This Week's Races:
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS):
Friday, August 31, Qualifying @ California Speedway, 3:10 PM (PT)
Sunday, September, Sharp Aquos 500 @ California Speedway, 5:00 PM (PT)
Race 25 of 36
NASCAR Busch Series (NBS):
Friday, August 31, Qualifying @ California Speedway, 5:10 PM (PT)
Saturday, September 1, Camping World 300 @ California Speedway, 7:00 PM (PT)
Race 27 of 35
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS):
Saturday, September 1, Qualifying @ Gateway International Raceway, 2:05 PM (ET)
Saturday, September 1, Ram Tough 200 @ Gateway International Raceway, 5:30 PM (ET)
Race 17 of 25
HISTORY HERE: In February, Camrys made their first competitive laps around California Speedway's two-mile, D-shaped oval in NASCAR competition. In the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS), Brian Vickers (No. 83 Red Bull Camry) earned Toyota's first top-10 finish after running among the leaders throughout the race finishing 10th. In Busch Series (NBS) action, Dave Blaney captured the Camry's first pole position.
MORE CALI HISTORY: Toyota has three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) pole positions at California Speedway -- Travis Kvapil (2004), Mike Skinner (2005) and David Reutimann (2006). Tundras were victorious with Todd Bodine (2004) and Mike Skinner (2007). Toyota's accomplishments at California Speedway include winning the Champ Car event with Cristiano da Matta in 2001, as well as back-to-back Grand-Am wins by Lexus-powered machines in 2004 and 2005.
MAKING MARKS: Jeremy Mayfield, driver of the No. 36 360 OTC Camry, visited victory lane in 2000. Vickers has a California NNCS pole on his racing resume in September of 2004.
TOYOTA'S FIRST TOP-10: "I look forward to going back to California," says Vickers, who earned a top-10 in February. "California Speedway is a good track -- we ran well there in the first race this year. It's good to go back to a track where we did get our first top-10. I feel like we've learned a lot since then -- we've made a lot of gains in the cars and the engines. If we had a top-10 there last time, we can have a similar set-up, work on the car and be able to do a lot better this time."
FUN WITHOUT THE SUN: The NNCS race will begin in the late afternoon under the sun, transition through sunset and finishes under the lights. "The sun is an issue for a little while during the race -- maybe a half-hour during the course of the race, but it's not a big deal," says Dave Blaney, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Camry. "California Speedway is actually fun to race on at night. It seems like it gains a bunch of grip and you can move around a lot. I think fans enjoy the races under the lights because the cars look cooler, they look like they're going faster, and its cooler outside. It's easier on the fans because they don't have to sit in the metal grandstands all day. It's cooler on the drivers, too. Night racing, almost all the time, is easier on the drivers and is fun for everybody."
SEEING WITH THE SUN: "When you are going down the backstretch at close to 200 mph and you can't see anything -- there's not a driver out there that likes driving at that particular time," says Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 44 UPS Camry. "You can't adjust to it -- you're literally blinded by the sun for at least a 35 to 45 minute time frame and it's just not a good time. You do as much with tape and your (helmet) shield as you can but you need to be able to see out of the windshield, and again when you get to that one time period there during that race, you literally can't see anything. I think we've been fortunate that nothing has happened, but it's still not a very fun time as far as the drivers go until you get the sun gone out of the way."
NIGHT OWL: "It's hard to see during the Labor Day race at California," says Bill Davis Racing driver Mayfield. "You don't really approach it differently. You'll see cars running good during the day time and bad at night and vice versa. You just have to try to find that happy medium and be able to build adjustments into the car. I wish we could start at night and run at night, but I know it would be late. Let's race during the day or start at night and race at night."
NO. 22 IN TOP-35: The No. 22 Caterpillar Camry of Bill Davis Racing sits 35th in the NASCAR owner point standings and will be guaranteed a starting spot in Sunday's 500-mile event. "Being in the top-35 is huge for us," says Blaney. "When we're in, it just makes everything easier -- easier to prepare for Sunday's race. California is a place we ran well and hopefully we can duplicate the speed we had there in February. We'll see if we still stack up compared to everybody else. Everybody gains in speed and learns through the course of the year, so you never are guaranteed to go back to a certain track and be just as good as you were or just as good as you were compared to the competition."
