This Week's Races:
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS):
Saturday, October 6, Qualifying @ Talladega Superspeedway, 12:15 AM (ET)
Sunday, October 7, UAW-Ford 500 @ Talladega Superspeedway, 2:00 PM (ET)
Race 30 of 36
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS):
Friday, October 5, Qualifying @ Talladega Superspeedway, 1:10 PM (ET)
Saturday, October 6, Mountain Dew 250 @ Talladega Superspeedway, 4:00 PM (ET)
Race 20 of 25
HISTORY HERE: This weekend's trip to the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway marks the second time Toyota Camrys have been to the circuit just outside Birmingham, Ala. Three Camry drivers competed in the NNCS event at Talladega in April, with Jeremy Mayfield (23rd) the highest-finisher in the No. 36 360 OTC Camry. Michael Waltrip Racing teammates David Reutimann (32nd) and Dale Jarrett (40th) also competed in the debut of the Camry at Talladega.
MORE HISTORY HERE: Toyota Tundras will also make their second trip to NASCAR's longest oval this weekend, but this will be their first visit of 2007. The NCTS made its debut at Talladega last season, with Tundras taking seven of the top-10 finishing positions. Mike Skinner (second), Ted Musgrave (third), Todd Bodine (fourth), and Johnny Benson (ninth) each look to improve their finishes from a year ago in Saturday's race. AJ Allmendinger (fifth), Reutimann (sixth) and Chad Chaffin (eighth) also recorded top-10s in Tundras at Talladega in 2006.
‘COT' PLATE RACING: The 'Car of Tomorrow' (COT) will make its debut at a restrictor-plate track in Sunday's NNCS race. The COT has been used 13 times this season, but only on shorter tracks and road courses -- until this weekend. In addition to Talladega, the COT will be used twice more in the year's final seven races (Martinsville and Phoenix), before being implemented full-time in 2008. Sunday's 188-lap event is also an impound race, prohibiting teams from working on the cars between qualifying and the start of the race.
TOYOTAS TESTED: Toyota Camrys participated in a two-day NASCAR test on Talladega's high banks in early September (10th and 11th) to prepare for this weekend's race. The test was used to give drivers experience drafting in a pack with the new car, and give teams information on the COT's response to a restricted engine.
TIME AT TEST IMPORTANT: "We're very happy with the progress we were able to make at the test session," says Andy Graves, Cup Series Program Manager, TRD U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development). "Both drafting and single-car sessions proved valuable for our teams, as well as TRD. All three of our teams were able to participate in the two-day test and I feel like they were all able to make some gains on their COT speedway program. Learning how the COT will behave in the draft, and dealing with that information, was an important aspect of this test."
TALLADEGA TEST TALK: "We continued to get better with every run during the test, which was encouraging," says Dave Blaney, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Camry. "We felt like we're learning a lot, as far as getting more speed out of the cars. Drafting is not a huge deal at Talladega because it's not as much of a handling race track as Daytona. Since we're outside the top-35 in points, it is more important to have that fast single-car run in qualifying. Finding speed out of the car is a bigger deal than getting out there in the draft."
MORE TEST TALK: "I don't really see much of a difference in drafting with the COT versus the other car," says Michael Waltrip, team owner and driver of the No. 55 NAPA Camry. "People can argue it all they want, but I don't see much difference. I've had success in the other car and I know how to draft in it. It seems to me that the biggest difference will be more passing. With the other car you really had to time it perfectly to be able to make those types of moves. With this car it seems like you can play the game of lying off a guy and getting that big run."
DRAFTING WITH DALE: "I am not a fan of the COT," says Jarrett, who drives the No. 44 UPS Camry. "Talladega will be interesting because the drafting will be different. I hope that we can go there and make the race. The impound race is obviously a different thing. When you're in the position where you have to make the race, you have to weigh how big of a chance do you take with giving enough to get in the race --speed-wise -- and then everything holding up for 500 miles. I'm not sure any of us know exactly what to expect, but the drafting is certainly different. It's going to be something to watch and I think as much as some people claim they know about the draft, there is going to have to be some different techniques used there that should make for an interesting race."
CAMRY DRIVERS AT ‘DEGA: Current Camry drivers have totaled four Cup Series victories at Talladega Superspeedway. Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Camry, is the defending race-winner, leading 17 laps en route to his first-career victory last October. Jarrett has a pair of Cup Series wins at Talladega (1998 and 2005) and Waltrip drove to victory lane at the Alabama track in 2003.
JACQUES JUMPING IN: Jacques Villeneuve will attempt to make his first-career NEXTEL Cup Series start this weekend at Talladega in the No. 27 Bill Davis Racing Camry. Villeneuve, the 1995 Indianapolis 500 champion and 1997 Formula One champion, participated in the NASCAR test at Talladega earlier this month and was recently cleared by NASCAR to race. Villeneuve will also compete in Saturday's NCTS race for BDR. The Canadian started seventh and finished 21st in his first Craftsman Truck Series start on September 22 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
OK FOR JV: "I'm happy that NASCAR has given me its approval, and having run Talladega with the Cup drivers, I'm really looking forward to it," says Villeneuve. "The test was great and it was a lot of fun to get out there with so many talented drivers. To be running in the middle of the pack with them is great and the fact that they trust me enough to stay behind me is good. I have just been trying to learn the draft and learn what the other cars are doing."
