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Toyota 200 News and Notes
Toyota 200 News and Notes
ENTRY LIST: Toyota 200 at Nashville Superspeedway
00 Josh Wise
1 David Green
4 Mike Bliss
5 Mike Skinner
6 Travis Kvapil
7 Jason White
07 Tim Sauter
8 Blake Bjorklund
08 Chad McCumbee
9 Ted Musgrave
09 Joey Clanton
10 David Starr
13 Willie Allen
14 Rick Crawford
15 Bill Lester
16 Kenny Hendrick
18 Ken Schrader
21 Jon Wood
22 Ryan Mathews
23 Johnny Benson
30 Todd Bodine
33 Ron Hornaday Jr.
40 Brandon Miller
47 Aric Almirola
50 Danny O'Quinn
59 Terry Cook
60 Jack Sprague
171 Wayne Edwards
75 Dennis Setzer
77 Brendan Gaughan
88 Matt Crafton
191 J.C. Stout
99 Erik Darnell
Re: Toyota 200 News and Notes
Hornaday Coming on Strong, Cuts Point Lead in Half
Hard charging Ron Hornaday Jr. is now 77 points from Mike Skinner's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship lead. (VPS Motoimages Photo)
While Mike Skinner has grabbed many of the headlines this season, Ron Hornaday Jr. has quietly matched his efficiency. Hornaday's win Friday night cut Skinner's point lead in half, leaving him 77 points out of first place.
"I'm sure Skinner is going to be running twice as hard now," Hornaday said. "Don't count him out. He is still 'the guy' - he is still leading in points."
The win also tied the two drivers with 13 top-10 finishes each in 14 races.
Hornaday has been steadily climbing the standings since his seventh-place finish in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway. He has been second since the seventh race of the season at Mansfield Motorsports Park.
Despite his success, Hornaday knows the only way to make up ground on Skinner is to beat him each week. That is not an easy task considering Skinner's 11 top fives.
"We just need to keep winning races," Hornaday said. "If we can just keep gaining 10 points on Skinner each week, we'll be right there and it will be a heck of a Homestead race."
Re: Toyota 200 News and Notes
GAUGHAN: Never Finished Lower Than Sixth at Nashville
Brendan Gaughan has never finished lower than sixth-place at Nashville Superspeedway, and he wants to keep it that way.
Gaughan believes he has the truck, the team and the overall program to keep that streak alive. He just needs a little luck.
“I keep saying that we just need our luck to turn around – I’m like a broken record,” Gaughan said. “But until it does turn around, I’m going to keep saying it – we need some good luck.”
Gaughan and his South Point Racing team have been solid all season – running in the top 10 in nearly every race. But the finishes haven’t been what the team has wanted or expected (Gaughan has four top-10s in 14 starts). The team has had a blown engine, been a victim of several untimely wrecks and while running third with only a handful of laps remaining at Kentucky Speedway just a few weeks ago, Gaughan cut a tire and fell to 22nd.
Call it racing luck. Call it bad luck. Call it no luck. Gaughan just wants to go out on the race track and prove how good he knows that his South Point Racing team is.
“The truck we are taking to Nashville is the same truck we raced at Kentucky, so we know we have a solid Chevrolet Silverado to race this weekend,” Gaughan said. “With all the assistance that we have been getting from Chevrolet lately, I think our aero program – which is important at Nashville – is definitely on par with anybody else. We just have to go to Nashville, find a high groove and try to go run top five again and not have something stupid happen.
“The pit crew guys have been solid for me. The guys at the shop have done a phenomenal job of staying ahead of the game this year. I think we have a lot of good positives here. But that monkey is still just clawing onto our back. Tenth place at Indy last week helps. We’ll just see if we can shake a little more of our bad luck this weekend.”
Crew chief Bryan Berry knows that one way to change the bad luck is to put in even more effort to make good luck for the team. Berry, along with shock specialist Mike Roos and mechanic Harley Rauch spent five days in Warren, MI, at the GM Test Lab working with Chevrolet engineers to come up with the best setup for Nashville.
“We went straight from Kentucky with that truck to the lab,” Berry said. “Kentucky and Nashville are similar in a lot of ways setup wise, so we had a good starting point. Being able to go work on the truck and use this type of technology gives us a head start when we get to Nashville especially since we can’t go test.
“It gives us information that we can fall back on and helps us decide which direction we want to go on our changes. Hopefully, we’ll unload as close as we can to being the best truck, and we’ll be able to use some of the notes to make us better.”
Gaughan calls Nashville his kind of race track. It’s big and wide, which is perfect for Gaughan, who likes to run the high line. Just look at his record on the 1.33-mile, concrete oval – Gaughan has two fifth-place finishes (2003, 2006) and two sixth-place finishes (2002, 2005). But Gaughan wants more than that, especially since Nashville gives the winner a Sam Bass-designed Gibson guitar.
“Nashville has a pretty cool trophy,” Gaughan said. “I’m not much of a guitar player, but my spotter Billy Holbrook is. And I know Billy Holbrook would play the heck out of that guitar.”
The guitar isn’t the only reason Gaughan wants to win at Nashville. For the second time this year, the No. 77 South Point Silverado will be carrying a special decal honoring his dad and team owner, Michael Gaughan, who was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in the “notables” category in Colorado Springs, Co., on July 14.
“I was the only son or grandson not there for his induction and that was kind of a bummer. I really wanted to be there for him that night,” Gaughan said. “We had a great night going for him there at Kentucky, and I know they said he had his chest pumped out. He was ready to have a big, good party night.
“It’s the same truck this weekend – we didn’t hurt it at Kentucky so we’re leaving the ProRodeo decal on it. I’m proud as hell of my daddy being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Hopefully this time, Dad can be sitting back at the South Point Casino, watching the race, and we can give him a better finish and something to celebrate.”
Re: Toyota 200 News and Notes
SPRAGUE: Hopes to Add Third Guitar to His Collection
I really like racing at Nashville Superspeedway,” said Sprague. “The track is smooth, fast and it has plenty of racing room. I haven’t had a lot of luck at Nashville in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, but I have had two really good runs there in the Busch Series, including a win. I sure would like to change my fortune there in the Truck Series and get a win – especially this weekend since Toyota is sponsoring the race.”
Jack Sprague has a few driving factors that will help push him to Victory Lane on Saturday night. His desire to be the best of the best in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, coupled with his craving to get a win for Con-way Freight and Toyota, and to take home one of the coolest trophies that is given out all season long. “I really want that guitar. I have two at home, and I want a third one. Last year we came close with a second place finish, but we came up one spot short,” said Sprague. “Hopefully we can change that this year and add that trophy to our collection.”
Even though Sprague has had some tough luck this year, he knows that he is driving for a Championship caliber team. And there’s no question that Jack Sprague is a Champion. “Every week, Tony Furr (Crew Chief) and the guys give me Toyota Tundra’s that are capable of winning. And with the leadership and support that we receive from Jeff and David Wyler (Team Owner’s) and our sponsor, Con-way Freight, it’s only a matter of time before we get this Con-way Freight Toyota Tundra back into Victory Lane.” Sprague thinks that can happen on Saturday night. “I really think this Wyler Racing team will have a great run in Nashville,” explained Sprague. “We nearly won the race last year and I don’t see any reason why we can’t contend for the win when we return.”
