Upcoming Races: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) @ Auto Club Speedway ·Friday, August 29, Qualifying @ 3:40 PM (PT) – SPEED, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128) ·Sunday, August 31, Race start @ 5:00 PM (PT) – ESPN, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128) ·Race 25 of 36 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) @ Auto Club Speedway ·Saturday, August 30, Qualifying @ 2:05 PM (PT) – SPEED, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128) ·Saturday, August 30, Race start @ 7:00 PM (PT) – ESPN2, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128) ·Race 27 of 35 Toyota 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Statistics Races Starts (Drivers) Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Times Led Laps Led 24 234 (15) 9 35 52 4 157 3,000
CALIFORNIA CHRONICLE: This weekend marks the fourth trip to Auto Club Speedway (formerly California Speedway) for the Toyota Camry in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) competition. In the rain-delayed February race, Camry drivers Kyle Busch (fourth) and Tony Stewart (seventh) finished among the top-10. Brian Vickers has three top-15 finishes behind the wheel of a Camry -- 10th, eighth and 11th-place results, respectively -- in the three most recent events at the two-mile Southern California track.
RECORD RECALL: Camry driver and current NSCS points-leader Busch earned a spot in the NASCAR record book with speed and versatility shown at the Auto Club Speedway. The Las Vegas-native earned his first career pole position (Feb. 2005) and race win (Sept. 2005) at the Fontana, Calif., track all before turning 21 -- becoming the youngest Cup driver to earn such recognition. "I like California," says Busch. "It's fun because you can run all over the place. You can run low, you can run high, and there are plenty of opportunities to pass.
WALTRIP'S WORDS: After this weekend's 500-mile NSCS race in California, team owner and driver Michael Waltrip will have logged more than 10,000 miles at Auto Club Speedway since it opened in 1997. Currently at 9,890 miles, the driver of the No. 55 NAPA Auto Parts Camry has competed in 15 NSCS races, 10 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) events and two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) races at the track. "I love going to California," says Waltrip. "I will never forget the first time I went there back in the late 90's to see the progress they were making and what they were going to turn into what is now Auto Club Speedway. It was just an old steel plant. I'm proud to be able to take my NAPA Camry to the west coast and be able to race in front of the fans of Southern California."
MENTOR MIKE: In addition to his full-time driving duties in the Craftsman Truck Series, Mike Skinner is using his racing experience to mentor younger drivers in the Sprint Cup Series. The NASCAR veteran is set to make his third start in the No. 00 Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing at California, after subbing for rookie Michael McDowell at Michigan and Bristol. Earlier this year, the Ontario, Calif.-native who grew up in Susanville, Calif., ran six races in the No. 84 Red Bull Racing Camry to assist driver AJ Allmendinger in his development. Skinner earned the NSCS pole position at Fontana, Calif., in 2000, and has one win (2007) and one pole (2005) driving a Tundra in NCTS competition at the two-mile oval.
PERFORMANCE & PROGRESS: Since returning to the No. 84 Red Bull Camry, Allmendinger has qualified for all 16 races, recorded seven top-20 finishes and registered his first top-10 NSCS finish at Indianapolis. Allmendinger also won the NASCAR Sprint Showdown last month, putting his team in the All-Star event in Charlotte.
SLIDING SIDEWAYS: This Thursday, Allmendinger will learn the sport of drifting from fellow Red Bull athlete and Formula Drift champion Rhys Millen, who lives in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. Since the age of five, and way before joining the NASCAR ranks at the beginning of the 2007 season, Allmendinger has spent time racing BMX, quarter-midgets, Skip Barber National and Pro series, the Atlantic Championship and Champ Car, but has never taken on the art of drifting. He'll learn from Millen, who in addition to his Formula Drift racing has shown his talent as a stunt driver in the recent films ‘Indiana Jones 4,' ‘Dukes of Hazzard,' ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith,' and ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.'
CALIFORNIA CONNECTIONS: Several Toyota team members hail from the ‘Golden State,' including Allmendinger, who is from Los Gatos near San Francisco. Four crew members also call Southern California home. The Red Bull Racing Team has Doug Newell, gas man for the No. 83 Camry, from Oxnard, Chad Avrit, rear tire changer for the No. 84 Camry, is from El Centro. Jeff Patterson, the gas man for the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, is from Escondido, and Gabe Barajas, the rear tire carrier from the No. 22 Bill Davis Racing Camry, is from Saugus.
