This Week's Races:
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series:
Saturday, Feb. 10, Budweiser Shootout @ Daytona International Speedway, 8:00 PM (ET)
Sunday, Feb. 11, NEXTEL Cup front row qualifying @ Daytona International Speedway, 2:10 PM (ET)
Thursday, Feb. 15, Gatorade Duel Qualifying Races @ Daytona International Speedway, 2:00 PM (ET)
Sunday, Feb. 18, Daytona 500 @ Daytona International Speedway, 3:15 PM (ET)
NASCAR Busch Series:
Saturday, Feb. 17, Orbitz 300 @ Daytona International Speedway, 1:15 PM (ET)
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series:
Friday, Feb. 16, Chevy Silverado HD 250 @ Daytona International Speedway, 8:00 PM (ET)
HISTORY LESSON: Toyota has competed at Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) during the past three seasons (2004-06). Although a Toyota has not finished first in NCTS competition at the 2.5-mile superspeedway, Tundras did grab four of the top-five finishing positions in last year's NCTS event at Daytona. In three seasons at Daytona, Tundra drivers have earned a total of six top-five finishes and nine top-tens.
MORE HISTORY: Even though this year marks the first season for Toyota in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, Toyota has been competing at the Speedway in other forms of motorsports since joining the IMSA series in 1983. Toyota's accomplishments at Daytona include winning the coveted 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race in 1993, and more recently, back-to-back wins by Lexus-powered machines in 2006 and 2007. A Toyota Celica also visited victory lane at Daytona in the 2001 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series race.
SHOOTOUT SHOT: Two Camrys will make the historical first start for Toyota in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series on Sat., Feb. 10, in the Budweiser Shootout. Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Camry, earned a starting position in the Shootout by winning the pole for the fall event at Texas Motor Speedway. Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 44 UPS Camry, earned a starting position in the race through his status as a past Shootout winner.
NO SWEATING STARTING SPOT: Both Dale Jarrett and Dave Blaney, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Camry, are guaranteed starting spots in the Daytona 500. Jarrett is a past NASCAR Cup Series champion and Blaney finished the 2006 season 27th in the final championship point standings.
WALTRIP'S WINNING WAYS: "I expect to use the experience and knowledge I have of what it takes to be successful at Daytona and perform," says Michael Waltrip, driver of the No. 55 NAPA Auto Parts Camry. "I will be disappointed if I don't have a chance to run up front and contend for the win. I know that might sound like a bit of a stretch, but when you get these cars in a draft and know what you're doing and have a good fast car -- it's certainly possible. I'm going to Daytona thinking I can win."
VICKERS VISION: "I would always rather be underestimated and overachieve," says Team Red Bull's Brian Vickers. "But, I think because it's a new program, a new manufacturer and a lot of new teams, there will be some learning curves. To say that we may struggle, that's just not the right word for any of the teams. When Dodge came back into the sport, it was a learning curve for them -- but they won a race their first year and sat on the Daytona pole. Hopefully, I see Toyota doing that well, if not a little bit better."
BEST FOR BLANEY AND BDR: "Our Bill Davis Racing team is so much farther ahead at this stage of the game than at this time last year," says Dave Blaney. "The support we've had from Toyota has been great and it has made a huge difference in our program already. We got to the Daytona test and were fast right off the bat, so we were able to stick to our game plan and spend a lot of time learning everything we could about our Camrys. I'm really excited about this year and I think it's going to be the best season BDR has had in a long, long time. I feel the switch to Toyota is going to really help turn this organization around."
MERRY MAYFIELD: "We were really happy with the way our Camry ran in Daytona testing," says Jeremy Mayfield, driver of the No. 36 360 OTC Camry. "The car had a lot of speed. Derek Finley (crew chief) and all the guys on the team worked really hard and stuck to the test plan, and it paid off. We didn't really get to draft because of the weather, but I'm confident we'll be strong during ‘Speedweeks.' I'm really looking forward to Daytona and getting the season started on a strong note."
TWO ARE NEW: AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 84 Red Bull Camry, and David Reutimann, driver of the No. 00 Domino's Camry, will both attempt to qualify for their first Daytona 500. Both drivers will participate in the full NASCAR NEXTEL Cup schedule and compete for Rookie-of-the-Year honors.
AJ'S ADJUSTMENT: "The hardest thing for me is getting used to how much the Cup cars move around on the track," says Team Red Bull's AJ Allmendinger. "Just like a Champ Car, you're dealing with a ton of horsepower, but the Cup car has so much less down force. So, I feel like I'm moving around all over the track -- and that's a really weird feeling to get used to. It's not so bad running around the track by yourself, but in a pack of cars that will be tough. Another challenge is learning all the little nuances that can make the car fast. I'm still trying to balance what makes the car comfortable for me to drive, but still allows it to go fast."
TUNDRA TIME: In 2006, Todd Bodine earned the NCTS driver's title behind the wheel of the No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Tundra and led the way for Toyota to earn its first NASCAR manufacturer's championship. That same year, Toyota Tundra drivers had 12 wins and 14 poles, and seven Tundra racers ended the year among the top-10 in the final championship point standings.
