This Week's Races:
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series:
Thursday, May 24, Qualifying @ Lowe's Motor Speedway, 7:10 PM (ET)
Sunday, May 27, Coca-Cola 600 @ Lowe's Motor Speedway, 5:30 PM (ET)
NASCAR Busch Series:
Saturday, May 26, Qualifying @ Lowe's Motor Speedway, 4:05 PM (ET)
Saturday, May 26, Car Quest 300 @ Lowe's Motor Speedway, 8:00 PM (ET)
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series:
Friday, May 25, Qualifying @ Mansfield Motorsports Park, 6:30 PM (ET)
Saturday, May 26, Ohio 250 @ Mansfield Motorsports Park, 1:00 PM (ET)
POWER PLAY: "Horsepower is always great when you're selling engines, but it's not what wins races," says Lee White, senior vice president of TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development). "What we found out when we got the power curves (after the Atlanta race) was that we did have equal horsepower on the chassis dyno, but at 7,500 and 8,000 rpm we were down by almost 40 horsepower to the teams that are winning all the races. So, we've gone back to work since then on the engine we have this weekend. It's a little different tune which fills that in and the power curve has a much better shape."
TUNING TOYOTAS: "All we can do is hope that what Toyota says they are going to give us will perform on the race track the way they're telling us it should," says Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 44 UPS Camry. "We applaud them for making the changes and listening to us to try to give us what we feel like we need. This is another step toward the continued improvement and hopefully it will help all the Toyota teams."
CHARLOTTE SUCCESS: Dale Jarrett has earned three career Cup series wins at Lowe's Motor Speedway (1994, 1996, and 1997). One of those victories came in the Coca-Cola 600 (1996), while the other two came in the fall races at the track. Jarrett finished 12th in Saturday night's NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.
MILES AND MILES: The Coca-Cola 600 is the longest race of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS) season and rookie AJ Allmendinger has yet to compete in a 400-lap race, but he has some thoughts on making sure he's ready to go the distance. "I'm going to have to pad my seat a little because my rear will be sore by the time we get through 600 miles of racing," says Allmendinger, driver of the No. 84 Red Bull Camry. "I'll probably bring my iPOD for those long caution periods so I have something to do. Other than that, I'll just try to survive because that's really all you can do in a race that long -- try to survive."
POISED PIT CREW: Team Red Bull's No. 83 pit crew for Brian Vickers competed in Wednesday night's Pit Crew Challenge in Charlotte. The team was able to hold onto the top position during much of the competition until being un-seated by the eventual winning team of Penske Racing in a closing round.
ENTER THE KING: Burger King will join the No. 00 Camry of David Reutimann as the primary sponsor of the Michael Waltrip Racing entry beginning with this weekend's Coca-Cola 600. Reutimann made his first career Cup series start at Lowe's Motor Speedway in October of 2005 and earned his best Cup finish to date when he crossed the finish line 22nd.
BACK TO SCHOOL: AJ Allmendinger will be speaking to Northview Elementary School in Statesville, North Carolina this week. Stocks-For-Tots and the NASCAR Foundation teamed up with the Iredell Statesville School District for their annual NASCAR Day celebration. The schools had a contest to see who could sell the most NASCAR Day pins, with 50 percent of the profits to be donated to Stocks-For-Tots. The school with the 2nd highest percentage of participation won a Q&A session with Allmendinger and the top selling class within that school won an autograph session.
BLANEY'S BEST: Dave Blaney has one career NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) win and it came last October (2006) at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Blaney has also earned two of his seven career NBS pole awards at the track (1998 and 2000).
TRIO OF TOYOTAS: A total of five Camrys will take part in Saturday's NBS race at Lowe's Motor Speedway and three will be fielded by Braun Racing. Bill Elliott, the 1988 Cup Series champion, will be driving the No. 32 Seymour Paints Camry for the first time this season. Elliott participated in the open test session last week with the team in preparation for this weekend. Dave Blaney will be driving the No. 10 ABF U-Pack Camry and Jason Leffler will be in the No. 38 Great Clips Camry.
BILL AND BUSCH: "The Busch Series has always been a lot of fun and we've been trying to find the right circumstance," says Elliott. "Between Todd (Braun) and all the guys over at Braun Racing, they've put me in a position to be able to come back and run here in Charlotte. We were trying to put something together prior to here, but it kind of made more sense to come back here. We focused on Charlotte because it gave us a test together and let us get up to speed a little bit."
TEAMING WITH TECHNOLOGY: Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports will compete in the NBS race at Lowe's Motor Speedway with Your Residential Technology (YRT2) serving as primary sponsor. 1994 NBS champion David Green will drive the No. 91 YRT2 Camry this weekend. YRT2 is also slated to join the team when the series returns to Lowe's Motor Speedway in October.
CAMRYS ARE COMING: Camrys currently occupy two of the top-five spots in the NBS point standings with David Reutimann holding the third position in his Michael Waltrip Racing Camry and Dave Blaney occupying the fourth position for Braun Racing. Jason Leffler is currently in the 20th position with his Braun Racing Camry.
