St. Louis: Toyota preview

THIS RACE: This will be the seventh visit to Gateway International Raceway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). Six Toyota Tundras are entered in the race at the St. Louis-area track. LAST RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at the ...

THIS RACE: This will be the seventh visit to Gateway International Raceway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). Six Toyota Tundras are entered in the race at the St. Louis-area track.

LAST RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at the Kentucky Speedway (July 10), rookies David Reutimann and Robert Huffman were the first Toyota drivers to the checkered flag. Reutimann was ninth in his No.17 NTN Bearings Tundra and Huffman finished 10th in his No.12 Innovative Motorsports Tundra. Bang Racing teammates Travis Kvapil and Mike Skinner finished behind the Toyota rookies at Kentucky. Kvapil was 15th in his No.24 Line-X Tundra and Skinner ended up 18th in his No.42 Bang Racing Tundra.

POINTS PACE: After 11 races, three Toyota drivers are among the top-15 in the NCTS championship standings. Travis Kvapil is 10th in the standings with 1418 points, 244 points behind current leader Dennis Setzer. Mike Skinner, Kvapil's teammate, is 11th in the standings (1379 points) and rookie David Reutimann sits 14th in the standings (1301 points). Reutimann also continues to top the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year standings.

HOT HUFFMAN: At Kentucky Speedway, Robert Huffman recorded his best career NCTS finish. Huffman, who has made 10 NCTS starts this year and 12 career NCTS starts, was elated with his first-ever top- 10. "It feels like I won," said Huffman, following the race. "I was looking for champagne and a trophy when I got out of the truck." After running in the top-10 throughout the later stages of the race, Huffman had to charge past three trucks at the end of the race to insure his 10th-place finish. "On the last restart, I got a really good run on the outside and was able to pick up several positions to put us back in the top-10."

MORE ROBERT: Along with recording a top-10 finish at Kentucky Speedway, the race weekend at the track proved to be educational for Robert Huffman and his race team. "We seemed to hit on some things in the last practice session that we've been missing all year," said Huffman. "I had the best `feel' for my Tundra that I've had all year."

NO.17 IN 5: David Reutimann's ninth-place finish at Kentucky Speedway was his fifth top-10 of the year. Along with his finish at Kentucky, Reutimann has crossed the finish line third (Atlanta and Texas), eighth (Martinsville) and ninth (Daytona).

CATCH-UP: Heading to Gateway International Raceway, Reutimann believes his team's top-10 finish at Kentucky will lead to more positive results. "I think this finish will give us momentum heading into the rest of the season," said Reutimann. "We had a good effort all the way around at Kentucky and the guys did a great job because we gained spots on the track every time we came into the pits."

KVAPIL IN IL: Travis Kvapil has registered two top-5 finishes in three . NCTS starts at Gateway International Raceway Last year, he finished . third at Gateway and in 2001 he was fifth at the track .

HANK'S 1st: Hank Parker Jr. will be making his first career NCTS start at Gateway International Raceway. He has started two Busch Series races at the St. Louis-area track (2001-02).

MS HAS ONE: Mike Skinner has made one career NCTS start at Gateway International Raceway. Last year, he started 15th and finished 12th.

D.R. DRIVEN: David Reutimann has already made one start at Gateway International Raceway in 2004. Earlier this year, he ran the May Busch Series race at the track.

1 TOP-20: Bill Lester has recorded one top-20 finish in his three NCTS starts at Gateway International Raceway, a 17th-place in 2002.

Mike Skinner will be making his 66th career NCTS start at Gateway. During his career driving in the MORE MIKE: NCTS, Skinner has recorded 16 wins and 15 pole positions.

SECOND BEST: The best finish by a Toyota Tundra driver this season has been second-place. Bang Racing teammates Travis Kvapil (Daytona) and Mike Skinner (Atlanta) have both finished second.

TUNDRA TOPS: Toyota drivers have recorded nine top-five finishes, and 15 top-10 finishes, in 69 combined appearances. Along with seconds by Travis Kvapil (Daytona) and Mike Skinner (Atlanta), David Reutimann finished third twice (Atlanta and Texas), and Hank Parker Jr. was third in Dover. In addition, Kvapil has been fourth (Atlanta) and fifth (Milwaukee), and Skinner has also finished fourth (Dover) and fifth (Martinsville).

LEADER: A Toyota Tundra driver has led the field in seven of the 11 NCTS races this season. Mike Skinner has been the race leader in six races (Daytona, Atlanta, Martinsville, Charlotte, Dover and Texas) for a total of 240 laps. Travis Kvapil has led three races (Daytona, Atlanta and Milwaukee) for a total of 66 laps.

2 MORE: In addition to Mike Skinner and Travis Kvapil, two other Toyota Tundra drivers have been race leaders this season. Rookie David Reutimann has led laps at Daytona (7) and Atlanta (8 laps), and Bill Lester led 19 laps at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte.

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 NCTS pole, and Toyota's inaugural pole. He set a new NCTS mark by winning the pole in his second start.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Skinner , Hank Parker Jr. , Dennis Setzer , Bill Lester , David Reutimann , Robert Huffman , Travis Kvapil