Craftsman is celebrating its 80th anniversary this month and the “Official Tools of NASCAR” is offering a special bonus for teams competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events during the month of August. Starting at Nashville, the team leading the race on lap 80 will receive an additional $8,000 prize. The Craftsman brand was introduced by Sears in 1927 as a line of axes and other cutting tools. Over the years it has grown to be the iconic brand of tools for mechanics, wood workers, gardeners and do-it-yourselfers. Today more than 90 percent of America homes have a Craftsman tool, and, according to a 2004 EquiTrend survey, Craftsman is rated the No. 1 brand in the nation for overall quality.
Jack Sprague has competed in four NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events at Nashville Superspeedway since its debut in April of 2001. In addition to his four starts at Nashville in the Craftsman Truck Series, Sprague has competed at the D-shaped oval in the NASCAR Busch Series. Sprague has accumulated 6 starts, over 1,042 laps, one win, three top-five and three top-10 finishes at Nashville Superspeedway over the course of his career. Sprague has led 36 laps at Nashville Superspeedway in a Craftsman Truck Series ride and led 158 laps while driving a NASCAR Busch Series car for legendary team owner, Rick Hendrick. Even though Sprague has led a lot of laps at Nashville Superspeedway, he hopes to lead just one lap this weekend - the final one.
Jack Sprague is one of only a handful of current drivers who have competed at both the Nashville Superspeedway and Nashville Fairgrounds in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series ride. The Nashville Fairgrounds short-track was first introduced to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1996. In that inaugural event, Sprague qualified on the pole and finished third while driving for Rick Hendrick. Sprague followed that up with a win from the third position in 1997. Overall, Sprague has one win, three top-fives, and three top-10 finishes at the .596-mile oval now dubbed the “Music City Motorplex”.
Re: Toyota 200 News and Notes
NASCAR - Craftsman Truck - Toyota Tundra 200 Preview
Date: Saturday, August 11th
Start Time: 6:30 p.m. (et)
Site: Nashville Superspeedway, Nashville, Tennessee
Track: 1.333-mile oval
Total purse: $484,584
Payouts: 1st Place - $55,675; 2nd - 31,050; 3rd - 23,800 (2006 figures)
Race record: 132.466 m.p.h. (Scott Riggs, 2001)
Qualifying record: 162.116 m.p.h. (Erik Darnell, 2006)
Defending champion: Johnny Benson
Runner up: Jack Sprague
Pole winner: Erik Darnell (162.116 m.p.h.)
1. Johnny Benson (Start: 22)
2. Jack Sprague (3)
3. Marcos Ambrose (11)
4. Ted Musgrave (17)
5. Brendan Gaughan (14)
6. David Reutimann (15)
7. Chad McCumbee (2)
8. Todd Bodine (21)
9. Matt Crafton (25)
10. Terry Cook (19)
Average speed: 108.704 m.p.h.
Time of race: 1 hour, 51 minutes, 6 seconds
Margin of victory: 0.492 second
Caution flags: 9 for 37 laps
Lead changes: 9 among 6 drivers
2006 Johnny Benson, Toyota, 108.704 m.p.h.
2005 David Reutimann, Toyota, 109.246 m.p.h.
2004 Bobby Hamilton, Dodge, 124.068 m.p.h.
2003 Carl Edwards, Ford, 129.557 m.p.h.
2002 Mike Bliss, Chevrolet, 129.442 m.p.h.
2001 Scott Riggs, Dodge, 132.466 m.p.h.
Race: Power Stroke Diesel 200 (July 27th)
Site: Indianapolis Raceway Park, Indianapolis, Indiana
Finish line order: Ron Hornaday Jr, Johnny Benson, Travis Kvapil, Rick Crawford, Ken Schrader
Time of Race: 1 hour, 48 minutes, 14 seconds
Average speed: 76.438 m.p.h.
Margin of victory: .350 second
Caution flags: 9 for 49 laps
Lead changes: 7 among 5 drivers
Lap leaders: R. Hornaday Jr. 1; M. Skinner 2-22; R. Hornaday Jr. 23-79; R. Hornaday Jr. 1; M. Skinner 2-22; R. Hornaday Jr. 23-79; J. Benson 80; W. Allen 81-103; T. Kvapil 104-169; R. Hornaday Jr. 170-201.
Last year, Johnny Benson won for the third time in 2006, as he crossed the finish line, just 0.492 of a second ahead of Jack Sprague. Starting from the 22nd position, Benson worked his way towards the front and finally claimed the lead on the final lap, ashe outsprinted Sprague for the win, the third of his career. Sprague dominated the race early, leading the first 36 laps. Ron Hornaday Jr took over for the next 27 laps, but failed to finish due to an accident, placing 33rd. Todd Bodine and Mike Skinner enjoyed success in the middle section of the race, as Bodine led from laps 79-99 and Skinner from 100-149. Bodine reclaimed the lead on lap 150, but was passed on the final lap and placed eighth, while Skinner finished 17th.
A victory in this week's Toyota Tundra 200 will make Ron Hornaday Jr the only competitor to sweep all three concrete-surfaced tracks on the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule. Hornaday won June's AAA Insurance 200 at Dover International Speedway and counts a pair of victories at Bristol Motor Speedway.
In 2005, David Reutimann defeated Ted Musgrave by less than a second for his first career victory. The win came in his 41st race on the Craftsman Truck Series and was the 17th top-10 of his career.
The Toyota Tundra 200 twice has been won from the pole - Scott Riggs in 2001 and Bliss the following year. Benson started 22nd in 2006, deepest in the field by a race winner.
Although never a winner here in six tries, Ted Musgrave has posted five top-3 results in this race, including three runner-up finishes and six top-5's. Benson will attempt to become the first back-to-back and multiple champion of this race. Carl Edwards and Mike Bliss are the only other past winners of this race in the field.
After a week off, the Craftsman Truck Series championship returns August 22nd for the O'Reilly 200, where Mark Martin captured the 2006 race.
Re: Toyota 200 News and Notes
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series News and Notes - Toyota Tundra 200
For Johnny Benson (No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota), his victory in the 2006 Toyota Tundra 200 was a case of being in the right place at the right time.
Benson never held the lead until the final trip around Nashville Superspeedway’s 1.333-mile concrete surface and found third place the place to be in a green-white-checkered shoot-out.
The winner’s success came at the expense of teammate Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) and 2006 series champion Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota), who had traded the lead four times over the race’s final 72 laps before contact left both trucks wedged against the Turn 3 wall.
Benson’s success marked the second time in the 2006 season the race winner led only the final lap. Ironically, Bodine measured Skinner in the same manner in June at Texas Motor Speedway.
The outcome of the race didn’t blunt Bodine’s charge to the championship – he still wound up with a finish of eighth while Skinner dropped to 17th.
But he and his team still think about the finish.
“We classify it as a ‘laughable memory’ and we put it behind us,” said Bodine. “Mike says we’re both boneheads, but we know better than that! We’ve chalked it up to hard-headed racing.”
And the message to Nashville fans? Don’t leave early.
Hornaday Needs Win To Sweep Concrete Speedways
A victory in Saturday’s Toyota Tundra 200 will make Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet) the only competitor to sweep all three concrete-surfaced tracks on the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule.
Hornaday won June’s AAA Insurance 200 at Dover International Speedway and counts a pair of victories at Bristol Motor Speedway.
