Upcoming Races: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) @ Chicagoland Speedway Thursday, July 10, Qualifying, 8:40 PM (ET) -- SPEED, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128) Saturday, July 12, Race start @ 8:00 PM (ET) -- TNT, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128) Race 19 of 36 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) @ Chicagoland Speedway Friday, July 11, Qualifying, 3:35 PM (ET) – ESPN2, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128) Friday, July 11, Race start @ 8:00 PM (ET) -- ESPN, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128) Race 20 of 35 Toyota 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Statistics Races Starts (Drivers) Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Led Laps 18 174 (13 drivers) 7 26 38 3 130 2,251
HISTORY HERE: This weekend, Toyota Camrys will participate in the NSCS race at Chicagoland Speedway under the track's newly installed lighting system. Last July, four NSCS Camry drivers competed at the 1.5-mile Joliet, Ill., facility. Jeremy Mayfield finished 26th a year ago, followed by Michael Waltrip (30th), Dave Blaney (40th) and David Reutimann (43rd). The 2007 race at Chicagoland was won by current Camry driver Tony Stewart, who also won the 2004 event and the pole position in 2003.
POST-FOURTH FIREWORKS: Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway saw plenty of sparks fly in the closing laps. A video replay showed the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 18 Interstate Batteries Camry of Kyle Busch was ahead of Carl Edwards at the time of the last caution, giving the 23-year-old driver his sixth Cup victory of the season.
CLOSE CALL: "It was close, but when I did see the yellow light come on, I could barely see the nose on the No. 99 (Carl Edwards) car by my right front fender," said Busch. "I was hoping that we were the winner, and it ended up being that way. I know how Carl (Edwards) feels. I was just trying to figure out everything that I was going to do on that last lap coming back to the front straightaway because I remember what happened last year and how I lost it there and was just going to plan on what I needed to do in order to get that No. 18 car to the stripe first. Once that caution did come out and I saw I was leading I was just like, 'Whew, I think we won but we weren't sure.'"
BUSCH HAS BEST SEAT: When chaos erupted during the final lap in Saturday evening's race at Daytona, Busch may have had the best seat in the house. "I was just glad I was up front," said Busch, following the race. "With everything that was going on in the back of the field, I kept seeing stuff going on in my mirror. You try to stay up front and keep everybody else behind you, but even running up front like that, you can have a guy that gets into your rear bumper."
STEWART'S SUB: After beginning the 400-mile NSCS event at Daytona, Stewart, who had been suffering from flu-like symptoms all day, asked for a relief driver. Hall of Fame Racing's J.J. Yeley took over the reigns of the No. 20 Home Depot Camry and was running near the top-10 before the late race cautions. "I thought we were going to be able to (make it) for the first two runs, but once the car got a little bit loose and we had to start really sawing on the wheel, it's like it zapped the energy out of me and I started making mistakes," said Stewart, after his race. "It was a situation where I was trying to look out for everybody involved on the race team. It was better to get out as early as we could versus sticking it out with 20 to go and expecting J.J. (Yeley) to get the thing back in the top-five. Before the race, the nurse said she was going to buy us a couple of hours and we got three. We still had to go out there and try."
CAMRYS GET CAUGHT: Saturday night's Daytona race demonstrated just how unpredictable superspeedway races can be. While Brian Vickers (11th) was able to successfully avoid the late race incidents, other Camry drivers were not as fortunate. Blaney (19th), Stewart/Yeley (20th), Reutimann (21st), Michael McDowell (25th), Denny Hamlin (26th) and Waltrip (27th) finished on the lead lap, but were part of the last lap accident.
SIX AND SEVEN: Busch's Daytona victory was his sixth NSCS win of the 2008 season and the seventh for Toyota. The Las Vegas-native also earned Toyota's initial NSCS victory at Atlanta (March 9), picked up a victory at Talladega (April 27), and was victorious at Darlington, S.C. (May 10). In addition, he also won at Dover (June 1) and recorded his first career NSCS road course victory in Sonoma (June 22). Hamlin, made his way to victory lane at Virginia's Martinsville Speedway (March 30) to record Toyota's second of seven NSCS wins.
BRIGHT LIGHTS: Since the 2007 NSCS and NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) races at Chicagoland Speedway the facility installed lights for night racing at the 1.5-mile oval that opened in 2001. "I'm excited," says Hamlin, about racing under the lights. "We always seem to like night racing particularly because it's cooler on the drivers. For me, Chicago has been a great race track and continues to get better because you are able to run more grooves there every time you go back."
ENTERING THE UNKNOWN: "It will definitely be different," says Busch, of Chicagoland's new lights. "It's going to be the first time for everybody to try to learn the track -- whether it's like Charlotte, or how much it changes from day to night. The Nationwide race is really going to be the telltale story because we practice during the day and then we race at night. Knowing what that race does will help out the Cup guys and give them a better understanding of how much the track changes and what they can do to their Cup car to try to help it before the race starts."