JASON'S HOMECOMING: Jason Leffler, driver of the No. 38 Great Clips Camry, originally hails from Long Beach, Calif. Leffler and his wife recently had their first child, Charlie Dean Leffler, on August 16. "I always look forward to the chance to get back to the west coast and to have the opportunity to catch up with old friends and family," says Leffler. "This trip back will be even more special for me because even though everyone won't get to meet Charlie, I'll be able to show off new pictures of him. Fatherhood is something that is so amazing it's impossible to explain. I keep telling all of my friends they need to go ahead and do it because there is just nothing else like it. Everyone keeps asking how much sleep we are getting during the nights and while the answer is, not a whole lot, Alison and I are enjoying every second of being parents."
IN THE POINTS: Camry drivers David Reutimann (second) and Leffler (fourth) sit among the top-five in the NBS championship point standings. In the most recent Busch Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Leffler started from the pole and finished second, and Reutimann ended up in third. Leffler's pole at Bristol was the third of the year for a Camry driver in the NBS. Earlier this year, Blaney was the fastest qualifier at California Speedway (February) and Leffler started first at Daytona (July).
LEADERS OF THE PACK: This season, four Camry drivers have notched a total of 287 laps led across 10 races in Busch Series competition. Leffler (Daytona, Nashville, Darlington, Indianapolis and Bristol) has led a total of 141 laps and Reutimann (Nashville, Talladega, St. Louis and Bristol) has led 93 laps. Blaney (California, Atlanta and Nashville) and Vickers (Michigan) have each led 19 laps. In just three races, Todd Bodine (St. Louis) has led 15 laps. In 2007, Camrys have recorded 13 top-five and 30 top-10 finishes in NBS competition.
MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS: This weekend, the Tundras return to Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis for the 200-mile late afternoon NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. Last year, Todd Bodine led 66 of 160 laps to take his No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Tundra to victory lane at Gateway. That victory allowed him to secure the points lead following the Gateway race and he maintained that lead through the season's end.
WINNING WORDS: "Every win is important," says Bodine. "Obviously the win in St. Louis was important to our championship run last year. It's great for a team to have a one-two finish, and we definitely want to go back and do it again. The competition has kind of stepped it up a bit and we're going to have to step it up. We need to get that dominant edge again. The series is very competitive right now -- getting a win is a lot harder. We know our Tundra is good enough to win, we've got a win this year in Texas and we're working as a team to get more."
RARELY A REPEAT: Ted Musgrave (No. 9 Team ASE Tundra) is the only NCTS driver to win multiple times at Gateway. He took the checkered flag at the St. Louis-area track in 2001 and 2005. "We've had much success in previous years at Gateway," says Musgrave. "We ran second last year with a shot to win. I like Gateway because it's challenging, both sets of corners are different and it's a driver's track and I think most drivers enjoy racing the track. There are different grooves you can use to get around the track, and pit strategy can come into play, too."
TUNDRAS TOPS: After 16 of 25 races, five Tundra drivers sit among the top-eight in the NCTS championship point standings. Skinner remains in control of the points lead, holding a lead of 92 points over second-place driver Ron Hornaday. He is being chased by fellow Tundra drivers Todd Bodine (fourth), Johnny Benson (sixth), Jack Sprague (seventh) and Ted Musgrave (eighth).
TOYOTA'S BACKYARD: Toyota has a rich history in America that is rooted in California. 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 sold its first car -- the Toyotpet Crown -- in its first dealership located in Hollywood, Calif., in 1957. In Toyota's first full year selling vehicles in America, they sold 287 Toyopets and one Land Cruiser. Last year, the Toyota brands (including Lexus and Scion) sold more than 2.5 million vehicles in the U.S. More than five million Camrys have been built in the U.S. since production began in Georgetown, Kentucky more than 20 years ago, and the Camry has been the best-selling car in America nine of the past 10 years.
HAPPY 50th: Toyota is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the U.S. in October. Toyota and its dealers employ close to 145,000 workers in the U.S. and assemble approximately half the vehicles it sells in America, while operating 10 manufacturing facilities throughout the country.
BROADCAST BITS: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race will be televised on ESPN 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). 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
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 Brian Vickers No. 10 Ft. McDowell Resort Destination 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 XM Satellite Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing Ryan Mathews No. 22 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 David Green 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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