Toyota NASCAR Tidbits: July 2 – 8, 2012Press Release
TRIO OF TOP-10s: Toyota drivers registered three top-10 finishes in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Kentucky Speedway — Denny Hamlin (third), Martin Truex Jr. (eighth) and Kyle Busch (10th). Hamlin led 58 laps (of 267) in the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 11 Camry, however on the final run of the evening, Hamlin was forced to save fuel in order to ensure a top-five finish. Busch led the field five times for a race-high 118 laps, but he brushed the wall with his JGR No. 18 Camry during the middle of the race and later struggled with a damaged shock, which required an extra visit to pit road. Truex’s eighth-place result was his ninth top-10 finish of the season.
COVERING KENTUCKY: Camry driver Kurt Busch finished as the race runner-up in Friday evening’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Kentucky Speedway. In Thursday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Kentucky, four Tundra drivers registered top-10 finishes in the 150-lap race. Timothy Peters (fourth), Matt Crafton (fifth), Johnny Sauter (sixth) and Jason Leffler (eighth) all earned top-10 results for Toyota. With his fourth-place result, Peters moved into the top spot in the championship standings and is currently four points ahead of second-place Justin Lofton. Crafton started on the pole — his first in a Tundra — and led the field four times for a total of 27 circuits.
DELIVERING AT DAYTONA: Toyota drivers have won multiple times at Daytona International Speedway in NSCS competition, including a win by Kyle Busch during the July 2008 race weekend at ‘The World Center of Racing.’ Busch was also victorious earlier this year at Daytona, when he captured the checkered flag in the Budweiser Shootout to claim Toyota’s first-ever victory in the season-opening, non-points exhibition race. Busch passed Tony Stewart in a green-white- checkered flag finish to earn the trip to victory lane. Hamlin has also visited victory lane in Daytona, winning a Gatorade Duel 150 race in Feb. 2008 — also a non-points event. Michael Waltrip has previously won three times at Daytona — two Daytona 500s (2001 and 2003) and the July event in 2002.
SERIES SUCCESS: Camry driver Joey Logano will make his 100th career NNS start in Friday night’s race at Daytona International Speedway. Logano, who won the NNS race at Daytona last July, has amassed 14 wins, 47 top-five finishes, 77 top-10 results, 19 pole positions and has led 1,909 laps since joining series competition in May 2008. The Connecticut- native has recorded a series-high five wins and three pole positions this year for JGR. Logano has also compiled six top-five finishes, eight top-10 results and has led a series-high 456 laps in 11 NNS starts this year. The 22-year-old has won four out of the last five NNS races he has competed in and has registered five straight top-10 finishes.
NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): After 17 races, Denny Hamlin moved up three spots into fifth in the series point standings, trailing leader Matt Kenseth by 68 points … Clint Bowyer (seventh) and Martin Truex Jr. (eighth) also rank in the top-10 in the standings … Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will make his 49th career NSCS start at ‘The World Center of Racing’ in Saturday night’s race at Daytona … Waltrip will be behind the wheel of the MWR No. 55 Camry … Camry drivers earned three top-10 finishes in February’s Daytona 500 … Hamlin (fourth), Joey Logano (ninth) and Mark Martin (10th) … Brian Pattie, crew chief for the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 15 Camry and Clint Bowyer, hails from Zephyrhills, Fla. … Pattie and Bowyer recently teamed up to win the road course race at Sonoma … Through Oct. 1, the Kyle Busch Foundation will be raffling a custom motorcycle in conjunction with Deadwood Choppers at www.KBFChopperRaffle.com.MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine, Michael Waltrip Racing
Are you confident every time you race at Daytona? “I’m really confident when I go to Daytona. I feel like I can run well and win and be up front. Daytona is a different animal. We’ve led the race at Talladega and ran up front and feel like the same will happen at Daytona.”
