August 17, 2008 - Brooklyn, MI - Toyota drivers took home second-place finishes in this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) and NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) races at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway oval.
In Sunday afternoon's Sprint Cup Series race at the D-shaped track, Kyle Busch started 11th in his Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 18 Interstate Batteries Camry and led the field twice for 34 laps (of 200). However, the 23-year-old driver was unable to catch race-winner Carl Edwards during the final 10 lap shootout following a late race caution period -- and he had to settle for a second-place finish.
"It was a decent run for us," Busch said, after the race. "It was way better than what it was here in the spring. We were running up front today, we made some gains, and we got a lot better there. But, we just didn't have enough for the 99 (Carl Edwards) at the end. We had tires that were just great and made the car really, really hook up. Then, we took those off and the car wasn't as good until the end of the race. We weren't able to get through the corners as fast as Carl (Edwards) was and then still get good bite up off the corners. That's where we kind of struggled all day."
"It just really came down to when he beat us off pit road at the end," added Busch. "That was it for us. We just didn't quite have the car capable enough of beating those guys today. We had some great calls by Steve Addington (crew chief) all day long and a great car to be able to come home second -- a big gain from where we were here in the spring. We weren't that competitive then, so to come out of here second we're happy that we've got something to build on."
Brian Vickers also registered a top-10 finish in the No. 83 Red Bull Camry. The Thomasville, N.C.-native started from the pole and led 21 laps en route to a seventh-place result.
"We felt like we had a car capable of winning today," said Vickers, following the race. "We chased the track a little bit, but we didn't chase it quite fast enough. The track continued to get looser and looser and we didn't keep up with it quite as fast as we needed. The last two stops we decided to go with two tires and go for it -- we just over-adjusted for the two tires and it was too tight at the end to really do anything. Obviously, last year we would have been ecstatic to have this finish. Now, we are disappointed -- or at least I am."
Camry drivers Tony Stewart (12th), David Reutimann (14th) and Michael Waltrip (19th) also registered top-20 finishes. Other Toyota drivers in the field included AJ Allmendinger (28th), Mike Skinner (35th), Brad Coleman (38th), Denny Hamlin (39th) and Dave Blaney (41st).
Skinner was making his first start substituting for Michael McDowell in the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 00 Camry and Brad Coleman was in his inaugural NSCS start driving the Hall of Fame Racing No. 96 Camry.
This season, Camry drivers have picked up nine wins in NSCS competition -- eight by Busch and one for Hamlin. Along with the nine wins, Camry drivers have recorded 33 top-five finishes and 49 top-10 results in 2008.
Busch continues to hold the top spot in the unofficial NSCS point standings, now having a 222-point advantage over second-place Carl Edwards. Stewart (sixth) and Hamlin (12th) are also in the top-12 in the points after 23 of 36 races.
The next race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule is August 23 at Tennessee's Bristol Motor Speedway.
In Saturday afternoon's Nationwide Series race at the Michigan track, Toyota drivers Vickers and Stewart combined to lead almost half of the race, but neither Camry racer could catch race-winner Edwards.
Vickers, driver of the Braun Racing No. 32 ABF Freight Camry, started third and paced the field two times for 17 laps (of 125) on his way to a second-place finish. Stewart, who registered a third-place result, was in front of the field three times for 36 laps in his JGR No. 20 Old Spice Toyota.
"We had a great car on long runs, but we just had a decent car at the start," said Vickers, after the race. "The problem at the start was with new tires you just had to run the bottom of the track, and running the bottom the 60 (Carl Edwards) seemed like he had quite a bit more motor. It definitely hurt us in the short run. On old tires, where handling was more important, we could move up to the top, keep the engine wound up and I felt like we had something for them. Unfortunately, we just ran out of time and Carl (Edwards) got to far away there on the last run."
Joey Logano (seventh) and Jason Leffler (eighth) also registered top-10 finishes in Saturday's race. In his first-ever race at Michigan, Logano earned his eighth top-10 finish in 10 starts this season. Camry drivers Mike Wallace (15th) and Reutimann (34th) were also in the field.
Reutimann is now fifth in the unofficial NNS point standings, 363 points behind leader Clint Bowyer. Busch (seventh), Wallace (eighth) and Leffler (ninth) are also in the top-10 in points after 25 of 35 races.
This season, Camry drivers have registered 15 victories in 25 NNS races. Busch (six), Stewart (five), Hamlin (three) and Logano (one) have been the Camry drivers who have visited victory lane in 2008.
The next race on the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule is at Tennessee's Bristol Motor Speedway, August 22.
Toyota NSCS Driver Finishes at Michigan International Speedway 2nd, KYLE BUSCH 7th, BRIAN VICKERS 12th, TONY STEWART 14th, DAVID REUTIMANN 19th, MICHAEL WALTRIP 28th, AJ ALLMENDINGER 35th, MIKE SKINNER 38th, BRAD COLEMAN 39th, DENNY HAMLIN 41st, DAVE BLANEY Toyota Drivers in NSCS Point Standings – following Michigan International Speedway** 1st, KYLE BUSCH 3,429 points 6th, TONY STEWART 2,871 points 12th, DENNY HAMLIN 2,735 points 15th, BRIAN VICKERS 2,569 points 27th, DAVID REUTIMANN 2,048 points 31st, MICHAEL WALTRIP 1,788 points 32nd, DAVE BLANEY 1,776 points 38th, AJ ALLMENDINGER 1,305 points 40th, MICHAEL McDOWELL 1,200 points Toyota NNS Driver Finishes at Michigan International Speedway 2nd, BRIAN VICKERS 3rd, TONY STEWART 7th, JOEY LOGANO 8th, JASON LEFFLER 15th, MIKE WALLACE 34th, DAVID REUTIMANN Toyota Drivers in NNS Point Standings -- following Michigan International Speedway** 5th, DAVID REUTIMANN 3,219 points 7th, KYLE BUSCH 3,003 points 8th, MIKE WALLACE 2,963 points 9th, JASON LEFFLER 2,926 points 20th, DENNY HAMLIN 1,756 points 26th, TONY STEWART 1,504 points 33rd, JOEY LOGANO 1,311 points 39th, BRIAN VICKERS 1,019 points
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