Nascar Craftsman Truck Series Manufacturers Championship

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Racing events send nerve-racking action and excitement. This is why NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series manufacturers' championship is keeping racers and aficionados agitated at the same time excited. The emotions build up and it is expected to heighten in the afternoon of May 26 at the Mansfield Motorsports Park, where the momentous event will be held.

On the lead is Toyota with 48 points followed by Chevrolet and Ford, both with 33. On the fourth place is Dodge with 18 points. Last Saturday, Tundras led a total of 29 laps with lap leaders including Mike Skinner (21), Todd Bodine (one), and Allmendinger (seven). Allmendinger earned his career-best NCTS finished second, driving the No. 00 Aaron's Lucky Dog Tundra for Darrell Waltrip Racing.

Skinner retained the NCTS points lead with his eighth place finish. He leads fellow Tundra driver, Bodine, by 81 points. "Under the circumstances, it was a pretty good finish for our team. We hurt ourselves a little bit in the pits, but we were able to salvage a top-10 run. With about 40 laps to go, we came out of the pits with a bad vibration, and were lucky to catch another caution because those tires weren't going to make it the rest of the way," said Skinner, the driver of No. 5 Toyota Tundra, Bill Davis Racing.

Skinner added, "It's hard to points-race knowing we had a truck that could've competed for the win, but that's the breaks sometimes. We were on a roll early in the season and have showed a lot of speed throughout the year, so this finish isn't too bad. But, as a team, we're better than this. We know we have a chance to win every week."

"This is all a credit to the Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team because they had a lot of work to do after the spin in practice this morning. The truck was awesome tonight, but Ron (Hornaday) was just a tick better. If he would have made a mistake there at the end, I was going to be all over him. His truck was so good getting into the corners and mine was so good getting off the corners, basically he would stretch it out going into the corners and then I would match it coming off. I knew by ourselves, without him making any mistakes, it was going to be tough to get around him - but with two to go, you never know," said Allmendinger.

"I think that last green-white-checker was bad for us because with that last yellow, we had broken away from the other guys and I was going to use that cushion to try to work on him. But it took my truck a few laps to really get going and with that last restart, I was really concerned with Todd (Bodine) and the veteran, Mark Martin back there," Allmendinger added. "This gives me a lot of confidence for tomorrow night. After the year we've had, being close and making mistakes - this had shown probably a lot of people including myself that in a good truck, we can be competitive."

Todd Bodine, the driver for No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota Tundra, who finished third, has this to say: "We had a good run. We were a little too aero-tight there at the end and we've been trying some different things on our set-up and trying to learn from those things. I think we'll be alright with them over time. The team gave me some great pit stops tonight and they've all had a long day, but to come out of here with a third place finish - we've had a good day. We had the white helmet on in the truck tonight and we got a good finish so we might have to try the white helmet again and see how things work out."

"The truck came around there toward the end, but the track position meant so much because when you're back in the pack with these hard tires it's really hard to pass. We tried to make the best of it and it kind of got down to desperate times there at the end. We got a top-five for Team ASE and we'll move on from here and learn from this one," intimated Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing.

After three years in the race, Toyota is ready to chase the crown. This is why the Japanese automaker is sending its powerful Tundra with high hopes to accomplish said milestone. The pickup may not have the to boost maximum street performance but Tundra is powered by its superb "race-truck" attitude to dominate the track.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series transporters will participate in a parade through the city of Mansfield before parking at Mansfield Motorsports Park. The parade will begin at 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 24 at Sears at Richland Mall. The transporters will proceed to Park Avenue W in downtown Mansfield for the Street Festival from four to eight in the afternoon before heading to the race track.

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