Texas II: Toyota Motorsports preview

THIS RACE: The race at Texas Motor Speedway will be the 17th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at the Texas track. There will be 10 Toyota Tundras in the field at the 1.5-mile oval -- the 23rd NCTS race of the 2006 season. LAST RACE: In...

THIS RACE: The race at Texas Motor Speedway will be the 17th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at the Texas track. There will be 10 Toyota Tundras in the field at the 1.5-mile oval -- the 23rd NCTS race of the 2006 season.

LAST RACE: In the most recent race of the 2006 Craftsman Truck Series season at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Oct.28), three Toyota drivers recorded top-10 finishes. Toyota driver David Reutimann crossed the finish line fourth, followed by Tundra drivers Mike Skinner (eighth) and Jack Sprague (10th).

POINTS PACE: After the first 22 races of the 2006 season, Toyota drivers hold down the top-four positions in the NCTS championship point standings. Todd Bodine continues to sit atop the championship standings with 3,285 points. Trailing Bodine in the standings are second-place Johnny Benson (3,199 points), third-place David Reutimann (3,095 points) and fourth-place Ted Musgrave (3,014 points). In addition, Tundra driver David Starr (2,944 points) holds down the sixth spot in the standings.

STAYING IN THE STANDINGS: Title-contenders Todd Bodine and Johnny Benson both struggled in the Craftsman Truck Series race at Atlanta. Bodine extended his lead in the championship point standings by a few points while Benson was unable to make any headway on closing the gap. Bodine never recovered from an early tire problem and finished 25th. Benson had drive train trouble and crossed the finish line 29th. With three 2006 races remaining, Bodine leads Benson by just 89 points in the standings.

TODD'S TAKE: "My right front went flat early on," said Todd Bodine, following the race. "These tires are real bad about `chunking' the outside edge and coming apart -- and that's exactly what happened to us. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about it. We weren't very good, but we probably could have been a top-10 truck. At least Johnny (Benson) also had problems on the same day -- so it was pretty much a `wash.'"

JOHNNY CAN'T MAKE-UP: Johnny Benson, who had his No.23 Tundra among the leaders early in the race -- and led several laps -- missed a chance to make-up points in the championship standings in Atlanta. "We've had a couple of drive train issues this year and tonight the drive shaft came apart," said Benson, after the race. "We've had a great year, but Todd's also having a great year. We're both having good years and when we have problems, we both seem to have them on the same day. We'll just go to the next three races and do the best we can do -- and that's really all we can do."

TITLE HOPES ALIVE: Does Johnny Benson still think he can capture the NCTS title? "It's mathematically possible," says Benson. "Realistically, I don't think so. It's going to take Todd having problems, and us running up front. That's what it's going to take. We have to gain almost 30 points a race. You just don't gain those points -- that's hard to do."

STRONG STRETCH: The last three NCTS races of the year feature tracks where Todd Bodine has enjoyed a great deal of success. In fact, Bodine has won the most recent race at each of the three remaining races on the 2006 schedule. Earlier this year, Bodine captured the checkered flag at Texas (June 9), and he won the most recent races in Phoenix (Nov.11, 2005) and Homestead (Nov.19, 2005) at the end of the 2005 season.

ENGINE CHASE: Toyota holds onto the top spot in the NCTS manufacturer's championship through the first 22 races of the 2006 season. Toyota has 154 points in the standings, 13 more points than second-place Ford and 43 points ahead of third-place Chevrolet.

LAST RACE HERE: In the most recent NCTS race at Texas Motor Speedway (June 9), Todd Bodine led just one lap -- but it was the final lap -- en route to capturing the checkered flag. Following Bodine to the Texas finish line were Tundra drivers Mike Skinner (second), David Reutimann (fourth) and Johnny Benson (fifth).

TODD TAKES TEXAS: Todd Bodine's first-place finish in the June Texas race was his 10th career NCTS win and his third victory at Texas. Halfway through the race, Bodine fell a lap down and wasn't sure he was going to catch the leaders. "We got a lap down and were hoping to be able to get back into the top-10, or maybe the top-five," says Bodine. "We weren't going to be able to do anything unless everything fell the way we needed. I didn't know if we could get to the front, but we were able to make it happen. To be a lap down and come back to win -- I've never done that before."