To complete the sweep, the 49-year-old Californian will have to rebound from last year’s 33rd-place finish. Hornaday was knocked out of the Toyota Tundra 200 by accident after leading 27 laps.
Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota) can complete a sweep of all four Tennessee tracks on which the series has competed – Nashville Superspeedway, Music City Motorplex, Memphis Motorsports Park and Bristol.
Travis Kvapil (No. 6 K&N Engineering Ford) can complete the sweep of the three currently scheduled tracks in the Volunteer State. He has two wins in Memphis and a victory at Bristol in 2003.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Concrete Speedway Winners (Active Drivers) Driver Wins 1. Ron Hornaday Jr. 3 2. Mark Martin 2 3. Mike Bliss 1 Johnny Benson 1 Kyle Busch 1 Travis Kvapil 1 Mark Martin 1 Joe Ruttman 1 Mike Skinner 1 Jack Sprague 1
Mom Goes Over The Wall To Aid Son’s Nashville Effort
Leave it to mom.
With regular rear tire carrier Joe Szwaczkowski absent due to emergency surgery – and no other licensed NASCAR crew member available – Patricia “Tree” Stout will join the over-the-wall crew for son J.C. Stout’s (No. 91 Sterling Trucks Chevrolet) race this Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway.
Normally, Mrs. Stout is the team’s “mom” away from home who makes sure the team is well-fed and hydrated. She’ll still perform those duties but once racetime comes, Mrs. Stout will don a firesuit.
“I have to do whatever is needed to keep J.C. going,” she said.
Added Don Stout, her husband and the team’s manager, “In the face of adversity, you have to make lemons into lemonade.”
Driver J.C. Stout said, “She can do whatever she puts her mind to, and I love her for being willing to do this for me and our team.”
The mother and son as over-the-wall crew member and driver is believed to be a first in a NASCAR national series.
* Bobby Hamilton Racing will hold its 7th Annual Open House on Thursday evening. Tickets are $5 with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. Driver Ken Schrader (No. 18 Fastenal Dodge) will make his first NASCAR start at Nashville Superspeedway – the last track on the 2007 schedule at which he is a “rookie.” “I ran the first event ever held at the Nashville Superspeedway,” said Schrader. “It was an ARCA race and we won. I am not sure why, but they did not present us with the guitar. I guess it was not given to the ARCA winner at that time. I was truly heartbroken. Everyone wants to win that guitar. I don’t think you will meet a driver in the garage area who doesn’t have that trophy on their list.” * Rick Crawford (No. 14 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford) and David Starr (No. 10 MAXXForce Ford) agree with Schrader. “The guitar in Nashville is one of the most coveted trophies in all of racing,” said Crawford, who finished second in 2002. “A few years ago, we were close, but no guitar!” said Starr. * Ted Musgrave (No. 9 Team ASE Toyota) finished fourth in last year’s Toyota Tundra 200 – his worst performance in six tries that include a trio of seconds. “You have to drive that race track a little different than what it looks like. I don’t want to give out the secrets, but I kind of drive it different maybe than a lot of drivers,” he said. * David Green (No. 1 RFMS/Red Horse Racing Toyota) “doubled” in Nashville winning NASCAR Busch Series races at the fairgrounds in 1995 and Nashville Superspeedway. “Never did I dream that I’d have a shot at winning at the new track and to do that in 2003, as you can imagine, it makes Nashville one of my favorite places that we go,” said Green. Sprague also won a NASCAR Busch race at Nashville Superspeedway in 2002.
Craftsman Posts Lap 80 Leader Prize
As Craftsman celbrates its 80th anniversary in August, the Official Tools of NASCAR will offer a special bonus for teams competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
For both events run in that month, at Nashville Superspeedway and Bristol Motor Speedway, the team leading the race on Lap 80 will receive an additional $8,000 prize.
“We wanted to do something in the series to mark this important milestone for Craftsman,” said Scott Howard, manager, sponsorships and sales promotion for Sears Holdings. “The competition in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is always intense, but for these two races there is another dimension to deal with.
“The drivers and crew chiefs will have to manage setups, strategy and pit stops around being in front at Lap 80 as well as the end.”
No doubt the award is particularly appealing to series standings leader Mike Skinner, who has led at least one lap in each of the 14 races in 2007.
“This is a pretty cool deal,” he said. “It’s always neat to win an award. Obviously, I hope the No. 5 truck is leading the race on the 80th lap.”
Manufacturer Leader Two-For-Four In Music City
With more than 8,000 Toyota employees expected to attend Saturday’s Toyota Tundra 200, it would seem important that the product they build winds up in Victory Lane.
And two out of three times since Toyota joined the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, it has.
David Reutimann scored his first victory at Nashville Superspeedway in 2005 with Johnny Benson following a year ago.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Manufacturers' Championship
Toyota 101 Chevrolet 84 Ford 80 Dodge 43
Quotable: “Kevin and DeLana (Harvick) didn’t hire me to sit back and ride around. If there is a truck in front of me, I am going to pass them somehow.” – Ron Hornaday Jr., on how he plans to run the remaining 21 races in pursuit of his third NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title.
In The Loop
For certain, Mike Skinner welcomes the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series’ return to Nashville Superspeedway. The track suits Skinner perfectly – big, wide open and fast.
Skinner, coming off a 20th-place finish at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, has had success in the past at Nashville.
He won the pole there in 2005 en route to a fourth-place finish, and last year led a race-high 50 laps (he finished 17th). Over the past two years, Skinner sits atop a number of key statistical categories.
Skinner is first in Driver Rating (133.3), the top Average Running Position (2.4), the most Fastest Laps Run (56) and the highest number of Laps in the Top 15 (295).
Ron Hornaday Jr., who closed to within 77 points of Skinner with his win at ORP, will have to improve on recent Nashville finishes if he wants to keep pace with the points leader. He has an average finish at Nashville of 22.5. He has a Nashville Driver Rating of 86.3 (15th-best), an Average Running has a Position of 17.6 (23rd-best) and has spent only 112 of the 301 total laps over the past two years in the top 15.
Johnny Benson, the defending champion of this event, Nashville Driver Rating of 110.4 and an Average Running Position of 8.0. He also has 277 Laps in the Top 15, which is second-most to Skinner.
This Week’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Leaders (Through 14 races of the 25-race season)
* Points leader – Mike Skinner (2,346) * Driver Rating – Mike Skinner (121.8) * Winnings – Mike Skinner ($490,750) * Laps led – Mike Skinner (811) * Victories – Mike Skinner (4) * Bud Poles – Mike Skinner (7) * Top-five finishes – Mike Skinner (11) * Top-10 finishes – Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday Jr. (13) * Raybestos Rookie Leader – Tim Sauter (7 points over Willie Allen) * Races led – Mike Skinner (14) * Weeks in Top 10 – Nine drivers tied with 14
Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings
With just 16 points covering the top three Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidates heading to Nashville, the battle for top freshman honors is expected to get even closer. The Toyota Tundra 200 is the season’s 15th race – and the first in which Tim Sauter, Willie Allen and Blake Bjorklund can begin disposing of “worst finishes.” The championship is based upon a candidate’s 14 best finishes plus end-of-season bonus points.
