This Week's Races:
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series:
Friday, July 6, Qualifying @ Daytona International Speedway, 1:05 PM (ET)
Saturday, July 7, Pepsi 400 @ Daytona International Speedway, 8:00 PM (ET)
NASCAR Busch Series:
Friday, July 6, Qualifying @ Daytona International Speedway, 4:10 PM (ET)
Friday, July 6, Winn-Dixie 250 @ Daytona International Speedway, 8:00 PM (ET)
HISTORY HERE: Daytona International Speedway (DIS) was the site of Toyota's debut into the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS) and NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) in February. Four Camrys competed in the season-opening Daytona 500, while three Camrys -- including front-row starter Jason Leffler -- competed in the Busch Series opener. Daytona is also the site of Toyota's inaugural win of the 2007 season, when Jack Sprague made a last turn, last lap pass to win the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race.
BACK TO THE TRACK: This weekend's Pepsi 400 marks the second trip of the season to the famed, 2.5-mile speedway for both the NNCS and NBS. Daytona is the first track where the NNCS Camrys will race a second time since the manufacturer's entry into the series at the beginning of the current campaign. The NBS Camrys have already raced twice at Nashville Superspeedway.
COMPETITION COMMENTS: "We're definitely looking forward to the second half of the season," says Andy Graves, TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Program Manager. "We feel like it's going to be much better for us. We've tried to measure our competition and evaluate where we stand. Obviously, we want to be more competitive than we are today and that's just the racer mentality in all of us. Now, we start going back to the tracks we've already visited and our teams can start accessing the databases they've been building. That will be huge for all of us."
MORE FROM ANDY: "With Daytona being a restrictor-plate track, I think it will still be a challenge," adds Graves. "But, we're really looking forward to getting started on the second half of the year. I think we've gained the respect of our competitors and hopefully from the fan base through the first part of the season. We saw some of that after earning the pole at New Hampshire -- where we received congratulations from the other Toyota teams, as well as from our competitors."
CAMRY CAPTURES ONE: Dave Blaney, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Camry, made history last weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway when he captured Toyota's first pole in NNCS competition. Blaney also registered the first Busch Series pole for Toyota at California Speedway (Feb. 24) earlier this year.
DAVE DOES IT: "I was a little conservative on my first qualifying lap, but when I found out that it was fast enough to get into the show I gave that second lap a little more, and was able to put it on top of the board," said Blaney, following his pole run at New Hampshire. "It's a tough position to be in because you have to be cautious enough to get it, but aggressive enough to get in the race. It was a big confidence booster for the whole team, and any time you can build confidence in your entire team makes for a good day."
DAVE ON DAYTONA: "Our biggest concern is qualifying, which is the same concern we have every weekend," says Blaney. "Daytona is an impound race so that presents the same challenge we had at Talladega. We have to determine how far to go with the car -- as far as putting qualifying things into the car -- to make it go fast and then take the chance of not making it through the whole race. We have to make it through qualifying day first and then I think we'll be fine because we raced real well there last time. Getting through qualifying will be the tough part."
REUTIMANN RETURNS HOME: DIS is driver David Reutimann's ‘home' track. Born in Zephyrhills, Fla., Reutimann came to Daytona as a kid to watch races with his father, Buzzie, a Florida short track racing legend. Reutimann will compete in both races this weekend, driving the No. 00 Burger King Camry in the Pepsi 400 and the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Camry in the Winn-Dixie 250.
REPORT FROM REUTIMANN: "We're taking the same car to Daytona that we raced at Talladega, and that was a real good car at that track," says Reutimann. "Daytona is definitely a different race track, but I'm really looking forward to getting back there and taking the same piece we ran at Talladega. I know we'll have more horsepower from Toyota this time because they've been constantly making gains in that area. I'm just excited to get back to Daytona and hopefully get the chance to race there again. I'm sure I'll be just as nervous this time as I was back in February."
WALTRIP A WINNER: Team owner and driver Michael Waltrip has enjoyed great success at Daytona International Speedway, scoring three of his four career Cup Series wins at the track. In addition to a pair of Daytona 500 victories (2001 and 2003), Waltrip won the Pepsi 400 in 2002. Waltrip, driver of the No. 55 NAPA Camry, will be attempting to make his 43rd career start at Daytona this weekend.
DJ AND DAYTONA: Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 44 UPS Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing, also has multiple wins on the high banks of Daytona. Jarrett won the Pepsi 400 during his championship-winning season of 1999, and won the Daytona 500 in 1993, 1996 and 2000. He has registered 17 top-10 finishes in 40 career Cup Series starts at the track.
CAMRY BUSCH DRIVERS: All three Camry drivers in the Busch Series are currently in the top-six in the championship point standings. With six top-10 finishes in 18 starts, David Reutimann is second in points, while Braun Racing teammates Jason Leffler (fifth) and Dave Blaney (sixth) are also high in the standings. Blaney finished second in the first Busch Series race at Daytona (Feb. 17).
EX-CHAMP RETURNS: Brian Vickers, the 2003 NBS champion and current NNCS driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Camry, returns to the Busch Series this weekend at Daytona. Making his first start in the series this season, Vickers will drive the No. 32 Ft. McDowell Resort & Destination Camry for Braun Racing.
WYLER WINS: Jeff Wyler, team owner of the No. 60 Con-way Freight Tundra in the Craftsman Truck Series, recently received Toyota's Presidential Award for 2006. The award is based on outcomes from surveys on customer satisfaction in sales, service and parts, training and sales standards. The Springfield (Ohio) dealership, started by Wyler in 1973, also won the award in 2003.
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 MRN 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).
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 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 Seymour Paint Toyota Camry Braun Racing Jason Leffler No. 38 Great Clips Toyota Camry Braun Racing Brian Vickers No. 32 Ft. McDowell Resort Toyota Camry Braun Racing David Reutimann No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing
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