Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 News and Notes
Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 News and Notes
Entry List: Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 at the Milwaukee Mile
00 Josh Wise
1 Aaron Fike
4 Kevin Hamlin
5 Mike Skinner
6 Travis Kvapil
7 Jason White
07 Tim Sauter
8 Blake Bjorklund
08 Chad McCumbee
9 Ted Musgrave
09 Stacy Compton
10 David Starr
13 Willie Allen
14 Rick Crawford
15 Bill Lester
16 Scott Lagasse Jr.
18 Ken Schrader
21 Kelly Bires
23 Johnny Benson
129 Scott Lynch
30 Todd Bodine
33 Ron Hornaday Jr.
36 Ryan Mathews
40 Shane Huffman
47 Kraig Kinser
50 T.J. Bell
51 Kelly Sutton
59 Terry Cook
60 Jack Sprague
63 Jack Smith
75 Dennis Setzer
77 Brendan Gaughan
88 Matt Crafton
99 Erik Darnell
Re: Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 News and Notes
Toyota Race Preview: Milwaukee
The last time the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) visited the Milwaukee Mile, Johnny Benson drove his No. 23 Tundra to victory lane. He returns to the Wisconsin track with a strong run on his to do list. “I like Milwaukee,” says Benson. “We won here last year and I hope to do the same this year. Milwaukee is a great place to race. The competition in the NCTS has gotten stronger with each race this year, and I look forward to racing with such a competitive group again this weekend at Milwaukee. From now on, it’s all about winning and if I want to get up there in the points , we ’re going to have to start doing it now.”
Ryan Mathews considers the Milwaukee Mile his home track, as the Bill Davis Racing rookie driver grew up in nearby Lake Geneva, Wis. “With four truck races under my belt, I feel very comfortable with the team and the way we are working together,” says Mathews, driver of the No. 36 Tundra. “I’ve had pretty good success racing in many different divisions in the past at Milwaukee. I finished top-five there in the ARCA Series race last year, and I hope to have the same luck with the race in the truck. I like this track because it’s really easy to overdrive -- you have to hit your marks. Overall, it is a pretty fun track to race on. I have a lot of friends and family that will be there, and I definitely don’t want to let them down.”
Ted Musgrave, driver of the No. 9 Team ASE/Germain Tundra, grew up about 45 minutes outside of Milwaukee in Mundelein, Ill., and his racing career started on the Milwaukee Mile’s nine-degree banking. “Milwaukee has a lot of history,” says Musgrave. “My brother raced there and my father raced there in the early 60s in USAC. A lot of big name racers have raced at that track -- it’s very historic. When you go to that race track, for me it’s like some people when they go to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. When I go to Milwaukee and think of all the guys that have raced there -- Parnelli Jones, Norm Nelson, A.J. Foyt and on down the line -- everybody that’s been in racing has raced at Milwaukee. At least I can say that I’ve raced there and won there multiple times.”
Many current Toyota drivers have won at Milwaukee since the NCTS began racing there in 1995. In addition to Benson’s win last year, Mike Skinner (1995) and Jack Sprague (1996) have each visited victory lane at the Mile, but Musgrave is the only NCTS repeat winner at the oval, capturing the checkered flag in 2001 and 2004. “I am the only repeat winner at the Milwaukee Mile in the Craftsman Truck Series so far,” says Musgrave. “Milwaukee really puts the emphasis on working hard because that’s back home, in front of friends and family, and people that followed your career. You put a little extra effort into it, and I know the crew does too. They know it’s a track where I’ll do my best to win.”
Tundra drivers hold six of the top-10 spots in the NCTS championship point standings. After 10 of 25 races, Skinner continues to sit atop the point standings for Bill Davis Racing. Tundra drivers trailing Skinner in the standings are Todd Bodine (third), Musgrave (sixth), Benson (seventh), rookie Aaron Fike (eighth) and Jack Sprague (ninth).
