June 17, 2007 - Brooklyn, MI - In Sunday afternoon's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS) race, three Toyota Camrys finished in the top-18 and Michael Waltrip earned the third top-10 NNCS finish for Toyota with a tenth place finish at Michigan International Speedway.
Waltrip's No. 55 NAPA Camry ran close to the top-10 throughout the afternoon along with the No. 22 Caterpillar Camry of Dave Blaney who would finish 18th at the checkered flag.
"It's really great for our team to have run that well all day and my guys did a great job on pit road," said Waltrip following the race. "I messed up there at the end; otherwise I think we could have picked up a few more spots. I just got real tight there at the end and I was trying to pass (Kevin) Harvick and got up into the wall. My guys are a little rusty, but you would have never known it. Today was a hot day and I haven't gotten to race this much in awhile, but I felt just as good at the end as I did in the beginning. But once the checkers fell -- then I started feeling bad -- hot, tired and glad it was over."
It was a good day for Michael Waltrip Racing as rookie David Reutimann in the No. 00 Burger King Camry earned his career-best NNCS finish of 15th in his first Cup start at Michigan.
"Today was a lot of fun," said Reutimann. "That was the most fun I've had all year. For as horrible as were in practice, and as bad as we struggled early on, I think it's a pretty good day. The guys kept fighting. We got back on the lead lap when we needed to and kept making good changes. We just got too tight at the end to keep moving forward. We made a good call to put fuel in it so we didn't have to stop there at the end."
Brian Vickers looked to be in position to contend for a top-five finish in his No. 83 Red Bull Camry until an accident on lap 74 involving numerous cars, also collected Vickers sending the team to the garage area for lengthy repairs. Vickers would finish 41st.
"I don't really know what happened -- there was a lot of smoke and other cars wrecking out in front of me," said Vickers following the incident. "I came out of turn two and just had nowhere to go. I tried to slow down and somebody checked up in front of me and then I got run into from behind. I don't really know -- it was just one big crash. It's really unfortunate because this Red Bull Toyota was really, really strong today and we were just pacing ourselves and taking our time out there. We had one of the fastest cars on the race track and we were going to have a good day."
AJ Allmendinger, driving the No. 84 Red Bull Camry, competed in his first NNCS race at Michigan and finished 31st.
The next NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on the schedule will take place at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California on Sunday, June 24.
In Saturday evening's NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) race at Kentucky Speedway, 20-year-old Stephen Leicht earned his first career NBS win and Camry drivers Jason Leffler, Dave Blaney and David Reutimann all recorded top-20 finishes.
Leffler, driver of the No. 38 Great Clips Camry, started 20th and battled handling problems throughout the night, before crossing the finish line 14th.
"We struggled with our handling all night long," said Leffler, after the race. "It was tight and loose, and tight and loose -- and we could never get the car handling the way we wanted. But, even though we struggled -- we still managed to come out with a decent finish."
Blaney, driver of the No. 10 Camping World Camry, started 18th and finished 15th.
"We just had a bad night," explained Blaney, following the race. "At the end of the first long run, we gained a bunch of spots and moved into the top-10. We were moving up and then our green flag (pit) stop was long and we were lucky to stay on the lead lap. Then, the darker it got and the cooler it got and the faster the track got -- we just struggled."
Reutimann, started 14th in the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Camry, and was running as high as fourth after 150 laps (of 200), before finishing 16th.
"I felt like we had an excellent car, although it was tight at the beginning of the race," said Reutimann. "Then we made good changes to it and it got better and better. We were in a position where we needed to be and for some reason the lug nuts on the left rear (tire) came loose. We had to come in and put wheel spacers on to make it stay tight, and then late in the race it was coming loose again."
David Green was the fourth Camry in the field at Kentucky. He started 34th in the No. 91 YRT2.net Camry and crossed the finish line 26th. It was his seventh Busch Series start at Kentucky -- making him the only driver to compete in every race at the track.
