September 2, 2007 - Fontana, CA - Tundra driver Johnny Benson scored his second straight victory -- and third of the season -- in Saturday afternoon's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) event at Gateway (Ill.) International Raceway outside St. Louis. Benson overcame a miscue on pit road by charging through the field in the summer heat to score Toyota's ninth NCTS win of 2007.
After entering pit road fourth on lap 59, Benson's No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra suffered a dropped lug nut on the pit stop which forced the Grand Rapids, Mich.-native back to pit road a second time, and relegated him to restart 21st. A determined Benson benefited from a long green flag run and was the fastest truck on the track, closing in on leader Ron Hornaday before a caution flag with 30 laps remaining.
Benson and Hornaday battled nose-to-tail for a handful of laps before Benson took the lead for good and held off a fast-closing Hornaday for his second victory in as many weeks. Benson had won the most recent race at Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 22) and won earlier this year at Milwaukee in June.
"We dropped a lug nut and had to come back in, and that was something that we didn't want to see," said Benson, following the race. "At that point in time, I believed it would've lost us the race. After I ran 10 laps, I thought that the truck was good enough to get back up there if it stayed green."
Benson led twice for a total of 32 laps on the 1.25-mile oval. The win was his eighth in a Tundra during his NCTS career. The win also marks Toyota's ninth victory in 2007, and 34th since joining the series in 2004.
Ted Musgrave finished third in the No. 9 Team ASE Tundra, followed by teammate Todd Bodine in fourth-place in the No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Tundra. Rookie Josh Wise posted his career best finish -- and eighth-place -- aboard the No. 00 Aaron's Lucky Dog Tundra.
Other Tundra drivers in the field included Ryan Mathews (18th), David Green (20th), Mike Skinner (28th), Terry Cook (30th) and Jack Sprague (32nd).
The next race on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule is September 15 at New Hampshire International Speedway.
Two Camry drivers -- Jason Leffler (14th) and David Reutimann (15th) -- finished in the top-15 in Saturday night's NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) race at California Speedway, but it was Toyota driver Brian Vickers who shined under the lights at the two-mile oval, especially during the first half of the race.
Vickers, driver of the No. 10 Ft. McDowell Resort Destination Camry, had the most impressive performance of the night despite finishing 27th. He ran with the leaders for the majority of the 150-lap event and led the field twice for 37 laps. Unfortunately, Vickers got caught in an accident with less than 25 laps remaining in the race, and was unable to return to the track.
"We had a really, really strong car -- especially on long runs," said Vickers, after retiring from the race. "We weren't as good as some guys the first 10, 15 or 20 laps, but the second half of the runs we were strong and we were fast. Coming in for four tires on the last pit stop was the right call. We were getting ready to smoke those guys who didn't get tires -- then we got caught in one of those accidents."
Leffler, who grew up in Long Beach, Calif., started 23rd in the No. 38 Great Clips Camry and ended up 14th. Reutimann started the evening 13th in the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Camry and finished 15th in his 150th career NASCAR start.
The next race on the Busch Series schedule is Friday, September 7 at Richmond International Raceway.
Team Red Bull drivers Brian Vickers and AJ Allmendinger collected a pair of top-20 finishes in Sunday evening's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS) race at California Speedway's two-mile oval -- the first two Toyotas to cross the finish line in the 250-lap event.
Vickers guided his No. 83 Red Bull Camry to an eighth-place result. He led three laps (166-168) and ran among the leaders throughout the evening en route to his fourth top-10 of the season.
"Top-tens are what we need to do," said Vickers, following the race. "It was a good finish -- that's how we're going to make up ground in the points. Making the race and finishing 43rd -- we aren't going to make any points.
"We had a carburetor problem that almost cost us tonight," added Vickers. "Early in the race, it cost us 25 or 30 spots at one point. It was mainly a steering issue down pit road and when we finally got that fixed -- it was great. For a while there every time we came to pit road under caution, turning out of the pit box it would stall."
Allmendinger recorded the best result of his NNCS career when he ended up 18th in his first stock car start at the Fontana, Calif.-oval. It was the first career top-20 finish for the Los Gatos, Calif.-native.
"This is the first race we got to complete fully without any problems," said Allmendinger, after the race. "To be in the top-20, that's really what we've been shooting for. To come here and have the Red Bull cars be the quickest Toyotas on the grid and to be the highest finishing Toyotas -- that's a big deal. These one-and-a-half and two-mile tracks are the ones I struggle on the most. So, to have my best career finish with no problems and get a top-20 out of it -- that's a big deal."
Other Camrys in Sunday's race included David Reutimann (32nd), Jeremy Mayfield (36th), Dave Blaney (38th) and Michael Waltrip (42nd).
California native Jimmie Johnson returned home and charged to his second career win at his ‘home' track in Sunday evening's race. The El Cajon, Calif.-native led 84 laps in the 250-lap event and finished ahead of runner-up Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch (third), Jeff Burton (fourth) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (fifth). It was Johnson's fifth win of the season -- his first win since Richmond in May -- and the 28th victory of his career.
The next race on the NEXTEL Cup Series schedule is Saturday, September 8 at Richmond International Raceway.
Toyota NCTS Finishing Positions at Gateway International Raceway 1st, JOHNNY BENSON 3rd, TED MUSGRAVE 4th, TODD BODINE 8th, JOSH WISE 18th, RYAN MATHEWS 20th, DAVID GREEN 28th, MIKE SKINNER 30th, TERRY COOK 32nd, JACK SPRAGUE Toyota Drivers in the NCTS Point Standings following Gateway International Raceway ** 2nd, MIKE SKINNER 2,765 points 4th, TODD BODINE 2,506 points 5th, JOHNNY BENSON 2,349 points 7th, TED MUSGRAVE 2,122 points 8th, JACK SPRAGUE 2,094 points 15th, TERRY COOK 1,773 points 24th, RYAN MATHEWS 1,255 points 29th, AJ ALLMENDINGER 855 points 30th, JOSH WISE 660 points **Unofficial Point Standings Toyota NBS Finishing Positions at California Speedway 14th, JASON LEFFLER 15th, DAVID REUTIMANN 27th, BRIAN VICKERS Toyota Drivers in the NBS Point Standings following California Speedway ** 3rd, DAVID REUTIMANN 3,171 Points 4th, JASON LEFFLER 3,042 Points 16th, DAVE BLANEY 2,252 Points 71st, BRIAN VICKERS 421 Points **Unofficial Point Standings Toyota NNCS Finishing Positions at California Speedway 8th, BRIAN VICKERS 18th, AJ ALLMENDINGER 32nd, DAVID REUTIMANN 36th, JEREMY MAYFIELD 38th, DAVE BLANEY 42nd, MICHAEL WALTRIP DNQ, DALE JARRETT Toyota Drivers in the NNCS Point Standings following California Speedway ** 33rd, DAVE BLANEY 1,808 Points 39th, BRIAN VICKERS 1,409 Points 41st, DAVID REUTIMANN 1,078 Points 42nd, DALE JARRETT 1,009 Points 45th, JEREMY MAYFIELD 737 Points 47th, AJ ALLMENDINGER 631 Points 49th, MICHAEL WALTRIP 487 Points **Unofficial Point Standings
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