June 29, 2008 - Louden, NH - Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was shortened by 17 laps when rain invaded the one-mile oval, but two Toyota Camry drivers were able to pick up their season-best finishes with Michael Waltrip second in the No. 55 NAPA Camry and J.J. Yeley third in the No. 96 DLP HDTV Camry.
"I really wished there were a few more laps," said Waltrip, following the race. "I wished we could have went back to green. As bad as I need those 170 points, I'm very cognizant of the difference between first and second. It's huge. To get a win for our team would have been very, very rewarding."
For both Waltrip and Yeley, the finishes mark their career-best at the New England oval.
"We were the best we'd been through both practices yesterday," said Yeley, following the race. "I felt really happy with the car. We started out a lot tighter than we really anticipated. But it's funny, I spent pretty much the majority of the race with Mikey (Michael Waltrip) here all day long. I ran into him. He ran into me. We had a lot of fun. I, too, wish we might have been able to go to green just for the fact those guys racing for the lead might have opened the door for me to come back to third. We needed this finish really, really badly."
Tony Stewart, in his No. 20 Home Depot Camry, led a race-high 132 laps of the 284 in today's race and made his way to pit road just shortly before the rain started forcing him to settle for a 13th- place result.
"I don't know how to put it into words right now," said Stewart, following the race. "Everybody's worked hard. It's not for a lack of effort by anybody on this Home Depot racing team by any means. It's just one of those years where everything that can go wrong goes wrong. We've had years where we couldn't do anything wrong, too. It's part of racing. The good thing is no matter what the outcome is today we get to do it again in six more days so we just do what we can."
Other Camrys in the field today included Denny Hamlin (eighth), Brian Vickers (16th), David Reutimann (19th), Kyle Busch (25th), Dave Blaney (33rd), Michael McDowell (42nd) and AJ Allmendinger (43rd).
Busch maintains the unofficial NSCS points lead and is now 64 points ahead of second-place, Jeff Burton. Other Camry drivers in the top-20 in the unofficial NSCS points include Hamlin (seventh), Stewart (ninth) and Vickers (16th).
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to action on July 5 at Daytona International Speedway.
Stewart recorded his fifth NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) victory this season Saturday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in his No. 20 Old Spice Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR).
Stewart started eighth and led the 200-lap, 211.6-mile event twice for a race-high 75 laps en route to ‘Victory Lane' on the one-mile oval.
Stewart's victory is the 12th for Toyota in 18 NNS races in 2008. Crew chief Dave Rogers and the No. 20 Camry crew have crossed the finish line first eight times with four different drivers -- Stewart, Busch, Hamlin and 18-year-old Joey Logano.
"The master himself, Dave Rogers (crew chief), he's behind every one of these wins this year," said Stewart, following the race. "I give Dave (Rogers) so much credit -- he knows when you tell him that we have a long way to go that he's not afraid to make a big change. That's what won us the race today -- his confidence and his being able to make the call there and pick two tires. He won us the race today."
Stewart's final pit stop paid off for the No. 20 team, choosing to take only two tires while fellow competitors took four. Shortly after the final restart, Stewart passed Carl Edwards on lap 136 and led the final 65 laps. Late in the race, Stewart held off JGR teammates Busch and Hamlin as they challenged him for the lead to earn his first NNS victory at New Hampshire.
"I was trying to take care of the right-front tire because we were still too tight, but you could tell that Denny (Hamlin) decided at the same time that it was time for him to make another stab at it," said Stewart. "He ran us down quite a bit there, but then we got into traffic and I got through traffic pretty good. To see myself and Denny (Hamlin) and Kyle (Busch) all run one-two-three like that -- it shows what a line-up we have at Joe Gibbs Racing."
Hamlin, who ran the No. 32 Braun Racing Camry, finished second while Busch, who ran the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Camry for JGR, finished with a third-place result.
Camry driver David Reutimann also had a run of his own, leading twice for 20 laps midway through the race, but his No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Camry made contact with another car late in the race and wasn't able to make its way back through the field.
Other Toyota drivers in the field today included Mike Wallace (15th) and Jason Leffler (32nd).
With his seventh-place finish at New Hampshire, Reutimann moved into second-place in the unofficial NNS point standings following New Hampshire. Other Camry drivers in the top-15 in points include Busch (seventh), Wallace (eighth) and Leffler (11th).