Driver Points 1. Tim Sauter 119 2. Willie Allen 112 3. Blake Bjorklund 103 4. Joey Clanton 79 5. Jason White 69 6. Kelly Bires 49 7. Peter Shepherd 32 8. Kevin Hamlin 26 9. Casey Kingsland 5 10. Brian Sockwell 1
Up Next: Bristol Motor Speedway
One of the biggest mid-week attractions in motorsports will be staged for the fifth time Aug. 22 when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series invades the reconfigured Bristol Motor Speedway. Upwards of 60,000 fans will head for Thunder Valley to witness what has become a “can’t miss” event on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck schedule.
This year’s race – the 10th at the East Tennessee facility – will be the first for NASCAR on Bristol’s new, compound banking. The previous concrete surface was removed after March’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Food City 500. Two days of testing several weeks ago found 2003 O’Reilly 200 winner Travis Kvapil atop the speed charts with a lap of 119.626 mph, closely followed by fellow NASCAR Craftsman Truck champion Ted Musgrave at 119.321.
Mark Martin is the defending winner of the O’Reilly 200 and is expected to compete in this year’s race.
Next Race: Toyota Tundra 200 The Place: Nashville Superspeedway The Date: Aug. 111 The Time: 6:30 p.m. (ET) TV: SPEED 6:00 p.m. (ET) Track Layout: 1.33-mile oval Race Purse: $484,584 2006 Winner: Johnny Benson 2006 Pole: Erik Darnell
2007 Standings: No. Driver Pts 1 Skinner 2,346 2 Hornaday Jr. 2,269 3 Bodine 2,100 4 Kvapil 2,095 5 Benson 1,896 6 Crawford 1,891 7 Sprague 1,767 8 Musgrave 1,728 9 Crafton 1,692 10 Darnell 1,613
Schedule: Friday – Practice 2:15 – 3:15 p.m., 3:45 – 4:15 p.m. (rookies) and 4:15 – 5:15 p.m. Saturday – Qualifying 12:30 p.m.
Re: Toyota 200 News and Notes
SKINNER: Brings Proven Chassis to Nasville
Mike Skinner has proven his knack for Nashville, having collected one top-five finish and two top-10 finishes in just three short starts. Skinner also captured the pole at the Superspeedway in 2005.
This week’s race truck for Nashville Superspeedway is Chassis No. 5-97. This is the same truck Skinner won and dominated with in Kentucky just last month.
Mike Skinner on racing at Nashville Superspeedway: “I love going to Nashville. It is a very exciting place for us to race. The racetrack and the fans treat us great there. Last year we ran well, even though the finish was not so good. I am looking forward to racing there again this year, hopefully with a different outcome though.”
“Nashville is an important race to us because Toyota is big there. We always have a ton of Toyota employees show up and we hope we can put on another great show this year.”
Skinner along with his BDR teammate, Ryan Mathews tested last week at Richmond International Raceway. Skinner’s truck ran very well and the No. 5 team is ready to get things underway this weekend.
Skinner leads the series in a number of categories. He has the top marks in Driver Rating (121.8), Average Running Position (4.6), Fastest Laps Run (331), Laps in the Top 15 (2,227 of 2,356) and Laps Led (810 laps, 867.98 miles).
Re: Toyota 200 News and Notes
Driver to win the Toyota Tundra 200
701 Ron Hornaday +400
702 Mike Skinner +450
703 Travis Kvapil +600
704 Todd Bodine +700
705 Johnny Benson +700
706 Rick Crawford +1200
707 Ted Musgrave +1200
708 Jack Sprague +1500
709 Erik Darnell +1500
710 Aric Amarola +1500
711 Dennis Setzer +2000
712 Mike Bliss +2000
713 Jon Wood +2000
714 Matt Crafton +2000
715 Brendan Gaughan +2500
716 David Green +3000
717 David Starr +5000
718 Terry Cook +5000
719 Field +2000
Re: Toyota 200 News and Notes
CHEVY REPORT: Nashville News and Notes
Willie Allen, No. 13 Josh Turner/Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau/National Pork Board Silverado fielded by ThorSport Racing, has a very full plate. Being the hometown NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) driver at the upcoming August 11, 2007 race at Nashville Superspeedway (NSS) has yielded a whirlwind of activity for the 27 year-old Tennessee native.
Allen's strong tie to country music will be evident with Josh Turner, one of the hottest male singers in the industry right now, signing on as his sponsor for the event. Allen and Turner met through the agency that represents the careers of both young talents. Allen, who will be making just his second start at his hometown track, will also carry the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau on his Silverado race truck.
"It's always exciting when you come back to race in your hometown," said Allen. "You always want to do well in front of your family and friends. Josh Turner and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau will be sponsors on the truck for this race. They have been big supporters of mine throughout my career. They sponsored me last year in a Busch and ARCA race. I'm really excited about having them on the truck along with the National Pork Board. I think it's a great fit for the Nashville race and I'm thankful for their sponsorship once again. It's going to be fun racing at the Nashville Superspeedway. We raced there last year in an ARCA car and had a top 5 finish. I really fell in love with the track and can't wait to get back on it."
Turner will perform a post race concert at the Nashville Superspeedway immediately following the Toyota Tundra 200. The show is being presented by Turner's tour sponsor Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.
Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 Camping World Silverado, has made a season of capturing some of the most unique trophies for the winner's of a NCTS race. Hornaday, who cut the difference between his second place spot in the standings and the points leader in half with his win at O'Reilly Raceway Park, is looking to add the beautiful guitar awarded to a NSS winner by scoring his first NCTS win at the 1.333-mile tri-oval.
"We just have to keep doing what we are doing --crossing our T's and dotting our I's," said the two-time NCTS champion. "Mike Skinner (current points leader) is going to be tough to beat. We have to keep doing what we have been doing thus far and the points will fall where they fall.
"We had a dominant truck last year at Nashville. We blew a right front, fixed it and went back out. Then we blew another right front and killed the truck. I'd really like to take home that guitar."
Aric Almirola will make his second NCTS start of 2007, this time behind the wheel of the No. 47 Ginn Resorts Silverado fielded by Morgan-Dollar Motorsports. Saturday's race will mark Almirola's fourth start at the concrete track. His first start came in the NCTS last season and in two NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) starts in 2007, the Tampa, FL native notched a top-10 finish.
"I really like Nashville," said Almirola. "It is fast and a fun place to race. I don't have the experience there that a lot of the guys do, but I learned a lot more in the two NBS races I ran this year. I have a lot of confidence in Eric (Phillips) and everyone at Morgan-Dollar. I know I will have a great truck to race. I am just grateful for this opportunity to run the truck. I love racing in the NCTS. It is tough, hard racing against some of the absolute best drivers in the business. You really have to be up on the wheel and focused from the time the green flies until the checkered falls. It is just good, competitive racing like I had in my modified and late model.
"We are going to do all we can to get a strong finish for Ginn Resorts and all the folks at Morgan-Dollar Motorsports."
If it weren't for bad luck, Brendan Gaughan, No. 77 South Point Hotel Silverado, and his teammates would have no luck at all so far this season. The Las Vegas-based driver has had some excellent runs virtually every race thus far this season, but the finishing position stat doesn't reflect those efforts.
"The truck we are taking to Nashville is the same truck we raced at Kentucky, so we know we have a solid Chevrolet Silverado to race this weekend," Gaughan said. "With all the assistance that we have been getting from Chevrolet lately, I think our aero program - which is important at Nashville - is definitely on par with anybody else. We just have to go to Nashville, find a high groove and try to go run top five again and not have something stupid happen.