BODINE HAS `HAT TRICK': Todd Bodine has three career NCTS wins at Texas Motor Speedway. Along with his win at Texas earlier this year, Bodine guided his No.30 Germain Racing Tundra to `Victory Lane' in the fall Texas race in each of the past two years.

RECORD WITHIN REACH: If Todd Bodine wins a fourth NCTS race at Texas, he'll tie Brendan Gaughan's record for most the most wins at the track. What would that record mean to Bodine? "It would be just another win," says Bodine. "I told Eddie (Gossage, track president) the last time we won -- I think after Brendan (Gaughan's) fourth win Eddie gave him boots -- and I told Eddie we were going after the boots. But, really it's just another win, more points and another trophy. Winning is everything we go for every week."

TWO WINS AT TEXAS: Jack Sprague, who began driving the No.60 Con-Way Tundra at the end of last season, captured the checkered flag in the 2005 June NCTS race at Texas. Sprague was also the winner of the 2001 June NCTS race at Texas.

PAYBACK: "It was special to win at Texas in 2004 because I had a couple of chances to win races there before -- but just had some bad luck and could never get it done," explains Bodine. "In the very first Cup race there (1997), I was leading the race with three laps left and got tapped from behind. Then, three years ago (2003), I was leading a Busch race and there was a red flag with about ten laps left -- and somehow we got a flat left rear. So, it was awesome to finally win at Texas a couple years back because I felt like that track owed me one."

STARR SHINES IN TEXAS: Texas native David Starr is looking forward to the race in the `Lone Star State.' "It's been a special place for me over the years," says Starr, driver of the No.11 Red Horse Racing Tundra. "It's home and a lot of people that have given me an opportunity over my career will be up in the stands -- a lot of my friends and fans. It's a neat place and it holds a special place in my heart." In June, Starr finished 18th at Texas in his Tundra debut at the track.

WIN ONE WHEN: What will it take for David Starr to win a race at his `home' track? "It's a tough race track," says Starr. "Everything has got to be in place -- driver has to do his job, the engine has to have power, the truck has to handle and you have to have good pit stops. I've finished third several times, but have never won."

TOYOTA HAS 24 WINS: Toyota has 24 NCTS wins since the Tundra began competing in the Craftsman Truck Series at the beginning of the 2004 season. Along with 11 wins this year -- four by Johnny Benson (NH, Nashville, Milwaukee and Michigan), three by Todd Bodine (Texas, St. Louis and Atlanta), two by Jack Sprague (Martinsville and Memphis), one by David Star (Martinsville) and one by Mike Skinner (Las Vegas) -- Toyota had four wins in 2004 and nine wins in 2005.

TOYOTA HAS 30 POLES: Toyota has 30 NCTS poles since the Tundra began competing in the Craftsman Truck Series at the beginning of the 2004 season. Tundra drivers who have recorded poles include Mike Skinner (16), David Reutimann (six), Bill Lester (two), Jack Sprague (two), Brandon Whitt (two), Todd Bodine (one) and Travis Kvapil (one).

JUSTIN DEBUT: Justin Labonte will make his first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start at Texas Motor Speedway behind the wheel of the No.24 Dom-Ex Tundra. The 25-year-old driver has made 75 Busch Series starts and recorded a Busch victory at Chicagoland Speedway in 2004. Labonte's series debut with Bill Davis Racing comes on the same weekend his father, two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Terry Labonte, will make his final Cup series start.

TEXAS IS SPECIAL: "Obviously, Texas has always been a special place for my family," says Labonte. "My dad hopes to make his final Nextel Cup start on Sunday, and there are a lot of things planned throughout the week to celebrate his career. It will be a special weekend for the whole family and for all of dad's fans. The opportunity to compete in the truck race with a Bill Davis-owned truck backed by Dom-Ex will give me a really good chance at making the weekend even more special by celebrating together with him and the family in victory lane."

-credit: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Terry Labonte , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , David Starr , Johnny Benson , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Justin Labonte , Bill Lester , Brendan Gaughan , David Reutimann , Brandon Whitt , Travis Kvapil
Teams Germain Racing , Bill Davis Racing , Red Horse Racing