Toyota NASCAR Notes & Quotes - Week of September 29, 2008

October 02, 2008

Upcoming Races:
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series @ Talladega Superspeedway
· Saturday, October 4, Qualifying @ 11:15 AM (CT) – SPEED, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128)
· Sunday, October 5, Race start @ 1:00 PM (CT) – ABC, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128)
· Race 30 of 36

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series @ Talladega Superspeedway
· Friday, October 3, Qualifying @ 11:05 AM (CT) – SPEED, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128)
· Saturday, October 4, Race start @ 3:00 PM (CT) – SPEED, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 128)
· Race 20 of 25

Toyota 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Statistics
Races Starts (Drivers) Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Times Led Laps Led
29 283 (16) 9 38 62 4 178 3,200

TALLADEGA TIME: The Toyota Camry will make its fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) start at Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. In April, Camry driver Kyle Busch won his second of eight races this season, leading 12 of 188 laps on the 2.66-mile, high-banked superspeedway. Denny Hamlin (third) and Brian Vickers (fifth) also scored top-five finishes for Toyota at Talladega earlier this year.

RACE RECALL: AJ Allmendinger scored his career-best finish in the most recent NSCS race at Kansas Speedway this past Sunday as the first Toyota driver to cross the finish line, finishing ninth in the No. 84 Red Bull Camry. Hamlin (11th) and Vickers (15th) also posted top-15 finishes for Toyota. Camry drivers David Reutimann (19th), Busch (28th), Dave Blaney (31st), Michael Waltrip (35th), Joey Logano (39th) and Tony Stewart (40th) were also in the field.

REUTIMAN'S ROLLING: Heading into this weekend's race, Reutimann has registered five consecutive top-20 finishes in the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 44 UPS Camry, and six top-20s in his last seven starts. After a 33rd-place finish at Watkins Glen in August, Reutimann ranked 27th in the NSCS point standings. Since his recent run -- which has included back-to-back ninth-place finishes at California and Richmond -- the 38-year-old has climbed five spots in points to 22nd with seven races remaining.

'CHASE'-BITTEN: After the first three races of the 'Chase for the Sprint Cup,' the three Toyota drivers competing for the championship -- Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammates Hamlin, Stewart and Busch -- are ranked 10th, 11th and 12th in the current NSCS point standings, respectively. With seven races remaining, Hamlin is 243 points behind current leader Jimmie Johnson.

PLATE TALK: "So far this year, our restrictor plate program's been really good," says Busch. "We've had some great luck on it. Our cars have handled the best, but they haven't had the most speed. Hopefully, this time around we can change that and be better. Anything can happen (at Talladega)."

BLANEY BACK IN 'BAMA: Blaney was the highest-finishing Toyota driver at Talladega last October, recording a third-place result in the Bill Davis Racing No. 22 Caterpillar Camry. It was also the best finish in 2007 for Toyota in NSCS competition. Current Camry drivers Hamlin (fourth) and Stewart (eighth) also posted top-10 finishes at Talladega last fall.

QUALIFYING QUINTET: Toyota driver Waltrip is the defending pole-winner in the October race at Talladega, and led six laps in his No. 55 NAPA Camry during the event. It was the second NSCS pole for Toyota in its inaugural season. Last October, Toyota drivers recorded five of the top six qualifying times for the race, with Blaney (second), Vickers (third), Reutimann (fifth) and Jacques Villeneuve (sixth).

BRIAN'S BIG BREAK: In 2006, Vickers scored his first-career NSCS win in the Talladega fall race. Now with the Red Bull Racing Team, Vickers (then with Hendrick Motorsports) is looking forward to heading back to the site of his breakthrough victory and registering the inaugural win for the Red Bull team. "I love restrictor-plate racing, and really like Talladega," says Vickers. "I'm looking forward to going back. Hopefully, we can have another good run there. You can't let your guard down. You just do your part the best you can and hope the rest of it avoids you."

HISTORY LESSON: After making four starts for the team earlier this season, Ken Schrader returns to the seat of Hall of Fame Racing's No. 96 DLP HDTV Camry at Talladega. This weekend's race marks the 20th anniversary of Schrader's NSCS victory at the track. The 53-year-old Fenton, Ohio native won the season's second race at Talladega in 1988, and has made 46 NSCS starts at the circuit.