The next NASCAR Busch Series race on the schedule will take place at the Milwaukee Mile on Saturday, June 23.
In Saturday afternoon's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Michigan International Speedway, Travis Kvapil started from the pole position and went on to win over NEXTEL Cup regular, Kyle Busch. Tundra drivers Mike Skinner and Ted Musgrave both earned top five finishes while Todd Bodine and Johnny Benson both earned top-10 finishes.
Tundra drivers, Skinner and Musgrave both battled near the front of the field throughout the race with Skinner leading twice for a total of nine laps. But with his focus on the championship, Skinner was happy to take the checkered flag in the fourth position while the leaders battled door-to-door at the finish.
"It was a good day for us in the points and that's what needs to be focused on," Skinner said following the race. "You've got a couple guys there at the front that have everything to gain and nothing to lose. I couldn't take some of the chances they were taking -- I had to run a smart race and that's what I tried to do."
"The truck was pretty tight there at the end and the track cooled off," said Musgrave following the race. "We couldn't really give up the track position there toward to the end to come to pit road and make any more adjustments, so we just had to ride it out on the track. I was trying different grooves and things, but there was really nothing I could do to compensate. I wish the sun would have come back out -- I think then we would have been all right."
Other Tundra's included defending race winner and hometown favorite, Johnny Benson, who finished ninth, Terry Cook, making his 250th NCTS start, finished 11th; Ryan Mathews finished 16th and Aaron Fike, who was the top finishing rookie, finished 17th.
Both AJ Allmendinger and Jack Sprague blew right front tires and hit the wall, sustaining heavy damage to their Tundras. Sprague was able to return for the final laps and finished 29th, while Allmendinger was credited with a 32nd place finish.
The next NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on the schedule will take place at the Milwaukee Mile on Friday, June 22.
Toyota NNCS Finishing Positions at Michigan International Speedway
10th, MICHAEL WALTRIP
15th, DAVID REUTIMANN
18th, DAVE BLANEY
31st, AJ ALLMENDINGER
41st, BRIAN VICKERS
DNQ, JEREMY MAYFIELD
DNQ, DALE JARRETT
Toyota Drivers in the NNCS Point Standings following Michigan International Speedway **
37th, DAVE BLANEY 982 Points
39th, BRIAN VICKERS 823 Points
40th, DALE JARRETT 668 Points
41st, DAVID REUTIMANN 655 Points
44th, AJ ALLMENDINGER 464 Points
46th, JEREMY MAYFIELD 345 Points
51st, MICHAEL WALTRIP 191 Points
**Unofficial Point Standings
Toyota NBS Finishing Positions at Kentucky Speedway
3rd, JASON LEFFLER
9th, DAVID REUTIMANN
11th, DAVID GREEN
17th, DAVE BLANEY
Toyota Drivers in the NBS Point Standings following Kentucky Speedway **
3rd, DAVE BLANEY 1,715 Points
4th, DAVID REUTIMANN 1,649 Points
12th, JASON LEFFLER 1,482 Points
65th, DAVID GREEN 209 Points
**Unofficial Point Standings
Toyota NCTS Finishing Positions at Michigan International Speedway
4th, MIKE SKINNER
5th, TED MUSGRAVE
7th, TODD BODINE
9th, JOHNNY BENSON
11th, TERRY COOK
16th, RYAN MATHEWS
17th, AARON FIKE
29th, JACK SPRAGUE
32nd, AJ ALLMENDINGER
Toyota Drivers in the NCTS Point Standings following Michigan International Speedway**
1st, MIKE SKINNER 1708 points
3rd, TODD BODINE 1508 points
6th, TED MUSGRAVE 1420 points
7th, JOHNNY BENSON 1264 points
8th, AARON FIKE 1232 points
9th, JACK SPRAGUE 1205 points
11th, TERRY COOK 1189 points
26th, AJ ALLMENDINGER 755 points
35th, RYAN MATTHEWS 442 points
38th, JOSH WISE 236 points
**Unofficial Point Standings
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