HEADING HOME: A few members of Toyota teams are from the Illinois. Jay Frye, general manger of the Red Bull Racing
Team, is from Rock Island, Ill., about 145 miles west of Chicagoland Speedway. Damian Albrecht, the shock specialist for
the No. 22 Bill Davis Racing Camry, is from Carrollton, Ill., approximately 230 miles southwest of Chicago. Roger Purcell, the engine tuner for the No. 11 JGR Camry, is from Latham, Ill., about 140 miles southwest of the race track, and also lived in Downers Grove, Ill., which is just outside of Chicago.
CHANCE TO CATCH-UP: Since Frye took the reigns of the Red Bull Racing Team during the off-season, Camry drivers Allmendinger and Vickers have increased their on-track performance and have combined for 10 top-15 finishes, four top-10s, three top-fives and 131 laps led. "It's really great to go back home to Illinois and race at Chicagoland Speedway," says Frye. "Since we're traveling so much during the race season, it's one of the few weekends I get to spend time with friends and family that still live in Illinois. I always seem to bump into old acquaintances at the track too, and it's nice to play catch up."
ILLINOIS ROOTS: Purcell has been with JGR for five years and currently is the engine tuner for the No. 11 FedEx Camry piloted by Hamlin. Hamlin won one of the Gatorade Duels at Daytona in February and Toyota's second Cup win, which took place at Martinsville earlier this season. Purcell grew up in Latham, Ill., Warrensburg, Ill., and ultimately finished high school in Downers Grove, Ill. "My best friend lives in Frankfurt, so I get to spend time with him. I don't have a lot of time to spend with friends and family, but I will get two mornings with them with it being a night race this year."
FIRE AT TRACK: Members of the Major League Soccer's (MLS) Chicago Fire will be guests at the Red Bull Energy station on Friday night at Chicagoland. Players attending the race include Nick Noble (No. 28, goalkeeper), Chad Barrett (No. 19, forward), Steven King (No. 33, midfielder) and Peter Lowry (No. 29, forward midfielder).
POINTS PACE: Busch continues to lead the NSCS point standings following Saturday night's race in Daytona, and holds a 182-point advantage over second-place Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Other Camry drivers among the top-20 in the unofficial NSCS point standings include Hamlin (seventh), Stewart (12th) and Vickers (16th).
FIRMLY IN THE FIELD: Eight Camrys are guaranteed starting spots at Chicagoland based on the current NSCS owner point standings. Busch's No. 18 (first in owner points), Hamlin's No. 11 (seventh), Stewart's No. 20 (12th), Vickers' No. 83 (16th), Waltrip's No. 55 (28th), Reutimann's No. 44 (29th), Blaney's No. 22 (30th) and McDowell's No. 00 (34th) will be in Saturday's race. Allmendinger's No. 84 (37th) and Yeley's No. 96 (38th) will have to qualify for the race.
Toyota 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Statistics Races Starts (Drivers) Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Led Laps 19 108 (12 drivers) 13 33 52 8 96 1,968
MORE HISTORY HERE: This weekend, Toyota Camrys will make its second NNS appearance at Chicagoland. Last year, three Camry drivers competed in the 300-mile event with Dave Blaney earning the best finishing position with a ninth-place result. Reutimann (17th) and Jason Leffler (33rd) also competed at the event.
DOUBLE DUTY: Seven Camry drivers will compete in the NNS race at Chicagoland this weekend, five of which are doing double duty -- Busch, Stewart, Vickers, Hamlin and Reutimann.
CAMRY COUNT: Hamlin had a Fourth of July to remember as he won his third NNS race of the season by taking the checkered flag at Daytona Friday night. Hamlin's other victories this season were at Richmond (5-2-08) and Dover (5-31-08). Stewart leads the Camry contingent with five NNS wins, including Daytona (2-16-08), California (2-25-08), Talladega (4-26-08), Darlington (5-9-08) and New Hampshire (6-28-08). Busch has four wins, including three consecutive at Texas (4-5-08), Phoenix (4-11-08) and Mexico City (4-20-08), along with a victory at Charlotte (5-24-08). Joey Logano won at Kentucky (6-14-08). Camry drivers have 13 wins in 19 races this season.
NINE FOR 20: Saturday's victory by Hamlin was the ninth of the season for the JGR No. 20 Camry. Five of the wins have come with Stewart behind the steering wheel, along with two for Hamlin and one apiece for Busch and Logano. So what makes the No. 20 Camry so strong? "It really doesn't matter which (JGR car) you get in, but there's great communication right now between Dave (Rogers, No. 20 crew chief) and Jason (Ratcliff, No. 18 crew chief)," says Hamlin. "They are all doing a really good job working together -- figuring out what we need to work on to make these cars better."
