This Week's Races:
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS):
Friday, September 7, Qualifying @ Richmond International Raceway, 6:10 PM (ET)
Saturday, September 8, Chevy Rock & Roll 400 @ Richmond International Raceway, 7:30 PM (ET)
Race 26 of 36
NASCAR Busch Series (NBS):
Friday, September 7, Qualifying @ Richmond International Raceway, 4:05 PM (ET)
Friday, September 7, Emerson Radio 250 @ Richmond International Raceway, 8:00 PM (ET)
Race 28 of 35
ARCA RE/MAX Series:
Friday, September 7, Qualifying @ Chicagoland Speedway, 5:00 PM (CT)
Saturday, September 8, Chicagoland ARCA 200 @ Chicagoland Speedway, 1:00 PM (CT)
Race 20 of 23
TAKE TWO: This weekend's races will be the second trip of 2007 for Toyota Camrys to the three-quarter-mile Richmond International Raceway in Virginia. Four Camrys competed in the NNCS race in May -- Dave Blaney (11th), David Reutimann (29th), Johnny Benson (31st) and AJ Allmendinger (32nd). Additionally, four Camrys also competed in the NBS race -- Reutimann (ninth), Blaney (16th), Bobby Santos (30th), and Jason Leffler (37th).
VIRGINIA VICTORIES: Toyota drivers Dale Jarrett and Jeremy Mayfield have combined to win three NNCS races at Richmond. Jarrett, driver of the No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry, has two wins (1997 and 1999) at the Richmond oval. Mayfield, driver of the No. 36 360 OTC Camry, visited victory lane at the Virginia track in 2004 -- securing his place in the inaugural ‘Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.'
NIGHT TIME IS THE RIGHT TIME: "For a race fan, which I am as well as a driver, night racing is the coolest thing -- especially at a place like Richmond," says Michael Waltrip, driver of the No. 55 NAPA Camry. "The action is confined. An oval that is three-quarters-of-a-mile means you can see the whole thing. The intensity of the fans and just the level of the excitement that you feel is definitely enhanced when you go to a short track at night."
AJ ALL THE WAY: Allmendinger earned his career-best NNCS finish last weekend at California Speedway when he crossed the finish line 18th in the No. 84 Red Bull Camry. "This was my best finish in a Cup car and we completed all 500 miles," said Allmendinger, following the race. "I learned a ton -- but wow, that was a heck of a long race! I think running a Busch car on Saturday night definitely helped me run better in the Cup race. Anytime I get extra laps, I tend to run better in the Cup race. There are still 11 races left in the season, so we will go to Richmond, do our job and hopefully come away with another solid finish."
ACCOLADES FROM AJ: When the NNCS raced at Richmond back in May, Allmendinger earned his best NNCS qualifying effort to-date in his No. 84 Red Bull Camry when he started 13th. Allmendinger finished the race 32nd in his first stock car start at the Virginia oval and considers Richmond to be one of his favorite race tracks. "I'm really excited about returning to Richmond," says Allmendinger. "For me, it's the favorite track I've visited so far this year. We got our best qualifying spot of the year (13th) when we raced there back in May. We weren't as good in the race as we wanted to be, but we have improved the car overall since then. The whole team is looking forward to racing at Richmond again and showing what we can do."
SCORE FOUR: Brian Vickers scored his fourth top-10 finish of the season in his No. 83 Red Bull Camry Sunday night at California Speedway when he finished eighth. Vickers has continued inching his way toward the 35th position in the NNCS owner points -- he currently sits 248 points out of 35th-place with 11 races remaining.
VICKERS' VIEW: "It's frustrating to still not be in the top-35 in points this late in the season," says Vickers. "You can have good finishes, but you're still chasing a bunch of other guys also chasing the top-35. But, with more top-10 finishes, we think we can break into the top-35 before the year is up."
