Homestead: Toyota Motorsports preview

THIS RACE: The race at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be the 11th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at the track. There will be 10 Toyota Tundras in the field at Miami -- the final NCTS race of the 2006 season. LAST RACE: In the most...

THIS RACE: The race at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be the 11th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at the track. There will be 10 Toyota Tundras in the field at Miami -- the final NCTS race of the 2006 season.

LAST RACE: In the most recent race of the 2006 Craftsman Truck Series season at Phoenix International Raceway (Nov.10), five Tundra drivers recorded top-10 finishes. Toyota driver Johnny Benson crossed the finish line first and was followed to the checkered flag by Tundra drivers Mike Skinner (third), Todd Bodine (fourth), David Starr (sixth), Jack Sprague (seventh) and David Reutimann (eighth).

BENSON BEST: Johnny Benson's victory at Phoenix was his fifth win of the season in the No.23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra. Benson, who started from the pole, spun out on the first lap in his Bill Davis Racing Tundra. However, he made a quick recovery and managed to work his way through the field en route to the checkered flag. Benson passed Mark Martin with 30 laps remaining in the race and held onto the lead all the way to the finish.

FIRST IN PHOENIX: "We had to work pretty hard for this one," said Benson, following the race. "I really made a stupid move at the start. My truck was a little loose in turns one and two -- and I thought it was going to be ok. But, I lost it and we had to come in and make some adjustments. I told Rick (Ren, crew chief) that we could get back up through the field if we had good pit stops."

TOUGH TIME IN AZ: "The whole race was challenging," added Benson, after the race. "Any time you have a truck that starts on the pole and you spin out -- it's going to make for a very challenging day. The first few laps after I spun were pretty good, then it kept getting harder and harder. Guys were racing really hard, but that's what this series is all about. Guys race you tough -- which makes the win so sweet."

POINTS PACE: After the first 24 races of the 2006 season, Toyota drivers hold down the top-five positions in the NCTS championship point standings. Todd Bodine continues to sit atop the championship standings with 3,566 points. Trailing Bodine in the standings are second-place Johnny Benson (3,454 points), third-place David Reutimann (3,383 points), fourth-place Ted Musgrave (3,250 points) and fifth-place David Starr (3,209 points). In addition, Tundra driver Jack Sprague (3,173 points) holds down the seventh spot in the standings and Mike Skinner (3,156 points) is eighth in the points.

TODD'S TITLE: If Todd Bodine finishes 28th or better in the season finale at Miami he will clinch the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver's championship. It will be the first NASCAR title for Todd Bodine, as well as the first NASCAR title for the Bodine family -- which includes Todd and his NASCAR racing brothers Geoff and Brett.

TODD ON THE TITLE: "Johnny (Benson) and Rick (Ren, Benson's crew chief) are doing exactly what they need to do -- winning races," says Bodine, talking about the championship chase. "Unfortunately for them, we are doing exactly what we need to do to continue to lead in the championship -- and that's to finish up front. We have to keep the `big picture' in mind. I don't want to put myself in a position to be taken out and I want to keep my Tundra in one piece. That's what we did at Phoenix and what we plan to do at Miami."

MORE TODD TITLE TALK: "We still have a ways to go," says Bodine, about the championship chase. "It would be great for my family to win the title, but 112 points is not that much. If we have a miscue, a loose lug nut or a flat tire or someone getting into us at Homestead and finish in the back -- Johnny's going to win it. We have to do what we have to do at Miami -- stay out of trouble and finish in the top-five, like we've been doing all year."

TITLE TALK FROM TED: "Todd's in a really good position, compared to where I was last year," says Ted Musgrave, the defending Craftsman Truck Series champion and Todd Bodine's Germain Racing teammate. "I don't think there's going to be much pressure on him -- other than he'll probably be a little nervous just being in that position to be a champion. There's nothing I can do to really help the situation, so I guess you could say I'm comfortable heading into Homestead."

LAST YEAR HERE: Last year at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov.11, 2005), Todd Bodine picked up the victory in the No.30 Germain Racing Tundra. Three other Tundra drivers recorded top-five finishes at last year's season-finale -- Jack Sprague was second, Johnny Benson was third and Bill Lester was fifth. In addition, Tundra racer David Reutimann started on the pole after establishing a track qualifying record (31.193 secs./173.116 mph).

TWO YEARS BACK: In 2004 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, David Reutimann was the top-finishing Toyota driver with a fourth-place result in the No.17 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Tundra. Reutimann also captured the pole at the 2004 Miami season-finale.

`HOME' TRACK: "Homestead is a great facility and it's pretty close to home," says Reutimann, a Zephyrhills, Fla.- native. "Two years ago was my very first time there and we had a good run in the race, as well as a good qualifying run. It's a mile-and-a-half track and I really like those tracks -- and we seem to be pretty strong at those places."

TODD HAS TAKEN MANY LAPS: Beginning with his first NASCAR start at Miami in 1995, Todd Bodine has qualified for 15 races at the track -- including four Cup Series starts and 10 Busch Series races, along with one NCTS race. During his Miami career, the Chemung, N.Y.-driver has recorded two top-five finishes in the Busch Series. His best Cup Series finish at the track was an 11th-place in 2003.

MICHAEL MAKES TOYOTA DEBUT: Michael Waltrip will make his Toyota debut in the Craftsman Truck Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Waltrip will pilot the Darrell Waltrip Motorsports No.12 Jani-King Tundra. It will mark his first NASCAR race start in a Toyota. In 2007, Waltrip will drive the No.55 NAPA Camry in Nextel Cup competition as part of a three car Camry team at Michael Waltrip Racing.

ALL IN THREE: When David Reutimann and Mike Skinner take the green flag in the 2006 Craftsman Truck Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it will mark the 75th start in a Tundra for each driver. Over the past three years, Reutimann and Skinner are the only two drivers to sit in the seat of a Tundra in every NCTS race in which Toyota has participated since the start of the 2004 season.

TOYOTA TAKES TITLE: Toyota clinched the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series manufacturer's championship with Mike Skinner's third-place finish at Texas. It marks the first-ever NASCAR manufacturer's title for Toyota.

TOYOTA HAS 25 WINS: Johnny Benson's victory at Phoenix was Toyota's 25th NCTS wins since the Tundra began competing in the Craftsman Truck Series at the beginning of the 2004 season. Along with 12 wins this year -- five by Johnny Benson (Phoenix, NH, Nashville, Milwaukee and Michigan), three by Todd Bodine (Texas, St. Louis and Atlanta), two by Jack Sprague (Martinsville and Memphis), one by David Star (Martinsville) and one by Mike Skinner (Las Vegas) -- Toyota had four wins in 2004 and nine wins in 2005.

TOYOTA HAS 31 POLES: Johnny Benson's pole position at Phoenix was Toyota's 31st NCTS pole since the Tundra began competing in the Craftsman Truck Series at the beginning of the 2004 season. Tundra drivers who have recorded poles include Mike Skinner (16), David Reutimann (six), Bill Lester (two), Jack Sprague (two), Brandon Whitt (two), Johnny Benson (one), Todd Bodine (one) and Travis Kvapil (one).

Homestead-Miami Raceway will begin at 8:05 PM (Eastern) on Friday, November 10. The race is tentatively scheduled to start at 8:15 PM (Eastern).

-credit: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Michael Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , David Starr , Johnny Benson , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Bill Lester , David Reutimann , Brandon Whitt , Travis Kvapil
Teams Germain Racing , Michael Waltrip Racing