Inches Separate Toyota From First NASCAR Truck Series Win HAMPTON, Ga. (March 13, 2004) Mike Skinner, who came within inches of giving Toyota its first victory in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS), led a trio of Toyota Tundras to top-five...
Inches Separate Toyota From First NASCAR Truck Series Win
HAMPTON, Ga. (March 13, 2004) Mike Skinner, who came within inches of giving Toyota its first victory in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS), led a trio of Toyota Tundras to top-five finishes in the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Skinner, who led a race high 68 laps in his Bang! Racing Toyota, was in the lead when a late caution flag set up a two lap dash to the checkered flag. Skinner, the 1995 NCTS champion, was still leading coming out of the fourth turn on the final lap, when eventual winner Bobby Hamilton pulled along side Skinner. The pair bumped, sending Skinner sliding through the grass and to a second place finish, while Hamilton drove to `Victory Lane.'
"I hated to see that last caution flag," Skinner said after the race. "Bobby had a great truck, but I think we were a little better on the long runs. He made a veteran move at the end, got up along side me, and pulled the air off enough to spin my tires."
Pole sitter and series rookie David Reutimann brought his Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Toyota home third. He was followed across the finish line by Travis Kvapil in another Bang Racing! Tundra.
"I had the best seat in the house for the finish," said Reutimann, who led eight laps. "I looked over at Mike at the finish and he was going backwards. I think he just beat me by a tailgate."
Toyota has now finished second in each of its first races in the NCTS.
"Finishing second here sure didn't feel as good as finishing second at Daytona," said Jim Aust, vice president of motorsports at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "Once you finish second, you're looking to move one step up. But we're certainly ahead of where we thought we would be at this point in the season."
Following the first two races of the 2004 season, Travis Kvapil leads the championship standings with 340 points. Rookie David Reutiman is fourth in the standings with 313 points, as well as the leader in among all series rookies. Rounding out the Toyota drivers in the top-ten in the points standings is Mike Skinner, who sits eighth with 313 points.
The next race on the NCTS schedule is April 17 at Virginia's Martinsville Speedway.