This Week's Races:
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series:
Friday, June 22, Qualifying @ Infineon Raceway, 4:05 PM (PT)
Sunday, June 24, Toyota/Save Mart 350 @ Infineon Raceway, 2:00 PM (PT)
NASCAR Busch Series:
Saturday, June 23, Qualifying @ Milwaukee Mile, 4:35 PM (CT)
Saturday, June 23, AT&T 250 @ Milwaukee Mile, 7:30 PM (CT)
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series:
Friday, June 22, Qualifying @ Milwaukee Mile, 5:30 PM (CT)
Friday, June 22, Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 @ Milwaukee Mile, 8:00 PM (CT)
HISTORY HERE: Drivers scheduled to be behind-the-wheel of Toyota Camrys at Infineon Raceway have approximately 50 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS) starts at the Northern California track. Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Camry, has completed every lap in the three starts on the 12-turn road course. Dave Blaney, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Camry, has six starts at the track and has completed 95% of the race laps. Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 44 UPS Camry, has 18 starts with four top-10 finishes.
VICKERS GETS READY: "I love road course racing, I always have," says Vickers. "It's something different. For me it's about not doing the same thing every week. It's going to be different this year driving the Car of Tomorrow (COT) and I don't think anybody knows where to start. Unfortunately, we just finished our road course car so we were only able to get in one test, whereas Hendrick and some of the other teams have had many, many tests. We are going to be behind, but that's part of being a new team and we accept that challenge."
HAPPY HOMECOMING: Team Red Bull racer AJ Allmendinger has many reasons to be excited as the NNCS heads to Infineon Raceway. Not only is the driver of the No. 84 Camry on a streak with six consecutive starts, but he gets to head home to Los Gatos, Calif., located approximately 100 miles south of Sonoma. In addition, the 25-year-old also feels at home on road courses. "Road racing is what I've grown up doing, and what I'm most comfortable doing," says Allmendinger. "These guys have been doing this for a while, so I don't know if I will bring anything to the table against someone like Jeff Gordon. But, I'll definitely be more comfortable driving a stock car this weekend than I have been all year."
GOING BACK TO CALI: Several crew members from the Toyota NNCS teams will be returning home this weekend. Team Red Bull crew chief (No. 83 Camry) Doug Richert hails from San Jose, Calif., and the No. 22 CAT Camry has two team members from just outside of Redding, Calif. Cousins Michael Hubert (pit support) and Tom Hubert (rear tire changer) are originally from Anderson and Cottonwood, respectively.
ROAD COURSE RINGERS: The Toyota/Save Mart 350 will play host to a menagerie of road course specialists and four will be driving Camrys. Terry Labonte, a two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion (1984 and 1996) with 18 career starts at Infineon Raceway, will pilot the No. 55 NAPA Camry for regular driver Michael Waltrip. California native P.J. Jones, son of the legendary racer Parnelli Jones, will compete in the No. 00 Burger King Camry in place of David Reutimann -- who will be competing in the Milwaukee NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) event.
MORE RINGERS: The two other road racing specialists that will be utilizing Camrys at Infineon Raceway are Butch Leitzinger and Marc Goossens. Leitzinger, who has three sports car wins in the 24 Hours of Daytona and has an American LeMans Series win at Infineon, will drive the Bill Davis Racing No. 23 Caterpillar Camry. Goossens, who currently races full-time in the Grand-Am Series with Riley-Matthews Motorsports, will be in the No. 91 Commonwealth/Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports Camry.
RACING REUNION: TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) Senior Program Manager Andy Graves served as Terry Labonte's crew chief at Hendrick Motorsports from 1994-99, including Labonte's 1996 championship season. Graves works hand-in-hand with the Toyota NNCS Camry teams to help them further develop their racing programs. "Winning the championship with Terry in 1996 was a great moment in my career," says Graves. "I think the world of Terry and having the chance to work with him again when he drives a Camry at Sonoma is really exciting. I think it's going to be a big help to have him at Sonoma. Knowing what Terry likes in a car and how to interpret his comments. I think we'll get a lot of good, useful feedback as far as engine performance and drivability, as well as about the COT Camry road course car."
FIRST IMPRESSION: Marc Goossens has competed on countless road courses, but he's never seen Infineon Raceway. "My experience of having driven in so many different cars, series and on different tracks worldwide should help me to get to grips with the track," says Goossens. "I tested the car last Wednesday at VIR (Virginia International Raceway) and I could feel the potential of the RDM Toyota Camry immediately. I have a lot of respect for these NASCAR drivers. On top of that, I had the reigning NNCS Champion Jimmie Johnson join me in the No. 91 Riley-Matthews Motorsports Riley at the Daytona 24-hour and he showed his skills during that race. The challenge to race these talented guys in their backyard is very motivating."
ANOTHER TOP-10: Toyota earned its third top-10 finish of the season last weekend when Michael Waltrip crossed the finish line 10th at Michigan in his Camry. The two previous top-10 finishes were earned by Brian Vickers when he recorded a 10th-place finish at California Speedway (February 25) and a fifth-place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway (May 27).
MICHIGAN MAKES MICHAEL HAPPY: "It's really great for our team to have run that well all day at Michigan and my guys did a great job on pit road," said Waltrip, following the Michigan race. "TRD's Andy Graves started sitting in on our competition meetings and has been helping us with our direction and structure. He's built winning race teams before on this level and we really don't have anyone to give us that type of direction. He works for Toyota, but he's kind enough to come and listen -- he has helped give us direction and advice."