WANTING TO BE BETTER: "We're always thinking of things we need to make these race cars better because you can't just say, 'We're dominating and the guys are so far behind us now that they will never catch us,'" adds Hamlin. "They're right there and this team has been very fortunate. The 18 team has also been very fortunate to get the wins that they have. Just because you're in the 20 car doesn't mean it's an automatic win."
JGR 101: Hamlin's win in Friday night's NNS race at Daytona was the 100th NASCAR victory for the Joe Gibbs Racing team, a number that increased to 101 with Busch's NSCS victory on Saturday. In 17 years of competition, JGR's 101 NASCAR wins are broken down into 65 points-paying NSCS victories (seven in a Toyota), eight non-points-paying NSCS wins (one in a Toyota), 21 NNS first-place finishes (12 in a Toyota), six points-paying NASCAR Camping Word Series East/West wins, and one non-points-paying Camping World Series East/West win (2007 Toyota All-Star Showdown).
LOCAL CONNECTIONS: Two NNS Toyota team crew members hail from Illinois. Ramie Jones, engineer for the No. 32 Braun Racing Camry, is from Olney, Ill., approximately 225 miles south of Chicagoland Speedway. Lee Bob Cunningham, mechanic and eighth over-the-wall man for the No. 99 Michael Waltrip Racing Camry, is from Forreston, Ill., about 130 miles northwest of the race track.
CAMRY CONSISTENCY: Four Camry drivers hold positions in the top-15 in the NNS point standings after 19 races. Reutimann dropped to fourth in the points (226 points behind leader Clint Boyer) with his 14th-place finish at Daytona, followed by Busch (seventh), Wallace (eighth) and Leffler (11th).
Toyota 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Statistics Races Starts (Drivers) Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Led Laps 12 121 (17 drivers) 5 27 53 7 56 1,013
FOUR IN TEN: Four Tundra drivers are currently in the top-10 in the NCTS point standings after 12 of 25 races. Benson fell from first to fourth following the most recent race at Memphis and is now 56 points behind leader Ron Hornaday, Jr. Tundra drivers Bodine (third), Skinner (sixth) and Cook (ninth) also are in the top-10 in points.
TRUCK TIME OUT: The NCTS will take a two-week break before returning to action at Kentucky Speedway, July 19.
SPEAR FISHING: Justin Marks, driver of the No. 9 Construct Corps Tundra for Germain Racing will spend quality time with sponsor Construct Corps' Scott Tashkin before heading to Kentucky. This weekend, Tashkin and Marks will take a long ride in Tashkin's fishing boat from Tampa, Fla., to Tavernier in the Florida Keys with an overnight stop in Naples, Fla.
TOYOTA TRACK: Toyota recently became the 'Official Vehicle, Car and Truck' of Chicagoland Speedway. A Toyota Camry and Solara will be used as the 'official' pace vehicles for this weekend's races.
MANUFACTURER'S MATH: Toyota holds the lead in two of the three premier NASCAR series in the 2008 manufacturer's championship point standings. Toyota is 16 points ahead of Chevrolet in the NSCS chase and has a 26-point advantage over Chevrolet in the NNS standings. Toyota is four points behind Chevrolet in the NCTS point standings.
BACK STORY: Background information on the Toyota NASCAR program is available at www.toyota.com/pitpass.
IMAGES INFORMATION: Members of media can access Toyota images at www.toyotamotorsportsmedia.com.
2008 TOYOTA DRIVER/TEAM ROSTER NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Car Team Dave Blaney No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry Bill Davis Racing J.J. Yeley No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry Hall of Fame Racing Kyle Busch No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry Joe Gibbs Racing Denny Hamlin No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry Joe Gibbs Racing Tony Stewart No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry Joe Gibbs Racing Michael McDowell No. 00 Champion Home Mortgage Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing David Reutimann No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing Michael Waltrip No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing AJ Allmendinger No. 84 Red Bull Toyota Camry Red Bull Racing Team Brian Vickers No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry Red Bull Racing Team NASCAR Nationwide Series Driver Car Team Brian Vickers No. 10 Dollar General Toyota Camry Braun Racing Denny Hamlin No. 32 Haas Avocados from Mexico Toyota Camry Braun Racing Jason Leffler No. 38 Great Clips Toyota Camry Braun Racing Mike Wallace No. 7 GEICO Toyota Camry Germain Racing Kyle Busch No. 18 Z-Line Toyota Camry Joe Gibbs Racing Tony Stewart No. 20 Old Spice Toyota Camry Joe Gibbs Racing David Reutimann No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing
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