Milwaukee: Toyota preview

THIS RACE: The Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 will be the 11th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) trace at the Milwaukee Mile. There will be eight Toyota Tundras in the field at the Milwaukee one-mile oval, the 11 h NCTS race of the 2005 ...

THIS RACE: The Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 will be the 11th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) trace at the Milwaukee Mile. There will be eight Toyota Tundras in the field at the Milwaukee one-mile oval, the 11 h NCTS race of the 2005 season.

LAST RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at Michigan International Speedway (June 18), four Toyota Tundras finished in the top-10. Mike Skinner, driver of the No.5 Bill Davis Racing Tundra, crossed the finish line fifth and Chad Chaffin guided his No.30 Germain Toyota/Arnold Development Tundra to a seventh-place result. David Reutimann (eighth) and Todd Bodine (ninth) were the two other Tundra drivers in the top-10 at Michigan.

REMARKABLE RECOVERY: At Michigan, Mike Skinner turned in a stellar performance considering he was forced to race a `back-up' Tundra after damaging his primary vehicle in an accident during Friday's first practice session. After switching to his `back-up' truck -- one that he raced at the Mansfield and Martinsville short tracks earlier this year -- Skinner demonstrated he still had a handle on the Michigan track. The veteran racer had the fastest truck in Friday's final practice session and then qualified on the outside of row one on race morning. During the race, Skinner consistently ran among the leaders and led six laps en route to his fifth-place -- his third top-five finish of the season.

STREAKING SKINNER: In his last four NCTS races, Mike Skinner has recorded three top-10 finishes and led a total ofth162 laps in the four races. Along with his fifth-place finish at Michigan, Skinner has finished fourth (Texas) and 10 (Dover). In addition, Skinner was leading the race at Charlotte before getting involved in an accident while running ahead of the pack. The Daytona Beach, Fla.-resident has also started on the front row three times in the last four events -- earning pole positions at Charlotte and Texas, and starting on the outside of row one at Michigan.

POINTS PACE: After the first ten races of the 2005 season, several Toyota drivers are among the top-15 in the NCTS championship point standings. Johnny Benson is 11th in the standings with 1,224 points, 205 points behind leader Bobby Hamilton. Following Benson in the standings are Tundra racers Mike Skinner (1,199 points) in 12th-place and David Reutimann (1,185 points) in 13th-place.

LAST YEAR HERE: A year ago in Milwaukee, Travis Kvapil was the lone Toyota driver to finish among the top-10 at the Wisconsin-oval when he crossed the finish line fifth.

MIKE IN MILWAUKEE: During the 1995 debut season of the NCTS, Mike Skinner won the inaugural event at the Milwaukee Mile. Skinner captured the pole position and led 56 laps en route to capturing the Milwaukee checkered flag. The following year (1996), Skinner started on the outside of row one at Milwaukee and led 92 laps on his way to a seventh-place finish.

BODINE BACK WHERE HE WAS BEFORE: At Milwaukee, Todd Bodine will return to the driver's seat of the No.30 Germain/Arnold Racing Tundra. In 2004, Bodine recorded two NCTS wins in eight starts for Germain/Arnold Racing. This season, Bodine ran the first 10 races of the year with the No.66 Fiddle Back Racing entry. Bodine, who takes over for Chad Chaffin, will pilot the No.30 Tundra for the remainder of the 2005 season.

REUTIMANN READY: "I enjoy going back to Milwaukee because it's a place where I finished fifth in a Busch car," says Reutimann, who finished 32nd in last year's NCTS race at the Wisconsin track. "We were involved in an accident last year that abruptly ended our night. This year, I really want to do well in Milwaukee for a couple of reasons. First of all, my sponsor NTN Bearings will be bringing about 150 employees out to the race from headquarters (outside Chicago) to cheer us on. Secondly, Toyota is the race sponsor and I can't think of a better place to get our first win. We've been leading races and running in the top-five and top-10. It's obvious what the next step is -- to get a win."

QUALIFYING QUITE WELL: In the two most recent races on the NCTS schedule -- at Texas (June 10) and Michigan (June 18) -- the Bill Davis Racing team placed three Tundras among the top-five during qualifying at both tracks. In Texas, Mike Skinner captured the pole position, Johnny Benson was fourth fastest and Bill Lester started fifth. In Michigan, Skinner started on the outside of row one while Benson (fourth) and Lester (fifth) duplicated their qualifying efforts from Texas.

BACK ON TRACK AT MILWAUKEE: "I'm looking forward to going to Milwaukee," says Benson, driver of the No.23 Bill Davis Racing Tundra. "I watched the truck race there last year and did some TV work during the race. It looks like a pretty neat place to race. Of course, I raced there a few times in my ASA (American Speed Association) car and was fortunate to win some of the races there. I know the track is a little bit different now -- they repaved some areas -- but all in all, it's pretty much the same."

TEAMMATES TALK: Both of Johnny Benson's Bill Davis Racing teammates, Bill Lester and Mike Skinner, tested at the Milwaukee Mile earlier this year (May 26-27). Will Benson ask his teammates for set-up suggestions for Milwaukee? "We've talked with Mike (Skinner) and Jeff Hensley (Skinner's crew chief) to see what they thought they did during the Milwaukee test that was different from what they use at Loudon (NH), or other tracks similar to Milwaukee," explains Benson. "They made very few changes for Milwaukee. Our plan is to go there with the set-up that we thing works best for us and we'll adapt to it from there."

TEST TALK: Robert Huffman is one of several Toyota drivers who tested at the Milwaukee Mile earlier this year (May 26-27). "The test went pretty good," says Huffman, driver of the No.12 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Tundra. "We struggled the first day and the second day we got much better. There's no doubt in my mind that when we go back this week for the race we'll be better than we were at the test. The guys at Darrell Waltrip Motorsports are awful good about making the right adjustments. We definitely learned a lot -- which is what a test is for -- and I think we will apply it this weekend at the race and make our Tundra better."

WHITT ON WISCONSIN TRACK: "Milwaukee is a tough place -- with it being flat like it is," says Brandon Whitt, driver of the No.38 McMillin Homes/Cure Autism Now Tundra. "It's always harder to get around a flatter track. You don't have the banking to hold you down like there is at other tracks. It produces a lot of good racing -- just like a bigger Martinsville -- the way you have to get slowed down."


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Darrell Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Johnny Benson , Bill Lester , Chad Chaffin , David Reutimann , Brandon Whitt , Robert Huffman , Travis Kvapil
Teams Bill Davis Racing