Busch On Another Sunday Drive, Benson Makes It Four Out Of Five

August 10, 2008

August 10, 2008 - Watkins Glen, NY - Toyota scored a pair of NASCAR victories at two different tracks over the race weekend, with Kyle Busch taking his eighth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) victory of the season Sunday at Watkins Glen International and Johnny Benson winning his third-straight NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) win -- and fourth in the last five events -- Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway. Busch's runner-up result in Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at 'The Glen' was the highest among the Camry contingent.

In Sunday's NSCS race, Busch started on the pole in the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 18 M&M's Toyota, as rain Friday canceled qualifying and the starting grid was set per the NASCAR rulebook, and led four times for a race-high 52 of 90 laps around the 2.45-mile, 11-turn circuit in upstate New York.

Crew chief Steve Addington kept Busch on the track during the race's first caution on lap 49, electing to come to pit road once the team was inside its fuel window to make one final stop. As the pit cycle shuffled through, Busch inherited the lead from Dale Earnhardt Jr. under caution on lap 65, and led the final 26 laps of the 220-mile event.

The 23-year-old Las Vegas-native held JGR teammate Tony Stewart at bay for a pair of late-race restarts -- including after a 43-minute red flag period due to a multi-car incident on lap 84 -- beating the four-time Watkins Glen winner to the finish line by 2.275 seconds en route to victory lane.

"This year has just been phenomenal," said Busch, following Sunday's race. "I just can't thank Toyota enough and I can't thank the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing enough. It was fun to be able to race out there and I had a great time racing with my friend and my teammate, Tony Stewart. I'm really going to miss seeing him at the end of the year."

With the victory, Busch became the first driver in NASCAR history to capture the checkered flag in three road course events. In addition to Busch's win at 'The Glen,' he also scored the NSCS victory at Sonoma, Calif. in June and in the NNS in Mexico City in April.

Busch has now won 16 races across all three of NASCAR's national series in 2008, extending his own record. Busch has eight victories in NSCS competition, six in the NNS and two in the NCTS. Toyota now has nine NSCS wins in 2008.

Busch's JGR teammates Stewart (second) and Denny Hamlin (eighth) also scored top-10 finishes for Toyota at Watkins Glen. Red Bull Racing Team driver AJ Allmendinger finished 11th Sunday for his fourth-consecutive top-20 finish. The No. 84 Red Bull Racing Team entry now sits 35th in the NSCS owner standings, guaranteeing the car a starting spot in next week's field for the first time in team history.

Camry drivers Brian Vickers (18th), Michael McDowell (25th), David Reutimann (33rd), P.J. Jones (37th), Michael Waltrip (39th) and Dave Blaney (41st) were also in the field.

Busch's victory extends his lead in the unofficial NSCS point standings, now holding a 242-point advantage over second-place Carl Edwards. Stewart (seventh) and Hamlin (ninth) are also in the top-10 in points after 22 of 36 races.

The next race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule is August 17 at Michigan International Speedway.

In Saturday's NNS race at Watkins Glen, Busch finished second in the D'Hondt Motorsports No. 92 Zippo BLU Camry, the best result among the six Toyotas in the field.

Busch (12 laps led) started seventh in the No. 92 machine, ran among the leaders throughout the 82-lap event, and crossed the finish line 4.335 seconds behind race-winner Marcos Ambrose.

It was Busch's 12th top-10 finish in 21 NNS starts this season.

Joey Logano (seventh) and Jason Leffler (eighth) also scored top-10 finishes for Toyota in Saturday's race. It was Logano's first-career start at 'The Glen' and the 18-year-old's sixth top-10 finish in eight NNS races.

Camry drivers Reutimann (15th), Mike Wallace (18th) and Hamlin (34th) were also in the field.

The next race on the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule is August 22 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

With the finish, Reutimann remained fourth in the unofficial NNS point standings, now 290 points behind leader Clint Bowyer. Busch (seventh), Wallace (eighth) and Leffler (ninth) are also in the top-10 in points after 24 of 35 races.