TWO IN TOP-FIVE: Two Camry drivers are currently in the top-five in the NBS championship point standings. Reutimann, driver of the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Camry, sits second in the standings. He has recorded four top-five finishes and 11 top-10s this season. Jason Leffler, driver of the No. 38 Great Clips Camry, is fourth in the standings. This year, Leffler has one win, two poles, six top-fives and nine top-10 finishes. The Busch Series drivers enjoy an off-weekend before returning to action October 12 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte.
LEADER OF THE PACK: Five Camry drivers have notched a total of 355 laps led across 13 NBS races. Leffler (Daytona, Nashville, Darlington, Indianapolis and Bristol) has led a total of 141 laps. Reutimann (Nashville, Talladega, St. Louis and Bristol) has led 93 laps. Vickers has led 87 laps (Michigan, California and Kansas) while Blaney (California, Atlanta and Nashville) has led 19 laps. Todd Bodine (St. Louis) has led 15 laps.
FIVES AND TENS: Camrys have earned 13 top-five finishes and 33 top-10 finishes in NBS competition -- nearly one-third of all starts have resulted in top-10 finishes during the inaugural season. Three Camrys have finished in the top-10 together four times this year including races at Nashville Superspeedway (second, third and fourth in April), Milwaukee Mile (third, sixth and seventh in June), Gateway International Raceway (third, fourth and 10th in July) and O'Reilly Raceway Park (first, third and 10th in July).
BY THE NUMBERS: This weekend's NASCAR Craftsman Series Truck race at Talladega will be the 95th race for the Tundra in the series. Since the beginning of the 2004 NCTS season, Tundra drivers have recorded 34 victories and 45 pole positions. Bodine (11), Benson (eight), Skinner (seven), Jack Sprague (three) and Travis Kvapil (two) have all won multiple races in Tundras. Reutimann, Whitt and David Starr have each picked up one win.
TOP TUNDRAS IN 2007: Tundra drivers who have won races in 2007 include Skinner (California, Atlanta, Martinsville and Kentucky), Benson (Milwaukee, Bristol and St. Louis), Bodine (Texas) and Sprague (Daytona). In addition, Skinner (Atlanta, Martinsville, Kansas, Charlotte, Mansfield, Dover, Milwaukee, Nashville, and St. Louis), Bodine (Texas), Brad Keselowski (Memphis), Ryan Mathews (Kentucky) and Sprague (Daytona) have put Tundras on the pole this season.
TUNDRA TALK: After 19 of 25 races, five Tundra drivers sit among the top-10 in the NCTS championship point standings. Mike Skinner regained the points lead at Las Vegas last month, and has now been the championship leader heading into 17 of the 20 race weekends this season. Chasing Skinner in the standings are fellow Tundra drivers Bodine (fourth), Benson (fifth), Musgrave (seventh) and Sprague (10th).
THREE'S COMPANY: Germain Racing will field a third Tundra this weekend at Talladega for driver Mike Wallace. Wallace is making his second NCTS start of the season, and 112th of his career. Wallace made five starts in a Tundra for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports in 2005. He will be reunited with former crew chief Jason Overstreet on the No. 03 Southeast Toyota Dealers Tundra at Talladega.
LEFFLER TO RIDE RED HORSE: Jason Leffler, who scored the first victory for a Camry in NASCAR competition earlier this season at O'Reilly Raceway Park in the NASCAR Busch Series, will return to the Craftsman Truck Series in the No. 1 Red Horse Racing Tundra at Talladega. Leffler will make his 41st-career NCTS start Saturday afternoon, but his first since 2004. Leffler will drive the No. 1 Tundra in five of the final six races of the season. Brandon Whitt, who scored a victory for the team in 2005 at Memphis, will drive the truck at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
TOYOTA IN AMERICA: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. was established October 31, 1957, with its headquarters in a former Rambler dealership in Hollywood, Calif. Sales began in 1958 and totaled a modest 288 vehicles that first year – 287 Toyopet Crown sedans and one Land Cruiser. In nine of the past 10 years, the Toyota Camry has been the best-selling car in America. Assembled at Toyota's Georgetown, Kentucky plant, more than six million Camry models have been sold in the United States since its debut more than 20 years ago.
HAPPY 50th: Toyota is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the U.S. this 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. For more information on the 50th anniversary of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., please visit www.toyota50th.com.
BROADCAST BITS: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race will be televised on ABC 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
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 Jacques Villeneuve No. 27 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 Craftsman Truck Series Driver Truck Team Johnny Benson No. 23 TCUV Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing Mike Skinner No. 5 Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing Jacques Villeneuve No. 27 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 Mike Wallace No. 03 Southeast Toyota Dealers Toyota Tundra Germain Racing Terry Cook No. 59 HT Motorsports Toyota Tundra HT Motorsports Jason Leffler 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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