coming to Nashville for the race from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (Georgetown); Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama (Huntsville); Toyota Motor Manufacturing, North America (Erlanger, KY); North American Parts Center (Hebron, KY); and Toyota Motor Sales (Torrance, CA). All of the Toyota associates will be seated in grandstands specially constructed for the Toyota Tundra 200 -- located between Turn Four and the Start/Finish line

BIG, BIGGER, BIGGEST -- The more than 9,000 Toyota associates that will be attending the Toyota Tundra 200 NCTS race represent the largest corporate hospitality event in racing history.

NEW DRIVERS TO DEBUT -- During the Toyota Tundra pre-race festivities, there will be a parade lap featuring 18 red, white and blue Toyota Tundras. Parade lap drivers and passengers will include team members from the Tundra assembly plant in Princeton, Indiana.

DW'S TUNDRA GOES FOR ? -- Prior to the start of the Toyota Tundra 200, three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip will hand the keys to his Toyota Tundra over to Michigan native Mike Slusarski-- the highest bidder in an online eBay charity auction hosted by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. His final bid of $42,301 made Slusarski the winner of Waltrip's full-size Tundra pickup truck, along with an exclusive VIP trip to the Toyota Tundra 200. All of the proceeds from Slusarski's winning bid will go to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, and Camp founder Kyle Petty will be in Nashville Saturday afternoon to accept the donation.

TUNDRA 200 TESTING -- All seven Toyota Tundra drivers entered in the race at Nashville Superspeedway -- Johnny Benson (No.23), Robert Huffman (No.12), Travis Kvapil (No.24), Bill Lester(No.22) , Hank Parker Jr. (No. 12), David Reutimann (No.17) and Mike Skinner (No.24) -- tested at the track, July 20-21. It marked Benson's first time behind the steering wheel of a NCTS Tundra in 2004.

TALKING ABOUT TUNDRA 200 TESTING -- "We had a great test at Nashville and really learned a lot," says Hank Parker Jr., driver of the No.21 Innovative Motorsports Tundra. "After the test, we went up to Michigan and had a great Tundra for that race, and a lot of what we used in Michigan will be on the truck at Nashville. My guys will definitely give me a good `hot rod' for Nashville and I expect really good things."

MORE TUNDRA 200 TESTING TALK -- "I think that the Nashville test helped us out a lot," says Mike Skinner, driver of the No.42 Bang Racing Tundra. "Travis's truck ran really good at the test. When we look at our set-up this weekend, we'll be able to go over the No.24 notes and will continue to work together. Shocks are very important for a good set-up, and I know our experience last month at Nashville will help us have a very good Tundra this weekend."

FIVE FIRSTS -- Johnny Benson, Robert Huffman, Hank Parker Jr., David Reutimann and Mike Skinner will all be making their first career NCTS starts at Nashville Superspeedway.

1 IN 5, 2 IN 10 -- Travis Kvapil has one top-five and two top-10s in NCTS races at Nashville Superspeedway. In his debut at the track in 2001, Kvapil finished fifth. Last year, he crossed the finish line ninth.

HERE THIS YEAR Earlier this year at Nashville, Johnny Benson qualified on the outside of row one and finished seventh in the Busch Series race at the track. David Reutimann also competed in that Busch race.

LAST RACE -- In the most recent NCTS race on the schedule at Indianapolis Raceway Parkway (IRP), Travis Kavpil recorded the best Toyota short-track finish this year, crossing the finish line fourth in his No.24 Bang Racing Tundra. En route to the checkered flag, Kvapil qualified third, ran among the leaders throughout the race, led 18 laps, and was battling for the victory in the final laps. Toyota Tundra drivers Mike Skinner (13th), Hank Parker Jr. (15th) and David Reutimann (17th) also recorded top-20 finishes at IRP.

POINTS PACE -- After 14 races, three Toyota drivers are among the top-15 in the NCTS championship standings. Travis Kvapil is sixth in the standings with 1,914 points, 189 points behind current leader Bobby Hamilton, and just 67 points from third-place in the standings. Mike Skinner, Kvapil's teammate, is ninth in the standings (1,752 points) and rookie David Reutimann sits 14th in the standings (1,647 points).

PURSUING POINTS -- What's the fastest way to move up in the NCTS championship standings? "The best way to gain points is to win," says Travis Kvapil. "I've only had one win in each of my four seasons in the Craftsman Truck Series. That's something I really need to work on -- trying to get two or three more wins this year. I want to run up front, lead laps, get bonus points, win races, and try to rally for the championship."

TUNDRA TOPS -- Tundra drivers have finished in the top-514 times, and in the top-1025 times, in 96 combined starts by 10 different drivers. Travis Kvapil has Toyota's first-place finish this season. In addition, Kvapil (Daytona) and Mike Skinner (Atlanta) have finished second. David Reutimann (Atlanta, Texas), Hank Parker Jr. (Dover), and Skinner (Michigan) have all finished third. Also, Kvapil has a pair of fourths (Atlanta, Indianapolis) and a fifth (Milwaukee); Skinner has a fourth (Dover) and fifth (Martinsville); Parker, Jr. was fifth (Gateway); and Johnny Benson was fourth (Michigan).

LAP LEADERS -- A Tundra driver has led the field in 10 of the 14 NCTS races in 2004, Mike Skinner has been the race leader in seven events (Daytona, Atlanta, Martinsville, Charlotte, Dover, Texas and Michigan) for a total of 266 laps. Travis Kvapil has led five races (Daytona, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Michigan and Indianapolis) and rookie David Reutimann has led three races (Daytona, Atlanta and Gateway). At Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, Bill Lester led 19 laps.

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. Earlier this season, Toyota posted a pair of second-place finishes at Daytona (Kvapil) and Atlanta (Mike Skinner).

KVAPIL JOINS ELITE COMPANY -- Travis Kvapil joined Gil de Ferran, Scott Dixon, Juan Montoya, Rod Millen and Ivan Stewart in the Toyota record books as a first-time winner in a major professional race series. De Ferran recorded Toyota's first Indianapolis 500 victory (2003), Dixon registered Toyota's first IRL win (2003) and Montoya was Toyota's initial CART race winner (2000). In addition, Millen scored Toyota's first Pike's Peak Hill Climb triumph (1994) and Stewart had the first Baja 1,000 victory for Toyota.

TV TIME Toyota Tundra 200, Nashville Superspeedway, Sat., August 14, 5:30 PM (Eastern), SPEED Channel

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Darrell Waltrip , Mike Skinner , Hank Parker Jr. , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Johnny Benson , Bill Lester , David Reutimann , Robert Huffman , Travis Kvapil