THIS RACE: This will be the 10th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at New Hampshire International Speedway. There will be eight Tundras in the field at New Hampshire -- the 19th NCTS race of the 2005 NCTS season. LAST RACE: In the most...
THIS RACE: This will be the 10th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at New Hampshire International Speedway. There will be eight Tundras in the field at New Hampshire -- the 19th NCTS race of the 2005 NCTS season.
LAST RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at Richmond International Raceway (Sept.8), Toyota driver Mike Skinner was the race-winner in his No.5 Bill Davis Racing Tundra. The Daytona Beach, Fla.-driver started on the outside of row one and led the field three times for 120 laps en route to the checkered flag. Other Toyota racers who finished among the top-10 at the Virginia track were Todd Bodine (second) and Mike Wallace (sixth).
STREAKING SKINNER:th Mike Skinner's victory at Richmond was his second consecutive NCTS win driving a Toyota, along with the 18 victory of his NCTS career (third all-time). Before winning at Richmond, Skinner drove his Tundra to `Victory Lane' in the most recent NCTS race at Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug.24). Skinner, who returned to the Craftsman Truck Series full-time at the beginning of 2004, had last visited the NCTS winner's circle before this season nine years ago at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Cal. (10-14-96).
HIGH FIVE: Tundra drivers have now registered five wins in 2005, and Toyota has nine NCTS victories since the beginning of the 2004 season. In addition to Mike Skinner's wins at Richmond and Bristol, other Tundra race-winners this year include Brandon Whitt at Memphis (July 23) and David Reutimann at Nashville (Aug.13). Todd Bodine had Toyota's first win of the 2005 campaign at Kansas (July 2).
MIKE'S RICHMOND REMARKS: "My Tundra was just awesome," said Skinner, following the race. "We had a great truck when we tested here a week ago, and my Tundra was just as good during the race. I could go anywhere I wanted on the track, without any problems. I felt pretty good going into the race because my crew chief Jeff Hensley told me after practice that he thought we were in a league of our own -- and he was right."
MORE FROM MIKE: Skinner had to pass, and then hold off fellow Tundra driver Todd Bodine and NASCAR Cup veteran Kevin Harvick to capture the Richmond win. "I knew Kevin (Harvick) was behind me and running strong, but I'm glad that Todd (Bodine) was between the two of us -- he was like a good teammate tonight. Todd was running on a little older tires, but he did an awesome job."
NOTHING NEW: "We have not done one thing different than we have all season," said Skinner. "We still have the same game plan we've had all year. We've had dominant trucks all year long we've just had things happen in front of us."
ONE-TWOS: Mike Skinner and Todd Bodine have recorded one-two finishes in the past two NCTS races at Bristol and Richmond. "I'm not too disappointed with finishing second to Mike twice in a row," said Todd Bodine, after the race. "In both races, Mike just had `fresher' tires at the end. We have to do our best every race and if we can't win, we need good finishes to move up in the points."
KATRINA RELIEF: Eight Toyota Tundras in the NCTS race at Richmond (Sept.8) prominently displayed Hurricane Relief decals, featuring the American Red Cross logo and the NASCAR web site. "Everyone at Toyota Motorsports and TRD appreciates the support of all the Tundra race teams at Richmond to aid the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts by displaying special decals on their race trucks," said Pat Wall, vice president and NCTS program manager for TRD, USA. "We're proud of the Tundra team owners, sponsors and drivers who supported and continue to support the hurricane relief efforts."
POINTS PACE: After the first 18 races of 2005, four Toyota Tundra drivers are among the top-15 in the NCTS championship point standings. After his two recent wins, Mike Skinnner now sits fourth in the championship standings with 2,376 points, just 205 points behind leader Dennis Setzer. Following Skinner in the standings are Todd Bodine (2,306 points) in seventh-place, David Reutimann (2,302 points) in eighth-place, and Johnny Benson (2,178 points) in 11th-place.
LAST YEAR HERE: Toyota Tundra driver Travis Kvapil captured the checkered flag in last year's race at New Hampshire. Along with Kvapil's victory, Johnny Benson (third), David Reutimann (fifth), Hank Parker Jr. (ninth) and Mike Skinner (10th) also finished among the top-10 at the New England track.
TOYOTA TRIUMPH TWO: The win by Travis Kvapil at New Hampshire one year ago was the second win for a Toyota Tundra in the Craftsman Truck Series. Kvapil qualified third, ran among the leaders throughout the race, and took the lead with 12 laps remaining en route to the checkered flag.
BENSON'S BEST AT N.H.: Johnny Benson's third-place finish in last year's NCTS race was the best career finish by the Grand Rapids, Mich.-native at the New Hampshire circuit. In addition to his one NCTS race at the New England oval, Benson has also made 14 NASCAR Cup starts and three Busch Series starts at the track. His best result in those 17 races is a fourth-place Cup finish in 2002, and a fifth-place Busch finish in 1995.
'LIGHT' COMMENTS: One year ago, the race in New Hampshire was delayed four hours by rain before it was completed in the early evening in near darkness. "It's hard enough to find the `groove' on this track in the daylight," said Johnny Benson, regarding the late race finish. "Trying to find it when it got dark was near impossible."
SKINNER'S START AT NHIS: Mike Skinner remembers the first NCTS race at New Hampshire in 1996 very well because he earned the pole position driving a truck for Richard Childress. "I remember that first race at New Hampshire because we had everybody covered in practice and qualifying," says Skinner. "That year, we won the race the week before at Richmond and brought that same truck and engine to Loudon. Back then you would run the engine for a couple races. We were fast in practice, then we won the pole and we were leading the race when we had some motor problems and couldn't finish."
LEADER OF THE PACK: In the three most recent NCTS races -- at Bristol, Nashville and Richmond -- Mike Skinner has led 408 of 551 total laps (74%). In the most recent race at Richmond, the veteran driver led 120 laps (of 201). Skinner also led 190 laps (of 200) at Bristol and 98 laps (of 150) at Nashville.
TWO TWOS: Mike Wallace has recorded a pair of second-place finishes in three NCTS starts at New Hampshire. In both 1999 and 2000, the St. Louis-native crossed the finish line second while driving a truck for Jim Smith. In his NCTS debut at the New Hampshire track in 1998, Wallace captured the pole position.