This Week's Races:
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS):
Friday, September 28, Qualifying @ Kansas Speedway, 4:10 PM (ET)
Sunday, September 30, LifeLock 400 @ Kansas Speedway, 2:00 PM (ET)
Race 29 of 36
NASCAR Busch Series (NBS):
Saturday, September 29, Qualifying @ Kansas Speedway, 11:05 AM (ET)
Saturday, September 29, Yellow Transportation 300 @ Kansas Speedway, 3:30 PM (ET)
Race 30 of 35
HISTORY HERE: Though this weekend marks the first time the Toyota Camry will compete at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS), the Tundra has been racing at the Midwest track since 2004. Todd Bodine won the NCTS race at the Kansas oval in 2005, and Tundras have sat on the pole for the last three NCTS races at the track -- Bill Lester (2005) and Mike Skinner (2006 and 2007). In addition, Josh Wise earned the Camry a fifth-place finish in the ARCA RE/MAX Series race this spring at Kansas, and Bobby Santos had his Camry start from the outside pole in the same race.
LIFE IN THE PAST LANE: Jeremy Mayfield, driver of the No. 36 360 OTC Camry, has two top-five finishes, three top-10s and has led 111 laps at Kansas Speedway. In six starts at Kansas, Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 44 UPS Camry, has two top-10s and one top-five finish, including a fourth-place in last year's race at the one-and-a-half-mile oval. Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Camry, earned his best finish in three starts at Kansas in last year's 400-mile race when he crossed the finish line eighth.
FROM KS TO TRD: Two Senior Toyota officials involved in the company's NASCAR racing activities hail from the Midwest. Jim Aust, vice president of motorsports for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) U.S.A., Inc., and president and CEO of Toyota Racing Development, U.S.A. (TRD), earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Fort Hays State University in Hays, KS. Lee White, senior vice president and general manager of TRD, is originally from Ellsworth, KS, and completed a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Several NNCS Toyota team members call Kansas or Missouri home. Kansas natives working with Toyota teams include Aaron Schields (front tire carrier on the No. 83 Camry), who's a native of Goodland, KS, and attended Kansas University, and Brian Kincheloe (tire specialist/mechanic on the No. 00 Camry), a native of Glen Elder/Beloit, KS and former member of the Kansas State football team. Ben Fischbeck (front tire carrier on the No. 44 Camry) is from Waynesville, MO, Chris Hall (front tire carrier on the No. 55 Camry) is from Springfield, MO, and Kyle Roland (jack man on the No. 22 Camry) is from Republic, MO.
BETTER BACK-UP PLAN: Michael Waltrip earned his second top-15 result of the season at Dover International Speedway last weekend when he crossed the finish line 15th. He also finished 10th at Michigan in June. "We had gotten ourselves in a bind as far as the points because if it rained out qualifying then we wouldn't have been in the race at Dover," says Waltrip. "Now we have ourselves back in so even if qualifying in Kansas gets rained out, we'll still be eligible to race."
CHASE IN THE CHASE: The No. 22 Camry of Bill Davis Racing and the No. 83 Camry of Team Red Bull are having their own 'Chase' battle to get into the top-35 in NNCS owner points by the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Dave Blaney and Vickers have eight races remaining in the season to earn a guaranteed starting position at the 2008 Daytona 500. Blaney is currently 36th, while Vickers sits 38th in owner points.
CONFIDENCE CAN HELP: Rookie AJ Allmendinger (No. 84 Red Bull Camry) has competed in the past five NNCS races, earning his career-best finish of 18th at California (Sept. 2) and his best qualifying effort of 11th at Dover (Sept. 23). He attributes much of his recent success to additional seat time. "Getting the chance to run in these Busch races lately and getting more laps on the track allows me to be more confident when I give information to the team and they feel more confident -- we just feed off each other," says Allmendinger. "California was a great run. The bigger, banked tracks seem to be where we are a bit better right now. We just need to keep making races and running all the laps."
MORE MOMENTUM: "To go through what we did at Dover in qualifying -- with not getting a lap of practice -- and to make the race solid, that shows that I can have something bad happen and still get into the race," explains Allmendinger. "It really shows that everything doesn't have to be perfect in order for us to make a race. That's a big deal and if we can just continue making races and running laps the rest of this year it will give us some great confidence heading into next year."
BY THE NUMBERS: In 28 races this season, the Camry has made 122 starts in NNCS competition among 12 drivers. Blaney has made the most starts (25), including a pole position at New Hampshire (July 1). Seven top-10 finishes have been earned by Toyota Camrys this season. Vickers has earned the best finish for a Camry with a fifth-place at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte (May 27). He also finished 10th at California (February), and earned a pair of eighth-place finishes at Michigan (August) and California (September). Waltrip finished 10th at Michigan (June), Blaney finished ninth at Indianapolis (July) and sixth at Michigan (August).
