NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS):
Friday, November 16, Qualifying @ Homestead-Miami Speedway, 3:10 PM (ET)
Sunday, November 18, Ford 400 @ Homestead-Miami Speedway, 3:30 PM (ET)
Race 36 of 36
NASCAR Busch Series (NBS):
Saturday, November 17, Qualifying @ Homestead-Miami Speedway, 12:05 PM (ET)
Saturday, November 17, Ford 300 @ Homestead-Miami Speedway, 4:30 PM (ET)
Race 35 of 35
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS):
Friday, November 16, Qualifying @ Homestead-Miami Speedway, 5:00 PM (ET)
Friday, November 16, Ford 200 @ Homestead-Miami Speedway, 8:00 PM (ET)
Race 25 of 25
HISTORY HERE: This weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS) and NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) races at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS) will be the first time that Toyota Camrys will visit the 1.5-mile Florida oval. Tundras have participated at the speedway for three years in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS), earning one win with Todd Bodine in 2005, and three poles with David Reutimann (2004 and 2005) and Mike Skinner (2006).
IT'S A WRAP: The Camry will wrap up its first full season of NNCS and NBS competition with this weekend's races in Homestead, Fla. "I would give our season a letter grade of a B-minus," says Jim Aust, vice president - motorsports, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "We're probably about 14 races behind where I thought we would be. We had expected to run in the top-15 by mid-season and we have moved in on that at the end of the season. The drivers that are running up there keep changing, but at least having a Camry running up there is pretty consistent. I think there has been progress made and there have been highlights along the way. Overall, the consistency has picked up, but we still have a lot of work to do in order to compete with the Hendrick, Childress and Roush teams."
END OF AN ERA: The final races of the 2007 season will be the end of an era for both the old-style NNCS car along with the sponsors of both major series. In 2008, the Car of Tomorrow (COT) will race full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Meanwhile, Busch will enjoy its final race this weekend as the series sponsor before a change next year to the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
VICKERS VOICES HIS OPINION: "Man, it's been a long year," says Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Camry. "I'm excited to put this year behind us. To be honest, I'm excited to drive these real race cars for one last time because these COTs are far from being a real race car. It's going to be fun to get at least one last run in the old car."
AJ'S ASSESSMENT: AJ Allmendinger, who will complete his first full season of NNCS competition this weekend, graded both himself and his team on their first stock car season. "For me as a driver, I would give myself a C-minus," says Allmendinger, driver of the No. 84 Red Bull Camry. "I think we've gotten a lot better as this season has progressed, but we still have a lot of room to improve. The team has improved, but we are still inconsistent from week to week. I have to give Ricky (Viers, crew chief) and my guys an A-plus for their effort and not giving up this season. That's the only reason I've been able to get through the struggles we've faced this year because those guys have been there to pick me up."
BLANEY'S BATTLE: Dave Blaney worked his way back into the top-35 in owner points following his third-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway just five weeks ago. Now, Blaney is looking to hold onto his spot in the top-35 as the season finale takes place in Homestead this weekend. Following his 31st-place finish at Phoenix, Blaney is 136 points ahead of the infamous 36th position. If Blaney is able to retain the 35th position, he will be locked into the first five races of the 2008 season, including the 50th running of the Daytona 500 in February.
TRIPLE DUTY: Blaney will have triple duty this weekend at Homestead as he will drive his No. 22 Caterpillar Camry in the Cup race for Bill Davis Racing, the No. 10 Hass Avocados Camry in the Busch race for Braun Racing, and the No. 22 Tundra in the truck race for Bill Davis Racing. Friday's race will mark only the second time in Blaney's career that he will climb behind the wheel of a truck. Blaney's other NCTS start came at Dover (2004) where he finished sixth.
CAMRYS IN CUP: During the first season of NNCS competition, Camrys have earned two poles -- Blaney at New Hampshire (June) and Michael Waltrip at Talladega (October). Camry drivers have also earned two top-five finishes -- Blaney finished third at Talladega (October) and Vickers finished fifth at Lowe's Motor Speedway (May). In addition, Camrys have earned 11 top-10 finishes this season.
FROM FLORIDA: Two Toyota drivers call Florida home -- Reutimann, who competes in both the NNCS and NBS, and Skinner, the driver of the No. 5 Tundra in the NCTS. Reutimann is from Zephyrhills -- near Tampa -- and Skinner resides in Daytona Beach.
SECOND AND THIRD: As the NBS heads to Homestead, two Camry drivers are among the top-three in the championship point standings with one race remaining. After 34 of 35 races, Reutimann is second in the standings behind series champion Carl Edwards, and Jason Leffler sits third in series points.
BUSCH HIGHLIGHTS: NBS Camry drivers have made their way to victory lane twice this season -- Leffler at O'Reilly Raceway Park (July) and Reutimann at Memphis Motorsports Park (Oct.). Four poles (Blaney, Leffler-2 and Reutimann), 15 top-fives and 35 top-10 finishes add to the list of accomplishments earned by Camry drivers in NBS races this season.
