THIS RACE: This will be the 16th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Texas Motor Speedway. There will be 10 Tundras in the field at Texas -- the 23nd race of the 2005 NCTS season. RECENT RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at Atlanta...
THIS RACE: This will be the 16th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Texas Motor Speedway. There will be 10 Tundras in the field at Texas -- the 23nd race of the 2005 NCTS season.
RECENT RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Oct.29), five Toyota drivers recorded top-10 finishes. Todd Bodine finished second in the No.30 Germain Racing Tundra and Johnny Benson was third in the No.23 Bill Davis Racing Tundra. Tundra drivers following Bodine and Benson to the finish line were Jack Sprague (fourth), Brandon Whitt (eighth) and Joey Miller (10th).
ALMOST A WIN FOR WYLER: Jack Sprague almost made it to the Atlanta winner's circle in just his second start driving the No.60 Wyler Racing Tundra. The three-time NCTS champion started 12th, led the race three times for 45 laps and was the race leader at the start of the final lap -- before being passed by Kyle Busch in a wild finish. "I knew Kyle was going to go high, so I tried to stay to the middle of the race track," said Sprague. "He went outside of me and got me loose -- and there was nothing I could do. I was on old tires and he wasn't. I did all I could do trying to win. We didn't need that caution with eight laps to go because we just dominated the second half of the race."
LAST YEAR HERE: Toyota earned its fourth NCTS victory at Texas last October when Todd Bodine captured the checkered flag in his No.30 Tundra. Bodine led 71 laps -- including the final 38 circuits -- en route to the checkered flag.
EARLIER THIS YEAR HERE: Earlier this year, in the first NCTS race at Texas (June 10), three Toyotas finished among the top-10. Johnny Benson finished second, just 1.2 seconds behind race-winner Jack Sprague. Mike Skinner (fourth) and David Reutimann (10th) also finished among the top-10 in the first Texas NCTS race this season.
SKINNER STRONG STARTER IN TEXAS: Mike Skinner was the fastest qualifier in his No.5 Bill Davis Racing Tundra for last October's race at the 1.5-mile Texas track. The Daytona Beach, Fla.-driver also captured the pole position in this year's June race at Texas, and he led the most laps during the event (116).
POINTS PACE: After the first 22 races of 2005, two Toyota Tun dra drivers are among the top-10 in the NCTS championship point standings. Todd Bodine sits fourth in the championship standings with 2,902 points, just 13 points behind third-place Ron Hornaday, Jr. Following Bodine in the standings is Mike Skinner (2,823 points) in sixth-place.
SCORE SIX: Toyota drivers have registered six wins in 2005, and Toyota has ten NCTS victories since the beginning of the 2004 season. Todd Bodine recorded Toyota's most recent win at Las Vegas (Sept.24). Other Tundra race-winners this year include Mike Skinner at Richmond (Sept.8) and Bristol (Aug.24), Brandon Whitt at Memphis (July 23), and David Reutimann at Nashville (Aug.13). Bodine also recorded Toyota's first win of 2005 when he guided his Tundra to `Victory Lane' at Kansas (July 2).
BENSON'S BEST: In the two most recent races at Texas Motor Speedway -- in June and last October -- Johnny Benson crossed the finish line second in his Tundra. The second-place finishes have been Benson's best results in his NCTS career. He also finished second at Phoenix in 1996.
TWO TWOS AT TEXAS: "We've only run two truck races at Texas and finished second both times," says Johnny Benson. "We definitely need to move up one more spot -- and be up front. We had the opportunity to win both times we were at Texas, but we just couldn't get around the leader. For some reason I run good at Texas and I don't know why -- it may just be because I really enjoy going to that track."
FINISHING STRONG: Brandon Whitt, driver of the No.38 Red Horse Racing Tundra, has recorded three consecutive top-10 finishes and has also qualified among the top-10 seven straight times. His results have included a third-place at Martinsville, along with finishing eighth (Atlanta) and ninth (Las Vegas). "We're just trying to get top-10 finishes and move up in the points," says Whitt. "We have some momentum and we want to `click' these good finishes off the rest of the year. It's a good feeling to run strong and that's how we want to end the season."
TEXAS TEST TALK: "At a race track like Texas, we run `wide-open,'" says David Reutimann, last year's NCTS Rookie-of-the-Year and driver of the No.17 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Tundra. "Little things, like a gust of wind, will change your lap times. We made one change when we tested here at the end of September and gained two-and-a-half tenths (of a second). Sometimes, you work for a couple days and don't pick up that much. On race weekends there isn't really enough time to weed through the issues and try different things which is why we practiced at Texas."
HIGHSthAND LOWS: David Reutimann has had an up-and-down season in thethNCTS point standings. "We came from 18 in the point standings to fifth, and now we've been shuffled back to 14 ," says Reutimann. "It's not a good feeling. You lay awake at night thinking what you can do different. Then, you realize you aren't doing anything different, it's just the way things are falling for the team."
LESTER HAS A LOT: Bill Lester has made seven NCTS starts at Texas. His best finish at the track came in his inaugural race at the circuit when he was 11th in 2002. In his past three starts at the track in the No.22 Bill Davis Racing Tundra, Davis has qualified third twice and fifth once.
PLENTY OF POLES: Since the beginning of the 2004 NCTS season, Toyota drivers have started races from the pole position 15 times. Last year, Tundra drivers captured the pole position five times and this year Toyota racers have had ten poles. David Reutimann (Bristol) and Brandon Whitt (Memphis) have each registered the first pole positions of their NCTS careers this season. Along with the two first-time pole winners, teammates Mike Skinner - (California, Texas, Charlotte, Nashville, Las Vegas and Atlanta) and Bill Lester (Kansas and Kentucky) at Bill Davis Racing have combined for eight Toyota poles in 2005.
TEAMING WITH TOYOTA AGAIN: At Texas, Joey Miller will make his third start in the No.12 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Tundra and Justin Hobgood will again drive the No.9 Germain Racing Tundra. In addition, Steve Park will make his second start for Bill Davis Racing in the No.67 Tundra.