Bodine boosts championship lead, but top 10 continues to tighten NEWS AND NOTES Bodine extends lead, but rest of top 10 fluctuates ... A seventh-place finish in last week's Power Stroke Diesel 200 allowed Todd Bodine (No. 30...
Bodine boosts championship lead, but top 10 continues to tighten
NEWS AND NOTES
Bodine extends lead, but rest of top 10 fluctuates ... A seventh-place finish in last week's Power Stroke Diesel 200 allowed Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota) to boost his standings lead to 182 points over Johnny Benson (No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota). That margin might appear comfortable until one recalls that last year's post-Indianapolis leader Dennis Setzer (No. 85 FlexFuel E 85 Chevrolet) was up by 227 points and finished second in the title race. Bodine's pursuers remain tightly bunched with only 120 points between second and ninth places. Memphis winner Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota) dropped from seventh to 11th following a finish of 28th.
Crawford adds to consecutive win total ... Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford) became the 10th different winner at O'Reilly Raceway Park on Aug. 4 and moved to sixth among active drivers with victories in four consecutive seasons. The irony is that four winless seasons followed Crawford's initial triumph in 1998 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Dennis Setzer (No. 85 FlexFuel E85 Chevrolet) is the career leader in the category. Setzer has won in every year since 1998 -- an eight-season streak he hopes to extend during this year's final 10 races.
Toyota on a roll in Tennessee ... In addition to leading NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series manufacturer standings -- 102 to 97 over Ford -- Toyota is four-for-four in Tennessee wins since Brandon Whitt's July 2005 victory at Memphis Motorsports Park. David Reutimann (No. 17 Team Tundra Toyota) will defend this week at Nashville Superspeedway. Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) won last year's event at Bristol Motor Speedway with Sprague the winner last month in Memphis. That's four different drivers and four teams. ETC. ... Benson is poised to become the series' 33rd different $1 million
career winner when he takes the green flag in Nashville. Benson will be the ninth competitor to win $1 million in each of NASCAR's three national series. ... Sprague can become the first NASCAR Craftsman Truck driver to win $6 million in a career by finishing third or higher in this week's race. Sprague's series-leading money totals $5,982,645. ... Nashville Superspeedway is the second of three concrete-surfaced tracks on this year's schedule. Mark Martin (No. 6 Scotts Ford), who isn't entered in Nashville, won at Dover International Speedway in early June. The schedule's next event -- at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 23 -- also is run on concrete. Drivers who have won on concrete and one expected to compete are Reutimann, Skinner, Sprague, Mike Bliss (No. 16 Xpress Motorsports Chevrolet), Chad Chaffin (No. 59 Eaton Corporation Ford), Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet) and Ted Musgrave (No. 9 Team ASE Toyota). Hornaday is the only double winner with both victories scored at Bristol. ... The Toyota Tundra 200 twice has been won from the pole -- Scott Riggs in 2001 and Bliss the following year. Bobby Hamilton started 16th in 2004, deepest in the field by a race winner. ... Sammy Sanders, a Bobby Hamilton Racing employee, will make his first start of the season in the No. 04 Dodge with sponsorship from Camp Courageous, a medical camping facility under construction in Scottsville, Ky. When open in 2008, Camp Courageous will provide free, year-round camping sessions for children battling life threatening illnesses from Kentucky, Tennessee and surrounding area.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Musgrave solid at Nashville ... Musgrave has five finishes of second or third at Nashville Superspeedway including last year's runner-up performance. Ironically, the 2005 race marked the first time the defending series champion has failed to lead a lap. "I'm not sure if it's because of the concrete surface or if it's something else," Musgrave said.
"I would really like to get back on track at Nashville because that Gibson guitar is one of the coolest trophies we race for all season long. I have two guitars -- one from the truck race at the Fairgrounds in 1997 and one from the Busch race in 2002. I would love to add a third guitar to that collection. It would look good beside the Elvis trophy from Memphis." -- Jack Sprague.
"We're still searching on the flat track stuff but when it comes to short tracks and when it comes to the big tracks we're golden, so we're ready to go get back after it next weekend at Nashville Superspeedway." -- Brendan Gaughan, No. 77 Orleans Racing Dodge, last year's sixth-place finisher.
"I didn't even know how to get to Victory Lane and I hadn't done a burn-out before. I've seen guys on TV do it but I said to myself, 'How do I actually do this?'" -- David Reutimann, who won his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck race at Nashville Superspeedway in 2005.
"It's a finesse-type race track where you really have to concentrate to hold your truck down at the bottom of the track. It also requires a lot of discipline to make sure you don't go into the corner too hard." -- Johnny Benson.
"I like Nashville because it's like the 1.5-mile tracks we race at -- although a little shorter -- and I'm really comfortable at those types of tracks. I also like the consistency of a concrete surface." -- Bill Lester, No. 22 SunTrust Toyota, Nashville's seventh-place finisher in 2005.
IN THE LOOP
Mike Skinner finished fourth in last year's Toyota Tundra 200 but wound up with the highest Driver Rating -- 140.3 -- of the race. He out-rated winner David Reutimann, whose performance rated at 138.2. Seven drivers posted Driver Ratings of 100 or higher on a scale of 150.
Reutimann and Skinner led a combined seven times and here's why. The pair combined for the 14 fastest laps of the race -- Skinner with eight and Reutimann with six.
Looking at Speed in Traffic, Toyota drivers posted four of the five fastest laps with Skinner topping the charts at 153.639 mph. Brendan Gaughan's Dodge, at 152.970, was fourth and the only non Toyota among the five.
Half of Reutimann's Quality Passes -- seven of 14 -- came on the backstretch.
Bodine was the No. 1 driver when it came to holding position. He went 24 consecutive laps without being passed.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
There have been 10 races run in Music City since the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' debut at the then-Nashville Speedway USA in 1996. There have been no repeat winners. Four Nashville winners are expected to compete this week: Jack Sprague (USA, 1997), Dennis Setzer (USA, 1999), Mike Bliss (Speedway, 2002) and defending Toyota Tundra 200 winner David Reutimann.
What: Toyota Tundra 200 (Race 16 of 25).
Where: Nashville Superspeedway.
When: 5:15 p.m. ET, Aug. 12.
Track layout: .1.333-mile banked concrete oval.
Race length: 200 miles/150 laps.
Posted awards: $458,186
TV: SPEED Channel, 4:30 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2005 winner: David Reutimann.
2005 polesitter: Mike Skinner.
Top 10 drivers: 1.Todd Bodine 2,307. 2. Johnny Benson 2,125. 3. Rick Crawford 2,120. 4. David Reutimann 2,110. 5. Ron Hornaday Jr. 2,070. 6. Ted Musgrave 2,055. 7. David Starr 2,014. 8. Terry Cook 2,014. 9. Dennis Setzer 2,005. 10. Mike Bliss 1,986.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday--Practice 2:15 p.m. -- 3:15 p.m. Rookie Practice 4:15 -- 5:15 p.m. Final Practice 4:15 -- 5:15 p.m. Saturday -- Qualifying 12 noon. Trucks impounded after qualifying