First Short Track Start Yields 5 Toyotas in Top-20 MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 17, 2004) Â Five Toyota Tundras finished among the top-20 -- led by Mike Skinner's fifth-place finish -- in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) Kroger 250 at ...
First Short Track Start Yields 5 Toyotas in Top-20
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 17, 2004) Five Toyota Tundras finished among the top-20 -- led by Mike Skinner's fifth-place finish -- in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway.
Skinner started eighth and led 38 laps (164 to 201) en route to his fifth-place finish at the half- mile Virginia track. It was Skinner's second consecutive top-five finish this season in the No. 42 Bang! Racing Toyota Tundra. Last month, the 1995 NCTS champion, finished second at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"We didn't have the best handling truck today," said Skinner, after the race. "But my crew did a phenomenal job all day in the pits. We'll keep `knocking on the door', because if you keep finishing in the top-five pretty soon you'll win one."
Following Skinner to the checkered flag was rookie David Reutimann, who drove his No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra to an eighth-place finish. The Zephyrills, FL-native was the first rookie to cross the finish line and recorded his third consecutive top-10 finish of the season. Earlier this year, Reutimann was ninth in Daytona and third in Atlanta.
Hank Parker Jr. (12th), defending NCTS champion Travis Kvapil (13th) and Bill Lester (17th) were the other Toyota drivers placing among the top-20. Parker registered his best finish of the season in the No. 21 Innovative Motorsports Toyota Tundra, despite battling brake problems throughout the day. Kvapil finished outside the top-five for the first time this season in the No. 24 Bang! Racing Line-X Tundra and Lester earned his third consecutive top-20 result in the No. 17 Bill Davis Racing Tundra.
Darrell Waltrip, making his first start of the year in the No. 11 Toyota Tundra, crossed the finish line 24th. Waltrip, whose Darrell Waltrip Motorsports teams fields the Tundra of Reutimann, will return to the driver's seat at Indianapolis Raceway Park (August 6) and again at Martinsville Speedway (October 23).
The two other Toyota drivers in the field were rookies Shelby Howard and Robert Huffman. Howard guided his No. 23 Bill Davis Racing Tundra to a 23rd place finish and Huffman was 34th in his No. 12 Innovative Motorsports entry, after his Tundra was damaged when he was caught in an on-track incident involving other trucks.
After the first three NCTS races of t he 2004 season, three Toyota drivers sit among the top-five in the championship point standings. Kvapil is second in the standings with 464 points and Reutiman is fourth in the standings with 455 points. Skinner completes the trio of Tundra drivers among the top-five in the standings with 424 points.
The next race on the NCTS schedule is May 16 at Ohio's Mansfield Motor Speedway. It will be the inaugural NCTS race at the Ohio half-mile oval.
· This is Toyota's first season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS).
· Rookie David Reutimann has three straight top-10 finishes this season. He was ninth in Daytona and third in Atlanta.
· This is Mike Skinner's second consecutive top-five finish. He was second at Atlanta.
· This was Darrell Waltrip's first race in a Toyota Tundra. He will also race a Tundra at Indianapolis Raceway Park and at Martinsville later this season.
· Hank Parker Jr. recorded his best finish of the season.
· This was Travis Kvapil's first finish outside of the top-five this season. He was second in Daytona and fourth in Atlanta.
8th, DAVID REUTIMANN, Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra - "This is the hardest I've ever raced for an eighth-place finish. We weren't any good when we unloaded the truck and we struggled in qualifying. We rolled the dice and changed everything I think everything but the springs -- for the race. It turned out great because we finished in the top-10. I've got a great team and there's just no quit in my guys. We worked at it all day and came out with another top-10."
24th, DARRELL WALTRIP, Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, No. 11 Toyota Tundra "I had a lot of fun out there but it was a really tough race. The Tundra ran pretty good all day and my guys did a great job in the pits. It was pretty intense out there -- at the end of the race there was a lot of beating and banging and pushing and shoving going on."
"I never saw David (Reutimann) except when he passed me. He did really well, but because his tires were going away at the end he was a sitting duck. He hung in there, and did a great job."
13th, TRAVIS KVAPIL, Bang! Racing, No. 24 Toyota Tundra - "The truck was pushing all day. I'm a little disappointed in how it handled it was just too tight. We had to pit out of sequence and that caused us to lose some track position. Because the truck was so tight, it made it hard to battle back."
5th, MIKE SKINNER, Bang! Racing, No. 42 Toyota Tundra - "I'm not real happy. We didn't have the best truck today. It was really, really tight all day but my pit crew did a phenomenal job the entire race. It was just the luck of the cautions today. I really have to compliment Jon Wood on the way he raced us clean. He was way better than we were at the end. Rick (Crawford) ran us clean and Jack (Sprague) ran us clean, too. We'll keep knocking on the door because if you keep finishing in the top-five, pretty soon you'll win one."
12th, HANK PARKER JR., Innovative Motorsports, No. 21 Toyota Tundra - "We overcame some adversity today, but I'm real proud of my team. We had some problems with the brakes but there was nothing we could do about it. We bounced back from our brake problem and had a good day. I had a good time and I'm excited about the future. We learned a lot today that will help us the rest of the season. I feel OK but I'm sure I'm going to be sore tomorrow." (Parker injured his back at Atlanta.)