This Week's Races:
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series:
Friday, Feb. 23, NEXTEL qualifying @ California Speedway, 3:10 PM (PT)
Sunday, Feb. 25, Auto Club 500 @ California Speedway, 12:30 PM (PT)
NASCAR Busch Series:
Saturday, Feb. 24, Stater Bros. 300 @ California Speedway, 4:30 PM (PT)
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series:
Friday, Feb. 23, San Bernardino County 200 @ California Speedway, 6:00 PM (PT)
HISTORY LESSON: Toyota has participated in three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) events at California Speedway. In those three races (2004-06), Toyota drivers have earned one victory and three pole positions. Tundra drivers who have captured the pole position at California include Travis Kvapil (2004), Mike Skinner (2005) and David Reutimann (2006). Todd Bodine secured Toyota's first NASCAR victory at California Speedway when he won the 2004 NCTS race in his No. 30 Germain Racing Tundra.
MORE HISTORY: Even though this weekend will mark the first time a Toyota-powered stock car has competed on California Speedway's two-mile oval, Toyota has participated in other forms of racing at the track since it opened in 1997. From 1997-2005, Toyota sponsored open-wheel events at the Southern California venue. Toyota's accomplishments at California Speedway also include winning the 2001 Champ Car event with driver Cristiano da Matta, as well as back-to-back wins (2004-05) by Lexus-powered machines in sports car races.
DAYTONA DEBUT: In the debut of Toyota in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition in Sunday's (Feb. 18) Daytona 500, four Camrys participated in the manufacturer's inaugural event. Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 44 UPS Camry, was the top-finishing driver when he crossed the finish line 22nd. Other Toyota racers in the field were Michael Waltrip (30th) and Dave Blaney (34th). David Reutimann exited the race following contact on lap 175 and finished 40th.
DRIVING DAYTONA IN A TOYOTA: Dale Jarrett ran with the pack during the Daytona 500. Here's what Jarrett had to say following the race: "We got strung out when the sun was out – it wasn't a bad car and it handled pretty good. We were kind of making our way along. As it got cooler and there were cautions and it bunched everybody up – we weren't as good. The car wasn't bad. There are a few areas that we'll work on. For our first race – not too bad. We managed to come out of it unscathed, get us a few points – that's what we have to do here for the first five or six weeks."
CALIFORNIA SUCCESS: When the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup cars take to the track in Sunday's Auto Club 500, three Toyota drivers will attempt to add to their success at the speedway. Dale Jarrett will be seeking another top-10 to go along with his six top-10 finishes at California. Jeremy Mayfield, driver of the No. 36 360 OTC Toyota, visited victory lane at the track in 2000 and Brian Vickers has a California pole position (Sept. 2004) on his racing resume.
HOMECOMING: Four Toyota drivers, spread amongst NASCAR's top three series, are native Californians. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rookie AJ Allmendinger is originally from Los Gatos (south of San Francisco) and NASCAR Busch Series competitor Jason Leffler hails from Long Beach. In the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Mike Skinner hails from Susanville (north of Lake Tahoe) and Tyler Walker is from Los Angeles.
FRESHMAN CLASS: California native AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota, will take his first-ever laps at California Speedway this weekend. Fellow rookie David Reutimann, driver of the No. 00 Domino's Pizza Camry, will also attempt to make his first NEXTEL Cup start at California Speedway. Last year, Reutimann set a California track record when he captured the pole for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race with a speed of 178.980 mph (40.228 sec).
JARRETT'S TAKE: Dale Jarrett has competed in every NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at California Speedway since the ‘D-shaped' oval opened in 1997. "I'm looking forward to California," says Jarrett. "Hopefully we learned enough at our Las Vegas test so that when we arrive in California we'll be in pretty good shape. I look forward to that kind of racing."
NASCAR GOES WEST: For the second race of the season the best racers in America head to California Speedway. TRD, U.S.A., (Toyota Racing Development) Vice President and General Manager Lee White talks about racing in California: "Toyota Motor Sales headquarters office is here, and yet like Daytona, it's another race and there are 34 more this year and hundreds more that we will be competing in over the next several years. I think everyone understands the mountain we have to climb. T he most important thing is for everyone to keep improving; that is one of the fundamental characteristics of Toyota as a company."
IT'S BUSCH TIME, BOYS: Three Toyota Camrys will compete in the NASCAR Busch Series Stater Bros. 300 on Saturday (Feb. 24) at California Speedway. Braun Racing will field two Toyotas for Dave Blaney (No. 10 ABF U-PACK Moving 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).
BLANEY BEST IN FIRST BUSCH TEST: Blaney finished second at the Camry's debut in the Busch Series at Daytona last week. Here's what he said following the 300-mile season-opener: "We were tore up pretty early and didn't know how bad it was. We knew from practice that this Camry was really fast. The big thing with this car was the handling. The Toyota motor was fast and it handled great. Kevin (Harvick) was just a little better in the end. The only way I could've passed him was on the outside, but there was no chance because the bottom was the best."
