Indy IRP: Toyota preview

THIS RACE: The Power Stroke Diesel 200 will be the 12th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at th Indianapolis Raceway Park. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field at the Indianapolis short track -- the 15 NCTS race of the 2006 ...

THIS RACE: The Power Stroke Diesel 200 will be the 12th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at th Indianapolis Raceway Park. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field at the Indianapolis short track -- the 15 NCTS race of the 2006 season.

LAST RACE: In the most recent race of the 2006 NCTS season at Memphis Motorsports Park (July 15), Jack Sprague crossed the finish line first in the No.60 Con-way Freight Tundra -- registering his first victory in a Toyota. Following Sprague to the finish were Tundra drivers David Reutimann (seventh) and Mike Skinner (ninth).

JACK IS BACK: Jack Sprague returned to `victory lane' in the most recent Craftsman Truck Series race at Memphis. Sprague's victory was the 26th career NCTS win for the Spring Lake, Mich.-native and his first victory since last June at Texas Motor Speedway. In addition, it was the first Craftsman Truck Series win for the Wyler Racing team in 19 NCTS events -- and the inaugural NCTS win for crew chief Tony Furr.

SPRAGUE SPEAKS: "The older you get -- you wonder if you're ever going to win again, which makes this one sweet," said Sprague, following the race. "Dennis (Setzer) was better than me on the long runs -- there's no doubt about that. But, on the up-to-40 lap runs we were pretty good and could get away and lead, before I would just get too tight. Something happened to Dennis on the last pit stop, which is unfortunate for him -- but what I needed to happen. At the end, I wasn't going to hit Erik (Darnell) to win it -- and it's a good thing he didn't hit me. It all worked out great and I got by him clean."

TEAM TALK: "This is the first win for Wyler Racing and the first win for Con-way -- and the first win for me in some time," said Sprague, after the race. "This is a new race team and it's easy to get derailed. We have a lot of guys that haven't worked together. Good things make everyone feel great, and bad things kick everyone in the gut. I think there are more wins for this race team because it's a great race team. We just need more consistency."

REUTIMANN ROLLING: David Reutimann's seventh-place finish at Memphis was his eighth top-10 in the last 10 races. During the streak, Reutimann has finished third (St. Louis), fourth (Texas), fifth (Milwaukee and Dover), sixth (Charlotte), seventh (Memphis), ninth (Mansfield) and 10th (Kansas) -- and moved into second-place in the championship standings.

POINTS PACE: After the first 14 races of the 2006 season, Toyota drivers hold down the top-three positions in the NCTS championship point standings. Todd Bodine sits atop the championship standings with 2,161 points. Trailing Bodine in the standings are second-place David Reutimann (2,044 points) and third-place Johnny Benson (1,998 points). In addition, Tundra driver Ted Musgrave (1,807 points) holds down the fifth spot in the standings.

ENGINE CHASE: Toyota holds onto the top spot in the NCTS manufacturer's championship through the first 14 races of the 2006 season. Toyota has 98 points in the standings, 10 more points than second-place Ford and 29 points ahead of third-place Chevrolet.

TALK ABOUT TWO IN TOP-FIVE: Germain Racing'sTodd Bodine (first) and Ted Musgrave (fifth) are both in the top-five in the NCTS championship standings. What does team manager Mike Hillman think about the team's start to the season? "Until about three weeks ago, I would have probably given us a grade of about 95 for the first part of the year," says Hillman. "Everything was clicking and things were going really well. But, right now we're probably around a 75 or 80. We broke out a couple of new trucks, and tried a few new things, and now we're going back to the `basics.' Hopefully, we'll get back to where we were earlier in the year."

TED TALKS: "It's kind of hard to determine how I'd rate our season so far," says Ted Musgrave, the 2005 NCTS champion. "When we started the season -- I would have said we had a B+ or and A-type of start. Then when everything looked good -- the bottom fell out. That's the way racing is -- sometimes you're on the top and sometimes you're on the bottom. I kind of look at it like a sock in the dryer -- going around and around. Sooner or later you're going to be on top and sooner or later you're going to be on the bottom. For right now, to give us a grade, I'd have to say probably a C+ because we've faltered some in the last few races."

LAST YEAR HERE: A year ago, David Reutimann was the top-finishing Toyota at Indianapolis Raceway Park when he ended up 11th at the Indiana short track.

TWO YEARS BACK: In 2004, Travis Kvapil was the top-finishing Toyota at Indianapolis Raceway Park when he crossed the finish line fourth.

SKINNER STRONG AT IRP: Mike Skinner dominated the inaugural race at IRP in 1995, starting from the pole and leading every lap en route to the checkered flag. A year later, the Daytona Beach, Fla.-driver repeated his dominant performance at IRP -- again starting from the pole and leading every lap on his way to `victory lane.'

NOW AND THEN: "In the first two events held at IRP in the Craftsman Truck Series in 1995 and 1996 I seemed to have the most dominate truck in the field," says Mike Skinner, the 1995 NCTS champion. "I think the trucks are a lot more aero.-dependant now than they were back in the early days. The tires and chassis have changed so much over the years, and the level of competition just gets higher and higher as each year passes."

DAVID DOES NOT LIKE: "There's nothing I like about IRP -- and there are many things I dislike about the track," says David Reutimann, driver of the No.17 Team Tundra Racing Toyota. "Unfortunately, IRP hasn't been particularly good to us the past few years. But, I feel like our short track program is a lot better and we've made some great strides. We had a good run at Mansfield and a good run at Martinsville -- and I'm encouraged by the advances we've made."

TOYOTA NOW HAS 20: After Jack Sprague's victory at Memphis, Toyota now has 20 NCTS wins since the Tundra began competing in the Craftsman Truck Series at the beginning of the 2004 season. Along with seven wins this year -- one by Sprague (Memphis), three by Todd Bodine (Texas, St. Louis and Atlanta), two by Johnny Benson (Milwaukee and Michigan) and one by David Starr (Martinsville) -- Toyota had four wins in 2004 and nine wins in 2005.

TOYOTA HAS 26: Jack Sprague's pole position at Memphis was the 26th NCTS pole position for a Tundra since Toyota began competing in the Craftsman Truck Series at the beginning of the 2004 season. Along with Sprague (one), Tundra drivers who have recorded poles include Mike Skinner (13), David Reutimann (six), Bill Lester (two), Brandon Whitt (two), Todd Bodine (one) and Travis Kvapil (one).

BROADCAST TIME: SPEED Channel coverage of the NCTS race at Indianapolis Raceway Park will begin at 8:30 PM (Eastern) on Friday, August 4. The race is tentatively scheduled to start at 8:45 PM (Eastern).

-www.toyotamotorsports.com.

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