Camry Captures First Checkered Flag In NASCAR Competition

July 29, 2007

Jason Leffler gave the Camry its first-ever win in NASCAR competition when he took the lead with three laps to go en route to the checkered flag in Saturday night's NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) race at O'Reilly Raceway Park (ORP) outside Indianapolis.

"All three of the Camrys have been running strong lately in the Busch Series, so I knew it was going to come soon," said Leffler, following his win. "I really wanted to be the one to do it and I'm really happy for Todd (Braun), team owner and our whole team for being the ones to pick up the win. I'm pretty excited to have my name going into the record books as Toyota's first Busch Series winner."

Leffler, who started the 200-lap event fifth on the grid and ran in the top-10 throughout the race. It was Leffler's second career Busch Series win, and his first victory since winning at Nashville Superspeedway in 2004.

"It's pretty cool to come here and win a Busch race because I've won quite a few midget and Silver Crown races here at ORP (O'Reilly Raceway Park)," added Leffler. "I've always considered Indianapolis to be my second home -- I've spent a lot of time here and I have a lot of friends here."

Camry driver David Reutimann finished third after starting the race from the rear of the field due to missing qualifying earlier in the day because of his obligations to the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at the Brickyard. However, Reutimann had no trouble getting to the front of the field and by lap 30, his No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Camry was inside the top-10 – and by lap 110 he moved into the top-five.

Mike Bliss, who substituted for Dave Blaney in the No. 10 Camry, finished ninth -- giving all three Camrys top-10 results.

Reutimann currently sits second in the NBS championship point standings. Trailing Reutimann in the standings are Leffler in third-place and Blaney in seventh-place.

The next race on the NASCAR Busch Series schedule is August 4 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada.

In Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race, Dave Blaney scored his career-best finish at the historic 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he took the checkered flag ninth. Blaney was also able to move his No. 22 Caterpillar Camry closer to the coveted top-35 in NASCAR owner points with his finish in the debut of the Camry at the Brickyard.

Blaney started today's race 27th and was able to make his way into the top-10 by lap 50.

"This was a really good run for us," said Blaney following the race. "We were as good if not better than any other cars that I was around out there today. We would just lose some positions on the restarts because for whatever reason we just couldn't get going. But, we were really fast and this was a good top-10 finish for us. Yesterday, when practice started, we were real happy with the car and I just can't say enough about Tommy Baldwin (crew chief). He has done a great job and we're just getting better every week."

Brian Vickers qualified his No. 83 Red Bull Camry 25th for today's race and ran as high as second during the event. Electrical issues and handling problems early in the race kept the Team Red Bull entry from a top-15 finish -- and the team ended the day 21st.

"We continue to beat ourselves and that's one thing we have to fix," said Vickers, following the race. "The car was okay -- we were probably a top-15 car. We weren't great, but we were okay. We think we lost an alternator and that pretty much ruined our day. The battery died because we think the alternator wasn't working. It could have been wiring -- it could have been a lot of issues, but it was an electrical failure. We had a total overhaul of the car during a pit stop around lap 47. We weren't handling nearly the way we needed to be and we were trying to fix the battery."

Other Toyotas in the field included Terry Labonte, who finished 30th in the No. 55 NAPA Camry, and David Reutimann, who ended up 38th in the No. 00 Burger King Camry after and early race engine failure.

The next NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on the schedule will take place on Sunday, August 5, at Pocono Raceway.

In Friday night's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Clermont, Indiana, Ron Hornaday picked up his third win of the year when he crossed the finish line ahead of Tundra-driver Johnny Benson.

Benson battled Hornaday for the last 50 laps of the Power Stroke Diesel 200, but could never make the pass. He started sixth and ran as low as 11th near the race's midpoint, before a late-charge to the front earned him the highest finish among the nine Tundras in the field.

"I was working on him a little bit there with about 40 or 50 laps to go, but could never quite get it done," said Benson, following the race. "I used up my tires trying to get by him, and didn't really have anything for him at the end. It seemed like everyone needed to run the high groove to be fast, so that made it hard to pass anybody."

This runner-up finish was Benson's best result since a victory at The Milwaukee Mile in June and moved him up one spot (to fifth) in the Craftsman Truck Series championship point standings after 14 of 25 races.

Defending NCTS champion, Todd Bodine, finished sixth in the No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Tundra, while Jack Sprague (ninth) put a third Tundra in the top-10.

Other Tundra drivers in the field included Ted Musgrave (12th), David Green (15th), Mike Skinner (20th), Ryan Mathews (25th), Terry Cook (26th) and Justin Labonte (27th).

Qualifying at O'Reilly Raceway Park was cancelled due to persistent rain, and the starting grid was set based on current NCTS owner points. As a result, points leader Skinner started from the pole and led the race's first 21 laps.

With his laps led Friday night, Skinner has now led at least one lap in each of the season's first 14 races, extending his NCTS record for consecutive races led to begin a season. Dating back to last year, Skinner has now led at least one lap in his past 18 successive Craftsman Truck Series starts.

Hornaday's victory trimmed Skinner's lead in the NCTS point standings to 77 points with 11 races remaining on the 2007 schedule. Tundra drivers Bodine (third), Benson (fifth), Sprague (seventh) and Musgrave (eighth) are also in the top-10 in points.

The next NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on the schedule will take place on Saturday, August 11 at Nashville Superspeedway.


Toyota NNCS Finishing Positions at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Toyota Drivers in the NNCS Point Standings following Indianapolis Motor Speedway**
35th, DAVE BLANEY 1,378 Points
39th, BRIAN VICKERS 999 Points
40th, DAVID REUTIMANN 872 Points
41st, DALE JARRETT 835 Points
46th, JEREMY MAYFIELD 473 Points
47th, AJ ALLMENDINGER 464 Points
52nd, MICHAEL WALTRIP 264 Points
Toyota NBS Finishing Positions at O'Reilly Raceway Park
Toyota Drivers in the NBS Point Standings following O'Reilly Raceway Park**
2nd, DAVID REUTIMANN 2,542 points
3rd, JASON LEFFLER 2,447 points
7th, DAVE BLANEY 2,252 points
Toyota NCTS Finishing Positions at O'Reilly Raceway Park
Toyota Drivers in the NCTS Point Standings following O'Reilly Raceway Park**
1st, MIKE SKINNER 2,346 points
3rd, TODD BODINE 2,100 points
5th, JOHNNY BENSON 1,896 points
7th, JACK SPRAGUE 1,767 points
8th, TED MUSGRAVE 1,728 points
13th, TERRY COOK 1,524 points
25th, RYAN MATHEWS 961 points
29th, AJ ALLMENDINGER 755 points
37th, JOSH WISE 412 points
44th, DAVID GREEN 273 points
**Unofficial Point Standings

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