St. Louis: Toyota preview

THIS RACE: The Ram Tough 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Gateway International Raceway will be the ninth Craftsman Truck Series event at the 1.25-mile oval located just outside St. Louis. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the...

THIS RACE: The Ram Tough 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Gateway International Raceway will be the ninth Craftsman Truck Series event at the 1.25-mile oval located just outside St. Louis. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field at Gateway.

LAST RACE: In the most recent race of the 2006 NCTS season at Martinsville Speedway (April 1), Toyota picked up its second NCTS win of the year -- and three Tundra drivers finished among the top-10 in the final results. Race-winner David Starr was followed to the Martinsville checkered flag by Tundra drivers Ted Musgrave (second) and Mike Skinner (eighth).

TOYOTA TAKES 15th: David Starr's win at Martinsville was the 15th win for a Tundra since Toyota began participating in the Craftsman Truck Series at the start of the 2004 season. Along with two wins this season, Tundras reached `Victory Lane' nine times in 2005 and four times in 2004. Toyota drivers who have recorded wins include Todd Bodine (eight), Travis Kvapil (two), Mike Skinner (two), David Reutimann (one), David Starr (one) and Brandon Whitt (one).

STARR SCORES ONE: Tundra driver David Starr guided his No.11 Red Horse Racing Tundra into the lead on lap 130 of the 250-lap Martinsville race and held off all challengers -- including fellow Tundra driver Ted Musgrave -- en route to the checkered flag. It was Starr's first win in a Tundra and came in just his fourth race driving a Toyota for Red Horse Racing. "Jeff Hammond and Tom DeLoach (team owners) gave me this opportunity with Red Horse Racing after last year, and we really struggled in the first three races," said Starr. "I told them we've had a good truck the first few races, but the driver just wasn't up to speed yet. I told them to bear with me -- that I would catch up -- and I finally did."

SCORE FOUR: David Starr now has four wins in his NCTS career. Along with his victory at Martinsville, Starr captured the checkered flag in NCTS races at Phoenix (2004), St. Louis (2004) and Las Vegas (2002).

TED'S TOP FINISH: Ted Musgrave guided his No.9 Team ASE Tundra to a season-best second-place finish at Martinsville. In each of the first three races of the 2006 season -- Daytona, California and Atlanta -- the Wisconsin- native finished third.

POINTS PACE: After the first four races of the 2006 season, five Toyota drivers are among the top-10 in the NCTS championship point standings. Ted Musgrave is second in the standings with 665 points, just 55 points behind leader Mark Martin. Tundra drivers behind Musgrave in the standings are third-place Todd Bodine (662 points), fourth-place David Reutimann (576 points), fifth-place David Starr (556 points) and seventh-place Jack Sprague (544 points).

LAST YEAR AT GATEWAY: A year ago at Gateway, Toyota drivers Mike Skinner (fourth), Todd Bodine (seventh) and Chad Chaffin (ninth) had top-10 finishes.

MIGHTY MUSGRAVE: Ted Musgrave has recorded a pair of Craftsman Truck Series wins (2001 and 2005), as well as a pair of NCTS pole positions (2001 and 2005) at Gateway. In last year's victory at the St. Louis circuit, Musgrave established a track qualifying mark (33.284 secs./135.159 mph) and led 158 laps during the race -- the most laps led by a race winner at the track.

TED TALKS ST. LOUIS: "I've had some real success at St. Louis, with some good runs and good luck," says Ted Musgrave. "Last year, we led all but two laps and won from the pole -- and that was a very memorable race. But, there's another race in St. Louis that sticks out. Four or five years ago (2001) the same thing happened -- I sat on the pole and won the race. After I did that, my owner Jim Smith bought me a Harley-Davidson. It was a deal we had -- if I sat on the pole and won the race, he would buy me a Harley. He did and it's like another trophy -- but a rolling trophy."

MORE FROM MUSGRAVE: "I do like race tracks that our quite a bit different than your standard oval -- and St. Louis is like that," explains Musgrave. "Turns one and two are tight with a little banking, and down in turns three and four it's flat, wide, and a momentum-type corner. That makes every part of the race track different and challenging."

REUTIMANN ON RUNNING ST. LOUIS: What does David Reutimann think about Gateway? "I love the place. It's not the fastest track we go to, but it's a unique-shaped race track where turns three and four are very fast, and turns one and two are sharp. It's shaped like a big egg and a place where you really have to drive -- and you can move your truck around quite a bit. I'm really looking forward to going back."

TWO WINNERS: Before making the move to Tundras, current Toyota drivers Jack Sprague and David Starr have both had success in Craftsman Truck Series events at St. Louis. Sprague captured the checkered flag at St. Louis in 2000 and started on the pole at the track in 2004. Starr picked up a victory at St. Louis in 2004 in a thrilling event that ended after multiple green-white-checkered flag finishes.

JOEY HAS ONE WIN: Joey Miller has one win at Gateway, capturing an ARCA race at the track in 2005. "I'm really excited to go back to St. Louis because last year I ran there in an ARCA car and we won -- pretty much dominating the race. Going back there should be pretty cool because I really like the track."

ROAD RACING: Although there was a break in the Craftsman Truck Series schedule after the race at Martinsville, Todd Bodine and David Reutimann kept busy experiencing another type of racing. Both Bodine and Reutimann participated in the 30th Anniversary Toyota Pro/Celebrity race (April 9), driving Scion tCs through the streets of Long Beach, Calif. The two Tundra drivers started 25 seconds behind the celebrities in the 10-lap sprint. Bodine finished fourth overall -- first in the pro category -- and Reutimann was ninth overall. Professional skateboarder Bucky Lasek finished first, with Hall-of-Fame quarterback John Elway second and tennis legend Martina Navratilova third.

-toyota

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , David Starr , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Chad Chaffin , David Reutimann , Brandon Whitt , Joey Miller , Bucky Lasek , John Elway , Martina Navratilova , Jim Smith , Mark Martin , Travis Kvapil
Teams Red Horse Racing