THIS RACE – The Kroger 200 will be the 12th race at Martinsville Speedway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). There will be nine Toyota Tundras in the field, including one for Darrell Waltrip.
SCORE FOUR FOR TOYOTA -- Toyota earned its fourth NCTS victory when Todd Bodine captured the checkered flag in the most recent race at Texas Motor Speedway (Oct. 16) in his No. 30 Germain/Arnold Racing Tundra. Bodine qualified 22nd, ran among the leaders throughout the race, and led 71 laps -- including the final 38 circuits -- en route to the checkered flag.
TODD TALKS -- Todd Bodine, who recorded his second career NCTS win in his 12th series start, had no problems during the race. “The truck was perfect -- absolutely perfect,” said Bodine, following the race. “I was barely lifting out of the throttle, and to do that is awesome. I can’t describe how great a feeling it is to sit in a truck that good. My Tundra was just awesome all day and it was a lot of fun to race.”
TWO FOR TODD -- Todd Bodine’s victory at Texas (Oct. 16) was his second straight NCTS win. At California Speedway (Oct. 2), the most recent race on the schedule before Texas, the Chemung, N.Y.-native registered his first career NCTS win and Toyota’s third NCTS victory this season.
TOYOTA’S FIRST TWO -- Toyota earned its first-ever NCTS victory when Travis Kvapil captured the checkered flag at Michigan (July 31) in his No. 24 Bang Racing Line-X Tundra. Toyota’s second NCTS win came when Kvapil returned his No. 24 Tundra to ‘Victory Lane’ at New Hampshire (Sept. 18). TODD TERRIFIC IN TUNDRA -- The Texas race was just Bodine’s fifth NCTS start this season with Germain/Arnold Racing. In the five races, Bodine has recorded a remarkable racing resume featuring two wins (Texas and California), one second-place (Las Vegas) and a fourth-place (Richmond). “This is pretty incredible,” said Bodine, following the Texas race. “It’s just our fifth race of the year, and we already have two wins, and four top-fives. That’s a testament to Mike Hillman (crew chief) and the great job he does, and to the hard work of everyone at Germain/Arnold Racing and TRD (Toyota Racing Development). Toyota has given us great trucks and motors, and I’m proud to be part of the Toyota family.”
LAST RACE -- In addition to a Tundra winning the race at Texas, another Toyota driver also finished up front. Johnny Benson crossed the finish line one second behind Bodine in the No. 23 Bill Davis Racing Tundra. The secondplace finish was Benson’s best result in nine NCTS starts this year, and equaled the best finish of his NCTS career.
DRIVERS O.K. -- Toyota drivers Bill Lester and David Reutimann were involved in an accident at Texas and were transported to a local hospital. Both drivers were examined and released from the hospital Saturday evening.
FOUR TOP FIELD – Four Tundra drivers led the field in the recent race in the ‘Lone Star’ state. In addition to race winner Todd Bodine leading 71 laps, Tundra drivers Hank Parker Jr. (34 laps), Mike Skinner (17 laps) and Bill Lester (13 laps) also paced the field at Texas It marked the first time this season that Parker Jr. has been the race leader.
SKINNER SCORES SECOND POLE -- Mike Skinner captured his second pole position this season, and Toyota’s fourth pole of the year, when he was the fastest qualifier at Texas. Unfortunately, following an engine change after the morning practice session at Texas, Skinner had to start from the rear of the field. Skinner, who has 17 NCTS poles, earned his first pole position this season at Las Vegas.
TOYOTA’S TWO OTHER POLES -- Rookie David Reutimann earned Toyota’s initial NCTS pole position, and his first career NCTS pole position, at Atlanta (March 12). Toyota’s second pole came at California (Oct. 1) when Travis Kvapil recorded the fastest time in qualifying to earn his first-ever NCTS pole.
POINTS RACE -- After 21 races, three Toyota drivers are among the top-15 in the NCTS championship standings. Travis Kvapil is eighth in the standings with 2,717 points, just 45 points from fifth-place Matt Crafton. Other Tundra drivers in the top-15 are 11th-place Mike Skinner (2,617 points) and 14th-place David Reutimann (2,483 points).
ROOKIE RACE -- After 21 races, Toyota driver David Reutimann remains atop the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year standings with 213 points, 49 more than second-place Tracy Hines. Toyota’s Robert Huffman is fifth in the rookie race with 141 points.
MIKE TOP TOYOTA AT MARTINSVILLE -- In the NCTS race at Martinsville Speedway earlier this year (April 17), Mike Skinner crossed the finish line fifth -- the top finisher among eight Tundra drivers. Toyota drivers following Skinner to the finish line in Martinsville were David Reutimann (8th), Hank Parker Jr. (12th) and Travis Kvapil (13th). Skinner also led 38 laps at Martinsville.
MIKE HAS ONE -- Mike Skinner has one NCTS victory at Martinsville, winning the race at the Virginia halfmile circuit in 1996.
LOOKING FOR LUCK -- “I left Texas as down as a guy could get,” says Mike Skinner, who has been the race leader in three of the last four events. “In the last few races we’ve had a dominant truck -- and the times prove it -- but we can’t seem to get a break. Things are happening to us that are out of our control, and there seems to be nothing we can do about it. It’s like we have a thoroughbred -- but one that comes up lame just short of the finish.”
