Atlanta II: Toyota Racing preview

THIS RACE: The race at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be the fifth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at the Georgia track. There will be 10 Toyota Tundras in the field at the 1.54-mile oval -- the 22nd NCTS race of the 2006 season. JACK IS...

THIS RACE: The race at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be the fifth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at the Georgia track. There will be 10 Toyota Tundras in the field at the 1.54-mile oval -- the 22nd NCTS race of the 2006 season.

JACK IS BACK: Jack Sprague returned to `victory lane' in the No.60 Con-way Freight Tundra at Martinsville Speedway. The Spring Lake, Mich.-native earned his second win of the season in the Wyler Racing Tundra, as well as his 27th career Craftsman Truck Series win. Sprague started from the pole and led the first 33 laps, as well as the final 62 laps in the 200-lap event. It was his first career NCTS win at Martinsville.

SPRAGUE SPEAKS: "We were really thinking hard about not stopping," said Sprague, following the race. "But, I knew if we didn't stop -- I'd get stuck and we'd run out of gas. My Tundra was really hooked up. It was awesome off the bottom and it would come off the corner so good -- as long as I didn't spin the tires. We ran the whole race on the same rights (tires) and 170 laps on the lefts (tires), but my truck was as good at the end of the race as it was at the beginning."

NEW FAVORITE: "I don't like this place (Martinsville) -- although I do now," explained Sprague, after the race. "It might now be one of my new favorite places. I've really struggled here in the past. I've run third here four times. Winning at Martinsville is unbelievable. I'm terrible here, so this is really cool."

OFF THEIR BACK: Jack Sprague had a `guest' atop his pit box at Martinsville. "The guys on the team got a big stuffed monkey after Talladega because nothing has been going right for us," explained Sprague. "The past four races have been miserable. At Bristol, we were running fifth and cut a tire. New Hampshire was just lousy. In Las Vegas, I spun out and finished 13th, and at Talladega we were running second and broke. Nothing has been going right. We had four miserable races in a row and the guys thought if they befriended the monkey it would all be good. I think we're going to keep it around for a while."

POINTS PACE: After the first 21 races of the 2006 season, Toyota drivers hold down the top-four positions in the NCTS championship point standings. Todd Bodine continues to sit atop the championship standings with 3,197 points. Trailing Bodine in the standings are second-place Johnny Benson (3,118 points), third-place David Reutimann (2,930 points) and fourth-place Ted Musgrave (2,923 points). In addition, Tundra driver David Starr (2,814 points) holds down the sixth spot in the standings.

PONDERING THE POINTS: "This race hurts us pretty good in the points," said Todd Bodine, talking about his 14th place finish at Martinsville. "We were doing what we had to do, and were going to have a top-five finish. Then, someone ran into me and I cut a tire down. We did the best we could."

STRONG STRETCH: The last four NCTS races of the year feature race tracks where Todd Bodine has enjoyed a great deal of success. In fact, Bodine has won the most recent race at each of the four remaining races on the 2006 schedule. Earlier this year, Bodine captured the checkered flag at both Atlanta (March 17) and Texas (June 9). He also won the races in Phoenix (Nov.11, 2005) and Miami (Nov.19, 2005) to end the 2005 season.

ENGINE CHASE: Toyota holds onto the top spot in the NCTS manufacturer's championship through the first 21 races of the 2006 season. Toyota has 150 points in the standings, 15 more points than second-place Ford and 48 points ahead of third- place Chevrolet.

LAST RACE HERE: In the most recent NCTS race at Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 17), Toyota picked up the victory 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 March Atlanta race -- and then held off a charging Mark Martin in a green-white-checkered finish -- to register his first NCTS win of the 2006 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."

POLE ONE: In 2004 at Atlanta, rookie David Reutimann, driver of the No.17 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Tundra captured Toyota's first NCTS pole.

HOME RUN: Although he was born in California and attended college in Berkeley, Bill Lester now makes his home in Atlanta. "It's a very busy time for me, between family and friends needing race tickets, and the local media wanting to conduct interviews," says Lester, driver of the No.22 Bill Davis Racing Tundra. "I'm really looking forward to the race and think it represents another excellent chance to finish up front."

TOYOTA HAS 24 WINS: Toyota has 24 NCTS wins since the Tundra began competing in the Craftsman Truck Series at the beginning of the 2004 season. Along with 11 wins this year -- four by Johnny Benson (NH, Nashville, Milwaukee and Michigan), three by Todd Bodine (Texas, St. Louis and Atlanta), two by Jack Sprague (Martinsville and Memphis), one by David Star (Martinsville) and one by Mike Skinner (Las Vegas) -- Toyota had four wins in 2004 and nine wins in 2005.

TOYOTA HAS 29 POLES: Toyota has 29 NCTS poles since the Tundra began competing in the Craftsman Truck Series at the beginning of the 2004 season. Tundra drivers who have recorded poles include Mike Skinner (15), David Reutimann (six), Bill Lester (two), Jack Sprague (two), Brandon Whitt (two), Todd Bodine (one) and Travis Kvapil (one).

-credit: toyota racing

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , David Starr , Johnny Benson , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Bill Lester , David Reutimann , Brandon Whitt , Travis Kvapil
Teams Bill Davis Racing , Toyota Racing