Texas: Toyota preview

THIS RACE: The Chex 400 will be the 15th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Texas Motor Speedway. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field at the Texas track. LAST RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at Dover International...

THIS RACE: The Chex 400 will be the 15th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Texas Motor Speedway. There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field at the Texas track.

LAST RACE: In the most recent NCTS race at Dover International Speedway (June 4), two Toyota Tundras finished in the top-10. David Reutimann, driver of the No.17 NTN Bearings Tundra, started eighth and led 33 laps (149-181) in the 200-lap race en route to a fifth-place finish. It was the best finish of the season for the Zephyrhills, FL-native, as well as his first top-10 of 2005. Mike Skinner recorded the other top-10 for Toyota when he crossed the finish line 10th in his No.5 Bill Davis Racing Tundra.

DAVID AT DOVER: At Dover, Reutimann was leading the field with less than 20 laps remaining when he was passed by NASCAR Cup drivers Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart -- who both had fresher tires -- following a restart. "Kyle (Busch) and I raced together at the Nemco team for a little while, and he's on it whenever he leaves pit road," said Reutimann, after the race. "He wasn't racing for points -- and I don't think he would have wrecked me -- but I didn't want to take any chances, mess around, and then let everyone else catch me. After that, Tony (Stewart) went by me too -- although I'm not the first guy that Tony's passed."

D.W.'S ADVICE: Team owner Darrell Waltrip had a message for Reutimann after the Dover race. "D.W. got on the radio towards the end of the race," explains Reutimann. "He told me: `We haven't really had a good year this year -- let's just go ahead and get a good finish,' And, that's exactly what we did."

SKINNER SAYS: "If you look at our finishes this year, we should be pleased with our top-10 at Dover," says Mike Skinner. "But, it was one of our worst performance this year -- and sad to say, it's one of our better finishes."

POINTS PACE: After the first eight races of tthe 2005 season, one Toyota driver is among the top-10 in the NCTS championship standings. Johnny Benson is 10 h in the standings with 958 points, 242 points behind leaderthTed Musgrave. Several Tundra drivers are just outside the top-10 in the standings, including Todd Bodine (11 ), David Reutimann (13th) and Mike Skinner (15th).

LAST JUNE IN TEXAS: A year ago in the June race at Texas Motor Speedway, David Reutimann registered the best result of his NCTS career when he crossed the finish lineththird. Tundra drivers following Reutimann to the checkered flag in the June Texas race were Mike Skinner (11 ) and Bill Lester (12th).

LAST RACE IN TEXAS: In the most recent NCTS race at Texas last October, Todd Bodine started 22nd and led a total of 71 laps -- including the final 38 -- en route to the checkered flag. It was the second straight NCTS win -- he won at California Speedway a week earlier -- for the Chemung, N.Y.-native. "To win a second race in a row proved that we were for real, and the first win wasn't just a fluke," said Bodine.

TALKING TEXAS: "What I remember most about winning that race at Texas last year is that our truck was fast the entire weekend," says Bodine. "It was awesome never having to lift off the throttle all the way -- which was pretty impressive. There wasn't one lap after we unloaded that I wasn't on the throttle all the way -- so that tells you it was a great truck right off the trailer."

PAYBACK TIME: "It was special to win at Texas because I had a couple of chances to win there before -- but just had some back 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, two 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 because I felt like the racetrack owed me one."

RETURN TO THE RACE: "I'm excited about going back to Texas, but obviously it's with a different team and a new crew chief," explains Bodine, who will pilot the No.66 Fiddle Back Racing Tundra. "But, Tony (Furr, crew chief) has a real good handle on what we need to do at that type of track and I'm still very confident about going there. I feel like we can run well again, and I know that TRD will give us really good trucks and engines, like they always do."

BACK AT THE TRACK: Mike Hillman, the team manager for Germain/Arnold Racing, guided Todd Bodine to his win last October at Texas. This year, Hillman returns to Texas with the same team, but two different drivers -- Chad Chaffin (No.30) and Shige Hattori (No.9). "We're taking the same truck back to Texas that we had there last October," says Hillman. "We did wreck it at this year's race in Charlotte, but we fixed it and I believe it will again be a real good truck at Texas."

MORE FROM MIKE: "I'm looking forward to getting our team back to race tracks like Texas and Michigan -- we seem to shine at those places a little more than the shorter tracks," explains Hillman. "Chad ran awful well there last year -- so I think Texas will be a real good weekend for us. I'm really looking forward to defending that race -- I'd like to get another one of those cowboy hats that they give out in `Victory Lane.'

SHIGE SHINES: Shige Hattori, driver of the No.9 AISIN/AISIN AW Tundra, made 26 starts in the Indy Racing League (IRL) between 2000 and 2003. He recorded his best career IRL finish, a sixth-place, at Texas in 2002. "What I remember most about Texas is that I led 15 laps in the race," says Hattori. "Then we had a problem in the pits with the air jack and I ended up finishing sixth. I really enjoyed the IRL races at Texas because there was always side-by-side racing, where it was two-wide and three-wide."

HATTORI'S HANDLING: "The biggest difference for Shige between the trucks and open-wheel cars, at the tracks where he has run open-wheelers, is that he's used to holding it `wide open' all the way around," explains Tom Ackerman, Hattori's Germain/Arnold Racing crew chief. "At Texas, he'll be able to hold it wide open for awhile -- but as the tires wear he'll lose grip and won't be able to continue `wide open.' Then, he'll have to back off his line a little bit. That's the biggest adjustment he faces and something we constantly talk about."

BROADCAST TIME: SPEED Channel coverage of the NCTS race at Texas Motor Speedway will begin at 9:00 PM (Eastern) on Friday, June 10. The race is tentatively scheduled to start at 9:15 PM (Eastern).

-trd-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Tony Stewart , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Johnny Benson , Bill Lester , Chad Chaffin , David Reutimann , Kyle Busch
Teams Bill Davis Racing