OUT FRONT: Five Camry drivers have led a total of 142 laps this season, with Vickers leading the most of the Camry contingent with 98 laps (Atlanta, Bristol, Texas, Charlotte, Michigan and California). Blaney has led 35 laps (Atlanta, Richmond, Darlington and New Hampshire) and Mayfield has led six laps (Bristol, Charlotte and Watkins Glen). Waltrip has led two laps (Michigan and Dover) and Reutimann has led one lap (California).
HOMECOMING: Three NBS Toyota team members call the ‘sunflower state' of Kansas home. Body hanger Tyler Patrick at Braun Racing is originally from Lindsborg, KS and the public relations representative for the No. 10 Fan1st.com Camry, Sarah Holladay, is from Leawood, KS, a suburb of Kansas City. Jon Royer, with the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Camry, is also from Kansas.
JUST A CLICK AWAY: FAN1st.com, which will grace the hood of the No. 10 Braun Racing Camry for Vickers, was developed in Kansas City as the first Web site designed strictly for the racing fan. The Web site is constructed to give fans a chance to become a part of a race team on every level, from the decals on the race cars to making important team decisions. Benefits include having member's names on the race car, a personal sponsor card, invites to team functions and input in team decisions.
NO OFF WEEKEND: Todd Bodine will forego a weekend off from racing in the NCTS to compete in the Busch race at Kansas. He will make his fourth NBS start for Germain Racing and fifth NBS start of the season. Bodine has three top-10 finishes, including a sixth-place in Milwaukee (June) for Braun Racing, and a 10th at St. Louis (July) and eighth at Michigan (August) for Germain Racing. In 2005, he drove a Toyota Tundra to victory lane at Kansas and has two additional seventh-place NCTS finishes (2006 and 2007) at the track. "Kansas is a track where I've been able to run really well, but I've just not had stats to show for it -- except in the Craftsman Truck Series. We get to go to Kansas with no pressure. We can go there, and just race. Of course, we want the best performance so we can help our cause in lining up our sponsorship for next season, but with the coil binding in these cars, the front ends are so similar from race track to race track that we're pretty comfortable heading into the weekend. We feel we've got a handle on the set-up and we're looking forward to just having some fun in Kansas."
HISTORICAL START: When three Camrys took the green flag in last weekend's NBS race at Dover International Speedway, they marked the 100th start by a Camry in NBS competition. There have been 12 drivers to take laps in Camrys during NBS races this year with Jason Leffler and Reutimann competing in all 29 races to date.
LEADING LAPS IN BUSCH: Five Camry drivers have notched a total of 324 laps led across 12 Busch Series races. 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), Blaney (California, Atlanta and Nashville) has led 19 laps and Bodine (St. Louis) has led 15 laps.
BUSCH BATTLE: After 29 of 35 races, Reutimann is second in the NBS point standings. Leffler, who earned the first win for the Camry in NASCAR competition at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis earlier this year, sits fourth in the standings.
TAKING THE TOP SPOT: Mike Skinner has regained the NCTS point's lead with a 13th-place finish at Las Vegas. He leads second-place Ron Hornaday by three points (3,064 to 3,061). This season Skinner has four wins (California, Atlanta, Martinsville, Kentucky), 14 top-five finishes and nine pole positions (Atlanta, Martinsville, Kansas, Charlotte, Mansfield, Dover, Milwaukee, ORP, Nashville, Gateway). He's also led 961 laps, approximately 30% of all the race laps this season.
TUNDRA TALK: After 19 of 25 races, five Tundra drivers sit among the top-10 in the NCTS championship point standings. Trailing point-leader Skinner are fellow Tundra drivers Bodine (fourth), Johnny Benson (fifth), Ted Musgrave (seventh) and Jack Sprague (10th).
JACQUES' DEBUT: Former F1 champion (1997) and 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve made his NASCAR debut last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He started seventh and finished 21st after his No. 27 Bill Davis Racing Tundra made contact with another truck early on, placing him a lap down. "It was a great learning experience," says Villeneuve of his first NASCAR race. "First of all, I got cut out on the first restart. That was a fun learning experience. It's quite aggressive in the first laps -- everyone runs aggressively. They slide the trucks around and it's good to see that you can slide the trucks quite a lot without crashing. We saw the checkered flag, which is good -- without too many incidents. We had pit stops and I worked with the spotter – which was very important. Talladega is a very different track and I expect it to be very different than here."
GOLF AND POKER: Skinner and his wife, Angie, will partner with Toyota to host the second annual ‘Toyota Tundra Skinner Round Up,' this week in Daytona Beach, Fla. The charity golf and poker tournament (Sept. 28) will benefit several Daytona Beach-area charities -- including Council on Aging: Meals on Wheels, Second Chance Animal Rescue, Safe Kids Coalition and Greyhound Pets of America. Participants in the event include recording artists Edwin McCain, Stacy Mitchhart, Eddie Money and Bo Bice (also of American Idol); NASCAR drivers Ron Hornaday, Rick Crawford and Steve Park; NHRA drivers Matt Smith and Scott Kelley; NASCAR's Betty Jane France and World Series of Poker champion Brian Wilson.
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 ESPN2, 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 Domino's Pizza 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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