"The pit crew guys have been solid for me. The guys at the shop have done a phenomenal job of staying ahead of the game this year. I think we have a lot of good positives here. But that monkey is still just clawing onto our back. Tenth place at Indy last week helps. We'll just see if we can shake a little more of our bad luck this weekend."
Allen's teammate, Matt Crafton, No. 88 Menards Silverado, joins Gaughan in the running well but not getting the finishes to show for the effort category. Sitting ninth in the point standings, Crafton is looking to turn the season around and heading toward the front at Nashville.
"We have had some strong Silverados this year," said Crafton. "We have qualified well, run up front and then had something crazy happen to drop us in the finishing order. But there is no give-up in this team. We had a solid run with a top-10 finish at Nashville last year. I really like the track. We are just going to keep doing what we have been doing and see if we can't get past the point in the race where we seem to have something weird happen-a flat-tire, caught-up in someone else's wreck or whatever it has been."
Tim Sauter, No. 07 Lester Buildings/ASI Silverado, will make his eighth career start at NNS but his first in NCTS competition. In NBS competition, he has one top-10 finish in seven starts. Sauter and Allen are battling hard for the NCTS Raybestos Rookie of the Year title. At this point, Sauter holds a slight advantage.
"I've always enjoyed running at the concrete tracks," said Sauter. "I've had a few good runs at Nashville in the Busch car but only one top-10 to show for it. At the beginning of the year we struggled on the intermediate tracks but we've learned quite a bit over the last few races, so we'll be alright."
* Chevrolet Silverado drivers have scored one win in the six previous NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events at Nashville Superspeedway
* Team Chevy Silverado has four wins in 2007 Ron Hornaday, Jr.: Three wins - Lowe's Motor Speedway, Dover International Speedway, O'Reilly Raceway Park
Dennis Setzer, Mansfield Motorsports Park
* After 14 races, Silverado brand is second in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Manufacturers' standings and two drivers are in top-10 in point standings:Ron Hornaday, Jr. - Second, 77 points out of leadMatt Crafton - Ninth
* 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 200 News and Notes
Nashville News and Notes
The Toyota Tundra 200 NCTS race is scheduled for Saturday at the Nashville Superspeedway. Nine Tundra drivers will be vying to win the race on the 1.33-mile oval in front of a strong contingent of Toyota associates and fans. Tundras have won the last two races at Nashville. Reutimann won his first NASCAR race at Nashville in 2005, while Benson was victorious a year ago. The ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Nashville Friday night is also the Toyota ARCA 150.
After 14 of 25 races, five Tundra drivers currently sit in the top-eight in the NCTS championship point standings. Mike Skinner remains in control of the points lead, but now only by 77 points over Ron Hornaday. He is being chased by fellow Tundra drivers Todd Bodine (third), Benson (fifth), Jack Sprague (seventh) and Ted Musgrave (eighth) as the series heads to Nashville Superspeedway for the Toyota Tundra 200.
It was the case of ‘right place, right time’ for Tundra driver Johnny Benson at Nashville in 2006. Taking the white flag in third-place, Benson watched as fellow Tundra drivers Mike Skinner and Todd Bodine made contact while battling for the lead. The tangle allowed Benson to slip by for the victory, his third of the season and first at Nashville Superspeedway.
“Winning that Nashville race was awesome for our guys,” said Benson. “We obviously didn’t have the fastest truck in the race, but sometimes, that’s how things shake out. We were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time to get the win. It was cool to win for all of the Toyota associates that were there and all the fans, and I would like to do that again this year. We’re bringing a truck there that we think can compete for the victory, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
After his contact with Skinner on the last lap, Tundra driver Bodine finished eighth in last year’s Toyota Tundra 200 at Nashville, and admits that he and Skinner will never forget that race. “We remember it every week,” says Bodine. “We classify it as a ‘laughable memory’ and we put it behind us. Mike says we’re both boneheads, but we know better than that. We’ve chalked it up to hard-headed racing, and we’ll go to Nashville and race each other like we do anywhere. We never plan on mistakes like that – but we probably expect hard racing out of each other.”
Ted Musgrave, driver of the No. 9 Team ASE Tundra, has one of the best driving records at Nashville Superspeedway. In six NCTS starts on the Tennessee oval, Musgrave has never finished outside the top-five. The only thing missing is a win. Musgrave has finished second three times (2001, 2003 and 2005), third twice (2002 and 2004) and fourth a year ago.
“To say you’ve raced at a track six times and your worst finish is fourth is pretty strong,” says Musgrave. “I like race tracks that are a little unique and that have some different quality, and Nashville is certainly unique. You have to drive that race track a little different than what it looks like. I don’t want to give out the secrets, but I think I drive it different maybe than a lot of drivers. The track is a challenge, but there are a lot of grooves you can use to get around it.”
Defending NCTS champion Todd Bodine (Bo-DINE) will travel to the ‘Volunteer State’ early this week, making a special visit to the Bodine Aluminum, Inc. facility in Jackson, Tenn. Bodine (Bo-DEEN), a St. Louis-based manufacturing company which was established as a Toyota company in 1990, produces cylinder heads, engine brackets, cylinder blocks, intake manifolds, lower cases and carrier covers for a variety of Toyota vehicles. The Bodine Aluminum plant in Tennessee -- which opened in 2005 -- is 130 miles from Nashville and employs nearly 1,000 people. Bodine, driver of the No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Tundra, will meet with associates and take a tour of the facility on Wednesday, Aug. 8.
Re: Toyota 200 News and Notes
Hornish and Castroneves fail expectations
August 8, 2007
BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) -The gold standard of open wheel racing has lost its luster this season.
Team Penske drivers Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves are fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Indy Racing League's points standings.
Both are having relatively solid seasons, but agree the results are not acceptable when the famed Roger Penske is your boss.
``I would say that's a fair assessment,'' Hornish said.
Hornish won the IRL title last season for an unprecedented third time. He had four wins, including the Indianapolis 500, and two-time Indy winner Castroneves also had four victories.
This year, each has only one win - trailing four drivers with multiple victories.
``Weird,'' Castroneves said. ``That's the word I would use.''
Or, perhaps it's just parity.
``Last year, they kicked us basically,'' said series leader Dario Franchitti, who drives for Andretti Green Racing. ``Now, week in and week out AGR, Team Penske, Ganassi Racing or one of the smaller teams can win.
``With the same chassis, tires and engines it's just really close.''
For the first time, IRL teams have been required to use the same chassis, tires and engines in every race other than the Indy 500, where an alternate chassis was an option.
Castroneves has started from the pole six times - tripling his nearest competitor and tying an IRL record - but he's winless since April 1.
``We had the pole in Japan and started good, then it went bad,'' he said. ``At Indianapolis, we were doing extremely well and then the rain came. Then, more weird things like a wing coming off have happened all year.
``Now, if you have to take a chance to win a race you do because we don't worry about points for the championship.''
Hornish's lone win this season, the 19th of his career, was two months ago in Texas.
``It's been a multitude of small things, from running out of fuel to me making a mistakes or being in the wrong place at the wrong time,'' he said. ``It has all added up to us not being happy about where we're at after winning three championships in seven years.''