CLOSE TO HOME: Todd Foster, mechanic for the No. 20 JGR entry, is from Birmingham, Ala. Foster, who joined JGR following the 2001 season, has worked in racing since graduating from high school. Foster began his career working with driver Stanley Smith in various Late Model, Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup endeavors between 1989 and 1993. When Smith was injured following an accident at Talladega in 1993, Foster worked for Smith's drywall company from 1993 to 1997. Foster moved to Charlotte in 1998, where his first job in Sprint Cup was with Cale Yarborough Motorsports and driver Rick Mast.

Toyota 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Statistics
Races Starts (Drivers) Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Times Led Laps Led
30 178 (15) 18 48 86 11 128 2,912

OFF WEEKEND: The Toyota Camry teams competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) will enjoy a weekend off, before returning to action at Charlotte's Lowe's Motor Speedway, Oct. 10.

HAMLIN HITS HARD: Hamlin scored his fourth NNS victory of the season last Saturday at Kansas Speedway, leading 99 laps in the JGR No. 18 Camry en route to the checkered flag. Jason Leffler (eighth) and Logano (ninth) also posted top-10 finishes for Toyota. Camry drivers Mike Wallace (15th), Reutimann (16th) and Busch (35th) were also in the field.

TOYOTA TITLE: Hamlin's victory clinched the NNS manufacturer's title for Toyota in its second year competing in the series. With 18 victories in 30 races, Toyota secured its first championship with five NNS races remaining on the schedule. This marks the third time that Toyota has earned a NASCAR manufacturer's title since the start of the 2004 season. In each of the past two years (2006 and 2007), Toyota has earned manufacturer's titles in the Craftsman Truck Series.

TITLE TALK: "Toyota's accomplishments are the result of hard work and achievement by all of our race teams -- Braun Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, Germain Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing -- working in conjunction with TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) and Triad," says Lee White, president and general manager of TRD. "All the tireless efforts during the off-season, at pre-season testing and throughout the season, in combination with a talented driver line-up, have produced the exceptional results that yielded this championship."

MORE TITLE TALK: "It was a great transition over to Toyota," says Hamlin. "They made it easy for us to change (manufacturers). They've done such a great job with the support for our race teams on the Cup side and the Nationwide side. I've enjoyed the partnership that we've had with Toyota. I've got their first Cup win earlier with the 'Duel' (qualifying race) at Daytona and to be able to clinch for them on the Nationwide side is very special for me. It seems like we always win these special races for Toyota. Toyota has stepped up -- they've been a manufacturer that has been behind this race team 120 percent. If we have any problems, any complaints, they're the first to go to work on it. We've gotten all the tools we need from them to go win."

CAMRY COUNT: Busch has eight victories, 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), California (Aug. 30) and Dover (Sept. 20). 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 four victories at Richmond (May 2), Dover (May 31), Daytona (July 4) and Kansas (Sept. 27). Logano scored his first career NNS career win at Kentucky (June 14).

POINTS PACE: Four Toyota drivers are in the top-10 in NNS points after 30 of 35 races, with Reutimann (sixth) the highest among the Camry contingent, 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
19 195 (23) 10 42 4 10 89 1,586

TUNDRA TIME IN TALLADEGA: Following an off-weekend, Toyota Tundra teams will return to track this weekend for the third start at Talladega in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). In two previous races at Talladega, Toyota has captured one victory (Todd Bodine in 2007) and seven top-five finishes.

BODINE BACK TO DEFEND: Bodine started on the pole and led a race-high 46 of 94 laps en route to victory lane in the Germain Racing No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Tundra last fall. Bodine finished fourth at Talladega in his 2006 NCTS championship season and was victorious earlier this year in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway, the only other superspeedway on the NCTS schedule.

TODD TALKS: "We've got the truck that has won the last two speedway races," says Bodine. "The Lumber Liquidators crew didn't just sit on the truck and wait for the next race. They've worked on it to make it better and the crew is really pumped up to go to Talladega. I love speedway racing and I'm looking forward to getting there."

LOGANO'S LEAP: Logano will make his NCTS debut this weekend, driving the No. 59 HT Motorsports Tundra. The 18-year-old -- who will drive the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Home Depot Camry in the NSCS in 2009 -- will compete in Saturday's NCTS race to gain experience for next year's season-opening Daytona 500.

WALLACE IN AT 'DEGA: With the Nationwide Series off this weekend, series regular Wallace will strap into the Germain Racing No. 9 GEICO Tundra for Saturday's NCTS race. Wallace drove a Tundra for the Germain team last season at Talladega, starting fourth and finishing 17th. He will also serve as the spotter for his daughter, Chrissy, in Friday's ARCA Series race at the track.

