Toyota Notches Nationwide Victory, Trio of Cup Top 10s at Texas

April 06, 2008

April 6, 2008 - Fort Worth, TX - In Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Texas Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch scored his fourth top-five finish of the season with a third-place result to race-winner Carl Edwards in the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Busch started third and was strong early, leading 16 of the first 29 laps. Track conditions changed throughout the 339-lap race on the one-and-a-half-mile Texas oval. The 22-year-old Las Vegas-native battled an ill-handling race car for much of the afternoon, but stayed among the leaders to register his best NSCS finish since winning at Atlanta (March 9).

"There at the end, it was just survival," said Busch, following the race. "It was about holding off those guys behind us. It wasn't going to be able to move forward at all because we were so tight. If we had a different race car, I would've probably tried a little bit harder to get a spot at the end, but it wasn't worth it today."

Busch led twice for a total of 50 laps.

Denny Hamlin finished fifth in the No. 11 FedEx Camry, while teammate Tony Stewart placed seventh in the No. 20 Home Depot Camry, giving Joe Gibbs Racing three of the top-seven cars in the final running order.

Brian Vickers finished 16th in the No. 83 Red Bull Camry, logging his best result since a ninth-place run at Atlanta. Dave Blaney took the checkered flag 21st in the No. 22 Caterpillar Camry, his best finish of the season for Bill Davis Racing.

Toyota drivers Mike Skinner (29th), Michael Waltrip (31st), Michael McDowell (33rd), David Reutimann (41st) and J.J. Yeley (42nd) were also in the field.

Busch's finish moves him up two spots -- to third -- in the unofficial NSCS point standings, 64 points behind leader Jeff Burton. Stewart (fifth) and Hamlin (seventh) are also in the top-10 in points after seven of 36 races.

The next race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule is April 12 at Phoenix International Raceway.

In Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Texas, Busch scored his fourth victory of the season in a Toyota -- but first in the NNS -- with a dominating performance in the No. 18 DLP HDTV Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Busch started 31st after rain canceled qualifying on Thursday, but he quickly pushed through the field in the opening laps. He led one lap early in the race during green flag pit stops, but took control for good when Stewart was forced to make an unscheduled pit for tires on lap 71, leading 125 of the final 130 laps -- and a race-high 126 of 200 -- en route to the checkered flag.

"It's the fourth win of the year, but first in the Nationwide Series car," said Busch, following the race. "I just have to thank my fans for helping me get through it -- being in victory lane is for them. It was a great job by all of these guys on the Joe Gibbs Racing team. Jason Ratcliff (crew chief) made some great calls. I've finished second here twice before, but I've never won here. I proved that because I didn't know where victory lane was. I got lost on the way."

During the race's fourth and final caution flag with seven laps remaining, Busch and crew chief Jason Ratcliff decided to stay on the track when many of the cars behind him came to pit road for tires. Despite older tires, the gamble paid off as Busch pulled away from the field on the restart, beating Burton to the finish line by a 1.041-second margin on the one-and-a-half-mile Texas oval.

"I knew four tires were going to be fast, but I didn't know if I was going to be able to get through traffic," continued Busch. "This place is pretty aero-sensitive. Jeff (Burton) has beaten me a few times on late restarts, but luckily, I was able to get back out and prevail to win this thing."

Busch's victory was the eighth of the season for Toyota across the three national NASCAR series. Busch won the NSCS race at Atlanta and Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) races at California and Atlanta, in addition to the Nationwide Series victory at Texas this weekend. Stewart scored victories in the first two NNS races of the season -- at Daytona and California. Hamlin went to victory lane last weekend at Martinsville in the NSCS while Todd Bodine took the checkered flag in the NCTS race at Daytona.

Vickers (sixth), Jason Leffler (ninth) and Stewart (10th) also scored top-10 finishes for Toyota. Stewart led twice for 12 laps, but a vibration in the right-rear forced the No. 20 Old Spice Camry to the pits and a lap down on the race track, costing him a shot at the win.

Other Camry drivers in the field included Reutimann (14th) and Mike Wallace (25th).

With the victory, Busch gained six spots in the unofficial NNS point standings, now in fifth (888 points) after seven of 35 races. Reutimann maintained his third-place position in the points, now trailing leader Clint Bowyer by 120 points (1,047-927). Leffler (eighth) is also in the top-10 in points after Texas.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) returns to action April 11 at Phoenix International Raceway.

  Toyota NSCS Driver Finishes at Texas Motor Speedway
42nd, J.J. YELEY

Toyota Drivers in NSCS Point Standings -- following Texas Motor Speedway**
3rd, KYLE BUSCH		1,001 points
5th, TONY STEWART	957 points
7th, DENNY HAMLIN	913 points
18th, BRIAN VICKERS	746 points
31st, DAVID REUTIMANN	552 points
32nd, MICHAEL WALTRIP	530 points
33rd, J.J. YELEY	505 points
37th, DAVE BLANEY	473 points
40th, MIKE SKINNER	344 points
**unofficial point standings

Toyota NNS Driver Finishes at Texas Motor Speedway

Toyota Drivers in NNS Point Standings – following Texas Motor Speedway**
3rd, DAVID REUTIMANN	927 points
5th, KYLE BUSCH		888 points
8th, JASON LEFFLER	841 points
11th, MIKE WALLACE	794 points
19th, TONY STEWART	611 points
29th, BRIAN VICKERS	472 points

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