Hornish might not stick around the IRL long enough to shoot for a fourth title.
He reiterated last week that there's a 50-50 chance he will make the switch to NASCAR, racing for Penske's Nextel Cup team next year. Hornish has raced in several Busch series races since late last season, giving him a better feel for stock cars.
``The allure of it is the challenge, to see if you can go over there and be competitive enough to race for wins and championships,'' he said. ``The fact that not many have made the transition successfully might discourage other guys, but it makes me even more interested to see if I can do it.''
While it sounds as if Hornish is leaning toward making the jump, even his teammate doesn't know for sure. And it's not for the lack of trying to get the scoop.
``I tried to squeeze some information, saying 'C'mon! We're teammates,''' Castroneves said with a hearty laugh. ``I hope he stays on the team because he's a good asset.
``It's just a matter of getting comfortable, so he's doing some races with Roger to make sure it's the right decision. He doesn't have anything to prove to anybody, but I have to say it's a different game over there.''
Castroneves, whose fantastic personality would be more well known if he were in NASCAR, is happy in the IRL.
``I'm on a fantastic team and I still feel I can do better at Indy and there's also a championship I've been looking at for so many years. I have goals,'' he said. ``To leave right now, it would be like leaving something empty behind.
``Do I want to do it now? I would probably say, 'No.' I would never say never because NASCAR is popular in America and financially it's bigger. But you're running many, many more races so there is a balance.''
With just four races left - including this weekend in Kentucky - Castroneves hopes to refresh memories by climbing a fence after a victory now that NASCAR's Tony Stewart has mimicked his signature celebration following a victory last month at the Brickyard.
Castroneves said he was watching the race at Indy on TV and was hoping to hear broadcasters Rusty Wallace or Dr. Jerry Punch mention his name when Stewart and his team scaled the fence.
``I was expecting Rusty or Dr. Punch to say something because that was exactly what we did,'' he said. ``I was like, 'They didn't say that. I don't like that.'
``I spoke with Stewart already and he said, 'I do it different. I'm going to catch the checkered flag.'''
Castroneves then joked that the patent is pending on his fence-climbing celebration.
``As long as they don't say, 'He's doing the Stewart move,''' he said. ``I will be like, 'Hold your horses, cowboy.'''
Re: Toyota 200 News and Notes
Musgrave brings string of strong finishes to Nashville
Ted Musgrave must enjoy seeing Nashville Superspeedway on the Craftsman Truck Series schedule, even though he's often been relegated to bridesmaid status at the track.
As the Germain Racing driver prepares for this weekend's Toyota Tundra 200 at the track, he does so with a little extra confidence. In six truck races at the track, he has never finished outside the top five.
On the other hand, he's never won there either. Musgrave has three second-place finishes (2001, 2003 and 2005), has been third twice (2002 and 2004) and was fourth at the track last year.
Can he continue the streak this weekend?
"To say you've raced at a track six times and your worst finish is fourth is pretty strong," says Musgrave. "I like race tracks that are a little unique and that have some different quality, and Nashville is certainly unique. You have to drive that race track a little different than what it looks like.
"I don't want to give out the secrets, but I think I drive it different maybe than a lot of drivers. The track is a challenge, but there are a lot of grooves you can use to get around it."
Re: Toyota 200 News and Notes
Who to Watch: Nashville
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to action after a week off, and the teams and drivers head to Nashville Superspeedway for one of the most unique challenges they face all season long. The 1.33-mile tri-oval seems routine enough, but the concrete racing surface offers up a narrow groove and an ultra-slick surface outside that groove that often leads to problems.
Last year it came down to a shootout between Todd Bodine and Mike Skinner, and when they started bumping one another on the last lap it opened the door for Johnny Benson to celebrate with the Gibson guitar on victory lane.
Here are our driver capsules for the Toyota Tundra 200 at Nashville Superspeedway:
Josh Wise, No. 00 Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota: Wise has started to catch on to racing with a roof. He finished second in the ARCA race at Pocono and for the first time truly looked like a threat to win. The competition is much more steep in the Truck Series, but added experience and driver comfort should allow this combination to move from a top-20 contender to a top-10 contender.
David Green, No. 1 RFMS/Red Horse Racing Toyota: Green came out of his first Truck Series short track start in a decade with a respectable 15th-place finish at ORP. Toyota really flexes its muscles on intermediate tracks, and Green is a former Busch Series winner at Nashville. However, other than the win and a second-place result in the two Busch races in 2003, Green hasn't finished in single digits in any other event at NSS. He was 11th in the Busch race there in June.
Mike Bliss, No. 4 Dodge Motorsports/Open Joist Dodge: Bliss has finished in the top ten in more than half of his starts this season. Remarkably, he's managed to rack up top tens for all three of the teams he's driven for in 2007. In his last five starts, his worst finish is 11th, that coming last time out at Indianapolis. His average finish over that span is 7.6, and he should continue that streak on this weekend at Nashville. Bliss is also a former winner at NSS, starting from the pole and winning the race in 2002.
Mike Skinner, No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota: Skinner once seemed like he was going to finish in the top ten in every race in 2007, but that streak came to an end with an uncharacteristic 20th at ORP. He's still averaging a 4.7 finish throughout the year, and amazingly only has just that ORP result as his only finish lower than eighth all season long. The results say he finished 17th at NSS last year but he took the white flag running second. He should be a threat for another top-five this weekend.
Travis Kvapil, K&N Filters Ford: Kvapil has four starts at Nashville and has two top ten finishes - a fifth in 2001 and a ninth in 2003. His last start at the concrete tri-oval was in 2004 when he finished 13th. Kvapil has been on a tear lately, racking up eight straight finished of eighth or better with two wins thrown in for good measure. Kvapil and crew will be tough, and could be celebrating their third win on Saturday night.
Jason White, No. 7 Hooters Energy Drink Dodge: White's crew chief Barry Dodson said all of the work to make the switch to Dodge was well worth it for the technical support alone. White has faced a steep learning curve and that manufacturer support will help him shorten that curve considerably. This team can concentrate on race setups in practice and that should help them here too.
Tim Sauter, No. 07 Lester Buildings Chevrolet: Sauter's team has turned the corner and is showing some strength on all types of tracks. The only thing they are lacking is that little bit of racing luck. It seems if there is any bit of race strategy involved, an ill-time caution goes against this team and ruins their chance for a top ten. With a little luck on their side, this team could get that first top ten finish this week.
Blake Bjorklund, No. 8 Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Chevrolet: More engine troubles sidelined Bjorklund at Indianapolis, giving this team their fifth consecutive finish outside the top 20. Completing all the laps with no problems would go a long way to getting their season back on track.
Chad McCumbee, No. 08 TheGPSStore.com/Garmin Chevrolet: McCumbee stunned everyone qualifying on the front row at Nashville last year, and he claimed an ARCA win here in April. He finished seventh last summer, and while this team has faced some hardships in 2007 coming back to a track where they ran so well last season will give them some hope for a good finish.
Ted Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota: In six previous Nashville starts, Musgrave has never finished lower than fourth. He has three runner-up finishes but is still looking for that first win. Toyota is extremely strong on intermediate tracks, and Musgrave is hungry. Look for them to be near the front in the final 10 laps.