Re: Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 News and Notes
Driver to win the Milwaukee 200
601 Ron Hornaday +400
602 Mike Skinner +500
603 Travis Kvapil +500
604 Todd Bodine +500
605 Johnny Benson +600
606 Jack Sprague +900
607 Erik Darnell +1000
608 Dennis Setzer +1200
609 Rick Crawford +1200
610 Ted Musgrave +1800
611 Matt Crafton +2500
612 Brendan Gaughan +3500
613 David Starr +4000
614 Terry Cook +5000
615 Field (All Others) +2000
Re: Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 News and Notes
Chevy Race Preview: Milwaukee
It is "Homecoming Weekend" of sorts for several Chevrolet Silverado drivers as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series makes it way to The Famed Milwaukee Mile.
Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 Camping World Silverado, Brendan Gaughan, No. 77 South Point Hotel Silverado and Dennis Setzer, No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Silverado, are all looking to bring home their second victories on the flat one-mile iconic track that has been on the Series' schedule since the inaugural 1995 season.
"As I have said before, my favorite tracks are the ones I win at," said Hornaday. "So Milwaukee should be a good race for us. We are riding on a lot of momentum right now, and I know Rick and the guys are bringing a great truck."
The two-time NCTS champion's Kevin Harvick, Inc. crew chief, Rick Ren, is no stranger to victory lane at Milwaukee. He is the defending winning crew chief heading in to the annual NCTS race in Wisconsin.
"The Milwaukee Mile should be a great race for us, " said Ren. "Ron and I both have gone to victory lane there. Last year Ron started on the pole and finished third, and my driver (Johnny Benson) started fourth and won the race.
"We are taking truck 016. This is a truck that hasn't raced yet, other than testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Ron knows how to get around Milwaukee, and this is the truck that can take him to the front."
Hornaday will also run the NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday in the KHI No. 77 Dollar General Monte Carlo SS.
Gaughan's third place finish at Michigan has his entire team pumped for Friday night's race.
"We need to go to Milwaukee and keep this momentum," said Gaughan of his South Point Racing team. "Build this consistency - come in and run well and leave with another top 10 or top five. That will prove that our intermediates, our flat tracks, all our programs are in shape and that we are a team to beat. Milwaukee is one of those places that it is my style of track. I call it a tweener. It's a flat track, but at the same time it is high speed. The flatness when you go in is really the fun part. You've got to learn how to make a truck that is going to move no matter what you do. It's going to move around going in. It's going to move around in the center and it's going to move around on the exit. But that's the fun part is seeing who can drive that the best. I think all the pull down stuff that Chevrolet has been giving us - letting us work on the rig at Joe Gibbs Racing - has really helped us. I think we are going to go to Milwaukee and probably be pretty good."
After winning at Mansfield in May, Setzer is looking for his Spears Manufacturing team to get their rhythm and lengthen their stride for the tedious mid-season run that is in front of them. In 10 previous starts, Setzer has four top-five and six top-10 finishes with his win at Milwaukee.
"I think Milwaukee could be just what this Spears Silverado team needs," said Setzer. "It has always been a great track for me, I have had some really good runs for there. It is just a fun place to race and definitely a driver's track, but setup is critical as well. My Spears guys are working hard to keep our progress on the track moving forward. I am looking forward to Milwaukee and ready for this weekend."
Tim Sauter, No. 07 Lester Buildings Silverado, hails from nearby Necedah, WI. The middle son in the famed Wisconsin-born Sauter family, Tim takes special pride in track and the area. He is looking to capture a solid finish in his home state for his Green Light Racing team.
"Every race is important, especially here in the trucks where the schedule is only 25 races," said Sauter. "Aside from Daytona, I think every racer looks forward to running at their home track. Nothing means more than a good finish in front of your family and friends."
Kraig Kinser, No. 47 Ginn Resorts Silverado, knows Milwaukee poses particular challenges for his Morgan-Dollar Motorsports team but with two solid consecutive finishes under their belts, is looking forward to the Milwaukee event.
"I am ready to get to Milwaukee," said Kinser. "The last couple of weeks, we were able to leave Texas and Michigan with a 15th place finish, which is what we are working on. We are concentrating on finishing races, then the good finishes will follow. Milwaukee is a track that I have only raced at once, so it will be good to get back there. That track is just so flat, and is really unlike anywhere else that we go on the schedule. I was able to get some pointers and tips from Dennis (Setzer) when we ran there last year, so I am feeling good about heading to Milwaukee."
Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Willie Allen is geared to run at another track he has never seen. The driver of the No. 13 ThorSport Silverado has done his due diligence so he knows the challenges ahead of him Friday at Milwaukee.
"Milwaukee is a flat track with long corners," said Allen. "Getting the truck to turn in the middle and stay on the bottom is going to be critical in order to have success there. Not overdriving the corners is also important. This is another track that I don't have experience running, so I am practicing online as much as I can to prepare myself. Hopefully we will find the right setup and bring home a great finish for our Chevy Silverado team."
Miwauke Mile Chevy Silverado Fast Facts:
* Chevrolet Silverado drivers have four victories in 12 previous NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) at Milwaukee
* Three current Team Chevy Silverado drivers have wins at Milwaukee Mile
* Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 Camping World Silverado, 1997
* Brendan Gaughan, No. 77 South Point Hotel Silverado, 2003
* Dennis Setzer, No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Silverado, 2005
* Chevrolet Silverado has won six of the12 NCTS manufacturers championships
* Silverado drivers have won eight of the 12 possible Series' driver championships
* Silverado drivers have won more races than any other brand - 125 of 292 - 42.8% (1995-2006)
Re: Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 News and Notes
Who to Watch: The Milwaukee Mile
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to one of its most tradition-laden events this week, the Toyota Tundra 200 at the legendary Milwaukee Mile. The Mile is America's oldest race track, and has been on the schedule since the series inaugural season in 1995.
Things have changed since then. The first race back then was just 125 laps. The series utilized the halftime break rather than live pit stops. The race was run on July 4 weekend. And it was run during the heat of the day.
Now, the race is 200 miles. There are live pit stops. The race is now run a week earlier. And most noticeably, the race is now run under the lights.
But the more things change, the more things stay the same. The race is still one of the toughest to win on the circuit. Handling is crucial through The Mile's long, sweeping, flat corners. But you still need to be the first one to the corners, and horsepower to handle down the straightaways is equally necessary.
Here are our driver capsules for the Toyota Tundra 200:
Josh Wise, No. 00 Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota: Wise has been solid in his two previous starts, finishing 17th at Kansas and 13th at Texas. Milwaukee is an entirely different animal, but with his short track open wheel background, Wise should be able to quickly adapt. Another top-15 finish is likely, and he could be a contender for a top-10.
Aaron Fike, No. 1 RFMS/Red Horse Racing Toyota: Fike is a rookie, but does have previous experience at Milwaukee in a USAC Midget in 2004. He's only been outside the top 20 all season, and he was fighting for the win at Mansfield before fuel issues relegated him to 24th at the end. Fike has been a contender for top-10s all season, and that should continue at Milwaukee.
Kevin Hamlin, No. 4 Dodge Motorsports/Open Joist Dodge: Hamlin has helped this team turn the corner, knocking down its first top-10 of the season at Mansfield last month. Hamlin has never raced Milwaukee, but look for him to get up to speed quickly. The BHR trucks haven't been the strongest in qualifying this season, but they have both raced well the last month. Look for Hamlin to be among the top 15 at the end.
Mike Skinner, No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota: Most drivers would be ecstatic to leave Michigan after qualifying fourth and finishing fourth. Not Skinner. He's out to win poles and win races. But that was a performance that will help him score a second series championship. Skinner has finished where he has qualified four times this season, including the last two races.
Travis Kvapil, No. 6 K&N Filters Ford: Everyone has asked when Kvapil would finally get his first win in a Roush Fenway Racing Ford, and that question has finally been answered. The next question is when will he get his next one? He has two top-5s at Milwaukee and has never finished out of the top ten. His next win could follow his first one.
Jason White, No. 7 Hooters Energy Drink Chevrolet: White had progressively improved his finishes all season, but took a small step backwards in Michigan. Milwaukee will be a challenge, but Barry Dodson should give him a solid setup. White may be able to knock down his first top-20 of the season.
Tim Sauter, No. 07 Lester Buildings Chevrolet: Sauter picked up a top-10 in the 2002 Busch race at his home track. The Sauter name goes back a long ways at Milwaukee, and there's no place Sauter would like to ring up his first top-10 of 2007 than The Mile.
