Daytona: Toyota preview

THIS RACE: This will be the fifth race at Daytona International Speedway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field. LAST YEAR HERE: Last year, Toyota made its NCTS debut in the season-opener at...

THIS RACE: This will be the fifth race at Daytona International Speedway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field.

LAST YEAR HERE: Last year, Toyota made its NCTS debut in the season-opener at Daytona with seven Tundras in the starting line-up. Two Tundra drivers recorded top-10 finishes in Toyota's inaugural race. Travis Kvapil crossed the finished line second, just .141-seconds behind race-winner Carl Edwards, and David Reutimann finished ninth.

ROSTER REVISION: Toyota's second season in the NCTS will feature an expanded line-up featuring nine drivers and five teams that will challenge for the Manufacturers' and the Drivers' Championships. Three teams that ran Tundras during Toyota's inaugural NCTS season, will again field Tundras in 2005, along with two new teams. Bill Davis Racing (3), Darrell Waltrip Motorsports (2) and Germain/Arnold Racing (2) are back while Clean Line Motorsports (1) and Fiddle Back Racing (1) join the Toyota line-up in 2005. Six of the nine drivers also are returning for a second season piloting Toyota Tundras.

BODINE GOES BOWLING: Todd Bodine who will be making his first career NCTS start at Daytona, traveled to Jacksonville earlier this month to attend the Super Bowl. "It was an awesome experience," says Bodine. "It was a great game and the atmosphere was tremendous -- with all the pre-game activities and the halftime show. We sat at the five- yard-line, about halfway up the stadium, which gave us a great view when the Eagles scored their first touchdown. From being at the game, it's obvious that the NFL and NASCAR have drawn from each other to turn their sports into big spectacles. I went home happy because I was cheering for the Patriots."

REUTIMANN REMEMBERS DAYTONA: Last year's NCTS race at Daytona was David Reutimann's first career start in the series. "It was a good way to begin the year," says Reutimann, driver of the No.17 NTN Bearings Tundra. "Although it was definitely a learning experience because I fell out of line near the end of the race, and thought somebody would come with me. Then I looked in the mirror and realized I was the only one out there -- so we fell from about fifth to 15th in half-a-lap. We had to fight our way back into the top-10."

MORE MEMORIES: "Daytona's a place I've been coming to for years," explains David Reutimann. "In fact, I remember watching Robert (Huffman) -- my new teammate -- run Dash Series races here from the grandstands because I couldn't get a pit pass. That's why it was neat to be here racing last year -- I was supposed to be here and I didn't have to climb over a fence to get into the garage and pits."

ROBERT RUNS DAYTONA: Even though he has only one NCTS start at Daytona (2004), Robert Huffman has four race wins at the 2.5-mile speedway. He has won Dash Series races at Daytona in February of 2000, 2002 and 2003, as well as a July race at the track in 2001. All three of his most recent Dash wins came in a Toyota Celica. "Even though my wins have been in a different race car, I think a big part of being successful at Daytona is having the right frame of mind," says Huffman. "No matter what you drive, you're always learning."

SKINNER SET FOR 2005: Mike Skinner, the inaugural NCTS champion in 1995, is ready to start the 2005 season. "I'm fired up to start the year," says Skinner, driver of the No.5 Bill Davis Racing Tundra. "At the end of January, we tested at Daytona in the draft and my Tundra was phenomenal. There were a lot of times last year when we had a dominant truck, and with a little luck we might have had several wins."

DAYTONA ADVANTAGE: Mike Skinner lives just a short drive from Daytona International Speedway which has its advantages. "If we make it to `Victory Lane' after this Friday's race at Daytona -- the good news is the party is only 15 minutes away at my house."

HAPPY CHAD: "I'm just tickled to death to be with Germain/Arnold Racing," says Chad Chaffin, pilot of the No.30 Tundra. "Mike Hillman (team manager) has put together a very impressive group of guys and it's going to be a fun year. The Daytona test we had in January went incredibly well. We had a fast Tundra and the Toyota horsepower was pretty impressive. I'm looking forward to kicking off a very strong 2005 campaign at Daytona."

FOUR WINS FOR TOYOTA: Toyota registered four victories in 25 NCTS races last season. Travis Kvapil captured the first checkered flag for Toyota at Michigan (July 31) and then added a second trip to `Victory Lane' at New Hampshire (Sept.18). Todd Bodine earned Toyota's next two wins when he crossed the finish line first at Texas (Oct. 16) and California (Oct.2).

TOYOTA TOP-FIVES: Tundra drivers recorded 25 NCTS top-five finishes in 2004. Along with four wins, Toyota drivers had finishes of second (4), third (5), fourth (7) and fifth (5). Travis Kvapil had six top-fives and Johnny Benson had five top-fives. Todd Bodine, David Reutimann and Mike Skinner each had four top-fives.

FIVE FIRSTS FOR TOYOTA: A year ago, Toyota earned five NCTS pole positions. David Reutiman had Toyota's first-ever NCTS pole at Atlanta (March 12), and added another pole in the season finale at Miami (Nov.19). Sandwiched around Reutimann's poles were a pair of poles for Mike Skinner at Texas (Oct.16) and Las Vegas (Sept. 25), and one first-place start for Travis Kvapil at California (Oct.1).

ROOKIE RACE: Toyota's David Reutimann was named the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Raybestos Rookie-of- the-Year following the season. The 34-year-old Zephyrhills, Fla.-native posted four top-fives, including two third-place finishes, and 10 top-10 finishes for the Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team.

XM ON, NOT IN, TUNDRAS: The XM Satellite Radio logo will appear on the rear quarter panel of six Tundras (Nos.5, 12, 17, 22, 23, 30), as well as the driver's suit of all nine Toyota drivers. XM Satellite Radio, America's number one satellite radio service, will supply Toyota with satellite delivered data services for Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles. In addition, Toyota will offer XM radios as a factory-installed option in Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The first vehicles factory-installed with XM radios will be available in 2006.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Johnny Benson , Chad Chaffin , David Reutimann , Carl Edwards , Robert Huffman , Travis Kvapil
Teams Bill Davis Racing