SUPERSPEEDWAY SMART: "For some reason, I seem to have some extra knowledge of racing at the superspeedways," says Mike Wallace. "Last year at Talladega, with the track repaved and smooth, we had a blast. We had a truck that could have won the race, and I am very confident heading into the weekend. We want to win, and if we can't win, then we'll do all we can to help our teammate (Bodine) win."

TRIUMPHANT 10: Tundra drivers have registered 10 NCTS wins through 19 races in 2008. Johnny Benson (Milwaukee, Kentucky, Indianapolis and Nashville) and Busch (California, Atlanta and Bristol) each have multiple race wins, while Tundra racers Bodine (Daytona), Scott Speed (Dover) and Mike Skinner (Las Vegas) each have one NCTS victory so far this season.

BENSON THE BEST: Benson currently sits atop the NCTS point standings, holding a one-point advantage over second-place Ron Hornaday, Jr. In 19 starts this year, Benson has four wins, three poles, 12 top-fives and 14 top-10 finishes. The 45-year-old driver has won four of the last 10 races in 2008, and finished third in last year's race at Talladega.

FOLLOW THE LEADER: In addition to Benson, three other Tundra drivers are currently ranked in the top-10 in points with six races remaining. Skinner (fifth), Bodine (seventh) and Terry Cook (10th) are chasing Benson in the standings after 19 of 25 races.

DOUBLE DUTY: Busch will be the only driver competing in both NASCAR races at Talladega this weekend. In addition to driving the No. 18 Camry in Sunday's NSCS race, the 23-year-old Las Vegas native will first look to extend his NASCAR record 19 victories in 2008 with a win in Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race. Scott Speed will drive the No. 22 Bill Davis Racing Tundra in the NCTS race, and is looking to build on his lead in the ARCA Series championship Friday in an Eddie Sharp Racing Camry.

HEADING HOME: Three crew members from Toyota NCTS teams will make a homecoming when they travel to Talladega. Kevin Ray, spotter for the No. 11 Red Horse Racing entry, is from Eastaboga, Ala., located approximately 15 miles from the superspeedway. J.R. Norris, truck chief for the No. 15 Billy Ballew Tundra, is from Mulga, Ala., located about 65 miles west of Talladega. Greg Passen, tire specialist for the No. 51 Billy Ballew Motorsports Tundra, hails from Birmingham, Ala.

BIRMINGHAM BOY: "It feels good going back home," says Norris, who practiced and qualified the No. 51 Tundra at Texas in April, which Busch raced. "It's great to see my old friends and folks I've raced against since I was a kid. I wish that I was going to be in a driver's seat, but it's still a feeling of accomplishment to know that I'm with a successful race team and we are one of the teams to watch out for this weekend. I hope we can put on a show for everyone this weekend."

ON ITS OWN TRACK: One Toyota Tundra competing in Saturday's NCTS race should know which 'groove' will be the fastest. Ergon, a sponsor on the No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Tundra, supplied the asphalt used to pave Talladega when the track was resurfaced in 2006. John Andretti will pilot the No. 15 Tundra on Saturday. He finished fourth at Las Vegas in his first NCTS start for the team.

BACK STORY: Background information on the Toyota NASCAR program is available at and members of media can access Toyota images at


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   
Denny Hamlin               No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry                         Joe Gibbs Racing 
Kyle Busch                 No. 18 Pedigree Toyota Camry                      Joe Gibbs Racing   
Tony Stewart               No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry                    Joe Gibbs Racing 
Kenny Wallace              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 
Brian Vickers              No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry                      Red Bull Racing Team 
Mike Skinner               No. 84 Red Bull Toyota Camry                      Red Bull Racing Team 
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series 
Driver                         Truck                                            Team 
Mike Skinner                No. 5 Toyota Tundra                               Bill Davis Racing 
Scott Speed                 No. 22 Red Bull Toyota Tundra                     Bill Davis Racing 
Johnny Benson               No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra      Bill Davis Racing 
John Andretti               No. 15 Ergon Toyota Tundra                        Billy Ballew Motorsports 
Kyle Busch                  No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts Toyota Tundra           Billy Ballew Motorsports 
Mike Wallace                No. 9 GEICO Toyota Tundra                         Germain Racing 
Todd Bodine                 No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota Tundra           Germain Racing 
Joey Logano                 No. 59 Team ASE Toyota Tundra                     HT Motorsports 
David Starr                 No. 11 K&N Filters Toyota Tundra                  Red Horse Racing 
Terry Cook                  No. 60 Toyota Tundra                    Wyler Racing 
Brian Scott                 No. 16 Albertsons Toyota Tundra                   Xpress Motorsports 


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