Blake Bjorklund, No. 8 Haas CNC/MRD Motorsports Chevrolet: Another driver from the upper Midwest, Milwaukee is the closest thing to a home track for the Insanti, Minn. native. Bjorlkund's average finish is 23.4 after ten races, but he's been in the top 20 in five of the ten races so far this season. He should make it another top-20 this week.
Chad McCumbee, No. 08 TheGPSStore.com/Garmin Chevrolet: McCumbee raced from 31st to 14th in his only previous Milwaukee start last season. He's had a consistent season, with six finishes between 13th and 18th, but he's still looking for his first top-10 of the year. The way this team has performed in the last month, a top-10 at Milwaukee is a possibility.
Ted Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE/Germain Motor Company Toyota: Musgrave has had a solid start to 2007, with only two finishes outside of the top ten. Musgrave has two wins in six starts at Milwaukee, and only one finish outside of the top five. However, that finish, 24th, came last year. Musgrave is another home state Wisconsin driver, and with the Elmer Musgrave Memorial event at nearby Illiana Speedway on Saturday, he'd like to start off the weekend with another big win.
Stacy Compton, No. 09 Zaxby's Ford: Compton hasn't raced in the Truck Series at Milwaukee since 1999 when he finished tenth. He has always been a good qualifier, and Milwaukee has been one of his better tracks. He's never qualified lower than 14th in three starts, and has been among the top five in the other two starts. His finishes at Milwaukee have been disappointing, but the way this team has performed lately he could better that tenth-place run.
David Starr, No. 10 International MaxxForce Diesel Ford: Starr had one of the hardest hits of his career at Milwaukee in a 2003 test that forced him to miss a handful of races. He finished 8th last year, one of two top-10 finishes he has at The Mile. The 10 team has started to get things on track, so expect Starr to contend for another top-ten this week.
Willie Allen, No. 13 ThorSport Racing Chevrolet: Allen has never been to Milwaukee, so he'll rely on notes from teammate Matt Crafton and experience gained by crew chief Lance Hooper.
Rick Crawford, No. 14 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford: Crawford's luck may be turning. After a solid run at Texas, Crawford's momentum could have been ended with an early scrape with the wall at Michigan. The rotten luck from Mansfield and Dover that would have sidelined him wasn't there and he ran to a sixth-place finish. Crawford has two third place finishes, and has four straight top ten finishes going at Milwaukee. Another top five is likely this weekend.
Bill Lester, No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevrolet: Lester has been a consistent top 20 finisher at Milwaukee when he makes it to the finish. His only finish outside of the top 20 was in 2004 when he was involved in a crash. Lester is on the verge of collecting his first top-ten of the season, but based on statistics alone Lester should be a solid contender for a top-15.
Benny Gordon, No. 16 Xpress Motorsports Ford: Gordon is one of the strongest contenders week in and week out in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series, and he will be making his series debut this week with a championship team. It's been a tough year all the way around for team owner Dave Fuge, but Gordon should give him a solid performance.
Ken Schrader, No. 18 Fastenal Dodge: Schrader has three previous Truck starts at Milwaukee, with a best finish of eighth in 2001. This team has been on the upswing, even if the finishes haven't shown it. Dover and Michigan resulted in DNF's, but Schrader has been competitive everywhere since the Charlotte race. The Dodges should be back on a more level playing field at Milwaukee where handling and chassis are key.
Kelly Bires, No. 21 Wood/jtg Racing Ford: Bires picked up his first career NASCAR top-ten finish with a great run in the Busch race last week in Kentucky, and he gets a chance to follow it up with running both ends of the doubleheader this week at Milwaukee. This team had the dominant truck at Michigan before the engine stopped running. Bires is a former ASA Late Model winner at Milwaukee, so look for them to be fast on Friday.
Johnny Benson, No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota: Benson has a wealth of experience and success at Milwaukee, both in the old ASA days and in NASCAR. He finished third in his first Busch race back in 1994, and he's the defending race winner. No one has ever won back-to-back races at Milwaukee, but Benson should make a serious run at it.
Scott Lynch, No. 29 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Dodge: Lynch will be making his first start at Milwaukee. Lynch has proven to be solid, and should stay out of trouble and run all night long.
