First Cup Win, Tundra Triumph For Toyota In Atlanta

March 09, 2008

March 9, 2008 - Hampton, GA - Kyle Busch earned Toyota's inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) win Sunday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway, leading 173 laps in the No. 18 Snickers Toyota Camry en route to Victory Lane.

Busch became the first driver to sweep the NSCS and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) races in the same weekend with his second consecutive NCTS victory on Friday night.

Busch started sixth and was strong throughout the 325-lap, 500-mile NSCS race on the 1.5-mile Georgia oval. The decisive moment of the race came during the eighth and final caution period on lap 282, when the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing crew won the race off pit road, keeping Busch in the lead when the green flag dropped for the final 37 laps. The 22-year-old Las Vegas-native was the first to see the checkered flag, winning by a 2.066-second margin over teammate Tony Stewart for his fifth-career NSCS win.

"This is pretty special," said Busch, following the race. "We are fortunate to have Toyota on our side with the support they give us and for me, to win the first race for Toyota is great. I'm sure they wanted it sooner, but I was glad I was able to do it."

The victory for Toyota came in its 40th Sprint Cup Series race since joining the series at the beginning of the 2007 season.
"This is a fabulous day for Toyota to win in this prestigious series," said Jim Aust, Vice President of motorsports for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. and President and CEO of TRD (Toyota Racing Development), following the race. "It is just a fabulous feeling. We are just feeling really great about the whole decision to move into the Cup Series as well as for all of the employees of Toyota to have this great day."

Stewart finished second in the No. 20 Home Depot Camry, his best result in a Toyota. He started 32nd, but worked his way through the field during the race, getting his car to handle the best during the last run to secure his third top-10 finish of the season.

Brian Vickers, who led one lap, finished ninth in the No. 83 Red Bull Camry, his third top-12 run in four races, to give Toyota three Camrys in the top-10.

Other Camry drivers in the field included Denny Hamlin (15th), David Reutimann (20th), Dale Jarrett (26th), Mike Skinner (27th), Michael Waltrip (30th), Dave Blaney (34th) and J.J. Yeley (37th).

With the victory, Busch retains the NSCS points lead leaving Atlanta, now holding a 73-point advantage over Greg Biffle (665-592). Camry drivers Stewart (eighth, 525 points) and Vickers (ninth, 491 points) are also in the top-10 in the point standings after four of 36 races.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to action March 16 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

In Saturday afternoon's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Atlanta, Busch led 153 of 198 laps and looked as if he would record his first NNS victory in a Camry, but a blown right-front tire on lap 172 kept him out of Victory Lane. Busch, who started second in the race, went on to finish in 24th place.

Two Camrys recorded top-10 finishes -- Jason Leffler, who led one lap, finished eighth in the No. 38 Great Clips Camry and David Reutimann finished 10th in the Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota.

Toyotas have recorded 10 top-10 finishes in the first four NNS races of 2008.

"Obviously we had the dominant car," said Busch, following the race. "Farm Bureau and Toyota should be real proud, I'm just sorry about the fact that we blew another right-front tire."

Other Toyota drivers who competed in the field were Mike Wallace (17th) and Brian Vickers (22nd).

The next race on the NASCAR Nationwide Series takes place at Bristol Motor Speedway, March 15.

In Friday night's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race, Busch battled back from early handling problems and worked his way to the front of the field -- after falling to the back of the pack early -- to win his second consecutive NCTS race.

It was Toyota's third consecutive Craftsman Truck Series win to start the season and also marked Busch's third career NCTS win at Atlanta and his eighth career series triumph. It was the 41st win for Toyota since joining the Craftsman Truck Series at the beginning of the 2004 season.

Busch started third in the No. 51 Misccosukee Resorts Tundra and led the field five times for 39 laps -- including the final 15 circuits. He stopped for four new tires on lap 114 of the 130-lap event. Shortly before that, it began to rain at the Atlanta oval, bringing out the yellow caution flag. Busch moved to the front of the field when the leaders pitted on lap 115.

"I was surprised that nobody followed me (to pit road), and Ron (Hornaday) didn't come down," said Busch, after the race. "Normally, you do what the leader does, but I think Richie (Wauters, crew chief) made a great call coming down pit road for those four tires. The guys on pit road did a great job tonight. We had the hood up on the truck, had the track bar down eight rounds and had four rounds in the left rear. I don't even know what else we did."

Mike Skinner crossed the finish line third in the No. 5 Tundra, behind race-winner Busch and last year's series champion Ron Hornaday, Jr.

Other Toyota drivers in the field were Ted Musgrave (seventh), Terry Cook (eighth), Todd Bodine (ninth), Justin Marks (14th), Phillip McGilton (16th), David Starr (21st) and Johnny Benson (30th).

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to action March 29 at Virginia's Martinsville Speedway.

Toyota NSCS Driver Finishes at Atlanta Motor Speedway
1st, KYLE BUSCH
2nd, TONY STEWART
9th, BRIAN VICKERS
15th, DENNY HAMLIN
20th, DAVID REUTIMANN
26th, DALE JARRETT
27th, MIKE SKINNER
30th, MICHAEL WALTRIP
34th, DAVE BLANEY
37th, J.J. YELEY

Toyota Drivers in NSCS Point Standings – following Atlanta Motor Speedway**
1st, KYLE BUSCH		665 points
8th, TONY STEWART	525 points
9th, BRIAN VICKERS	491 points
19th, DENNY HAMLIN	413 points
27th, DAVID REUTIMANN	358 points
32nd, DALE JARRETT	315 points
33rd, MICHAEL WALTRIP	303 points
35th, J.J. YELEY	298 points
37th, DAVE BLANEY	273 points
** unofficial point standings


Toyota NNS Driver Finishes at Atlanta Motor Speedway
8th, JASON LEFFLER
10th, DAVID REUTIMANN
17th, MIKE WALLACE
22nd, BRIAN VICKERS
24th, KYLE BUSCH

Toyota Drivers in NNS Point Standings -- following Atlanta Motor Speedway**
3rd, KYLE BUSCH	531 points
6th, DAVID REUTIMANN	503 points
7th, TONY STEWART	472 points
9th, MIKE WALLACE	469 points
12th, JASON LEFFLER	429 points
28th, BRIAN VICKERS	322 points
44th, DENNY HAMLIN	147 points
53rd, MICHAEL McDOWELL	82 points
** unofficial point standings

Toyota NCTS Driver Finishes at Atlanta Motor Speedway
1st, KYLE BUSCH
3rd, MIKE SKINNER
7th, TED MUSGRAVE
8th, TERRY COOK
9th, TODD BODINE
14th, JUSTIN MARKS
16th, PHILLIP McGILTON
21st, DAVID STARR
30th, JOHNNY BENSON

Toyota Drivers in NCTS Point Standings – following Atlanta Motor Speedway**
1st, KYLE BUSCH	555 points
2nd, TODD BODINE	483 points
5th, JOHNNY BENSON	413 points
7th, MIKE SKINNER	393 points
8th, DAVID STARR	384 points
10th, PHILLIP McGILTON	376 points
11th, TERRY COOK	375 points
12th, TED MUSGRAVE	375 points
18th, JUSTIN MARKS	327 points
** unofficial point standings
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