BUTLER WILL DO IT: Ken Butler III will make his debut in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) this weekend behind the wheel of the No. 00 Aaron's Lucky Dog Tundra for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports. Butler will head to Mansfield Motorsports Park following his first career ARCA Re/Max Series win this past weekend at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway. Butler drove a Camry in ARCA competition two weeks ago at the Kentucky Speedway (May 12) where he started on the outside of the front row for Eddie Sharp Racing. His first victory came in just his fourth ARCA start.
HOME COOKING: Terry Cook, driver of the No. 59 Harris Trucking Tundra, will head home to Ohio for this weekend's NCTS event at Mansfield. Cook's hometown of Sandusky, Ohio is about an hour north of Mansfield and many of his family, friends, and fans will be in attendance. Cook earned the 1995 Super late model championship at Sandusky (Ohio) Speedway and the 1992 Super late model championship at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway.
COOK COMMUNITY: "It's kind of funny that I raced around the region for a lot of years, but never at Mansfield until the Craftsman Truck Series went there in 2004," says Cook. "So, Mansfield isn't exactly a ‘home track' for me, but there are a lot of fans that supported me back in my late model days in the 1980s and 1990s that are still around. It's always great going back there knowing that they will be there, still cheering for me and my team. That's pretty cool."
AJ OUT FRONT: AJ Allmendinger led seven laps during the NCTS race at Lowe's Motor Speedway Friday night and finished second -- his career-best finish. Allmendinger has led three NCTS races for a total of 17 laps, including one lap at Atlanta (2007) and nine last season (Talladega and Atlanta).
SUCCESS FOR SPRAGUE: The NCTS has made three starts at Mansfield and Jack Sprague, driver of the No. 60 Con-Way Freight Tundra, has never finished worse than second. Sprague has one win (2004), followed by two consecutive second-place finishes at the track.
SPRAGUE SPEAKS: "Mansfield is just a little bull ring," said Sprague. "You drive the higher side of the race track versus the lower side because it has progressive banking. It's just a rooting and gouging type of track. It's a lot of fun. If your truck is set up good, you can really race at Mansfield. I'm really looking forward to getting back to Mansfield. I have a win and two second-place finishes there, so I'm pretty confident going into the race. On top of that, Mansfield is a home state track for my team owners Jeff and David Wyler, so there's definitely some added pressure there. I want to win really bad for them in their own backyard. We've had some great runs this season, and I think Mansfield could be the place where we get our second win of the season!"
TOP-FIVE TUNDRAS: With three finishes in the top-five during Friday night's NCTS race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Tundras have now recorded a total of 150 top-five finishes since joining the series at the beginning of the 2004 season. Tundras have earned 29 wins, 37 poles, one driver's championship (2006) and one manufacturer's championship (2006) in 81 NCTS races.
TUNDRAS TOPS: Heading into this weekend's NCTS race at Mansfield, Tundra drivers occupy six of the top-10 positions in the point standings. On the strength of three victories in six races, Mike Skinner is the current point's leader; 85 points ahead of defending series champion Todd Bodine. Other Tundra drivers in the top-10 are Ted Musgrave (fifth), Jack Sprague (seventh), Aaron Fike (ninth) and Johnny Benson (10th). Fike also leads the 'Rookie of the Year' standings.
HAPPY 50TH: Toyota is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the U.S. in 2007. Toyota and its dealers employ about 145,000 workers in the U.S. Toyota operates 10 manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and assembles approximately half the vehicles it sells here.
BROADCAST BITS: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race will be televised on FOX and broadcast on PRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 128). NEXTEL Cup qualifying will be televised on SPEED, and broadcast on PRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 128). The NASCAR Busch Series race will be televised on ESPN2, and broadcast on PRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 128). The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race will be televised on FOX, and broadcast on MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 128).
BACK STORY: Background information on Toyota's motorsports programs and the manufacturer's NASCAR program is available at www.toyotamotorsports.com.
IMAGES INFORMATION: Members of the media can access Toyota photography by registering at www.toyotamotorsportsmedia.com.
2007 TOYOTA DRIVER/TEAM ROSTER
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Driver Car Team Dave Blaney No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry Bill Davis Racing Jeremy Mayfield No. 36 360 OTC Toyota Camry Bill Davis Racing Dale Jarrett No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing David Reutimann No. 00 Burger King® Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing Michael Waltrip No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing AJ Allmendinger No. 84 Red Bull Toyota Camry Team Red Bull Brian Vickers No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry Team Red Bull NASCAR Busch Series Driver Car Team Dave Blaney No. 10 ABF U-Pack Moving Toyota Camry Braun Racing Bill Elliott No. 32 Seymour Paints 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 David Green No. 91 YRT2 Toyota Camry Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Driver Truck Team Johnny Benson No. 23 360 OTC Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing Mike Skinner No. 5 Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing Ryan Mathews No. 36 Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing Ken Butler III No. 00 Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota Tundra Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Todd Bodine No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota Tundra Germain Racing Ted Musgrave No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Tundra Germain Racing Terry Cook No. 59 HT Motorsports Toyota Tundra HT Motorsports Aaron Fike No. 1 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra Red Horse Racing Jack Sprague No. 60 Con-Way Freight Toyota Tundra Wyler Racing
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