THIS RACE: The Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway will be the 16th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at the Virginia track. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field at the .526-mile oval -- the 21st NCTS race of the 2006 ...
THIS RACE: The Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway will be the 16th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at the Virginia track. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field at the .526-mile oval -- the 21st NCTS race of the 2006 season.
LAST RACE: In the most recent race of the 2006 Craftsman Truck Series season at Talladega Superspeedway (Oct.7), four Tundra drivers recorded top-five finishes. Finishing behind race-winner Mark Martin were Tundra drivers Mike Skinner (second), Ted Musgrave (third), Todd Bodine (fourth) and A.J. Allmendinger (fifth).
MIKE MAKES IT TO SECOND: Mike Skinner, driver of the No.5 Tundra, followed up his recent victory in the NCTS race at Las Vegas (Sept.) with a second-place finish at Talladega -- despite contact with another truck just before the finish. "We were driving very aggressive at the end," said Skinner, after the race. "We made a deal with Derrick Cope (No.40) to stick together and we were pulling drafts off people -- and moving forward. I feel that (the contact) was my fault -- but it was absolutely not intentional. We weren't going to win the race, but we were going to finish pretty good."
POINTS PACE: After the first 20 races of the 2006 season, Toyota drivers hold down the top-four positions in the NCTS championship point standings. Todd Bodine continues to sit atop the championship standings with 3,076 points. Trailing Bodine in the standings are second-place Johnny Benson (2,963 points), third-place David Reutimann (2,821 points) and fourth-place Ted Musgrave (2,795 points). In addition, Tundra driver David Starr (2,644 points) holds down the seventh spot in the standings.
PONDERING THE POINTS: Does Todd Bodine, the current points leader, think the Craftsman Truck Series championship is firmly in hand? "By no means," says Bodine. "Johnny (Benson) and some of the other guys are really on a roll. Johnny is doing some great driving. Everything is going the way it needs to go for him. It's kind of like the way it went for us earlier in the year, and at the end of last year."
ENGINE CHASE: Toyota holds onto the top spot in the NCTS manufacturer's championship through the first 20 races of the 2006 season. Toyota has 141 points in the standings, 12 more points than second-place Ford and 43 points ahead of third-place Chevrolet.
LAST RACE HERE: In the most recent NCTS race at Martinsville Speedway (April 1), Toyota picked up the victory and three Tundra drivers finished among the top-10 in the final results. Race-winner David Starr was followed to the Martinsville checkered flag by Tundra drivers Ted Musgrave (second) and Mike Skinner (eighth).
STARR SCORES ONE: Tundra driver David Starr guided his No.11 Red Horse Racing Tundra into the lead on lap 130 of the 250-lap Martinsville race and held off all challengers -- including fellow Tundra driver Ted Musgrave -- en route to the checkered flag. It was Starr's first win in a Tundra and came in just his fourth race driving a Toyota for the Red Horse Racing team. It was also Starr's fourth career NCTS win. Along with his victory at Martinsville, Starr has NCTS wins at Phoenix (2004), St. Louis (2004) and Las Vegas (2002).
BACK TO THE TRACK: "You're only as good as your last race," says David Starr, driver of the No.11 Red Horse racing Tundra. "It was an honor to win the race at Martinsville. There's a lot of history at that race track and a lot of great drivers have won races at Martinsville. To be able to win there is a dream come true. Although, when I walk through the gates at Martinsville this weekend -- it's a new race."
HISTORY HELPFUL: "I take the races one at a time," explains David Starr. "When we go back to Martinsville we have really good notes from earlier this year, and we know what works and what doesn't work. Jamie Jones (crew chief) has an awesome short track package -- so anytime we go to a short track I feel really, really good. It's fun to reflect on the past, but in this sport you don't have time to reflect on the past. There's no time to reflect on what you did yesterday -- it's all about today and tomorrow."
TED TALKS: "Martinsville is a race where you can set your own destiny," says Ted Musgrave, driver of the No.9 Team ASE Tundra. "So much beating and banging goes on at Martinsville, you don't ever know what's going to happen."
TRYING FOR TOP-THREE: "Until we get through Martinsville, I think our position in the point standings is still up for grabs," says Ted Musgrave. "I think the last quarter of season plays in my favor. I've never been out of top-three in the point standings -- and I'd like to do that again."
BACK TO THE TRACK: "I'm looking forward to racing at Martinsville," says Todd Bodine. "I grew up around the track, graduated high school about 45 minutes from the track (Rocky Mount, Va.), and remember watching my brothers (Geoffrey and Brett) race Modifieds at Martinsville. I also won a Cup pole (2001) there and have a few top-10s there."
BENSON BEFORE: Johnny Benson has 16 NASCAR Cup starts at Martinsville, along with six NCTS starts at the Virginia short track. "The trucks are fun to race at Martinsville, but it's a track that's brutal on the truck bodies," says Benson. "Martinsville is a place where people seem to think, `Well, we can just run into each other because it's a short track.'"
MIKE HAS ONE: Mike Skinner has one NCTS victory at Martinsville, winning the 1996 race at the track.
CENTURY MARK: Mike Skinner made his 100th career NCTS start at Martinsville in last year's fall race. Skinner, the inaugural NCTS champion in 1995, has 19 career NCTS wins -- including three wins in the No.5 Tundra.
TUNDRA DEBUT: Jack Sprague made his Toyota debut at Martinsville last Tfall, behind the wheel of the No.60 Wyler Racing undra. Sprague is a Tthree-time NCTS champion (1997, 1999 and 2001).
2006 LINE-UP: The Toyota NCTS line-up at Martinsville Speedway: Driver Truck Team Johnny Benson No.23 NAPA Auto Parts Tundra Bill Davis Racing Bill Lester No.22 SunTrust Tundra Bill Davis Racing Mike Skinner No.5 Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing David Reutimann No.17 NAPA/Team Tundra Racing Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Todd Bodine No.30 Lumber Liquidators Tundra Germain Racing Ted Musgrave No.9 Team ASE/Germain Toyota Tundra Germain Racing David Starr No.11 Red Horse Racing Tundra Red Horse Racing Jack Sprague No.60 Con-way Freight Tundra Wyler Racing Chad Chaffin No.59 Harris Trucking Company Tundra HT Motorsports
-credit: toyota racing