In Saturday night's NCTS race, Johnny Benson scored his fourth victory in the last five events in the Toyota Tundra 200 at Nashville Superspeedway -- taking home the unique Gibson guitar first-place trophy from the track located just outside the 'Music City'

Benson passed race-leader Erik Darnell on lap 148 (of 150) at the 1.333-mile concrete oval and paced the field for the final three circuits en route to his first-place finish. Although Benson ran among the leaders throughout the race, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-native only led the final three laps in his Bill Davis Racing No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra on his way to capturing the checkered flag.

In addition to his victory Saturday evening in Tennessee, earlier this season Benson recorded wins at Milwaukee (June 20), Kentucky (July 19) and Indianapolis (July 25). Saturday's triumph enabled Benson to win a third consecutive race for the first time in his NCTS career, and he also became the first repeat winner in the NCTS event at Nashville.

"I didn't think it was possible with 10 laps to go to pass Erik (Darnell) -- to tell you the truth," said Benson, after the race. "Trip Bruce (crew chief) and the guys did a great job. This was a brand new truck and I could never really get a handle on it. The truck was horrible until after about 30 laps on the tires -- then it got to where I could do what I wanted. I knew (Erik) Darnell was going to be tough. I had a really hard time passing the 30 (Todd Bodine) for second-place -- he was running pretty strong, too. Then I saw he (Todd Bodine) kept sliding around and I was able to get by him for second. Then I worked on (Erik) Darnell and was able to get by him and get to victory lane."

Benson started 16th and managed to work his way into the top-five early in the race, before some issues on pit road moved him back in the field. After working his way to the front again, extra adjustments on the second pit stop moved him outside the top-10. Finally, on his final pit stop late in the race Benson took two tires and fuel, and was then able to work his way past Bodine and Darnell for the victory.

Toyota drivers Bodine (third), Ted Musgrave (eighth) and David Starr (ninth) also earned top-10 finishes tonight. Other Toyota drivers in the field included Terry Cook (12th), David Stremme (13th), Mike Skinner (17th), Justin Marks (20th), Shane Sieg (25th) and Michael Annett (33rd).

It was Benson's 13th NCTS win driving a Tundra for Bill Davis Racing, and the 46th win for Toyota in NCTS competition since joining the series at the beginning of the 2004 season.

With the victory, Benson extended his lead in the unofficial NCTS point standings and he now holds a 45-point advantage over second-place Ron Hornaday, Jr. Tundra drivers Bodine (fourth), Skinner (fifth), Cook (ninth) and Starr (10th) are also in the top-10 in points after 15 of 25 races.

The next race on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule is at Tennessee's Bristol Motor Speedway, August 20.

Toyota NSCS Driver Finishes at Watkins Glen International
37th, P.J. JONES

Toyota Drivers in NSCS Point Standings – following Watkins Glen International**
1st, KYLE BUSCH 3,254 points
7th, TONY STEWART 2,744 points
9th, DENNY HAMLIN 2,689 points
17th, BRIAN VICKERS 2,418 points
27th, DAVID REUTIMANN 1,927 points
31st, DAVE BLANEY 1,736 points
32nd, MICHAEL WALTRIP 1,682 points
39th, AJ ALLMENDINGER 1,226 points
40th, MICHAEL McDOWELL 1,200 points

Toyota NNS Driver Finishes at Watkins Glen International

Toyota Drivers in NNS Point Standings -- following Watkins Glen International**
4th, DAVID REUTIMANN 3,158 points
7th, KYLE BUSCH 3,003 points
8th, MIKE WALLACE 2,845 points
9th, JASON LEFFLER 2,748 points
20th, DENNY HAMLIN 1,756 points

Toyota NCTS Driver Finishes at Nashville Superspeedway

Toyota Drivers in NCTS Point Standings -- following Nashville Superspeedway**
1st, JOHNNY BENSON 2,261 points
4th, TODD BODINE 2,042 points
5th, MIKE SKINNER 2,026 points
9th, TERRY COOK 1,952 points
10th, DAVID STARR 1,887 points
15th, TED MUSGRAVE 1,719 points
19th, JUSTIN MARKS 1,526 points
20th, KYLE BUSCH 1,502 points
24th, MARC MITCHELL 1,210 points
26th, SCOTT SPEED 985 points
29th, SHANE SIEG 720 points


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