SPECIAL DELIVERY BY DENNY: As part of the 2008 FedEx Racing ‘Deliver the Drive' program, Denny Hamlin and FedEx will visit the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank on Thursday to donate a Toyota Prius. Los Angeles-area FedEx employees will join Hamlin as they volunteer in the kitchen prior to making the vehicle donation. "In three years of driving for FedEx and Joe Gibbs Racing, I have been able to see first hand the impact FedEx has in the community," says Hamlin. "This year we are focusing our attention on the groups that serve their communities by collecting and redistributing food to those in need, and FedEx is donating four new Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles to help these groups accomplish their goals in this time of growing need, all while saving on fuel costs. To see firsthand the work that the people at the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank are doing is a great experience, and to help deliver this vehicle with FedEx makes it that much better."
BACK TO BRISTOL: Last Saturday night's 500-lap short track race in Bristol, Tenn., saw a trio of top-10 performers with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammates Busch (second), Hamlin (third) and Stewart (eighth). Busch led 415 laps, but was passed by eventual race-winner Carl Edwards late in the race. Camry drivers Vickers (20th), Ken Schrader (21st), David Reutimann (25th), Skinner (28th), Waltrip (30th), Allmendinger (34th) and Blaney (38th) were also in the field.
CHASING CHECKERS: Busch has registered eight wins this season in the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 18 M&M's Camry. "It hasn't been easy, that's for sure," says Busch. "We always try to run better -- It's what you try to do every week."
CHASE CHATTER: Busch continues to be the NSCS points-leader and has already clinched the top spot in the ‘Chase for the Sprint Cup' with his win at Watkins Glen (Aug. 10). With eight wins to date this season, the 23-year-old Las Vegas-native will have 80 bonus points when the ‘Chase' begins at New Hampshire (Sept. 14), as NASCAR gives 10 points for every win prior to the 10-race ‘Chase' playoff. Camry drivers and fellow JGR teammates Stewart (sixth) and Hamlin (11th) also are in the top-12. Vickers is on course for his career-best NSCS season and currently ranks 16th in points.
TWO TO GO: There are two races remaining before the ‘Chase' begins and Camry driver Hamlin feels the pressure mounting. "We're definitely in a vulnerable spot," says the 27-year-old driver of the No. 11 FedEx Camry. "This is not how we had planned. We're going to try our best to minimize mistakes. Right now, we're just going to try to concentrate on getting back to consistent runs week in and week out instead of every other week."
JOEY JUMPS IN: Joe Gibbs Racing announced Monday that The Home Depot will continue its sponsorship of the NASCAR Sprint Cup No. 20 Toyota team in 2009 and beyond, and that Joey Logano will take over the duties behind the wheel of one of NASCAR's most successful race teams. Logano will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup series debut at Richmond, Sept. 6, in the No. 02 Home Depot Camry. "I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to be in this position," said Logano. "Joe Gibbs Racing has provided me tremendous support each step of the way and the opportunity to work with the absolute best in the business. I can't explain the feeling to become a part of such an awesome Home Depot team and I'm going to focus on working as hard as I can to prepare for next season."
Toyota 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Statistics
Races Starts (Drivers) Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Times Led Laps Led
26 152 (15) 15 43 73 9 118 2,504
MORE CALIFORNIA HISTORY: Blaney captured the first pole for the Camry in NASCAR competition when he was the fastest qualifier for the Nationwide Series race at the California oval in February 2007. Earlier this year, Stewart earned his first California win in February when he led 136 of 150 laps. Stewart was followed to the finish line by fellow Camry driver Busch for a one-two sweep.
RETURNING TO ROOTS: Two Toyota drivers and one crew chief from the NNS garage call Southern California home. Jason Leffler, driver of the No. 38 Braun Racing entry, grew up in Long Beach. Originally from Riverside, Josh Wise will be behind the wheel of the No. 22 Camry for Fitz Motorsports this weekend. Jerry Baxter, crew chief for the No. 99 Michael Waltrip Racing Camry driven by Reutimann, hails from San Diego where he raced Late Models from 1976-79 and occasionally raced against Ernie Irvan, Rusty Wallace and Dick Trickle.
WORDS FROM WISE: "We lived about 20 minutes from the Auto Club Speedway and that's where I watched my first NASCAR race," says Wise. "Growing up around the area, I raced Quarter Midgets at Pomona from seven to 13 years of age and I also raced at Perris right about the time I was graduating from Jurupa Valley High School. I have a lot of history there and friends and family are still there. I'm looking forward to going back."
RACE REWIND: Three Toyota Camrys finished in the top-10 in the NNS race last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Busch's seventh-place run was the highest among the Camry contingent, followed by Reutimann (eighth) and Vickers (ninth). Leffler (15th), Joey Logano (16th), Mike Wallace (35th) and Hamlin (36th) were also in the field.
