SPRING SUCCESS: 'Our finish at New Hampshire was our best one of the year and it gave us a little bit of a boost at the time,' says Steve Boyer, crew chief for Hall of Fame Racing and the No. 96 DLP HDTV Camry. 'We had a pretty good car at Richmond and that track is very similar set-up wise. Some of the things we learned at New Hampshire helped us at Richmond and going back there we feel pretty confident about the set-up of our car to go back there and finish well.'
TESTING FOR TOMMY: 'We have tested exclusively looking towards New Hampshire for the past month-and-a-half and we feel like we'll be bringing back a better package,' says Tommy Baldwin, crew chief for the Bill Davis Racing No. 22 Caterpillar Camry and a native of Bellport, N.Y. 'We built a new car for the race and we're going to give it our best shot. We tested at Gateway International Raceway (St. Louis) for four days last month and have been working diligently on our test program. I really look forward to the race there for the lobsters and the Modifieds.'
HISTORICAL HAPPENING: In last year's spring NSCS race at NHMS, Blaney earned the inaugural Cup pole position for Toyota since the manufacturer joined the series at the start of the 2007 season. The pole came in Toyota's 17th NSCS race and was the second of Blaney's career. Since that accomplishment, Camry drivers have earned five more NSCS poles including Waltrip at Talladega last October. This season, Busch has poles at Las Vegas and Charlotte, Hamlin started from the front of the field at Richmond in May and Brian Vickers earned the pole at Michigan.
SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY: 'We just got a break there at the end with my pit strategy, getting enough gas to get us to the end and having a really strong car,' said Waltrip, who finished second in the spring race at New Hampshire. 'I passed a bunch of guys to get into position to get to race-winner Kurt (Busch) and race him. I really wished we could have gone back to green. To get a win for our team would have been very, very rewarding.'
WALTRIP'S WAY: 'I think it has to do with the progressive banking,' says Waltrip, about racing at New Hampshire. 'The track did something smart a few years ago. They flattened out the bottom of the track. That means if you want to pass someone, it's shorter on the bottom. However, you do not have the banking to lean on. I love that layout. It's fun and it's now tradition. The banking has created hard-nosed, flat-track racing. The easy way around is up top. The fastest way around is on the bottom, but you have to have your car handling better to work down there. It's a really cool scenario.'
TONY'S TAKE ON TRACK: 'It's a big motor deal,' says Stewart, about racing at New Hampshire. 'With the corners being so tight, you've got to put a lot of gear in the car to get it up off the corner. Forward bite is always an issue there, too -- trying to get the car to go forward. So, it's hard to get up off the corners. Then you've got long straight-aways where you can kind of relax a little bit. Coming into the corners, you use a lot of brake, and it's hard to not only get the car stopped, but to get it to turn. '
FLAT FACTS: 'It seems like our FedEx team always excels on the shorter, flat track,' says Hamlin. 'A lot of it has to do with the package that we have and we feel like we're a little bit better right now on the shorter tracks. We don't have our big track stuff exactly figured out, but really we're just trying to take advantage of the strong points that we do have.'
MESHING MIKE AND MICHAEL: 'Probably the main thing that I've learned is that I just need to go off of my feel and not chase the lap time,' said McDowell, about what he learned from Mike Skinner driving his NSCS car for three races. 'Just chase what I need out of my race car to feel good about running a whole race. Mike (Skinner) verified that we needed to work on our race car and that my feedback was very similar to his. It gave me confidence that I can do the job that they need me to do. We just need to work on communication and getting all the other elements together to make sure that we can get this car back in the top-35.'
NOW IN NEW ENGLAND AGAIN: Two crew members for the Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) No. 00 Toyota Camry will enjoy a homecoming at New Hampshire. Greg Osbourne, car chief and rear tire changer, is from Hampton Beach, N.H., and rear tire carrier Troy Prince is from York, Maine. Osbourne joined MWR when Waltrip established his team for the start of the 2007 campaign. Osbourne also worked with Waltrip on his NAPA team at Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI). Prince served as the rear tire carrier for Waltrip's DEI team in 2005 before making the move to MWR.
BIG GREEN GUY: Shaun Peet, jackman for the No. 83 Red Bull Camry, attended Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., and played on the school's Division 1 ice hockey team for four seasons as a defenseman for the Big Green, from 1994 to 1998, participating in 76 games and scoring three goals. Following graduation, Peet went on to play professional minor-league hockey from 1998 through the 2005 season. 32-year-old Peet now serves as captain of the No. 83 pit crew that won the NASCAR Pit Crew Challenge in Charlotte in May.