Joey Clanton, No. 09 Zaxby's Ford: Clanton went five starts without a top ten, but finally cracked back in with a seventh-place finish at Kentucky his last time out. This is the first of three straight races in the seat. Look for a competitive run from this team.
David Starr, No. 10 International MaxxForce Diesel Ford: Starr racked up back-to-back top-five finishes in 2003 and 2004, leading 39 laps en route to a second-place finish in '04. Since then, his best finish has been 17th. Starr has been on a consistent streak of top-15 finishes since his fifth-place finish at Texas in June. Look for another top-15 run from this team this weekend.
Willie Allen, No. 13 ThorSport Racing Chevrolet: Allen needs a boost to get over some of the bad luck he's had this season, and racing in front of the home crowd could be it. This team finished eleventh with Kerry Earnhardt last season. Look for Allen to be among the top 15 throughout the day.
Rick Crawford, No. 14 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford: Crawford ended a mini streak of bad luck with a strong finish last time out at ORP. His four finishes of 23rd or worse this season mean he's likely outside the hunt for the championship, but a top-five finish in the standings is still a strong possibility. But Crawford has yet to rack up that first win of the season, and that's what's important for him. He should be strong at Nashville, where he's had three top-three finishes in the past. But he's also finished outside the top 20 in two of his last three starts there.
Bill Lester, No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevrolet: Lester has had five top-20s in the last six races, including a season best eighth at Kentucky. But this team is looking for more than that, and Nashville could be the place for it. Lester had a chance at victory snatched away on a late race restart in 2005, but even after nearly crashing ended up seventh. Look for a strong qualifying run and a finish in the front half of the field.
Kenny Hendrick, No. 16 Xpress Motorsports Ford: Hendrick was the pleasant surprise of the ORP race. He was finally given the green light to race all night, and he came home with a respectable 19th-place finish. This team is still light on funds, but if they have a chance to race to the end at Nashville, Hendrick could again rack up a solid top-20 finish.
Ken Schrader, No. 18 Fastenal Dodge: BHR has always had a bounce of energy when racing in front of the home crowd, and expect the same this weekend. Schrader doesn't have any previous NCTS starts at Nashville Superspeedway but he'll be up to speed quickly. A top-five run for this team will be extremely popular, and with the way BHR has performed recently it's not outside the realm of possibility.
Jon Wood, No. 21 Wood/jtg Racing Ford: Wood has two top-10 finishes at Nashville, with a seventh in 2003 as his best. He got bounced around a bit at ORP but Nashville should offer a little more racing room. This team has been strong on the intermediates this season and should be among the top dozen or so at the end.
Ryan Mathews, No. 22 Bill Davis Racing Toyota: Mathews will face the challenge of Nashville Superspeedway for the first time. His team has performed well with Bill Lester at the helm in past years, and Mathews has proven to be a quick learner. Look for this combination to be at or near the front at the end.
Johnny Benson, No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota: Benson was a surprise winner last year, taking advantage of last lap contact between Mike Skinner and Todd Bodine. Would it be a surprise this year? Unless it was handed to him in the same fashion, no it would not. Benson comes in off a runner-up finish at ORP and will be among the favorites at Nashville.
Todd Bodine, No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota: Bodine looked to have a win in his grasp last season, but contact with Mike Skinner dropped him from contention and nearly out of the top ten altogether. Even still, he finished eighth and combined with his third-place effort in 2005 Bodine has found the feel at Nashville. He could be hoisting the Gibson guitar in victory lane on Saturday night.
Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet: Although Skinner has been the poster boy for dominance in 2007, Hornaday has nearly matched him. His worst finish was an eleventh-place run at Atlanta in March, and he has an average finish of 5.0 through the first 14 races. He is fresh of his third win of the season, and that gives him added momentum coming into Nashville. He's never won in Nashville - the superspeedway or the short track - but he does have two second place finishes at the Fairgrounds. He's a solid bet to better that this weekend.
Brandon Miller, No. 40 Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet: Miller started on the front row of the Busch race in June 2005, but was sidelines early due to a crash. He's been steady in his two previous races for Curtis Key and could rack up another top ten finish this weekend.
Aric Almirola, No. 47 Ginn Resorts Chevrolet: Almirola gets more seat time in his move to the DEI/Ginn, this week wheeling the Morgan-Dollar truck. Almirola struggled at Nashville in 2006, finishing 22nd two laps off the pace. This team is fresh off their best run of the season at ORP and will be looking for more this weekend.
Danny O'Quinn, No. 50 Roush Fenway Racing Ford: The revolving door of drivers continues for the No. 50 team. O'Quinn becomes the fourth driver to take controls of the third Roush Fenway truck this season. They've been fast this season - Carl Edwards started from the pole and finished fourth at California and T.J. Bell was eighth at Charlotte - but they've gone through a lot of sheet metal too. O'Quinn is looking for seat time in anything he can find, and a good run will help his standing with the team.
Terry Cook, No. 59 Harris Trucking Toyota: Cook has three top ten finishes in his six NSS starts, including a tenth last season. He's been good, but never been able to crack into the top five. The HT Motorsports team has shown flashes of competitiveness this season, but is still in a growth phase. A solid run will help firm up that foundation, and could bolster Cook's chances at cracking the top ten in the series standings.
Jack Sprague, No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota: Sprague's first three starts at NSS in a Truck were nothing to write home about: a best finish of 14th sandwiched by two 21st place results. Last year he turned it all around with a second-place finish behind Johnny Benson. Sprague has had a rollercoaster year and is due for a good run.
Wayne Edwards, No. 71 FastTrack Racing Chevrolet: Edwards was supposed to wheel at ORP but was replaced at the last moment. He's always wanted a chance to go race, and this could be his chance. This team is new and still getting their feet under them, but with veteran leadership in Andy Hillenburg and Edwards behind the wheel they could score a decent finish.
Dennis Setzer, No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet: Setzer has three top-ten finishes including a fifth-place run in 2002, but hasn't had a sniff of the top ten since an eighth in 2003. He crashed just after the halfway point and ended up 35th last year. This team has struggled to find consistency this year, but always seems to find a way to crack the top 20 at the end.
Brendan Gaughan, No. 77 South Point Hotel Chevrolet: Gaughan has had a lot of success in the Music City, finishing no worse than sixth in his four previous starts here. He has two fifth-place runs as his best finish, and whenever the driver comes in with confidence that's always a plus. Gaughan's been on a rollercoaster this year as well, and like several others is due for a good run.
Matt Crafton, No. 88 Menards Chevrolet: Ask Crafton what his least favorite track is, and he'll tell you it's Nashville Superspeedway. He's finished in the top ten in half of the six races run there, and in the top 20 in five of the six. But the concrete surface and Crafton just don't seem to mesh. He's had seven top tens in the 14 races this season, and off the disappointment at ORP looks to rebound with a solid finish at his least favorite track.
J.C. Stout, No. 91 Sterling Trucks Chevrolet: Stout pulled off a strong qualifying run to make the show last year, and was doing well before rear end problems sent him to the garage early. He'll be in the show this year and can concentrate on race setups rather than qualifying setups. If he can run all day he could be the beneficiary of Nashville's usual high attrition rate.
Erik Darnell, No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford: Darnell finished 12th last year in his only Truck start at Nashville. He had a sure top five in an ARCA race taken away by a last lap crash in 2005. Darnell's season has started to turn around, but problems on pit stops haven't allowed him to finish as well as he's run. If he gets on and off pit road cleanly, he could wind up in the top five.
