Toyota NASCAR Notes & Quotes
Week of July 21, 2008
Upcoming Races: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) @ Indianapolis Motor Speedway Saturday, July 26, Qualifying @ 10:10 AM (ET) – ESPN2, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128) Sunday, July 27, Race start @ 2:00 PM (ET) – ESPN, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128) Race 20 of 36 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) @ O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis Saturday, July 26, Qualifying @ 4:35 PM (ET) – ESPN2, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128) Saturday, July 26, Race start @ 8:00 PM (ET) – ESPN, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128) Race 22 of 35 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) @ O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis Friday, July 25, Qualifying @ 4:30 PM (ET) – SPEED, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128) Friday, July 25, Race start @ 8:00 PM (ET) --SPEED, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128) Race 14 of 25 Toyota 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Statistics Races Starts (Drivers) Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Led Laps 19 184 (13 drivers) 8 28 41 3 138 2,429
HISTORY HERE: The Toyota Camry will make its second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) start at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) this weekend. Last year, four Camry drivers competed on the 2.5-mile Indiana oval with Dave Blaney as the top Toyota finisher with a ninth-place result. Other Camry drivers in the field included Brian Vickers (25th), Terry Labonte (30th) and David Reutimann (38th). Camry driver and Columbus, Ind.-native, Tony Stewart, is a two-time race-winner (2005 and 2007).
TONY TALKS: Stewart grew up about 50 miles from Indianapolis Motor Speedway and has strong ties to racing at the Brickyard. "It's my home race," says Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Camry. "Growing up in Indiana and every year watching the Indy 500 and the whole month of May leading up to it -- a race at the Brickyard is more than just a regular points race. It's always been a big race to all of the Cup drivers, but then when you grow up in Indiana, it just makes it that much more important."
TREK TO THE TRACK: "I came with my father and I was probably five years old," recalls Stewart, about his first trip to the Brickyard. "We were in some bus that had a luggage rack in the top of it. You had to get up at o-dark-30 to get on the bus to ride up to Indianapolis for race day. They threw me up in the luggage rack. Somebody gave me a pillow and everybody started throwing their jackets on top of me to keep me warm. The ride home wasn't nearly as cool, because after a long day at the track, everybody but my dad and I were kind of rowdy. We sat in turns three and four and were two rows up, right in the middle of the short chute. The hard thing was you could hardly see anything. The cars were so fast -- they were a blur. But, to see those cars under caution and smell the methanol fumes and everything, it was pretty cool."
BUSY, BUSY BUSCH: Kyle Busch will race in all three NASCAR races in the Indianapolis-area this weekend -- the Brickyard 400 Sprint Cup race, along with the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) races at O'Reilly Raceway Park (ORP). "It's going to be busy -- that's for sure," says Busch. "I'm looking forward to it. I think once it's all said and done, and once you get to the races and get through the race, then it will be alright. But, missing some of the practices and not sure if we're going to qualify in the trucks or the Nationwide races -- we may have to start in the back or come through the field at ORP. I feel like we have a good shot at having some good runs. Hopefully, the Brickyard on Sunday -- we can win there."
FULL FOCUS: "I have a pretty good sense of the short track (ORP) -- I've been there a few times," says Busch. "Twice with the truck and two or three times with the Nationwide Camry. I've been to the big track twice (IMS), but not with the new car, so that will take a little getting used to."
SCORE SEVEN: Busch's victory in the most recent NSCS race at Chicagoland Speedway (7-12-08) was his seventh Sprint Cup win of the 2008 season, and the eighth victory for Toyota in 2008. The Las Vegas-native earned Toyota's initial NSCS victory at Atlanta (March 9), picked up a win at Talladega (April 27), and was victorious at Darlington, S.C. (May 10). In addition, he won at Dover (June 1), recorded his first career NSCS road course victory in Sonoma, Calif. (June 22), and earned a first-place finish at Daytona (July 5). Denny Hamlin made his way to victory lane at Virginia's Martinsville Speedway (March 30) to record Toyota's second of eight NSCS wins.
WHO'S YOUR HERO: What is former open-wheel ace AJ Allmendinger's best memory of Indianapolis Motor Speedway? "Jeff Gordon winning his first time there and because he's my hero," explains Allmendinger. "The first time he had been there and all the hype around it -- it was pretty cool to watch it on TV. When I pass him for position, I still think about how cool it was to pass Jeff Gordon. The track is tough to get around for sure, but to feel the actual tradition when you're there -- that's pretty cool."
