Kentucky: Toyota preview

THIS RACE: This will be the seventh NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Kentucky Speedway. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field at the one-and-a-half-mile Kentucky oval -- the 13th Craftsman Truck Series race of the 2006 ...

THIS RACE: This will be the seventh NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Kentucky Speedway. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field at the one-and-a-half-mile Kentucky oval -- the 13th Craftsman Truck Series race of the 2006 season.

LAST RACE: In the most recent race of the 2006 NCTS season at Kansas Speedway (July 1), five Toyotas finished among the top-10. Mike Skinner, who ended up fifth, was the first Tundra across the finish line. Following Skinner to the checkered flag were Tundra drivers Todd Bodine (seventh), David Starr (eighth), Johnny Benson (ninth) and David Reutimann (10th). In addition, Skinner led a race-high 59 laps at Kansas, and Todd Bodine and David Reutimann each led 13 laps.

MIKE IS MAD: In each of the past two years, Mike Skinner had a chance to get his No.5 Bill Davis Racing Tundra to `Victory Lane' at Kansas Speedway. "Last year, we could definitely blame our Kansas finish on the driver," said Skinner, after the race. "I had the best truck, but sped down pit road, got a penalty and we ended up fourth. We shot ourselves in the foot last year -- and then we shot ourselves in the foot again this year. We had an awesome set of tires and my truck was really fast when we were out front. Then, on our last pit stop, we got a set of tires that wasn't very good. I'm grateful to have a truck that's so competitve, but we just have to figure out how not to shoot ourselves in the foot."

TODD'S TURNAROUND: Todd Bodine started 35th at Kansas after not making a qualifying attempt because his truck was still going through the inspection process. However, Bodine managed to work his way through the field and lead several laps (13) on his way to a seventh-place result. "We had a decent truck, but I had some handling problems," said Bodine, following the race. "Not having a chance to qualify really hurt us because we didn't know what we had for the race. If we got to qualify, we could have made adjustments based on that. You just have to get the best finish you can get when the truck is not right -- and that's what we did. We got a top-10 and finished ahead of the guys that are second and third in the points -- which is a bonus."

NO THREE FOR JB: Johnny Benson was seeking to win his third consecutive NCTS race at Kansas, after recording back-to-back wins at Michigan (June 17) and Milwaukee (June 23). Although he did fall short of reaching `Victory Lane' at Kansas, Benson did record a ninth-place finish -- his sixth straight top-10 result.

POINTS PACE: After the first 12 races of the 2006 season, Toyota drivers hold down the top-four positions in the NCTS championship point standings. Todd Bodine sits atop the championship standings with 1,909 points. Trailing Bodine in the standings are second-place David Reutimann (1,771 points), third-place Johnny Benson (1,766 points) and fourth-place Ted Musgrave (1,657 points).

LAST YEAR HERE: A year ago at Kentucky Speedway, Todd Bodine was the top-finishing Toyota when he ended up second to race-winner Dennis Setzer by just .249 seconds. Tundra drivers following Bodine to the finish line were David Reutimann (third), Mike Skinner (fourth), Brandon Whitt (sixth) and Johnny Benson (ninth).

BILL MAKES MARKS: Last year at Kentucky, Bill Lester earned the pole position in his No.22 Bill Davis Racing Tundra with a record qualifying speed of 178.8141 mph (30.313 seconds). Lester also passed the one million dollar mark in career Craftsman Truck Series earnings at the Kentucky oval after last year's race.

TWO YEARS BACK: In 2004, David Reutimann (ninth) and Robert Huffman (10th) were the only Toyota drivers to finish among the top-10 at the Kentucky-oval.

BENSON BEEN HERE: "Before last year, I never raced a Craftsman truck at Kentucky," says Johnny Benson, driver of the No.23 Bill Davis Racing Tundra. "As a matter of fact, I had only been to the track twice. I went there once for a Cup test where we got in about eight laps before it rained and ended the day. Then, two years ago I ran a Busch car and it looked like we were going to get a top-five finish when I hit the wall with about 20 laps left."

TODD TAKES ONE: Even though he has only one Craftsman Truck Series start at Kentucky Speedway, Todd Bodine has some history at the track. He has raced in two Busch Series events at Kentucky (2002-03). "I won the first Busch race at Kentucky, but I almost blew it," says Bodine. "I was leading the race and we had a restart with eight laps to go. Greg Biffle got by me on the restart and I couldn't pass him. Finally, I passed him on the outside on the last corner of the last lap for the win."

REUTIMANN RACES KENTUCKY: Earlier this year, David Reutimann competed in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Kentucky Speedway. Driving for Michael Waltrip Racing, Reutimann started 25th and finished eighth in the No.99 entry. It was his second Busch Series start at the track. He also started a Busch event at Kentucky in 2003.

TWO HAVE 62: David Reutimann and Mike Skinner are the only two Tundra drivers who have started every race Toyota has participated in since the manufacturer joined the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at the beginning of the 2004 season. Reutimann and Skinner have both made 62 starts in Toyotas -- 12 starts this season, along with 25 in 2005 and 25 in 2004.

TOYOTA NOW HAS 19: Toyota now has 19 NCTS wins since the Tundra began competing in the Craftsman Truck Series at the beginning of the 2004 season. Along with six wins this year -- two by Johnny Benson (Milwaukee and Michigan), three by Todd Bodine (Texas, St. Louis and Atlanta) and one by David Starr (Martinsville) -- Tundras finished first nine times in 2005 and four times in 2004. Drivers who have recorded wins driving Tundras include Bodine (10), Travis Kvapil (two), Benson (two), Mike Skinner (two), David Reutimann (one), Starr (one) and Brandon Whitt (one).

TOYOTA HAS 25: Mike Skinner's pole position at Kansas was the 25th NCTS pole position for a Tundra since Toyota began competing in the Craftsman Truck Series at the beginning of the 2004 season. Along with Skinner (13), Tundra drivers who have recorded poles include David Reutimann (six), Bill Lester (two), Brandon Whitt (two), Todd Bodine (one) and Travis Kvapil (one).

MIKE MAKES TOP: Mike Skinner's pole position at Kansas was his 28th career NCTS pole position -- making him the career leader in NCTS poles. "I think we're one ahead of Jack (Sprague), which is something because Jack is an awful good qualifier," said Skinner, after breaking the mark. "Hopefully, our Tundra team gets a lot more poles -- and a few wins as well. I think Jack's run a few more races than I have -- so, if he beats me with the poles that will be my excuse."

BROADCAST TIME: SPEED Channel coverage of the NCTS race at the Kentucky Speedway will begin at 8:00 PM (Eastern) on Saturday, July 8. The race is tentatively scheduled to start at 8:15 PM (Eastern).

-www.toyotamotorsports.com

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , David Starr , Greg Biffle , Johnny Benson , Ted Musgrave , Dennis Setzer , Bill Lester , David Reutimann , Brandon Whitt , Robert Huffman , Travis Kvapil
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing , Bill Davis Racing