Martinsville: Toyota preview

THIS RACE: Even though this is the 11th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Martinsville Speedway, it will be Toyota's debut at the Virginia half-mile oval. There are eight Toyota Tundras entered in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville. LAST...

THIS RACE: Even though this is the 11th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Martinsville Speedway, it will be Toyota's debut at the Virginia half-mile oval. There are eight Toyota Tundras entered in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville.

LAST RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 13), three Toyota Tundras finished among the top-five. Mike Skinner crossed the finish line second in his No. 42 Bang! Racing Toyota, just .330 seconds behind race-winner Bobby Hamilton. Rookie David Reutimann was third in his No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota, and defending series champion Travis Kvapil finished fourth in his No. 24 Line-X Toyota. Skinner (68 laps), Reutimann (8 laps) and Kvapil (1 lap) all led the race in Atlanta.

POLE NO. 1: In Atlanta, a Toyota Tundra captured the NCTS pole position for the very first time. Rookie David Reutimann recorded a speed of 179.452 MPH (30.894 seconds) around the 1.5-mile oval to earn his first career NCTS pole position.

FAST FIRST: Reutimann established a NCTS record by winning the pole position in just his second career series start. It makes the Zephyrhills, FL-native the fastest official NCTS rookie to ever be the quickest qualifier. The previous record was established by Greg Biffle, who in 1998 registered a pole position in his third career NCTS start.

ALL-TOYOTA: Starting alongside Reutimann in Atlanta was Robert Huffman, another Toyota NCTS rookie. Huffman recorded a speed of 179.145 MPH (30.947 seconds) to capture the outside pole position, his best starting position in a NCTS race. It was the first-time in NCTS history that two rookies started on the front row.

POINTS PACE: After two races, three Toyota drivers are among the top-10 in the championship standings. Defending series champion Travis Kvapil tops the standings with 340 points. Reutimann is fourth with 313 points, and Skinner is eighth in the standings with 264 points.

DW RETURNS: Darrell Waltrip will be back in the driver's seat at Martinsville Speedway in the No. 11 Toyota Tundra. It is one of three 2004 NCTS races in which Waltrip will drive a Toyota. After Martinsville, DW will again suit up for races at Indianapolis Raceway Park (Aug. 6) and a return to Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 23).

7 AND 7: Last year, Waltrip recorded a pair of top-10 finishes at Martinsville. In April, he started 12th, completed all 250 laps, and finished seventh. Later in the season, when the series returned to Martinsville in October, Waltrip again crossed the finish line seventh.

DW'S BEST: Waltrip's best career finish at Martinsville in the NCTS series -- as well as his best result in 14 career NCTS starts -- was in 1996 when he finished 5th at the Virginia short track.DW SAYS: "Martinsville is Martinsville, and there's a certain way of driving the track," says Waltrip. "It's not about the gas, it's about the brakes. Every time we go there you always have to concern yourself with brakes, and that's spelled two ways -- b-r-a-k-e-s and b-r-e-a-k-s. You need both to have a good run. This race is all about finesse and control, and that's why I love short tracks."

VS. THE BOSS: "I don't know to many drivers that get to race against their team owner," says rookie David Reutimann, who drives for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports. "I think it's pretty neat to get a chance to race against the boss. He's been talking quite a bit about the race, and he's been telling me how he's going to be giving me a driving lesson."

MORE ON DW: "I've seen Martinsville on TV, but I've never been to the track," adds Reutimann. "Darrell has a lot of miles at Martinsville and a lot of success. I'm definitely going to watch him get around the track. I know Darrell wants me to run good, and I'm sure he'll help me find the best line around the racetrack. I'm definitely glad he's on my side."

DW IN VA: During his NASCAR career, Waltrip had much success in Virginia, winning 17 Cup races and 15 poles in the state. His victories in Virginia include 11 wins at Martinsville and 6 wins at Richmond. He also had 8 poles at Martinsville.

RH MEMORIES: Rookie Robert Huffman, who captured the Dash Series title in 2003 driving a Toyota Celica, has some experience at Martinsville Speedway. "I remember running in a couple of Late Model races at Martinsville, probably in '91 or `92," says Huffman. "I never really did too much at that track ­ at least not enough to want to remember."

RIGHT FOR RH: What's important at Martinsville Speedway? "There is a lot of heavy braking at Martinsville so it's really important to have the brake package right," says Huffman. "It's an easy place to overdrive, which makes it key that we make our Toyota one of the best prepared trucks on the track."

MIKE IS 1: Toyota driver Mike Skinner won the Martinsville NCTS race in 1996 driving for Richard Childress.

LINE-UP: There will be four teams, each fielding two Tundras, at Martinsville Speedway. The eight drivers in Toyota Tundras at the Virginia track are:


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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Darrell Waltrip , Mike Skinner , Greg Biffle , David Reutimann , Robert Huffman , Travis Kvapil