Nashville: Toyota preview

THIS RACE: The Toyota Tundra 200 will be the fifth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Nashville Superspeedway. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field at Nashville -- the 16th NCTS race of the 2005 season. LAST RACE: In the most...

THIS RACE: The Toyota Tundra 200 will be the fifth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Nashville Superspeedway. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field at Nashville -- the 16th NCTS race of the 2005 season.

LAST RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at Indianapolis Raceway Park (August 7), David Reutimann was the top Tundra to the finish line. Reutimann guided his No.17 NTN Bearings Tundra to an 11th-place finish at the Indianapolis short track.

POINTS PACE: After the first 15 races of 2005, four Toyota Tundra drivers are among the top-15 in the NCTS championship point standings. David Reutimann is sixth in the standings with 1,929 points, 350 points behind leader Dennis Setzer, and just 123 points from second-place Ted Musgrave. Following Reutimann in the standings are Tundra racers Mike Skinner (1,826 points) in 11th-place, Todd Bodine (1,791 points) in 13th-place, and Johnny Benson (1,752 points) in 15th-place.

LAST YEAR HERE: A year ago, Johnny Benson was the top finishing Toyota driver at Nashville when he crossed the finish line sixth in his No.23 Bill Davis Racing Tundra. Toyota drivers Robert Huffman (eighth), David Reutimann (ninth) and Mike Skinner (10th) followed Benson across the finish line.

TWO FOR TOYOTA: Toyota drivers have registered two wins in 2005, and Toyota has six NCTS victories since the beginning of the 2004 season. This year, the most recent Toyota win was at Memphis (July 23) when Brandon Whitt, driver of the No.38 McMillin Homes/Cure Autism Now Tundra, registered the first win of his NCTS career. The 22-year-old racer started from the pole and led 54 laps en route to his inaugural series victory. Toyota's first win of the 2005 campaign came at Kansas (July 2) when Todd Bodine guided his No.30 Allman Brothers Band Tundra to `Victory Lane.'

PLENTY OF POLES: Since the beginning of the 2004 NCTS season, Toyota drivers have started races from the pole position 11 times. Last year, Tundra drivers captured the pole position five times and this year Toyota racers have had six poles. Brandon Whitt's pole at Memphis was the first for Toyota on a short track (less than a mile), as well as the first pole by a Toyota driver not from the Bill Davis Racing team. Teammates Mike Skinner (California, Texas and Charlotte) and Bill Lester (Kansas and Kentucky) at Bill Davis Racing have combined for five Toyota poles in 2005.

LESTER LIKES NASHVILLE: "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," says Lester. "I also like the consistency of a concrete surface -- so I like the track from that perspective as well. Nashville is like Kansas, where we ran up front all race, and Kentucky, where we qualified on the pole. Those things, and the fact that I know my crew chief Doug Wolcott is going to give me a good truck, make me feel pretty good about Nashville."

LESTER HERE LAST YEAR: "We had a terrific run going at Nashville last year and had the misfortune of having a tire problem with about 30 laps remaining in the race," explains Lester. "I was running in the top-five most of the day. It felt good running up front with the race leaders. It was just disappointing we had the tire problem -- with no warning whatsoever -- and next thing you know I was trying to knock down the wall in Turn One."

FIRST FIRST: Chad Chaffin, driver of the No.60 Wyler Racing Tundra, earned the first NCTS pole position of his career at Nashville Superspeedway. The Tennessee native captured the pole position at Nashville in 2003. He would go on to finish sixth in the NCTS race that year, his best Nashville finish in four races at the track.

TESTING TALK: "Our test (July 26-27) at Nashville didn't go quite as well as we would have liked," says Johnny Benson. "The track was a little different than when we've tested there in the past. On the other hand, the track was probably closer to what the actual conditions will be for the race. We were off a little bit during the test, but I think we really learned some things that should make my truck pretty good for the race."

TOYOTA TUNDRA 200 TRACK TALK: "The Nashville track is pretty neat, although it's a tough place to pass," explains Benson. "It's a finesse-type of 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. If you can hold your truck down on the bottom of the track, it will allow you to get by some of the guys in the corners."

NEW CREW CHIEF: The Nashville race will be Johnny Benson's second working with new crew chief Rick Ren. "Everyone on the race team is in the same boat," says Benson. "We're now in a different classroom, and we have a different person in charge. Everybody has to learn how Rick wants things done. We have to find the best way to communicate. The first couple of weeks will be tough -- trying to read each other and figure out the direction we need to go with the truck. Rick also needs to learn what I like in the truck, and I have to learn how he makes adjustments."

REUTIMANN RUNNING STRONG: In the last four NCTS races, David Reutimann has recorded a second-place (Memphis) and two third-place finishes (Kansas and Kentucky), as well as an 11th-place result at IRP -- where he was the top-finishing Toyota. The recent streak of good finishes has moved Reutimann into sixth-place in the NCTS championship point standings.

POINTING OUT POINTS: "We're the top Toyota in points, but the points deal is really tight right now," says David Reutimann. "Anything can change at any moment. We need to stay focused and keep running like we're running to keep moving forward. This is Toyota's race and we want to have a good showing for them."

WALLACE WITH WALTRIP: Mike Wallace will again drive the No.12 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Toyota Tundra at Nashville. Wallace replaced Robert Huffman in the No.12 truck at IRP.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Mike Wallace , Johnny Benson , Ted Musgrave , Dennis Setzer , Bill Lester , Chad Chaffin , David Reutimann , Brandon Whitt , Robert Huffman
Teams Bill Davis Racing