Todd Bodine, No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota: Milwaukee may be the worst track on the schedule for Bodine; he's only made two starts but he's never finished higher than 20th. That's not because he doesn't run well at Milwaukee; he's started second and seventh in those two starts. Look for a strong qualifying performance, and look for Bodine's first top-ten.
Bradley Mueller, No. 31 Brevak Racing Dodge: Mueller comes from a family with long ties to NASCAR, and he has some limited experience running in the ARCA series. The Brevaks are making their return to the series, and it's tough for part-time teams to compete with the big dogs these days. A top-20 finish would be an excellent result for this team.
Ron Hornaday, No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet: Hornaday is a former Milwaukee winner, winning in 1997, and started on the pole last year. He led 102 laps on the way to a third-place run in 2006. He's never finished lower than seventh in seven races at Milwaukee, and has an average finish of 3.6. As strong as this combination has been of late he has to be considered a favorite to win.
Ryan Mathews, No. 36 Bill Davis Racing Toyota: Mathews has some previous experience at Milwaukee, scoring a top-five finish last year in the ARCA series. He is gaining experience at the NCTS level, and has shown he can get to the checkered in one piece. He's racing in front of the home crowd, and would like to get that first career top-ten in front of friends and family.
Shane Huffman, No. 40 Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet: This team has seen a big drop in the owner's standings in recent weeks, falling from 15th to 29th. The performance hasn't suffered, but the finishes haven't been there due to luck and parts failures. Huffman will run both ends of the doubleheader, and a top-15 to get the weekend started should be seen as a success.
Kraig Kinser, No. 47 Ginn Resorts Chevrolet: Kinser finished 28th last year at Milwaukee in his first run at the flat one-mile oval. Things are starting to turn around for Kinser as he's scored top-15 runs in the last two races.
Peter Shepherd, No. 50 Roush Fenway Racing Ford: Shepherd makes his first start since an 18th-place finish at Las Vegas last September. The goal is to keep the truck in one piece and finish. If he does that, another top-20 should be the result.
Kelly Sutton, No. 51 Team Copaxone Chevrolet: Sutton has had some of her better performances at Milwaukee, finishing 23rd in 2004 and qualifying 25th in 2006. The second truck out of the Billy Ballew Motorsports shops has been solid all season, and Sutton performed well at Mansfield despite the luck of the draw in qualifying forcing her to miss the show. The goal is to run all night and reach the finish; if she does that, a top-20 run is possible.
Terry Cook, No. 59 Harris Trucking Toyota: Cook won this race in 2002 with a great move on a late race restart. This team has improved week in and week out, and is now a weekly contender for top ten finishes. The next logical step is to run for top fives, and while they may not quite be ready to do that regularly, Cook's previous experience and success at Milwaukee could give them an advantage.
Jack Sprague, No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota: The Milwaukee race marks the second anniversary for the Wyler Racing team, and there's nothing more Sprague would like than to celebrate a win for his owners. With the luck that this team has suffered through lately, that might be a lot to ask. But sooner or later that luck will have to end, and when it does Sprague will be at or near the front. If Lady Luck stays away, look for Sprague to be in the mix for the win.
Jack Smith, No. 63 Dave Porter Truck Sales Ford: Smith opened some eyes with a strong run at Mansfield. He's out to get experience and get his name known, and a top-20 would go a long way to doing that. He will need some breaks to fall his way, but Smith has shown to be capable behind the wheel and should give this truck a good run.
Dennis Setzer, No. 75 Spears Mfg. Chevrolet: Setzer started from the pole and finished fourth at Milwaukee in the Busch race in 1995, just one day after starting and finishing second in the first Truck race ever run at The Mile. Since then, Setzer has racked up an additional three top five finishes, including a win in 2005. Milwaukee should be one of Setzer's better tracks, and could result in another top ten.
Brendan Gaughan, No. 77 South Point Hotel Chevrolet: Gaughan's first three Milkwaukee starts all resulted in top five runs, including a dominant win in 2003. Last year was a disappointment with Gaughan finishing 19th. This team is carrying momentum from a third-place finish at Michigan last week, and another top-ten is a strong possibility.
Matt Crafton, No. 88 Menards Chevrolet: Always thought of as a flat track specialist, Crafton and his team have been strong but have faltered in the last month due to bad breaks and mechanical failures. Crafton has a pair of ninth-place finishes as his best at Mikwaukee. He'll need to better that if he wants to change the momentum of the last month and get back into the points fight.
