Crew members celebrate Toyota's first win of the season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Travis Kvapil, the defending champion in the Craftsman Truck Series, won the Line-X 200.
CARLOS OSORIO / AP Enlarge
BROOKLYN, Mich. - No doubt the champagne corks were popping at Toyota Racing Development yesterday as the manufacturer scored its first win in its baptismal season in NASCAR. Travis Kvapil, driving a Toyota Tundra, won the Line-X Spray-On Truck Bedliners 200 at Michigan International Speedway.
Kvapil, the defending champion in the Craftsman Truck Series, took the lead with 17 laps remaining and held off Ted Musgrave in a Dodge for his first victory of the year. Mike Skinner and Johnny Benson were third and fourth, also driving Toyotas.
"This is huge for the team, and for Toyota," Kvapil said. "Toyota has given us all the tools we needed, and we had some great horsepower again today. We had to work on the truck all day, and after the final caution it was the best it had been all day. I was running flat out all the way around from that point on."
Kvapil, whose truck was sponsored by race sponsor Line-X, had to start 30th in the 34-truck field because he was forced to change the engine on his Toyota after the truck hit the wall in a late Friday practice. Kvapil was the ninth different winner in 13 races this year in the Craftsman Truck Series.
Dennis Setzer, who started on the pole, finished 10th. There were 18 lead changes among seven drivers, and seven cautions for a total of 22 laps
Cook seventh: Sylvania native Terry Cook finished seventh in yesterday's Craftsman Truck Series race at Michigan International Speedway after running as high as second in the event.
Cook started 16th, but by Lap 25 of the 100-lap event he was in third, and 10 laps later he had moved up to second place, just .399 seconds behind leader Bobby Hamilton.
Driving the International Truck and Engines Ford, Cook was still running second at the halfway point in the race, but fell back in the pack when his truck experienced overheating problems.
"We picked up some debris on the nose out on the track and it blocked the air, causing it to overheat, so we had to back off it a little until we could get to the pits and take care of that problem," Cook said.
"We worked our way back up, but those late cautions might have cost us an opportunity or two. This is a new truck and it was a little loose all day, but we got it in the top 10 and we have to be happy with that on this kind of day."
Kanaan on IRL pole: IndyCar Series points leader Tony Kanaan won his first pole of the season yesterday with a fast lap of 215.871 mph. Kanaan, who has won three times in nine races so far this year, will lead the field at the start of the Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway today.
"The car is very strong and we had a good run, no doubt about it," Kanaan said. "Honda gave us a very good engine, and I knew I had a good car this morning. It's good to be on the pole, but this is a long race and we'll have to see what's going to happen.''
Marlboro Team Penske's Helio Castroneves was second-fastest at 214.925 mph, but according to IRL rules, will have to move to the back of the field after changing the Toyota engine in his car.
That means IndyCar Series rookie Kosuke Matsuura will move next to Kanaan and be in the front row for the first time this season. Matsuura ran a 214.718-mph lap. Reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon will start on the inside of the second row, next to Marlboro Team Penske's Sam Hornish Jr.
Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice, who has won four poles this season, starts sixth.
Another Al Unser: Sitting on the pole for today's Infiniti Pro Series race at MIS will be an Unser named Al, but it's not who some might think. Twenty-one-year-old Al Unser, the son of Al Unser Jr. and the grandson of Al Unser Sr., leads the field in the Paramount Health Insurance 100.
Unser, who prefers to be called just Al, won his first pole.
Neither his dad nor his grandpa, who have six Indy 500 wins between them, ever won a pole at MIS.
"This basically says that we can do it," said Unser, who has finished in the top five in three previous Infiniti Series races.