TOP-10 TOYOTAS: Seven top-10 finishes have been earned by Camrys this season in NNCS competition. In addition to Vickers' fifth-place finish in Charlotte (May), Toyota's best finish of the season, he also had three other top-10 finishes -- a 10th at California (February), eighth at Michigan (August) and eighth this past weekend at California (September). Other top-10s have been registered by Michael Waltrip with a 10th at Michigan (June), and Blaney with a ninth at Indianapolis (July) and a sixth at Michigan (August).
MORE BUSCH RACING FOR BODINE: Todd Bodine will make his fourth NBS start of the year this weekend on the three-quarter-mile Richmond track. He will once again be behind-the-wheel of the No. 03 Germain Camry for his NCTS team, Germain Racing. Bodine has made 21 previous NBS starts at Richmond, earning three top-five finishes, eight top-10s and two poles. All three of Bodine's NBS starts this season have resulted in top-10 finishes, with his best result coming at the Milwaukee Mile when he finished sixth.
TODD'S TAKE: "The Busch deal is going pretty good so far," says Bodine. "We've definitely had some strong cars, and we've been up near the front in every race we've ran. I'm familiar with the Toyota engine in the Busch Series because it's the same one we run in our Craftsman Truck, so I know what to expect performance-wise and reliability-wise. We're still learning quite a bit on the Busch side, but everybody at Germain is excited about it and we're pushing forward."
FIRST TUNDRA FOR TODD: Bodine made his first start behind-the-wheel of a Tundra at Richmond International Raceway back in September of 2004. Bodine started the race third and finished fourth -- he would go on to compete in a Tundra nine more times that season earning two victories (California and Texas). Two years later Bodine and Germain Racing earned the 2006 NCTS driver's championship, which also propelled Toyota to the manufacturers' championship.
DOUBLE DUTY: Two Toyota drivers will compete in both the NNCS and NBS races at Richmond this weekend. Reutimann, driver of the No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Camry in the NBS, finished ninth at Richmond in May and currently sits third in the NBS championship point standings. After leading 37 laps in the NBS race at California Speedway this past weekend, Vickers will once again drive the No. 10 Fan1st.com Camry for Braun Racing this Friday.
LEADING LAPS: Four Camry drivers have led a total of 324 laps across 12 races in NBS 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. Vickers has led 56 laps (Michigan and California) while Blaney (California, Atlanta and Nashville) has led 19 laps. Bodine (St. Louis) has led 15 laps.
BACK-TO-BACK FOR BENSON: Tundra driver Johnny Benson scored his second-consecutive victory -- and third of the season -- in Saturday afternoon's NCTS event at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis. Benson also visited victory lane in his No. 23 Bill Davis Racing Tundra two weeks ago at Bristol Motor Speedway. With his victory at Gateway, Benson moved up one position in the NCTS point standings to fifth. Tundras have nine wins this season.
TUNDRA TALK: After 17 of 25 races, five Tundra drivers sit among the top-eight in the NCTS championship point standings. Mike Skinner slipped to second in standings and is now four points behind Ron Hornaday. He is being chased by fellow Tundra drivers Bodine (fourth), Benson (fifth), Ted Musgrave (seventh) and Jack Sprague (eighth).
WISE GUY: Josh Wise will compete in this weekend's ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Chicagoland Speedway driving the No. 22 NAPA Camry for Eddie Sharp Racing. Wise competed in both the ARCA and NCTS races last weekend at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis -- where he started on the pole and earned his second runner-up finish in ARCA competition and his career-best NCTS finish of eighth behind the wheel of the No. 00 Aaron's Lucky Dog Tundra.
JOSH IS JUMPING: "The ARCA cars and the trucks are completely different animals," says Wise. "It's good experience for me any time I can get laps in a stock car, but nothing really transfers from one to the other. When I drive USAC cars, I sometimes drive two or three different cars in one event, so I'm used to having to get out of one car, forget everything, and hop in another. I'm doing everything I can to learn as much as I can with these types of cars."
HAPPY 50th: Toyota is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the U.S. in 2007. 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 ABC 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
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 Todd Bodine No. 03 Germain Toyota Camry Germain Racing Brian Vickers No. 10 Fan1st.com 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
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