TOP SPOT: Skinner held on to the top spot in the tight NCTS points battle following his eighth-place finish at Phoenix this past weekend. However, his lead was reduced to only 29 points over Ron Hornaday as the series heads to the final race at Homestead. Skinner is looking to earn his second NCTS championship and become only the third driver in the series to repeat as champion. "We were 10-feet tall, bullet-proof trying to prove ourselves to the world," said Skinner, of racing in NCTS back in 1995. "We made a lot of dumb decisions and we got away with it a lot. We were able to beat the Cup guys when they came over. I think that helped Ron's career, Jack's (Sprague) career and my career. There were a lot of people that this series helped out back in '95 and '96. The difference is just time. Here we are again -- it's just much tighter now than it was then. It's harder to run good now than it was then."
MIKE ON MIAMI: "I love that place," says Skinner of Homestead-Miami Speedway. "We ran well there in the Cup car -- we've run good there in the truck. I crashed there last year -- we got a little eager early in the race. -- but we ran awfully well there. I'm sure we'll have a good piece when we get to Homestead. Obviously, we're standing out on an island by ourselves. We'll try to race a whole bunch of them at Homestead."
BREAKING RECORDS: Skinner's pole at Phoenix marked his 11th of the season and established a new record for poles in a single season. Skinner broke his own record of 10 poles from his 1995 championship season. This year, he also led the NCTS field to the green flag at Atlanta, Martinsville, Kansas, Charlotte, Mansfield, Dover, Milwaukee, Nashville and St. Louis and Texas (Nov.).
MIKE'S MILESTONE: "In this day and time, I think that's huge," says Skinner, of his record number of NCTS poles. "It really wasn't our focus -- our focus was to finish in front of the 33 (Ron Hornaday, Jr.), or not more than two or three spots behind him. It's just remarkable -- momentum is a wonderful thing. This team's been really good and we've been good in qualifying this year. It's huge to get the record."
SECOND TITLE: Skinner's victory at Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 20) enabled Toyota to clinch its second consecutive NCTS manufacturer's championship. "Winning a second manufacturer's championship is a testament to the outstanding race teams that Toyota has been associated with in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, as well as the extremely talented Tundra drivers," says Jim Aust, vice president - motorsports, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "We recognize the popularity and value of the Craftsman Truck Series and our commitment to the series has never wavered."
TUNDRA TALK: With only one race remaining this season, five Tundra drivers are currently in the top-10 in the NCTS championship point standings. Skinner leads Hornaday in the championship standings by 29 points. Tundra drivers Todd Bodine (fourth), Johnny Benson (fifth), Ted Musgrave (seventh) and Jack Sprague (ninth) are chasing the two leaders in the standings.
TOP TUNDRAS IN 2007: Tundras have won 12 races and scored 17 poles this season. Skinner leads the way with a series-high five wins (California, Atlanta, Martinsville, Kentucky and Martinsville-2) and 11 poles (Atlanta, Martinsville, Kansas, Charlotte, Mansfield, Dover, Milwaukee, Nashville, St. Louis, Texas-2 and Phoenix). Benson has three wins (Milwaukee, Bristol and St. Louis), while Bodine won from the pole at both Texas-1 and Talladega. Sprague captured the season-opener at Daytona from the pole, and scored his second pole of the season at the fall Martinsville race. Brad Keselowski (Memphis) and Ryan Mathews (Kentucky) have also started from the pole. Musgrave won last weekend at Texas-2.
100TH FOR TUNDRA: This weekend's race at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be the 100th race for the Tundra in NASCAR competition. Dating back to 2004 with Toyota's entry into the NCTS, one driver (Skinner) has piloted a Tundra for each of the 99 races to date. Prior to Reutimann's move to the NNCS and NBS this season, he competed in 75 consecutive NCTS events between 2004 and 2006. Skinner's Tundra will carry the ‘100 for Tundra' logo on the hood of his truck at Homestead with the other Tundras carrying the logo on their b-pillars.
100 FOR TUNDRA TALK: "I'm just blessed that the Toyota deal has worked out for us," says Skinner. "They've treated us awfully well. We've had a little bit of success together over the past four years, and a lot of success together this year. No matter what happens with the championship -- whether we finish first or second -- it's been a great year for Toyota and a great year for Bill Davis Racing."
HAPPY 50TH: In October, Toyota celebrated its 50th anniversary in the U.S. 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. More information on the 50th anniversary of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., can be found at www.toyota50th.com.
TOYOTA IN AMERICA: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. was formed October 31, 1957, establishing 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.
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 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 activities and the Toyota NASCAR program is available at www.toyotamotorsports.com.
IMAGES INFORMATION: Members of media can access Toyota images 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
Johnny Benson 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
Jason Leffler No. 38 Great Clips Toyota Camry Braun Racing
Dave Blaney No. 10 Hass Avocados from Mexico Toyota Camry Braun Racing
Todd Bodine No. 03 Germain Toyota Camry Germain Racing
David Reutimann No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing
Michael McDowell No. 00 Aaron's Lucky Dog 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 Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing
Dave Blaney No. 22 Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing
Jacques Villeneuve No. 27 Unicef Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing
Todd Bodine No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota Tundra Germain Racing
Justin Marks No. 03 Crocs Toyota Tundra Germain Racing
Ted Musgrave No. 9 Team ASE 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
Andy Lally No. 00 U.S. Army Reserve/TRG Toyota Tundra The Racer's Group
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