ROOKIE READY: "I've never been to Indy, but growing up as an open-wheel driver and fan -- that's always been my dream," says Michael McDowell, about his inaugural race at the Brickyard. "I always thought it would be in an Indy Car, but it's cool to be able to go and race at the Brickyard 400 and I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be very similar to Pocono, from a set-up standpoint, so we'll just build on that set-up and we should be okay."
HAPPY TO BE HUNGRY: "Certainly, we've worked hard to try to prepare for the future," says Toyota team owner, Joe Gibbs. "Obviously, we love our relationship with Toyota. Our focus has always been long term relationships -- that's what we're after. Our focus is long term and that's what we want to keep. Staying after it is hard to do in this sport, as we all see the changing face of this sport. I think for us, it's a humble approach to really being hungry and getting after it, and feeling like someone is always breathing down your neck."
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Camry drivers have led a total of 2,429 of the 5,692 laps run in this year's 19 NSCS races -- 42.6 percent of all the laps. In addition, Busch has led 1,065 laps in a NSCS Camry, making him the first driver to ever lead more than 1,000 laps in a Camry.
POINTS PACE: Busch continues to lead the NSCS point standings following his win at Chicagoland, and holds a 262-point advantage over second-place Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Other Camry drivers among the top-15 in the unofficial NSCS point standings include Stewart (10th), Hamlin (12th) and Vickers (14th).
Toyota 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Statistics
Races Starts (Drivers) Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Led Laps
21 120 (12 drivers) 14 39 60 9 106 2,236
HISTORICAL HAPPENING HERE: Last year, Jason Leffler made history in his Toyota Camry as he became the first Camry driver to win a race in NASCAR competition when he crossed the finish line first in the Nationwide Series race at ORP. Leffler ran among the leaders throughout the race and led the final two laps to claim the first Camry victory. The other Camry drivers in the race were Reutimann (third) and Mike Bliss (ninth).
MEMORABLE MOMENT: "It was cool," says Leffler, of last year's win at ORP. "It was great and it was really good for Braun Racing and Great Clips. Everybody on the race team was really pumped, it was a good race and the fans enjoyed it. I've always run really well at ORP and I've won a lot of USAC Midget races and Silver Crown races. I just really like the atmosphere there and the race track because it's really unique."
ST. LOUIS STOP: The NNS made a stop at Gateway International Raceway (7-19-08) Saturday night where three Camry drivers finished among the top-10. Joe Gibbs Racing's Joey Logano led 42 laps and finished second -- his third top-five finish in only five career NNS starts. Other Camry drivers in the field included Leffler (fourth), James Buescher (seventh), Mike Wallace (11th) and Reutimann (25th).
SECOND TIME ON TOP: For the second consecutive quarter, Busch has been awarded the 'Driver of the Year' honors. Busch won three NSCS races (Darlington, Dover and Infineon) and one NNS race (Charlotte) during the second-quarter period (May 3 to June 29). His two additional wins at Daytona and Chicagoland will count in the third-quarter voting.
KEYS TO SUCCESS: "We've integrated our Nationwide stuff into our Cup program better than ever before, and it's hard to do because we're not in the same building," says J.D. Gibbs, about the success of the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) NNS program -- which has 13 wins this year. "That's a big deal for our guys from an engineering standpoint and from a crew chief standpoint. We invest a ton because that is our future with JGR's Nationwide stuff. We think it's worth it and it's always paid off with drivers and crew members and crew chiefs."
CAMRY COUNT: Camrys have won 14 of the 22 NNS races this year. Busch has five wins, including three consecutive at Texas (April 5), Phoenix (April 11) and Mexico City (April 20), along with a victory at Charlotte (May 24) and his most recent win at Chicagoland (July 11). Stewart also has five NNS wins at Daytona (Feb. 16), California (Feb. 25), Talladega (April 26), Darlington (May 9) and New Hampshire (June 28). Hamlin has recorded three victories at Daytona (July 4), Richmond (May 2) and Dover (May 31). Logano completes the 14 wins for Toyota with his victory at Kentucky (June 14).
CAMRY CONSISTENCY: Five Camry drivers currently hold positions in the top-20 in the NNS point standings after 22 races. Reutimann is fourth in points (266 points behind leader Clint Bowyer), followed by Busch (seventh), Wallace (eighth), Leffler (11th) and Hamlin (20th).
