Bristol: Toyota preview

THIS RACE -- This will be the seventh visit to Bristol Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). The NCTS visited Bristol from 1995 to 1999, before returning to the Tennessee short track last year. Seven Toyotas are scheduled to...

THIS RACE -- This will be the seventh visit to Bristol Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). The NCTS visited Bristol from 1995 to 1999, before returning to the Tennessee short track last year. Seven Toyotas are scheduled to compete in the O'Reilly 200 at Bristol.

LAST RACE -- In the most recent race on the NCTS schedule -- the Toyota Tundra 200 at Nashville Superspeedway (Aug.14) -- four Tundras finished in the top-10. Johnny Benson, driving the No.23 Bill Davis Racing Tundra, led the Toyota drivers to the checkered flag with a 6th-place finish. Following Benson to the finish line were Robert Huffman (8th) in the No.12 Innovative Motorsports Tundra, David Reutimann (9th) in the No.17 NTN Bearings Tundra and Mike Skinner (10th) in the No.42 Bang Racing Tundra. Bill Lester was also heading for a top-10 finish, running among the leaders throughout the race, before a tire problem ended his race 32 laps from the finish.

POINTS PACE -- After 15 races, three Toyota drivers are among the top-15 in the NCTS championship standings. Travis Kvapil is 7th in the standings with 2,038 points, 250 points behind currenth leader Bobby Hamilton, and just 54 points from third-place in the standings. Mike Skinner, Kvapil's teammate, is 9t in the standings (1,886 points) and rookie David Reutimann sits 14th in the standings (1,785 points).

TWO FOR THREE IN TEN -- Johnny Benson has made three starts in the No.23 Bill Davis Racing Tundra and has recorded two top-10 finishes. Along with his sixth-place at Nashville, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-native was fourth at Michigan International Speedway (July 31). Benson's other start was at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

NEW TEAM ADDS TRUCK TO TOYOTA FLEET -- Newly created NCTS team Germain/Arnold Racing, will field and sponsor Todd Bodine in the No.30 Toyota Tundra starting in Richmond September 9th. Germain/Arnold Racing is a new participant in Toyota Racing Development (TRD), Inc.'s engine lease program. The team will lease Toyota engines, and TRD will provide engineering and at-track technical support. "We have been in discussions with Bob Germain and Don Arnold since we began interviewing teams in early 2003," said Pat Wall vice president and manager of Toyota's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series program. "We are pleased to welcome the new partnership into our Toyota Motorsports family as our fifth team."

HUFFMAN'S HOT STREAK -- Robert Huffman, who made his debut in the NCTS series at Bristol in 1997, recorded a career best eighth-place finish at Nashville. It marked the third time in the past five races that the Claremont, N.C.-driver registered a career best result. At Michigan (July 31), Huffman crossed the finish line ninth and before that he finished 10th at Kentucky (July 10).

HUFFMAN REMEMBERS `HEAT' AT BRISTOL -- "My most memorable race at Bristol was in 2002 in the Dash Series," says Huffman. "We were leading for most of the race in my Toyota Celica and wound up having to pit near the end. I was running second on the last lap -- about three car lengths behind the leader (Jake Hopgood), when I got into him. I had no intention of running into him -- I just caught up to him before he thought I would. He wrecked and I went on to 'Victory Lane.' They presented me with the trophy and we did the whole celebration -- then they asked me to leave. Everybody at the track was booing. I was escorted to a police car for the ride to the press room. That night, I got a call at 2:00 AM telling me they were taking away the win and putting me back in ninth-place."

BEFORE THE `BOSS' -- Driving in front of team owner Darrell Waltrip at Nashville, David Reutimann recorded his seventh top-10 finish this season. Reutimann qualified on the outside of the front row and was running second when he brushed the wall after a tire went down. He managed to make it back to the pits for repairs and went on to score a ninth-place finish. "I think we had the truck to beat until we ran into some bad luck," said Reutimann. "I can't say enough about my team and how hard they worked to make repairs and get me back on the track."

REUTIMANN REMEMBERS BRISTOL -- "I remember watching the Bristol race when Darrell Waltrip's No.17 Craftsman Truck finished second with Rich Bickle driving," says Reutimann. "I was an All-Pro Series rookie that year. We ran there with the NCTS during the middle of the week. It would be pretty special to run well there, especially since DW has had a lot of success at Bristol."

WIN ONE IN 2003 -- TravisthKvapil captured the checkered flag in last year's NCTS race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kvapil started 12 , took over the lead on the penultimate lap, and led the final two circuits around Bristol en route to the checkered flag. It was his only victory last season and his third career NCTS win.

TRAVIS TALK -- "I'm looking forward to going to Bristol now that our short track program is on the right track," says Kvapil, the 2003 NCTS champion. "I can't wait to get to Bristol -- there's no other track like it. And, since I won there last year, I'm heading there intending to do it again. I want to get back to `Victory Lane,' and there's no better place to do it than Bristol."

SKINNER'S STARTS -- In the first two NCTS races at Bristol Motor Speedway, in 1995 and 1996, Mike Skinner started from the pole position. He crossed the finish line fourth in the 1996 NCTS race.

SKINNER SPEAKS "I love Bristol," says Skinner. "I can't wait to get to the track. We're taking the same Tundra that dominated the race at Dover to the Bristol race. If our team's strong performance at IRP is any indication, I'm looking forward to being out front again and racing for our first win at Bristol."

LESTER HAS ONE -- Last year, Bill Lester made his only NCTS start at Bristol Motor Speedway.

FIRSTS FOR TWO -- Hank Parker Jr. and David Reutimann will be making their first NCTS starts at Bristol. In the past, Parker Jr. has competed at Bristol in the NASCAR Busch Series.

TUNDRA TOPS -- Tundra drivers have finished in the top-514 times, and in the top-1029 times, in 103 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 15 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). 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.

TV TIME O'Reilly 200, Bristol Motor Speedway, Wed., August 25, 9:00 PM (Eastern), SPEED Channel


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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Rich Bickle , Bobby Hamilton , Darrell Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Hank Parker Jr. , Johnny Benson , Bill Lester , David Reutimann , Robert Huffman , Travis Kvapil
Teams Bill Davis Racing , Toyota Racing