TODD TALKS: "We were pretty happy with our Tundra at the Daytona test," says Germain Racing's Todd Bodine. "We expect to be as competitive with our 2007 Tundra as we were last season at Daytona. The biggest adjustment we'll have to make is to the new tire, it's a lot different than what we ran there before. Last year, it was a pretty exciting season opener at Daytona. I had a new teammate, Ted Musgrave, and we found that we could work pretty good together. If there was another lap of racing last year, we might have given the Germains and Toyota a one-two Daytona finish."
THOUGHTS ON TRUCK TESTING: "We're really looking forward to this year because we had a great 2006 season and came pretty close to winning the championship," says Johnny Benson, driver of the No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra. "My truck was real loose in testing at Daytona and we worked really hard to tighten it up. A lot of the trucks in Daytona testing were real free because if you got underneath someone, they looked like they were getting ready to spin out. I don't think we had that quite as much last year, but that's just something everyone has to figure out."
MAKING HISTORY: David Reutimann will attempt to make history at Daytona by becoming the only driver to start Toyota's inaugural event in NASCAR's three premiere divisions. In 2004, Reutimann drove a Tundra at Daytona in Toyota's first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. This year, the Zephyrhills, Fla.-native will attempt to make Toyota's first start in the NASCAR Busch and NEXTEL Cup races at Daytona. "I've been with Toyota since their very first truck race in Daytona, and we plan to be part of their first Busch race and their first Cup race, as well," says Reutimann. "It's a pretty cool position to be in and Toyota is a great company to be with. They've done great things with the trucks and I'm really excited to be racing Toyotas."
BUSCH AND BRAUN: Four Toyota Camrys will also make the manufacturer's inaugural start in the NASCAR Busch Series at Daytona. Braun Racing will field three Toyotas for John Andretti (No. 10 Camping World Camry), Dave Blaney (No. 32 Fans1st.com Camry) and Jason Leffler (No. 38 Great Clips Camry). Michael Waltrip Racing will field one car for David Reutimann (No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Camry).
BRAUN TO BE BETTER: "Last year, we were pretty much a single car effort," says Braun Racing's Jason Leffler. "I wouldn't say we were a low-budget team, but we did the best with what we had. We were probably the best running, Busch-only team. With Toyota coming on board, a couple of teammates and some other things we did during the off-season, it should get us to the next level where we can contend for race wins and for the championship."
DOUBLE DUTY: Four Toyota drivers will be pulling ‘double duty' at Daytona. Dave Blaney and David Reutimann will attempt to compete in both the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series races, while AJ Allmendinger and Mike Skinner will attempt to qualify for the NEXTEL Cup and Craftsman Truck Series events.
ARCA ACTION: The first Toyotas to take to the track in racing action at Daytona will be the Camrys of Josh Wise and Brandon Whitt, who are scheduled to compete in the Daytona ARCA RE/MAX Series event. Wise, who will drive the No. 22 Eddie Sharp Racing Camry, will also compete in select NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races this season for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports. Whitt earned a NCTS win driving the Red Horse Racing Tundra at Memphis Motorsports Park in 2005.
TOYOTA TIDBIT: More than five million Camrys have been built in the U.S. since production began in Georgetown, Kentucky more than 20 years ago, and the Camry has been the best-selling car in America nine of the past 10 years.
HAPPY 50TH: Toyota is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the U.S. in 2007. Toyota and its dealers employ about 150,000 workers in the U.S. Toyota operates 10 manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and builds approximately half the vehicles it sells here.
BROADCAST BITS: The Daytona 500 and Budweiser Shootout will be televised on FOX and broadcast on MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 128). The Duel Qualifying races and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event will be televised on SPEED-TV, and broadcast on MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 128). The Busch Series race will be televised on ESPN2, and broadcast on MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 128).
IMAGES INFORMATION: Members of media can access Toyota photography at www.toyotamotorsportsmedia.com.
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2007 TOYOTA DRIVER/TEAM ROSTER NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Driver Car Team AJ Allmendinger No. 84 Red Bull Toyota Camry Team Red Bull Dave Blaney No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry Bill Davis Racing Dale Jarrett No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing Jeremy Mayfield No. 36 360 OTC Toyota Camry Bill Davis Racing David Reutimann No. 00 Domino's Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing Mike Skinner No. 23 Toyota Camry Bill Davis Racing Brian Vickers No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry Team Red Bull Michael Waltrip No. 55 Napa Auto Parts Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing NASCAR Busch Series Driver Car Team John Andretti No. 10 Camping World Toyota Camry Braun Racing Dave Blaney No. 32 Fans1st.com Toyota Camry Braun Racing Jason Leffler No. 38 Great Clips Toyota Camry Braun Racing David Reutimann No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Driver Truck Team AJ Allmendinger No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Tundra Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Johnny Benson No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra Bill Davis Racing Todd Bodine No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota Tundra Germain Racing Terry Cook No. 59 Melling Engine Parts Toyota Tundra HT Motorsports Aaron Fike No. 1 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra Red Horse Racing Ted Musgrave No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Tundra Germain Racing Mike Skinner No. 5 Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing Jack Sprague No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota Tundra Wyler Racing Tyler Walker No. 36 360 OTC Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing ARCA RE/MAX Series Driver Car Team Josh Wise No. 22 Eddie Sharp Racing Toyota Camry Eddie Sharp Racing Brandon Whitt No. 51 Brandon Whitt Toyota Camry Brandon Whitt Racing
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