DW IS BACK -- Darrell Waltrip will put on his driver’s suit once again for the NCTS race at Martinsville. It will be his third NCTS start this season in the No. 11 Toyota Tundra. Earlier this year, Waltrip raced at Martinsville (24th) and Indianapolis Raceway Park (28th). During his NCTS career, Waltrip has made six starts at Martinsville, with his best finishes being a fifth-place (1996) and a pair of sevenths (2003).
DW DISCUSSES TOYOTA – “Toyota is having a successful first year as a manufacturer in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series,” says Darrell Waltrip. “And I’m glad to be affiliated with the Toyota Tundra racing program from the ground floor. Toyota has not struggled one bit and it seems like they’ve been a part of the division longer than a year because of their accomplishments. Toyota has won poles and races in their first year of competition. That’s impressive and their entire program is going to only get stronger.”
MARTINSVILLE MAN -- One person who has more experience than most drivers at Martinsville won’t be in the starting line-up at the Virginia track. Jeff Hensley, who has hung up his driver’s suit and now serves as the crew chief for Bill Lester’s No. 22 Bill Davis Racing Tundra, knows Martinsville as well as anyone. Growing up in Ridegeway, Virginia, just six miles from Martinsville Speedway, Hensley spent considerable time at the track and is very familiar with the circuit. He competed in 10 Busch Series races at Martinsville between 1982 and 1985, recording six top-10 finishes.
MARTINSVILLE MEMORY -- Of all the races that he has participated in at Martinsville Speedway, as both a driver and crew chief, there is one that stands out in Hensley’s mind. “The last race I ever drove at Martinsville was in 1985,” says Hensley. “I had to win a ‘heat’ race first to make it into the field, and then I had to start last. Driving in front of my family and friends, I was able to work my way through the field and come home with a sixth-place finish.”
HOW HENSLEY HELPS BILL -- Jeff Hensley believes his experience at Martinsville allows him to provide Bill Lester with some additional insight into the track. “There’s really only one or two ways to get around fast at Martinsville,” says Hensley. “It’s an easy track to drive, if you have the right line. I think that’s where my background is able to help Bill the most -- by watching him and making sure he’s hitting his marks and not cutting the corners too quickly.”
ALL-STAR TUNDRA -- At Martinsville, Travis Kvapil will again be promoting the second annual ‘NASCAR Toyota All- Star Showdown’ on his No. 24 Bang Racing Tundra. The ‘Showdown’ will take place this November (11th-13th) at California’s Irwindale Speedway. More than $500,000 in prize money and live national television coverage on SPEED Channel await the 70 drivers who will be invited to compete in the one-of-a-kind NASCAR event.
T.K. AT MARTISNVILLE -- Travis Kvapil has made five career NCTS starts at Martinsville. His best finish is a second-place (2001), while his best qualifying effort resulted in starting third on the grid a year ago.
TODD AT MARTISNVILLE -- During his racing career, Todd Bodine has made a total of 20 starts at Martinsville in the NASCAR Cup Series and the Busch Series, including earning a Cup pole position in 2001. He also started one NCTS race at the track in 1996, qualifying 26th and finishing sixth.
TODD TALKS ABOUT MARTINSVILLE – “It will definitely be different running at Martinsville than at the speedways we’ve raced on the last few weeks,” says Todd Bodine. “I’m looking forward to racing at Martinsville. I grew up around the track, graduated high school about 45 minutes from the track (Rocky Mount, Va.), and remember watching my brothers (Geoffrey and Brett) race Modifieds at Martinsville. I’ve also won a Cup pole (2001) at the track and have a few top-10s there.”
BENSON BEFORE -- Johnny Benson, driver of the No. 23 Bill Davis Racing Tundra, has made 20 NASCAR Cup starts at Martinsville and also has a pair of NCTS starts at Martinsville (1995 and 1997). He recorded a third-place finish in the NCTS race at the Virginia half-mile track in 1995. HANK HANDLES QUALIFYING -- In the past four races, Hank Parker Jr. has bettered his best starting position three times. At New Hampshire, he qualified seventh, equaling his best start of the season. He improved upon that starting position by qualifying fifth at Las Vegas. In the two most recent races on the schedule at California and Texas, Parker Jr. earned the fourth starting spot in qualifying.
ALL ARE EXPERIENCED -- All nine Toyota Tundra drivers in the field at Martinsville have previously competed in a NCTS race at the track.
LINE-UP -- There will be five Toyota teams and nine Tundras in the field at Martinsville Speedway. The line-up:
Bill Davis Racing: Mike Skinner No. 5 Toyota Tundra
Bill Lester No. 22 Toyota Tundra
Johnny Benson No. 23 Toyota Tundra
Innovative Robert Huffman No. 12 Toyota Tundra
Motorsports: Hank Parker Jr. No. 21 AirVest Toyota Tundra
Bang Racing Travis Kvapil No. 24 Toyota All-Star Showdown Tundra
Darrell Waltrip David Reutimann No. 17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra
Motorsports: Darrell Waltrip No. 11 Toyota Tundra
Germaine/Arnold Racing: Todd Bodine No. 30 Toyota Tundra
TV TIME -- Martinsville Speedway, Saturday, Oct. 23, 1:00 PM (Eastern), SPEED Channel