Camry Drivers Fight Hard at Phoenix

November 11, 2007

November 11, 2007 - Avondale, AZ - In Sunday afternoon's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS) race at Phoenix International Raceway, Jimmie Johnson picked up his fourth consecutive win of the year and his 10th victory this season. He led the field twice for 55 laps en route to victory lane in the 312-lap race at the one-mile oval Arizona oval.

Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Camry, recorded the best finish among the four Toyotas in the field. He battled handling and brake problems, but still managed to finish 21st and on the lead lap.

"We lost our brakes again and the balance was changing substantially during long runs from the front to the rear," said Vickers, following the race. "The brakes started locking and I was having to push the pedal in going into the corner, and then pull it back with my foot. We just missed on things a little bit."

The three other Camry drivers in the race were Dave Blaney (31st), Johnny Benson (36th) and Jacques Villeneuve (41st).

Blaney spun on lap 234, but was able to continue and finish the race. The finish allows his No. 22 Caterpillar Camry to remain 35th in the unofficial owner point standings (136 ahead of 36th) and 29 points shy of taking over the 34th position.

Villeneuve, driver of the No. 27 UNICEF Toyota, made contact with the wall along the backstretch and retired after 136 laps.

The final race on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule takes place next Sunday (Nov. 18) afternoon at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In Saturday afternoon's NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) race, Kyle Busch powered his way through a green-white-checkered flag restart to win at the Phoenix one-mile oval. He led the field three times for a total of 132 laps in the 203 lap event.

Three of the four Camry drivers in the field -- Jason Leffler, David Reutimann and Michael McDowell -- finished among the top-15.

Leffler was the top Toyota to cross the finish line when he earned his 11th top-10 of the season with an eighth-place result in his No. 38 Great Clips Camry. He might have finished higher after starting 30th, except for some late race problems. "The thing vapor-locked at the end of the race and cost us a spot -- at least one spot, for sure," said Leffler, following the race. "It's kind of disappointing. The race was fine and the guys did a good job in the pits."

Reutimann finished 12th in his No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Camry. Phoenix-native McDowell finished 14th in the No. 00 Aaron's/Best Western Camry -- his second top-20 finish in just his second-career NBS race. Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 10 Fort McDowell Resort Destination Camry, was involved in an accident in turn four on lap 133 and he finished 27th, four laps down.

The race featured 11 caution periods that lasted for 46 laps, two red flags that lasted just over 17 minutes and 10 lead changes among seven drivers.

Reutimann remained second in the NASCAR Busch Series unofficial championship point standings and Leffler held onto third-place.

The next and final race on the NASCAR Busch Series schedule is Saturday (Nov. 17) at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In Friday evening's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Phoenix, Kyle Busch led the final 42 laps to pick up his sixth-career series race win, and four Tundras registered top-10 finishes at the one-mile desert oval.

Ron Hornaday, Jr., followed Busch to the checkered flag for second-place. Mike Bliss, Jason Leffler and Kevin Harvick finished third through fifth, respectively.

Leffler, driver of the No. 1 Red Horse Racing Tundra, was the first Toyota to the finish line. "It was a fun night," said Leffler, after the race. "The guys really gave me a good truck. We had a top-five truck today -- and we finished fourth. I'm pretty happy with our run tonight and I'm looking forward to going to Homestead. I get to run the Tundra there and work with these guys once more."

Todd Bodine (sixth), Johnny Benson (seventh), Mike Skinner (eighth) and Jack Sprague (10th) also recorded top-10 finishes. Other Tundra drivers in the field were Terry Cook (18th), Jacques Villeneuve (19th), Andy Lally (31st) and Justin Marks (25th).

Skinner's eighth-place finish at Phoenix allows him to maintain a 29 point lead in the unofficial championship point standings as the series heads to the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "That's a lot better than being 29 points behind," said the driver of the No. 5 Toyota Tundra.

The Craftsman Truck Series season finale takes place on Friday, Nov. 16, at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Toyota NNCS Finishing Positions at Phoenix International Raceway
21st, BRIAN VICKERS
31st, DAVE BLANEY
36th, JOHNNY BENSON
41st, JACQUES VILLENEUVE
DNQ, AJ ALLMENDINGER
DNQ, DALE JARRETT
DNQ, DAVID REUTIMANN
DNQ, MICHAEL WALTRIP

Toyota NNCS Drivers in the Point Standings following Phoenix International Raceway**
32nd, DAVE BLANEY 2,649 points
38th, BRIAN VICKERS 2,028 points
39th, DAVID REUTIMANN 1,790 points
42nd, DALE JARRETT 1,472 points
43rd, AJ ALLMENDINGER 1,165 points
44th, MICHAEL WALTRIP 1,149 points

Toyota NBS Finishing Positions at Phoenix International Raceway
8th, JASON LEFFLER
12th, DAVID REUTIMANN
14th, MICHAEL MCDOWELL
27th, BRIAN VICKERS

Toyota NBS Drivers in the Point Standings following Phoenix International Raceway**
2nd, DAVID REUTIMANN 4,069 Points
3rd, JASON LEFFLER 3,875 Points
23rd, DAVE BLANEY 2,401 Points

Toyota NCTS Finishing Positions at Phoenix International Raceway
4th, JASON LEFFLER
6th, TODD BODINE
7th, JOHNNY BENSON
8th, MIKE SKINNER
10th, JACK SPRAGUE
11th, TED MUSGRAVE
19th, JACQUES VILLENEUVE
21st, TERRY COOK
25th, JUSTIN MARKS
31st, ANDY LALLY

Toyota NCTS Drivers in the Point Standings following Phoenix International Raceway**
1st, MIKE SKINNER 3,865 Points
4th, TODD BODINE 3,404 Points
6th, JOHNNY BENSON 3,367 Points
7th, TED MUSGRAVE 3,074 Points
9th, JACK SPRAGUE 2,886 Points
14th, TERRY COOK 2,568 Points
23rd, RYAN MATHEWS 1,494 Points
33rd, JOSH WISE 962 Points
34th, AJ ALLMENDINGER 916 Points

** Unofficial Point Standings

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