February 17, 2008 - Daytona Beach, FL - In Sunday's Daytona 500, a record nine Toyota Camrys competed in the season-opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race, leading 138 of 200 laps in the 50th running of the ‘Great American Race' at Daytona International Speedway.
Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch earned Toyota's first top-five finishes at the 2.5-mile ‘World Center of Racing,' finishing third and fourth, respectively, in their first NSCS starts for Toyota. For Stewart, it was his fifth top-10 finish in 10 Daytona 500s.
"It's pretty tough to say that I'm happy to go from first to third on the last lap of the Daytona 500," said Stewart, following the race. "I just made the wrong decision on the backstretch and tried to get down in front of Kyle (Busch). In all reality and in hindsight, I'm probably going to be a lot happier about it. It's hard to explain -- it's probably one of the most disappointing moments of my racing career tonight."
Busch had the dominant car Sunday, leading a race-high 86 laps in the No. 18 M&Ms Camry, falling just short of pushing Stewart to the win. Stewart (16 laps led) was at the front of the field coming to the white flag in the No. 20 Home Depot Camry, but Penske Racing teammates Newman and Kurt Busch used a run down Daytona's backstretch to pass Stewart heading into turn three before the checkered flag.
A total of six Toyota Camrys earned top-20 finishes. Brian Vickers finished 12th in the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, marking the first Red Bull Racing Team finish in the Daytona 500. Dale Jarrett, who was competing in his final Daytona 500, finished 16th in the No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry, followed by Denny Hamlin (32 laps led) and David Reutimann – who finished 18th in the No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry to round out the top-20.
Other Toyota Camry drivers in the field included J.J. Yeley (25th), Michael Waltrip (29th) and Dave Blaney (38th). Waltrip started second in the No. 55 NAPA Camry, and led twice for three laps.
The winner of the 50th running of the ‘Great American Race' was Ryan Newman.
The next race on the schedule for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is February 24 at California Speedway.
In Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race, Stewart scored his third-career NNS win at Daytona International Speedway, capturing the checkered flag in the season-opening Camping World 300 in the No. 20 Armor All Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. It was the first victory in a Camry for the Joe Gibbs Racing team, who joined the Toyota line-up this year.
Stewart started on the pole and led the field three times for a total of 46 laps in the 120-lap, 300-mile race on the high-banked Florida oval. Stewart led the field to the green flag after the last caution flag with five laps remaining, holding off Kyle Busch at the finish line by a 0.259-second margin.
"I'm just proud of all the Toyota people and all the work they've done in such a short amount of time to get us all in victory lane," said Stewart. "That's twice this week that we've gotten Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas in victory lane. I'm really proud of that -- I'm proud of the effort they're putting into it. This is the only race we're running for Armor All this year so I'm glad we were able to get the pole and win the race for them."
The win is the third Nationwide Series victory for Stewart at Daytona, along with wins in the 2005 and 2006 event. It is also marks the third win for Toyota in NNS competition since joining the series in 2007. A year ago, Jason Leffler (Indianapolis) and Reutimann (Memphis) recorded NNS victories in Camrys.
"It's been what they did before we came along," said Stewart, about the Toyota program. "They laid a very nice foundation. We may add a little here and a little there, but Toyota doesn't get the credit for what they did last year."
Busch, who led a race-high 47 laps in the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Camry, scored his second runner-up finish of ‘SpeedWeeks' at the ‘World Center of Racing'.
Vickers, who led a pair of laps, finished fourth in the No. 10 ABF Camry for Braun Racing. Hamlin came home eighth in the No. 32 Hass Avocados from Mexico Camry.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included David Reutimann (14th), Jason Leffler (19th), Mike Wallace (24th) and Michael McDowell (27th).
The NASCAR Nationwide Series returns to action at California Speedway, February 23.
In Friday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race, Todd Bodine finally won at Daytona International Speedway after 17 years and 34 races, capturing the checkered flag in the season-opening Silverado 250 at the ‘World Center of Racing.'