MORE HOMECOMINGS: Multiple crew members from the No. 20 Home Depot Camry are from the New England-area. Crew chief Greg Zipadelli is from Berlin, Conn.; Jason Lee, jackman for the No. 20 car, is from Willimontic, Conn.; car chief and brake specialist Jason Shapiro is from Essex, Conn.; and tire changer and mechanic Ira-Jo Hussey is from nearby Manchester, N.H.
DOUBLE DUTY: Two Toyota drivers will compete in both the NSCS and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) races at New Hampshire. Busch will compete in the familiar JGR No. 18 M&M's Camry and the Billy Ballew Motorsports No. 51 Miccosukee Tundra. Reutimann will be back behind the wheel of a Tundra for the first time in almost two years as he will drive the Germain Racing No. 9 Tundra, along with his No. 44 UPS Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing.
Toyota 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Statistics
Races Starts (Drivers) Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Times Led Laps Led
28 166 (15) 16 46 80 10 122 2,655
RICHMOND RECAP: Three Camry drivers earned top-10 finishes Sunday night at Richmond in the NNS race -- Hamlin (fourth), Logano (seventh) and Busch (10th). Other Camry drivers in the field included Mike Wallace (15th), Jason Leffler (30th), Reutimann (34th) and Josh Wise (35th).
CAMRY COUNT: Camrys have won 16 of the 27 NNS races this season. Busch has seven 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), Indianapolis (July 26) and California (Aug. 30). 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-NNS career win at Kentucky (June 14).
POINTS PACE: After 28 of 35 races, four Camry drivers remain in the top-10 in points after Richmond, with Reutimann (sixth) leading the way for Camry drivers, followed by Busch (seventh), Wallace (eighth) and Leffler (ninth).
Toyota 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Statistics
Races Starts (Drivers) Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Times Led Laps Led
17 174 (18) 9 39 78 10 72 1,481
TUNDRA HISTORY: This weekend's NCTS race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will mark the fifth time Toyota Tundras will compete on the one-mile oval. Tundras have earned two wins at the speedway -- Travis Kvapil (2004) and Johnny Benson (2006). Four Tundra drivers earned top-10 finishes at New Hampshire in last year's race -- Skinner (third), Todd Bodine (fourth), Ted Musgrave (seventh) and Johnny Benson (eighth).
REUTIMANN READY: 'This is kind of a one-shot deal that we're doing at Loudon,' says Reutimann, about running the No. 9 Tundra at New Hampshire. There's a lot of guys on that team that I worked with in the past and were with me on my original truck deal, so I am looking forward to going back and working with them. We're definitely there to try to win the race and try to have a good time. I appreciate the opportunity that the Germain family is giving us. It's a one shot deal and I'm really looking forward to it.'
OVERSTREET/REUTIMANN REUNION: 'I'm excited, it's going to be fun to do another race with him,' says Jason Overstreet, crew chief on the Germain Racing No. 9 Tundra. 'It took us about a year-and-a-half to really mesh back when we were together a couple seasons ago, and I really enjoy working with him. The trucks are so different now that not many of our notes will be useful this weekend, but we'll rely on the 30 (Todd Bodine) truck to give us some good information. We'll get the truck as good as we can, and then we'll hammer down.'
GONE FROM GATEWAY: The NCTS drivers spent the weekend at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis for the 17th race of the season. Four Tundra drivers earned top-10 finishes including Benson (third), Bodine (fourth), Skinner (seventh) and Musgrave (10th). Other Tundra drivers in the field included Shane Sieg (13th), Terry Cook (17th), Chrissy Wallace (19th), Michael Annett (24th), Marc Mitchell (26th), Justin Marks (27th) and David Starr (28th).
FOUR IN TOP-10: Four Tundra drivers are currently in the top-10 in the NCTS championship race. Benson still leads the standings and now has a 94-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 (10th).
A 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. Tundra racers Bodine (Daytona) and Speed (Dover) each have one NCTS victory in 2008.
BACK STORY: Background information on the Toyota NASCAR program is available at www.toyota.com/pitpass and 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 Ken Schrader 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 Express Toyota Camry Joe Gibbs Racing Joey Logano No. 02 Home Depot 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 Michael McDowell No. 00 Champion Mortgage 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 Craftsman Truck Series Driver Truck 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 Ergon Toyota Tundra Billy Ballew Motorsports Todd Bodine No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota Tundra Germain Racing David Reutimann No. 9 Germain 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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