Erik Darnell, No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford: Darnell made his series debut at Milwaukee in 2004, and also ran the race last year. But he's never finished higher than 26th in either attempt. This team has fought rotten luck ever since Darnell's win at Kansas in April. Once that luck breaks, he should be a contender for more top fives and wins. He'd like to have it start to turn around near his hometown.
Predictions, for the pure entertainment value of them:
Pole: Ron Hornaday. Skinner's pole streak seems to have finally cooled, and no one is as strong at Milwaukee as Hornaday.
Winner: Ted Musgrave. Musgrave has been on a roll in 2007, but is still looking for his first win with Germain Racing. Milwaukee is his home track, and it's a big weekend for him with the Elmer Musgrave Memorial at Illiana on Saturday.
Rest of the top five behind the winner, in no particular order: Ron Hornaday, Todd Bodine, Jack Sprague, Rick Crawford.
Rest of the top ten, in no particular order: Terry Cook, Dennis Setzer, Erik Darnell, Brendan Gaughan, Matt Crafton.
Re: Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 News and Notes
Tearing Apart the Trucks : The Milwaukee Mile
The Craftsman Truck Series heads to one of the most historic tracks on the schedule this weekend, The Milwaukee Mile. The track has had continuous racing even longer than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This weekend’s race will the be the 13th time the series has visited the track, and in those thirteen years, there has only been one repeat winner; Ted Musgrave. Musgrave won in 2001 and 2004, and is one of seven previous winners entered in Friday’s race. Musgrave will be joined by previous winners Mike Skinner, Johnny Benson, Terry Cook, Brendan Gaughan, Ron Hornaday Jr, and Dennis Setzer.
Skinner won the inaugural Craftsman Truck Series race at The Milwaukee Mile back in 1995, and he went on to win the championship that year. He followed that win with a seventh place finish at the track in 1996. Following the 1996 season, Skinner race just a few truck series races in 1997, 1998 and 2003. When Skinner made his full-time return to the series in 2004, he finished 29th at the Milwaukee Mile. Since then, he has improved, finishing 16th in 2005 and 11th in 2006. With Skinner well on his way to another truck series championship, it just seems right to expect Skinner to have a great run Friday night.
Skinner is going to have to his work cut out for him if he wants his second win at the track, though. No one has ever won back to back races at Milwaukee, but defending race winner Johnny Benson has his sights set on doing just that. In just his third start at the track, Benson started fourth and won by more than two seconds over Mike Bliss in 2006. In 2005, Benson had a DNF and in his first start, he finished seventh.
Joining Benson and Skinner, Terry Cook will be looking for his second win at the mile-long track. Cook started out in a Chevrolet in 1996 and never had a Top 10 finish. In his first year in a Ford, Cook picked up a fourth place finish. In 2002, he outpaced Jason Leffler by less than a second to win the GNC Live Well 200. Since 2001, Cook has had a Top 10 finish in every race at Milwaukee. Terry Cook has gone only 23 races since his last win at Kansas in 2006, and it looks like he has a fair chance for a repeat.
Ron Hornaday, Jr. is having an incredible season that hasn’t really been talked about much. He has only finished outside the Top 10 once, and that was an 11th place finish at Atlanta in the third race of the season. Since Camping World signed on as a full time sponsor for Hornaday’s No. 33 Chevrolet, he has had two wins and an average finish of 4.4, and his record at The Milwaukee Mile is even more impressive than that. His worst finish at the historic track came in 1999 when he finished seventh, but every other race brought Hornaday Top 5 finishes. With an average finish of 3.6, Hornaday should definitely finish in the Top 5 if he doesn’t come home with the win.
Brendan Gaughan has just four starts at the mile-long track, and he has three Top 5 finishes. His most recent finish was 19th, but he and the No. 77 team are running on momentum following a third place finish at Michigan. Dennis Setzer has a pretty impressive record along with every other driver that has won at the track. In his last four starts, Setzer has four Top 10 finishes, one of which is a win. Look for both Gaughan and Setzer to have a strong race and make a run for the win.
