Kansas: Toyota preview

THIS RACE: The O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 will be the fifth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS)hrace at Kansas Speedway. There will be eight Toyota Tundras in the field at the 1.5-mile Kansas oval -- the 12t NCTS race of the 2005 season. LAST...

THIS RACE: The O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 will be the fifth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS)hrace at Kansas Speedway. There will be eight Toyota Tundras in the field at the 1.5-mile Kansas oval -- the 12t NCTS race of the 2005 season.

LAST RACE: In the most recent NCTS race -- the Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 -- at the Milwaukee Mile, Brandon Whitt was the top-finishing Toyota with a 13th-place. It was the best result of the 2005 season for the driver of the No.38 McMillan Homes/Cure Autism Now Tundra.

POINTS PACE: After the first 11 races of the 2005 season, several Toyota drivers are among the top-15 in the NCTS championship point standings. Mike Skinner is 11th in the standings with 1,314 points, 300 points behind leader Dennis Setzer. Following Skinner in the standings are Tundra racers David Reutimann (1,284 points) in 12th-place and Johnny Benson (1,282 points) in 14th-place.

LAST YEAR HERE: A year ago, Travis Kvapil was the only Toyota driver to finish among the top-10 at the Kansas-oval when he crossed the finish line seventh.

BACK IN TIME FOR BODINE: At the Milwaukee Mile, Todd Bodine returned to the driver's seat of the No.30 Germain/Arnold Racing Tundra, a seat he will occupy for the remainder of the 2005 season. The Chemung, N.Y.- native qualified the No.30 Germain Toyota/Arnold Development Tundra on the outside of row one and was running among the leaders through the first 60 laps (of 200), before being sidelined on lap 141 with an ignition problem. Last year, Bodine recorded two NCTS wins in eight starts driving the No.30 Germain/Arnold entry. This season, Bodine ran the first 10 races of the year with the No.66 Fiddle Back Racing team.

TODD TALKS: "Last year, before I got into the Germain/Arnold Tundra, it had been a pretty rough season for me with lots of ups and downs," says Bodine. "Then, when I came to the Craftsman Truck Series and got two wins with Germain/Arnold it showed everyone I could still get the job done. Now that I'm back with the Germain/Arnold team, I think we can regain the momentum we had last year and produce some wins."

CHAD CHARTS NEW COURSE: Chad Chaffin made his first start behind the wheel of the No.60 Wyler Racing Tundra in Milwaukee. Chaffin, who ran the first 10 races of the season in the No.30 Germain/Arnold Tundra, is scheduled to complete the season with Wyler Racing. At Milwaukee, in the first race of the 2005 campaign for the Wyler team, Chaffin was among the fastest drivers in both practice sessions and worked his way into the top-15 during the race, before a pit lane speeding violation set him a lap back and hindered his efforts to move up the field. Chaffin eventually finished 17th in the team's debut.

CHAD CHATS: "I'm excited about the rest of the season and I think there are some good things in store for us," says Chaffin, talking about the Wyler Racing team. "Although we may struggle at times because we're trying to build a race team and go racing at the same time, I'm impressed with Tony (Furr, crew chief) and his dedication and experience."

FIRST FIRST: Chad Chaffin holds the NCTS qualifying record at Kansas Speedway, circling the track in 32.467 seconds (166.323 MPH) in 2003. It was the first pole position of his NCTS career. "Winning the pole at Kansas was really huge for me and my team because it was our first significant accomplishment together. Some people say that winning the pole really isn't that big a deal, but for us that pole at Kansas was a big deal."

MIKE MAKES MARK IN MIDWEST: Last year, Mike Skinner, driver of the No.5 Bill Davis Racing Tundra, made his first NCTS start at Kansas Speedway and registered a 12th-place finish. However, the Daytona Beach, Fla.-driver has plenty of Craftsman Truck Series experience in the Kansas City-area, having run at Topeka's Heartland Park three times (1995-97) and Missouri's I-70 Speedway twice (1995-6). In those five NCTS starts at tracks surrounding the current Kansas City circuit, Skinner recorded NCTS wins at Topeka (1996) and I-70 (1995), as well as a second-place at I-70 and two fifth-place finishes at Topeka.

TWO AT TOPEKA: Veterans Todd Bodine and Johnny Benson have also competed in NCTS races at Topeka's Heartland Park. Bodine, who made his first NCTS start at Kansas last season, finished fourth at Topeka in 1995. Benson, driver of the No.23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra, has never started a NCTS race at Kansas, but he did finish sixth at Topeka in 1996.

BODINE BUSY AT KANSAS: Todd Bodine has started races at Kansas Speedway in all three of NASCAR's premiere divisions. He has one NCTS start at the track (2004), as well as two Busch Series starts (2002-03) and has qualified for four NASCAR Cup races (2001-04) at the circuit.

COMPETITION CHAT: "The level of competition in the Craftsman Truck Series is great," says Whitt. "There are some past champions in the series and some former Cup guys in the series. It's great for someone like me -- who's coming up and trying to make it through the ranks. Running against guys like Johnny Benson and Mike Skinner every weekend is only going to make me better. It's just really neat to run against guys that you know about and watched on TV since you were little."

TRUCK TALK: "In 1995 and 1996, the Craftsman trucks drove a lot different than they drive today," says Mike Skinner, the inaugural NCTS champion. "Back then, they slid all over the track, had very little grip, and always looked loose. Over the years, the trucks have evolved and they now have a lot of drag and a lot of down force. These trucks drive much better now than they did 10 years ago."

-www.toyotamotorsports

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Johnny Benson , Dennis Setzer , Chad Chaffin , David Reutimann , Brandon Whitt , Travis Kvapil
Teams Bill Davis Racing , HART