The NASCAR Nationwide Series returns to action July 4 at Daytona International Speedway.
In Saturday night's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Memphis Motorsports Park, three Toyota Tundra drivers scored top-10 finishes, led by David Starr's fifth-place run in the No. 11 Red Horse Racing Tundra.
It was Starr's fifth top-10 in 12 races in 2008, and best result since a runner-up finish at Mansfield (Ohio) in May.
"Everybody that's involved in this organization has endured some pretty tough luck these past couple of weeks," said Starr, following the race. "All we know how to do is keep grinding. That's what my team keeps doing. The pit stops were incredible and Jamie Jones (crew chief) made great calls. We were looking to gain a little momentum here, and this top-five will definitely help."
Mike Skinner finished seventh in the No. 5 Tundra -- his 10th top-10 result of 2008 -- while Shane Sieg (ninth) scored his best finish of the season in the No. 51 Billy Ballew Motorsports Tundra.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included Michael Annett (11th), Todd Bodine (14th), Terry Cook (17th), Ted Musgrave (20th), Justin Marks (24th), Marc Mitchell (31st) and Johnny Benson (33rd).
Benson started on the pole in the No. 23 Brangus Tundra and led 43 laps, but mechanical problems forced the team to the garage after completing just 84 of 200 laps on the three-quarter-mile Tennessee oval. It was Benson's third pole of the season (Mansfield and Milwaukee), and 56th for Toyota since joining the series in 2004 (112 races).
With the finish, Benson fell from first to fourth in the unofficial NCTS point standings, now 56 points behind leader Ron Hornaday Jr. Tundra drivers Bodine (third), Skinner (sixth) and Terry Cook (ninth) are also in the top-10 in points after 12 of 25 races.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to action in two weeks at Kentucky Speedway on July 19.
Toyota NSCS Driver Finishes at New Hampshire Motor Speedway 2nd, MICHAEL WALTRIP 3rd, J.J. YELEY 7th, DENNY HAMLIN 13th, TONY STEWART 16th, BRIAN VICKERS 19th, DAVID REUTIMANN 25th, KYLE BUSCH 33rd, DAVE BLANEY 42nd, MICHAEL MCDOWELL 43rd, AJ ALLMENDINGER Toyota Drivers in NSCS Point Standings – following New Hampshire Motor Speedway** 1st, KYLE BUSCH 2,496 points 7th, DENNY HAMLIN 2,150 points 9th, TONY STEWART 2,042 points 16th, BRIAN VICKERS 1,903 points 27th, DAVID REUTIMANN 1,496 points 29th, MICHAEL WALTRIP 1,421 points 30th, DAVE BLANEY 1,363 points 36th, J.J. YELEY 1,047 points 39th, MICHAEL MCDOWELL 833 points 40th, AJ ALLMENDINGER 690 points ** unofficial point standings Toyota NNS Driver Finishes at New Hampshire Motor Speedway 1st, TONY STEWART 2nd, DENNY HAMLIN 3rd, KYLE BUSCH 7th, DAVID REUTIMANN 15th, MIKE WALLACE 32nd, JASON LEFFLER Toyota Drivers in NNS Point Standings – following New Hampshire Motor Speedway** 2nd, DAVID REUTIMANN 2,467 points 7th, KYLE BUSCH 2,263 points 8th, MIKE WALLACE 2,171 points 11th, JASON LEFFLER 2,035 points 21st, DENNY HAMLIN 1,330 points 24th, TONY STEWART 1,196 points ** unofficial point standings Toyota NCTS Driver Finishes at Memphis Motorsports Park 5th, DAVID STARR 7th, MIKE SKINNER 9th, SHANE SIEG 11th, MICHAEL ANNETT 14th, TODD BODINE 17th, TERRY COOK 20th, TED MUSGRAVE 24th, JUSTIN MARKS 31st, MARC MITCHELL 33rd, JOHNNY BENSON Toyota Drivers in NCTS Point Standings – following Memphis Motorsports Park** 3rd, TODD BODINE 1,688 points 4th, JOHNNY BENSON 1,686 points 6th, MIKE SKINNER 1,629 points 9th, TERRY COOK 1,553 points 12th, DAVID STARR 1,479 points 14th, TED MUSGRAVE 1,350 points 17th, JUSTIN MARKS 1,280 points 20th, KYLE BUSCH 1,205 points **unofficial point standings
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