Bodine won a wild, 100-lap, 250-mile race in the No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota Tundra for Germain Racing, edging fellow Tundra driver Busch to the finish line by a 0.077-second margin.
"Finally to get it done at Daytona -- it's pretty incredible," said Bodine. "I've been coming to Daytona for 17 years as a driver, three years as a crew member, and 20 years total. This track has been pretty cruel to me, and now to finally get it done here is an incredible feeling."
After the sixth and final caution -- and subsequent pit stops -- with less than 10 laps remaining, Bodine found himself in the lead with a host of fast trucks right on his heels. The 2006 NCTS champion held the challengers at bay, leading a Tundra freight train to the start-finish line for his 13th career victory. He led a race-high 49 laps en route to the winner's circle.
Bodine's win marks the 39th for Toyota in the NCTS in 101 races since joining the series in 2004. The win came in the same truck Bodine was victorious with last October at Talladega Superspeedway.
Busch finished second in his first NCTS start at Daytona in the No. 51 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Tundra. Johnny Benson was third in No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota Tundra and David Starr rounded out the top-four in his Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra. Rookie Justin Marks also scored a top-10 finish in his No. 9 Construct Corps Toyota Tundra.
Other Tundra drivers in the field included rookie Phillip McGilton (12th), Ted Musgrave (28th), Mike Skinner (29th) and Terry Cook (30th).
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to action February 23 at California Speedway.
Toyota NSCS Driver Finishes at Daytona International Speedway
3rd, TONY STEWART
4th, KYLE BUSCH
12th, BRIAN VICKERS
16th, DALE JARRETT
17th, DENNY HAMLIN
18th, DAVID REUTIMANN
25th, J.J. YELEY
29th, MICHAEL WALTRIP
38th, DAVE BLANEY
Toyota Drivers in NSCS Point Standings -- following Daytona International Speedway**
3rd, TONY STEWART 170 points
4th, KYLE BUSCH 170 points
13th, BRIAN VICKERS 127 points
16th, DENNY HAMLIN 117 points
17th, DALE JARRETT 115 points
18th, DAVID REUTIMANN 109 points
25th, J.J. YELEY 88 points
28th, MICHAEL WALTRIP 81 points
37th, DAVE BLANEY 54 points
Toyota NNS Driver Finishes at Daytona International Speedway
1st, TONY STEWART
2nd, KYLE BUSCH
4th, BRIAN VICKERS
8th, DENNY HAMLIN
14th, DAVID REUTIMANN
19th, JASON LEFFLER
24th, MIKE WALLCE
27th, MICHAEL McDOWELL
Toyota Drivers in NNS Point Standings -- following Daytona International Speedway**
1st, TONY STEWART 190 points
2nd, KYLE BUSCH 180 points
3rd, BRIAN VICKERS 165 points
7th, DENNY HAMLIN 147 points
14th, DAVID REUTIMANN 121 points
19th, JASON LEFFLER 106 points
24th, MIKE WALLCE 91 points
27th, MICHAEL McDOWELL 82 points
Toyota NCTS Driver Finishes at Daytona International Speedway
1st, TODD BODINE
2nd, KYLE BUSCH
3rd, JOHNNY BENSON
4th, DAVID STARR
8th, JUSTIN MARKS
12th, PHILLIP McGILTON
28th, TED MUSGRAVE
29th, MIKE SKINNER
30th, TERRY COOK
Toyota Drivers in NCTS Point Standings -- following Daytona International Speedway**
1st, TODD BODINE 195 points
2nd, KYLE BUSCH 170 points
3rd, JOHNNY BENSON 170 points
4th, DAVID STARR 160 points
8th, JUSTIN MARKS 142 points
12th, PHILLIP McGILTON 127 points
28th, MIKE SKINNER 81 points
29th, TED MUSGRAVE 79 points
30th, TERRY COOK 73 points
** unofficial point standings
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