Charlotte: Toyota preview

Charlotte: Toyota preview
May 19, 2004, 5:36 PM

THIS RACE: This will be the second visit to Lowe's Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). Seven Toyota Tundras are entered in the Infineon 200. LAST RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at Ohio's Mansfield Motorsports Speedway ...

THIS RACE: This will be the second visit to Lowe's Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). Seven Toyota Tundras are entered in the Infineon 200.

LAST RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at Ohio's Mansfield Motorsports Speedway (May 16), three Toyota Tundras finished among the top-20. Mike Skinner crossed the finish line 11th in the No.42 Bang Racing Tundra and rookie David Reutimann finished 14th in the No.17 NTN Bearings Tundra. Hank Parker Jr. was the third Toyota in the top-20 with a 19th-place finish in the No.21 White House Foods Tundra.

POINTS PACE: After four NCTS races, three Toyota drivers are among the top-10 in the NCTS championship standings. David Reutimann now sits third in the standings (576 points) and Mike Skinner remained fifth in the standings (554 points). Travis Kvapil, who had been second in the standings after three races, is now 10th (531 points).

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.

TOYOTA TOPS: Toyota Tundra drivers have recorded five top-five finishes, and seven top-10 finishes, in 28 combined appearances. Along with the twsecond -place finishes by Bang Racing, rookie David Reutimann crossed the finish line third in Atlanta. In addition, Travis Kvapil has a fourth-place finish (Atlanta) and Mike Skinner has finished fifth (Martinsville).

MIKE LEADS 3: The Mansfield race was the first one this season in which Mike Skinner did not lead the field. In each of the three 2004 NCTS races before Mansfield, Skinner had been the race leader. In the season opener at Daytona, Skinner led six laps. At Atlanta, Skinner led the race five times for a total of 68 laps, and at Martinsville he led the field for 38 laps.

3 TOP-10s: In Mansfield, rookie David Reutimann finished outside the top-10 for the first time in 2004. The Zephyrhills, FL-native started the year with three straight top-10 finishes. He was ninth at Daytona, third at Atlanta, and eighth at Martinsville.

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 career NCTS pole position, and Toyota's inaugural pole.

FAST FIRST: Reutimann established a NCTS record by winning the pole position in just his second career series start. It makes him the fastest official NCTS rookie to ever be the quickest qualifier. The old mark was set by Greg Biffle, who had a pole in his third career NCTS start (1998).

ONE POLE: Last year, Bill Lester earned his first career NCTS pole position at Lowe's Motor Speedway with a lap of 30.753 seconds (175.593 mph). In the race, Lester completed 135 of 136 laps and finished 15th. "I'm definitely looking forward to the Charlotte race," said Lester. "I've always liked the fast tracks, and after starting on the pole a year ago, I can't wait to get back to Charlotte."

TK OH!: At Mansfield Speedway, Travis Kvapil was not running at the end of a NCTS race for the first time since Nashville Superspeedway in 2002. After the race in Ohio, in which he retired after 167 of 252 laps, Kvapil was looking forward to the race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, where he was fourth last year. "I can't wait to get to Charlotte," said Kvapil. "I'm really looking forward to getting back to speedway racing. I have a lot of confidence in my team at the speedways and would like nothing more than to get Toyota's first win at Charlotte."

RH SUCCESS: Robert Huffman, a Claremont, NC native, is excited about the race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "Charlotte's been a very good racetrack for me," said Huffman, the driver of the Innovative Motorsports No.12 Toyota Tundra. "It seems like everything we race at Charlotte we seem to run pretty good. I won four Sportsman Division races at the track and made my first Busch Series start at Lowe's. In the Dash Series, we won four of the last seven races at the track. So, I guess my driving style seems to adapt to that racetrack pretty well."

HOME RUN: "Racing close to home helps a lot because there is support from people you know, and people who have watched you race," said Huffman. "When you know there are people that came to watch you race, you want to do well. I've always had a lot of respect for a driver, no matter what they're driving, if they end up standing in `Victory Lane' with the Lowe's Motor Speedway sign in the background. It's an awful neat feeling."

3 FOR SHELBY: Shelby Howard, driver of the No.23 Bill Davis Racing Tundra, has made three ARCA series starts at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In 2001, he finished 21st at the track, and two years ago he was 19th. Last year, he started sixth and finished 13th at Charlotte.

BUILD IT: The Toyota Racing Development (TRD) R&D and production facility in High Point, NC employs 17 people. While everyone is involved in the overall NCTS Tundra production, it takes seven employees working between eight and nine hours a day five days to build a NCTS Toyota Tundra. It takes about 20 hours from start-to-finish to build a production Tundra at Toyota's Princeton, Indiana facility, where 5,004 associates work and where a new Tundra rolls off the assembly line every 74 seconds. Princeton, Indiana is the only place in the world where production Tundras are built.

LINE-UP: There will be four Toyota teams and seven Tundras at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The line-up:

Bang Racing:
Travis KvapilNo.24 Line-X Toyota Tundra
Mike Skinner No.42 Toyota Tundra

Bill Davis Racing:
Shelby HowardNo.23 Toyota Tundra
Bill Lester No.22 Toyota Tundra

Innovative Motorsports:
Hank Parker Jr. No.21 Toyota Tundra
Robert Huffman No.12 Toyota Tundra

Darrell Waltrip Motorsports:
David Reutimann No.17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra

TV TIME: Infineon 200, Lowe's Motor Speedway, May 21, 9:00 PM (Eastern), SPEED Channel

-toyota motorsports-

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