DAVID DOES BEST: Michael Waltrip Racing's David Reutimann earned the best NNCS finish of his career at Michigan when he drove his No. 00 Burger King Camry to a 15th-place finish. Along with his team owner's 10th-place finish, it marked the first time in NNCS competition that Toyota had two Camrys finish in the top-15. "I had the most fun I've had all year," said Reutimann, after the race. "I'm so proud of my team and all the effort they put in. We'll take a top-15 finish and go after a top-10 our next time out. I'm really pleased with where we finished and I'm also happy for Michael (Waltrip). It was a good day for all of us."
BUSCH BOYS ARE MOVING FORWARD: Blaney, driver of the No. 10 Camping World Camry, moved up to second in the NBS championship point standings following Saturday's race at Kentucky Speedway. Reutimann, driver of the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Camry, is fourth in the standings and Jason Leffler is now 10th in the standings following the Kentucky race.
MANY, MANY MILES: With the NNCS race Sunday in Calif., and the NBS race Saturday night in Milwaukee, Blaney will be crossing two time zones to compete in two races on two different days this coming weekend. "The Milwaukee weekend -- that's a hard one," says Blaney. "You have to start in the back at Milwaukee after not having practiced in the car the whole weekend and it's hard to have the car good. Plus, you have to miss a practice at Infineon to do it -- you have to miss ‘Happy Hour' to get back to Milwaukee. It's a tough one. We're committed to do it and we'll do the best we can. I haven't done it (these two races) before, but by the time you get back to Sonoma Saturday night I'm sure there's not enough time to catch up on sleep before Sunday morning rolls around."
CAN BENSON GET BACK?: The last time the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) visited the Milwaukee Mile, Johnny Benson drove his No. 23 Tundra to victory lane. He returns to the Wisconsin track with a strong run on his to do list. "I like Milwaukee," says Benson. "We won here last year and I hope to do the same this year. Milwaukee is a great place to race. The competition in the NCTS has gotten stronger with each race this year, and I look forward to racing with such a competitive group again this weekend at Milwaukee. From now on, it's all about winning and if I want to get up there in the points, we're going to have to start doing it now."
WISCONSIN ROOKIE: Ryan Mathews considers the Milwaukee Mile his home track, as the Bill Davis Racing rookie driver grew up in nearby Lake Geneva, Wis. "With four truck races under my belt, I feel very comfortable with the team and the way we are working together," says Mathews, driver of the No. 36 Tundra. "I've had pretty good success racing in many different divisions in the past at Milwaukee. I finished top-five there in the ARCA Series race last year, and I hope to have the same luck with the race in the truck. I like this track because it's really easy to overdrive -- you have to hit your marks. Overall, it is a pretty fun track to race on. I have a lot of friends and family that will be there, and I definitely don't want to let them down."
MILWAUKEE MEMORIES: Ted Musgrave, driver of the No. 9 Team ASE/Germain Tundra, grew up about 45 minutes outside of Milwaukee in Mundelein, Ill., and his racing career started on the Milwaukee Mile's nine-degree banking. "Milwaukee has a lot of history," says Musgrave. "My brother raced there and my father raced there in the early 60s in USAC. A lot of big name racers have raced at that track -- it's very historic. When you go to that race track, for me it's like some people when they go to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. When I go to Milwaukee and think of all the guys that have raced there -- Parnelli Jones, Norm Nelson, A.J. Foyt and on down the line -- everybody that's been in racing has raced at Milwaukee. At least I can say that I've raced there and won there multiple times."
REPEAT OFFENDER: Many current Toyota drivers have won at Milwaukee since the NCTS began racing there in 1995. In addition to Benson's win last year, Mike Skinner (1995) and Jack Sprague (1996) have each visited victory lane at the Mile, but Musgrave is the only NCTS repeat winner at the oval, capturing the checkered flag in 2001 and 2004. "I am the only repeat winner at the Milwaukee Mile in the Craftsman Truck Series so far," says Musgrave. "Milwaukee really puts the emphasis on working hard because that's back home, in front of friends and family, and people that followed your career. You put a little extra effort into it, and I know the crew does too. They know it's a track where I'll do my best to win."
TOP TUNDRAS: Tundra drivers hold six of the top-10 spots in the NCTS championship point standings. After 10 of 25 races, Skinner continues to sit atop the point standings for Bill Davis Racing. Tundra drivers trailing Skinner in the standings are Todd Bodine (third), Musgrave (sixth), Benson (seventh), rookie Aaron Fike (eighth) and Jack Sprague (ninth).
TOYOTA'S BACKYARD: Toyota has a rich history in America that is deeply rooted in California. The Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., headquarters are located in Torrance, Calif., and TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) is based in Costa Mesa, Calif. Toyota has a staff of more than 5,000 employees at New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI) in the San Francisco-area (Freemont, Calif) where it produces Corollas and Tacomas.
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 TNT and broadcast on PRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 128). NEXTEL Cup qualifying will be televised on SPEED, and broadcast on MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 128). The NASCAR Busch Series race will be televised on ESPN2, and broadcast on MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 128). The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race will be televised on SPEED, 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
2007 TOYOTA DRIVER/TEAM ROSTER NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Driver Car Team Dave Blaney No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry Bill Davis Racing Butch LeitzingerNo. 23 Caterpillar Toyota Camry Bill Davis Racing Dale Jarrett No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing P.J. Jones No. 00 Burger King Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing Terry Labonte 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 Marc Goossens No. 91 Commonwealth/RDM Camry Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports NASCAR Busch Series Driver Car Team Dave Blaney No. 10 Camping World 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 Johnny Benson No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra Bill Davis Racing Mike Skinner No. 5 Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing Ryan Mathews No. 36 Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing Josh Wise 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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