Toyota 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Statistics
Races Starts (Drivers) Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Led Laps
13 132 (17 drivers) 6 30 60 8 63 1,163
MORE HISTORY: Toyota Tundra drivers will compete on the 0.686-mile O'Reilly Raceway Park (ORP) at Indianapolis for the fifth time Friday evening. ORP is one of only three tracks on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) schedule that has not had a Tundra drive into victory lane. Current Tundra drivers, Mike Skinner (1995 and 1996) and Terry Cook (2002), have each won at ORP and are tied for the most poles (two) at the short track. Last year, three Tundras earned top-10 finishes, including Johnny Benson (second), Todd Bodine (sixth) and Jack Sprague (ninth).
MIKE'S MYSTERY: "We used to own the place," says Skinner about ORP. "We ran really well there last year -- we qualified well and we were leading the race. All of the sudden our truck just lost three-quarters of a second. It's still a mystery and I think it's something in the rear end of the truck. Something happened to the truck and we just lost a bunch of time and never got it back. If we can run like we did at the start of the race last year, then we'll be good."
BENSON BEST IN BLUEGRASS STATE: Benson scored his second NCTS win of the season Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway (7-19-08) when he edged out his Bill Davis Racing teammate Michael Annett, who finished second. Seven Tundras finished in the top-nine including David Starr (fifth), Busch (sixth), Skinner (seventh), Cook (eighth) and Marc Mitchell (ninth). Tundra drivers also led all 150 laps in the race with Benson (94 laps), Busch (43 laps), Skinner (10 laps) and Annett (three laps) taking turns at the front of the field.
FOUR IN TEN: Four Tundra drivers are currently in the top-10 in the NCTS point standings after 13 of 25 races. Benson regained the points lead with his victory at Kentucky and is now one point ahead of second-place Matt Crafton. Tundra drivers Skinner (fifth), Bodine (sixth) and Cook (seventh) round out Toyota's top-10 in points.
GO JOHNNY GO: "We were in the points lead for those two races (Milwaukee and Memphis), which was great," said Benson, following his win Saturday night. "I made a mistake at Memphis and over-revved the engine. Our goal is to try and win the championship. Everybody that has got up there in the points has definitely had issues. If you would back up the last two seasons -- with the amount of issues that we all have had -- there's no way that any of us should win the championship based off the last two years. It's great to have a points battle that's just unbelievable -- it's a lot of fun to be part of."
ANOTHER 'TOYOTA CHALLENGE': The Toyota Challenge Racing Classic will take place on Thursday evening at ORP featuring the USAC National Midget Series race. The Toyota Challenge is one of three major USAC initiatives implemented by Toyota. The first event was held at ORP the night before the Indianapolis 500 and the final event, the Toyota Challenge Showdown, will also take place at ORP, Sept. 12. The three-event 'championship within a championship' will award $15,000 of the $25,000 purse to the Toyota Challenge Champion. NNS Camry driver, Leffler, will participate in this weekend's Toyota Challenge.
ONE WIN HERE: In 2003, Gil de Ferran drove a Toyota-powered Indy Car fielded by Penske Racing to victory lane in the Indianapolis 500.
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 19 points ahead of Chevrolet in the NSCS chase and has a 31-point advantage over Chevrolet in the NNS standings. Toyota is one point 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 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 James Buescher No. 32 Braun Ability / FOE Toyota Camry Braun Racing Kyle Busch No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry Joe Gibbs Racing Jason Leffler No. 38 Great Clips Toyota Camry Braun Racing Mike Wallace No. 7 GEICO Toyota Camry Germain Racing Joey Logano No. 20 GameStop Toyota Camry Joe Gibbs Racing David Reutimann No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Driver Car Team Johnny Benson No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra Bill Davis Racing Michael Annett No. 22 Pilot Travel Centers Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing Mike Skinner No. 5 Toyota Tundra Bill Davis Racing Kyle Busch No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts Toyota Tundra Billy Ballew Motorsports Marc Mitchell No. 15 Hyprene Ergon Toyota Tundra Billy Ballew Motorsports Todd Bodine No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota Tundra Germain Racing Justin Marks No. 9 Crocs Toyota Tundra Germain Racing Ted Musgrave No. 59 Team ASE Toyota Tundra HT Motorsports David Starr No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra Red Horse Racing Terry Cook No. 60 Wyler.com Toyota Tundra Wyler Racing
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