Of all of the drivers that have won at The Milwaukee Mile, it’s hard to pick just one that has the best chance of winning. Look for an exciting race Friday night and most likely a second repeat winner.
Re: Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 News and Notes
Benson best in Milwaukee
June 22nd, 2007
West Allis, WI (Sports Network) - Johnny Benson won Friday night's Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 at the Milwaukee Mile, his second in a row at the historic track. The No.23 crossed the finish line five lengths ahead of Ron Hornaday Jr..
The victory was Benson's first of the season and sixth of his truck career.
Mike Skinner, on the pole for the seventh time in 11 starts, brought the field to the green flag for 200 laps for flat-track racing. Skinner, the fastest car on the track all-season long, led the parade early on in the race.
Through 30 laps and the only driver who could stay close was Todd Bodine. Meanwhile, Benson, who won last year's race, got around Jack Sprague for third place.
But even Bodine began to fade as the field approached the 50-lap mark. Skinner built his margin over Bodine to 2.849 seconds. He was starting to lap many of the slower trucks because there was just one early caution flag (Hornaday Jr. spin).
Benson also got around Bodine for second, but he was still a long way behind Skinner, who was setting a torrid pace. Then on lap 66 the caution flag came out (debris) and Skinner's big lead was quickly erased.
Skinner beat Benson off pit road with just 20 trucks remaining on the lead lap. Hornaday Jr. returned to the top-10 for the first time since his early spin.
Skinner was off like a shot as the green flag dropped on lap 71, but Kelly Bires and Ted Musgrave collided on lap 75 to bring out another caution flag. As they were trying to limp back to pit road, Musgrave took his frustration out on Bires, hitting him a second time. Musgrave was told by NASCAR officials to "park the truck behind the wall."
Through 100 laps, the halfway point, and Skinner had still led every one of the laps. However, Benson was right on his rear bumper and taking a look to the inside.
On lap 103, Benson got underneath Skinner and as they got to turn three, Skinner had to give way. Benson crossed the start/finish line to start lap 104 with the lead. Within a couple of laps Benson built the lead to one second. The lead ballooned to over three seconds as Bodine also got around the suddenly fading Skinner.
Benson began to catch the tail end of the leaders and Bodine started to cut into Benson's lead with 80 laps to go. Hornaday Jr. was still moving up, battling his way into the top-five. Hornaday Jr. fought his way around Sprague with 75 laps to go to grab fourth place.
Despite lapping slower traffic, Benson actually increased his lead to four seconds with 60 laps to go. Hornaday Jr. was still flying, passing Skinner for third place, but he was about five seconds behind the leader. Fifty-eight laps to go and Hornaday Jr. got around Bodine - just one truck between himself and a brilliant win.
Willie Allen and Chad McCumbee brought out the caution flag and in that second Benson lost his five-second lead. All the leaders came to pit lane for their final scheduled stop of the evening.
Benson took four tires as did Hornaday Jr. and the No.23 Toyota team beat the No.33 Chevrolet out of the pits. That would set up a great shootout with the "King of Restarts" in second place.
They restarted with 36 laps to go and Hornaday Jr. couldn't get the jump on Benson. They cleared the lapped traffic and Benson held three length on Hornaday Jr. But Hornaday Jr. also had a rearview mirror filled with Bodine and the No.30 Toyota.
Benson was holding 0.402 seconds as they reached the 180-lap mark with just 11 trucks on the lead lap. Benson was better through the lapped traffic and built the lead to one and-a-half seconds with 14 laps to go.
Sprague spun with seven laps to go and Hornaday Jr. would get one last shot at Benson
On the final restart with four laps to go, they were still nose-to-tail, but Hornaday Jr. couldn't find a way around Benson. He peeked to the inside, but nothing was there. Benson managed to edge out to a five-length lead as they saw the white flag and he held it all the way to the checkered flag for his first victory of 2007.
"We thought we would be pretty good by the end of the race and that's all we really care about," said Benson. "I don't care about leading every lap, I care about leading the last one."
Bodine, Skinner and Rick Crawford completed the top-five.
Skinner's fourth-place finish leaves him with a 108-point lead over Hornaday Jr. as the the series heads to Memphis Motorsports Park on Saturday, June 30th.