Pole: Mike Skinner. Tough to go against the Master, particularly at a track where Toyota's horsepower will shine.
Winner: Ron Hornaday. Hornaday and Rick Ren have been in the hunt all season, and Nashville suits the template of where they succeed just fine. They dominated at Dover, which like Nashville is concrete.
Remainder of the top five, in no particular order: Skinner, Rick Crawford, Todd Bodine, Johnny Benson.
Remainder of the top ten, in no particular order: Matt Crafton, Erik Darnell, Ken Schrader, Mike Bliss, Ted Musgrave.
Re: Toyota 200 News and Notes
Ho-hum Skinner wins another pole
August 11th, 2007
Lebanon, TN (Sports Network) - Mike Skinner captured the pole for this evening's Toyota Tundra 200 Craftsman Truck Series race at the Nashville Superspeedway. The 1995 series champion circled the 1.333-mile cement oval in 30.061 seconds (159.635 m.p.h.).
The pole victory was Skinner's eighth of the season and record 40th of his truck career. No other driver has more than one pole victory in 2007.
Starting alongside Skinner will be three-time series champion Jack Sprague, who posted a time of 30.128 seconds.
Defending series champion Todd Bodine (30.206) and Joey Clanton (30.215) will make up row two.
Skinner continues to dominate the Craftsman Truck Series leaderboard. The No.5 Bill Davis Toyota driver leads the series in points (2,346), driver rating (121.8), winnings ($490,750), laps led (811), wins (4), poles (8), top- fives (11) and races led (14).
Yet with all of these statistics, his lead is only 77 points over Ron Hornaday Jr. The Palmdale, CA native has also had a great year winning three times and earning 13 top-10s. His win total and top-10s are already more than he collected in all of 2006.
Hornaday Jr. is coming off a dominating win at O'Reilly Raceway Park, leading 90 of 201 laps en route to a 0.350-second win over Johnny Benson. Skinner finished 20th in the race, the first time all season that he failed to crack the top-10.
The race is set to drop the green flag tonight at 6:30 p.m. (et).
Re: Toyota 200 News and Notes
NASCAR-Craftsman Trucks-Toyota Tundra 200 Lineup
August 11, 2007
1. (5) Mike Skinner, Toyota, 159.635 mph.
2. (60) Jack Sprague, Toyota, 159.280.
3. (30) Todd Bodine, Toyota, 158.869.
4. (09) Joey Clanton, Ford, 158.822.
5. (00) Josh Wise, Toyota, 158.764.
6. (15) Bill Lester, Chevrolet, 158.423.
7. (9) Ted Musgrave, Toyota, 158.324.
8. (99) Erik Darnell, Ford, 158.324.
9. (13) Willie Allen, Chevrolet, 158.037.
10. (23) Johnny Benson, Toyota, 157.975.
11. (6) Travis Kvapil, Ford, 157.959.
12. (50) Danny OQuinn, Ford, 157.539.
13. (59) Terry Cook, Toyota, 157.451.
14. (33) Ron Hornaday Jr., Chevrolet, 157.379.
15. (8) Blake Bjorklund, Chevrolet, 157.348.
16. (4) Mike Bliss, Dodge, 157.281.
17. (22) Ryan Mathews, Toyota, 157.106.
18. (08) Chad McCumbee, Chevrolet, 156.777.
19. (77) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 156.736.
20. (75) Dennis Setzer, Chevrolet, 156.721.
21. (88) Matt Crafton, Chevrolet, 156.716.
22. (07) Tim Sauter, Chevrolet, 155.734.
23. (18) Ken Schrader, Dodge, 155.558.
24. (1) David Green, Toyota, 154.845.
25. (21) Jon Wood, Ford, 154.144.
26. (47) Aric Almirola, Chevrolet, 154.104.
27. (10) David Starr, Ford, 153.596.
28. (14) Rick Crawford, Ford, 152.687.
29. (04) Joe Ruttman, Dodge, 152.507.
30. (19) Travis Kittleson, Ford, 151.952.
31. (7) Jason White, Dodge, 151.765.
32. (71) Wayne Edwards, Chevrolet, 151.511.
33. (40) Brandon Miller, Chevrolet, 151.010.
34. (16) Kenny Hendrick, Ford, 149.179.
35. (91) J.C. Stout, Chevrolet, 148.735.
36. (06) Brandon Knupp, Chevrolet, 137.423.
Re: Toyota 200 News and Notes
Kvapil finishes strong for win in Nashville
August 11th, 2007
Lebanon, TN (Sports Network) - Mike Skinner led the first 102 laps, but Travis Kvapil finished with a rush to capture Saturday night's Toyota Tundra 200 Craftsman Truck Series race at the Nashville Superspeedway. The No.6 Roush Racing driver crossed the finish line more than one second ahead of Ron Hornaday Jr.
The victory was Kvapil's third of the season and eighth of his truck career.
Skinner brought the field to the green flag for 150 laps of truck racing. Skinner set a fast early pace and only Todd Bodine and Jack Sprague were within five seconds of the leader after just 20 laps.
Skinner had still been the race's only leader as the field crossed the 40-lap mark. He had lapped up to the 26th truck and held a five-second lead. But a caution flag quickly erased the lead on lap 42.
Everyone pitted and Skinner, who made no chassis changes, was first off pit road and ready to rebuild his lead.
The green flag dropped and off went Skinner. Meanwhile, Erik Darnell, who restarted in sixth, immediately dropped out of the top-20 with a severe handling problem, likely a tire going flat. Another caution flag slowed the field, but helped Darnell, who quickly came to pit lane for a new set of tires.
The race got back underway and again Skinner took off. One driver that was making progress in the chase of Skinner was Ron Hornaday Jr. who started 14th, but cracked the top-five by lap 60. And it was Hornaday Jr. who was second in the championship to Skinner and couldn't afford to let him runaway and hide from the field.
Skinner was still putting up a fast numbers, but Musgrave was staying with him this time, as the field passed the halfway point of the race. Musgrave was trying different lines and found one that he could keep up with Skinner, though passing didn't seem in the cards.
It was still a "two-horse race" after 100 laps as both Skinner and Musgrave built a one-second lead on Kvapil and Johnny Benson. Bodine and Hornaday Jr. were stuck in fifth and sixth, respectively but were not making any moves towards the leaders.
A caution flag just after halfway sent everyone down pit lane. Suddenly, Kvapil's truck came to life and within a couple of laps he not only caught Skinner, but made the pass for the lead.
"We made the right adjustments...and we saved our best tires for last," said Kvapil.
On lap 110 Benson blew a right-front tire and he slapped the outside wall to bring out a caution flag. Kvapil was first off pit lane with Hornaday Jr. in second and Skinner in third.
Kvapil stretched the lead to more than one second as the field hit the 115-lap mark, 35 laps to go. They were still one-two-three with 20 laps to go. Kvapil held 1.528 seconds on Hornaday Jr. and more than two seconds on Skinner as the laps dwindled to just 15.
Kvapil was still pounding out the quick laps and the gap between first and second was two seconds with 10 laps to go. Kvapil cruised to the checkered flag.
The next race in the series is set for Wednesday, August 22nd at the Bristol Motor Speedway.
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