Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Welcomes Toyota Tundra Driver Robert Huffman Concord, N.C. (January 11, 2005) -- Darrell Waltrip Motorsports announces the addition of a second full-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team with driver Robert Huffman.
Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Welcomes Toyota Tundra Driver Robert Huffman
Concord, N.C. (January 11, 2005) -- Darrell Waltrip Motorsports announces the addition of a second full-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team with driver Robert Huffman. Huffman and Crew Chief Glenn Funderburk will campaign for the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship with the No. 12 Toyota Tundra entry alongside teammate David Reutimann, driver of the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra.
"I am excited about joining Darrell Waltrip Motorsports and having the chance to work with David Reutimann too," said Huffman. "I got to know David last year when we were both rookies. I built a pretty good friendship with him. It's important to have two teams especially when you have two drivers like David and I that are willing to help each other. It's a good situation when you're not in competition with one another. Because of our backgrounds, we'll work really well together."
The addition of Huffman and the No. 12 Toyota Tundra team brings Darrell Waltrip's vision of a two-truck team effort to fruition. "I watched Robert last year when he had some really good runs," said Waltrip. "Both him and David had times when they looked like they were championship contenders. There were other days that Team Manager Bobby Kennedy used to say there's a reason why they have a yellow stripe on their bumper. With the history Robert has with Toyota and winning five championships in the Dash Series, he obviously has championship winning credentials. We are going to give him the best shot he's ever had to go out and prove what he can do in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
"We've seen it across the board in Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck that two teams are better than one," continued Waltrip. "You are able to obtain so much more information with having two teams. You can take what one guy's doing and try something different on both trucks and then put the best of both worlds together. I think Robert and David will complement each other real well. Having a full-time second team will help our program further succeed."
Huffman made waves in the NASCAR Dash Series eventually becoming a five-time champion ('90, '98, '99, '00, '03) recording 42 wins (second in all time wins). Trying his hand at something new, Huffman made two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts in 1997 with his debut occurring at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Claremont (N.C.) native also competed in 11 Busch Series events (1991-93).
"I've had a lot of success in the NASCAR Dash Series, but it's hard to carry that over into a division like the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series," said Huffman. "Even though the cars were really different from the trucks, it definitely helps when you have success in another series. You learn what it takes to race for a championship. Going from the Dash Series to the Craftsman Truck Series, I found that the competition is really strong because there are more teams that have funding. It's a tough series and it lives up to its motto."
Out of Huffman's accomplishments to date, one of his most memorable triumphs was winning Toyota Motorsports first-ever NASCAR championship in the 2003 Dash Series driving a Toyota Celica.
"When I became associated with Toyota in 2001, my first goal was to win their first NASCAR race and we did that at Kentucky and then our next goal was to win their first NASCAR championship," said Huffman. "To be able to deliver Toyota's first NASCAR championship meant a lot to me personally and professionally. Toyota has helped further my career. They made sure to include me in their NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series program. Because of Toyota, I'm doing something I love to do. They've been phenomenal to my family and I am thankful for their support."
After repeated championships in the Dash Series, Huffman was ready to step up to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series with the Toyota Motorsports program. Huffman registered six top-10 finishes in 24 starts during his rookie season. Overall Toyota Motorsports fleet of Tundra's collected four wins, 25 top-5 finishes, 54 top-ten finishes and five pole awards during their inaugural year in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. J "Toyota had success in their first year of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition," said Huffman. "Last year I didn't know what to expect, so I didn't have a lot of goals set for myself. This year I've set more goals. We're going to run and finish in the top-5 and top-10. Our objective is to position ourselves to win races and run for the championship."
"We are thrilled to again have Robert piloting a Tundra for a second season," said Pat Wall, vice president and manager of Toyota's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series program. "Robert has tremendous potential and we are looking to DW to help Robert realize this potential and achieve the kind of success in the NCTS that we know he is capable of."
Huffman is looking forward to working with Reutimann. Ironically, the two made NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history last season. Reutimann started first at Atlanta Motor Speedway while Huffman occupied the second starting position making it the first time two rookies swept the front row.
"At Atlanta, David and I qualified on the front row and that had never happen in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history," said Huffman. "To be a part of that was an exciting moment for both of us and Toyota too. I'm looking forward to this season and I can't wait to get to Daytona."
Reutimann is just as excited as Huffman about the expansion of Darrell Waltrip Motorsports.
"Adding a second team is something we wanted to do ever since the inception of the No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota team," said Reutimann. "For this second truck team to finally come about is going to be good for everyone involved. It's going to be good for Robert and good for me as well. We worked a little bit together last year. Robert's a great guy and he does a really good job. I think we will be able to learn from each other this year. We were both rookies in this deal last year. I think we will be able to share information that will benefit both of us. I'm looking forward to racing with him at Daytona next February."
The green flag drops on the sixth annual NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Daytona International Speedway Friday, February 18th at 8:15 p.m. The 100-lap event at the 2.5-mile superspeedway will air live on SPEED Channel and MRN Radio will broadcast the event.