DOUBLE DUTY: Three Camry drivers are set to compete in a pair of NASCAR events during the Fontana race weekend. Busch, Reutimann and Vickers will compete in the NNS race Saturday and the NSCS race on Sunday at the two-mile California oval. Busch will drive the No. 18 JGR entry in both races. Vickers will drive the No. 83 Red Bull Racing entry in Sunday's NSCS race and the No. 32 Braun Racing Camry in the NNS race. Reutimann will once again compete for Michael Waltrip Racing in both events, pulling his regular Toyota ‘double-duty.'
CAMRY COUNT: Camrys have won 15 of the 26 NNS races this season. Busch has six wins, including three consecutive at Texas (April 5), Phoenix (April 11) and Mexico City (April 20), along with victories at Charlotte (May 24), Chicagoland (July 11) and Indianapolis (July 26). Stewart 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 Richmond (May 2), Dover (May 31) and Daytona (July 4). Logano scored his first-career victory at Kentucky (June 14).
CAMRY CONSISTENCY: Four Camry drivers remain in the top-10 in points after Bristol, with Reutimann (fourth) leading the way, followed by Busch (seventh), Leffler (eighth) and Wallace (ninth) after 26 of 35 races.
Toyota 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Statistics
Races Starts (Drivers) Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Times Led Laps Led
16 163 (18) 9 37 74 10 70 1,457
TUNDRAS TAKE TOP-FOUR: Tundra drivers swept the top-four finishing positions in last week's Bristol NCTS race. Busch led 145 of 203 laps en route to his third NCTS victory of the season. Todd Bodine finished second followed by rookie Scott Speed (third) and Johnny Benson (fourth). Skinner (seventh), David Stremme (ninth) and Ted Musgrave (10th) also earned top-10 results in Tennessee. Other Tundra racers in the field included Justin Marks (22nd), Terry Cook (23rd), David Starr (29th) and Schrader (33rd).
FOUR IN 10: Four Tundra racers are in the top-10 in the NCTS championship race. Benson still leads the series, and now has a 119-point advantage over defending NCTS champion Ron Hornaday, Jr. Bodine, the 2006 NCTS champion, is fourth followed by two-time NCTS champion Skinner (fifth) and Cook (ninth).
FINE NINE: Tundra drivers have registered nine NCTS wins in 2008. Benson (Milwaukee, Kentucky, Indianapolis and Nashville) and Busch (California, Atlanta and Bristol) have each won multiple races while Tundra racers Bodine (Daytona) and Speed (Dover) each have one NCTS victory in 2008.
BACKYARD BEGINNINGS: Toyota's rich history in America is rooted in Southern California. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., headquarters are located in Torrance, Calif., and TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) is based in Costa Mesa, Calif. Toyota sold its first car -- the Toyopet Crown -- in its first dealership located in Hollywood, Calif., in 1957. In Toyota's first full year selling vehicles in America, they sold 287 Toyopets and one Land Cruiser. Last year, the Toyota brands -- including Lexus and Scion -- sold more than 2.6 million vehicles in the U.S. More than five million Camrys have been built in the U.S. since production began in Georgetown, Ky., more than 20 years ago, and the Camry has been the best-selling car in America 10 of the past 11 years.
COSTA MESA CONNECTION: Toyota Racing Development, U.S.A. (TRD), which powers all of Toyota's American racing programs, is located in Costa Mesa, Calif., and Salisbury, N.C. A subsidiary of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., TRD serves as the North American racing arm for design, development and assembly of Toyota's factory racing engines. TRD currently builds the NSCS motors for Michael Waltrip Racing (three cars) and the Red Bull Racing Team (two cars) in Costa Mesa. In addition, TRD is also the source of high-performance aftermarket products for both street performance and grassroots racing Toyotas. Visit TRD online at www.trdusa.com.
2008 TOYOTA DRIVER/TEAM ROSTER NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Car Team Dave Blaney No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry Bill Davis Racing Brad Coleman 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 Office Toyota Camry Joe Gibbs Racing Tony Stewart No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry Joe Gibbs Racing David Reutimann No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing Mike Skinner No. 00 Affliction Day of Reckoning 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 Jason Leffler No. 38 Great Clips Toyota Camry Braun Racing Brian Vickers No. 32 ABF Freight Toyota Camry Braun Racing Josh Wise No. 22 Supercuts Toyota Camry Fitz Motorsports Mike Wallace No. 7 GEICO Toyota Camry Germain Racing Kyle Busch No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry Joe Gibbs Racing Joey Logano No. 20 GameStop Toyota Camry Joe Gibbs Racing David Reutimann No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry Michael Waltrip Racing
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