LOWDOWN ON LEFFLER: Racing at California Speedway brings Jason Leffler closer to his hometown of Long Beach, Calif., than any other race on the circuit. Although he now lives in Mooresville, N.C., Leffler enjoys returning home. "I love racing in California," says Leffler. "I grew up in Southern California and have a lot of friends and family out there. The hot rod industry and the racing industry is so big out there – it's just really cool. If you're into race cars and cars in general, it is a great part of the country to go to. We'll have a few people out there at the race, and if we win the California race – the next time we go to California we'll have a more fans in the area."
DOUBLE DUTY: Three Toyota drivers will be pulling ‘double duty' at California. Dave Blaney and David Reutimann will compete in both the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series races, while AJ Allmendinger will participate in the NEXTEL Cup and Craftsman Truck Series events.
JACK IS BACK: Jack Sprague, driver of the No. 60 Con-way Freight Tundra, earned his first NCTS win at Daytona in the season-opener, as well as the first win for Toyota at the famed Daytona International Speedway. Sprague started from the pole and edged past Johnny Benson and Travis Kvapil just before the finish line to capture the checkered flag. Tundra drivers following Sprague (first) and Benson (second) to the finish were Mike Skinner (fourth) and Todd Bodine (fifth).
SPRAGUE SPEAKS: Jack Sprague won from the pole at Daytona last weekend, and did so with a three-wide photo finish. Here's what Sprague had to say after the race: "It's awesome. I can't thank Johnny Benson enough; he won this race for me. He said he would go with me and he did. I saw him jump up there to the outside. Travis (Kvapil) had the truck. Todd (Bodine), Johnny, Mike (Skinner) and I all worked really well together and that was pretty cool. I just happened to be the one out front and I have to thank all the other Toyota drivers. I just can't thank TRD enough for the great engine, Tony Furr (crew chief) and the guys for the great truck I had. This is awesome – we won Daytona!"
TUNDRA DRIVERS TOPS: Six of the 10 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races held at California Speedway have been won by a driver who now sits behind the wheel of a Tundra. Jack Sprague claimed wins at California in 1998 and 1999, and Ted Musgrave had a three-year winning streak (2001-2003). Todd Bodine won the California race behind-the-wheel of a Tundra in 2004.
NEAR PERFECT RECORD: With three consecutive wins and never finishing out of the top-5, former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ted Musgrave has an amazing record at California Speedway. "I really like and enjoy that type of race track and it kind of suits my racing style," says Musgrave, driver of the No. 9 Team ASE Tundra. "It's somewhat flat and in some corners there's a little bit of banking, along with big straightaways for drafting. I've always liked those types of race tracks. We always ran good at Michigan and that's kind of a similar race track. The only bad thing I can say about California Speedway is it is too far away from home in Charlotte, N.C."
TUNDRA TAKES TITLES: 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. One year ago, Tundra drivers registered 12 wins and 14 poles, and seven Tundra racers finished the year among the top-10 in the final championship point standings.
BIRTHDAY BOYS: Next week, two NCTS drivers will celebrate birthdays. On Feb. 26, Terry Cook, driver of the No. 59 Melling Engine Performance Parts Tundra, will turn 36. The next day (Feb. 27), the 2006 NCTS Champion Todd Bodine will turn 43.
RACE DAY GRUB: While Tundra driver Mike Skinner continues to add wins and poles to his racing record, his wife is establishing some of her own marks. Skinner's wife Angie has completed her second book, Race Day Grub: Recipes from the NASCAR Family. In the book, Angie reveals many of the insider secrets of the sport and brings the excitement and high-octane flavor of NASCAR into the kitchen. Race-day routines and recipes from drivers, their families and their fans, including top drivers like Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart and Michael Waltrip are included in the book.
TOYOTA'S BACKYARD: Toyota has a rich history in America that is rooted in California. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., (TMS) headquarters are located in Torrance, Calif., and TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) is based in Costa Mesa, Calif. Toyota sold its first car -- the Toyotpet Crown -- in its first dealership located in Hollywood, Calif., in 1957. In Toyota's first full year selling vehicles in America, 287 Toyopets and one Land Cruiser were sold. Last year, the Toyota brands (including Lexus and Scion) sold more than 2.5 million vehicles in the U.S. 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.
The Ontario Parts Center, a facility managed by the TMS North American Parts Logistics Division, is located in Ontario, Calif., and when full-scale operations began in the fall of 1996, it was Toyota's largest parts procurement and distribution facility in the world. In CY 2006, the 760,000-square-foot facility shipped 56,011,016 service and replacement parts to Toyota's North American distributors and plants; 11 U.S. parts distribution centers; 1,400 Toyota, Scion, Lexus Toyota Industrial Equipment dealerships.
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 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Auto Club 500 will be televised on FOX and broadcast on MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 128). Bud pole qualifying and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series San Bernardino County 200 will be televised on SPEED, and broadcast on MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 128). The NASCAR Busch Series Stater Bros. 300 will be televised on ESPN2, and broadcast on MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 128).
2007 TOYOTA DRIVER/TEAM ROSTER
CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY, FEB 23-25
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 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 Dave Blaney No. 10 ABF U-PACK Moving Toyota Camry Braun Racing Jason Leffler No. 38 Great Clips Toyota Camry Braun Racing David Reutimann No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Michael Waltrip Racing Camry 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 Toyota 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
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