How difficult was it not being in this year’s Daytona 500? “That was tough, but everything happens for a reason I like to believe. My future is probably more TV than it is race car driving, and while I wanted to be in the 500 worse than anything and it hurt really bad, being able to be on the FOX broadcast with my brother (Darrell Waltrip) and be a part of that for what wound up being a couple of days — I was okay with that. When we didn’t make it, it was really, really hard to swallow and then a couple days later I’m enjoying the new role.” – more -
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Red-White-Blue Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Is Daytona still a ‘special’ race track? “Daytona is cool — a lot more in the spring than in the summer just because it is the Daytona 500 versus the Coke Zero 400. You still want to win everywhere you go, every single week. To win in Daytona is always cool — it’s definitely special. It’s been kind of the birthplace of NASCAR — the superspeedway aspect of it. I definitely love going there — it’s hot, it’s slick and you can make the most out of you as a driver and what you’ve got as a car.”
Do you focus on your temperature gauges as much as what’s in front of you at Daytona? “You definitely have to focus a lot more on your gauges at restrictor-plate races due to the fact that the grill opening is so small that it’s real easy to overheat your engine and run hot. For us drivers now, you’re still obviously paying a lot of attention to what’s going on around you, but those gauges — you can’t take a chance of hurting your engine, especially early in the going. About the only time you don’t look at your gauges is the last three laps. If you make it, you make it and if you don’t, you don’t. That’s kind of what it boils down to.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Are you happy with NASCAR’s current restrictor-plate program? “I really think that NASCAR has honed in on our restrictor-plate program. I think they’ve monitored the temperatures, the drafting and things like that to where the racing is as good as it’s been on superspeedways in a long time.”
NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): After 15 races, Mike Bliss ranks eighth in the series point standings … Brian Scott (10th) is also among the top-10 in the standings … Denny Hamlin won the NNS race at Daytona in July 2008 … Kyle Busch will drive the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) No. 54 Monster Energy Camry this weekend … Kurt Busch has recorded one win, five top-fives and seven top-10 finishes in seven starts this season in the KBM No. 54 Camry.
BRIAN SCOTT, No. 11 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Are you looking forward to restrictor-plate racing at Daytona? “The superspeedways have been a mixed bag of emotions for everybody on this No. 11 team. We’ve been fast, but the new drafting practices that we’ve incorporated in the Nationwide Series with the tandem and stuff have really come up and bit us – - we’ve been involved in accidents. We’re going to Daytona with a little apprehension — really focus on getting this Dollar General Camry to the end of the race and trying to get a good finish and just getting out of one of these superspeedways alive.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What has contributed to your recent success? “I’ve had just a lot of confidence in myself lately in my abilities and knowing what I can do with a race car. I feel like I’m feeding my crew chiefs the best information and they’re doing the best job they can do to make the best race cars for me. We’ve been in position to win races, and we’ve capitalized on it every time we’ve been in that position.”
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): After eight races, Timothy Peters currently leads the series point standings, sitting four points ahead of Justin Lofton … Matt Crafton (sixth) is also in the top-10 in the standings … Todd Bodine will host the third annual ‘Onion Slice Open’ golf tournament at Blue Ridge Trail Golf Course in Mountaintop, Pa., on Thursday, Aug. 2 … The NCWTS will enjoy a weekend off before returning to action at Iowa Speedway on July 14.
TIMOTHY PETERS, No. 17 Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing
What does it mean to leave Kentucky with the points lead? “It’s definitely a morale booster. We led a little bit earlier in the year and kind of got off a little bit, but we’re still having decent finishes. Our biggest gain is our mile-and-a-half program. Over the off-season, the crew chiefs and everybody at Red Horse Racing worked really hard and did their due diligence getting the bodies to where they needed to be. Having Joe Gibbs Racing engines definitely doesn’t hurt under the hood. It’s just been a combination of things and it’s clicking.”
How would you rank your season to date? “To date, I’d give it an A-plus. We’re leaps and bounds from where we were last year. Very encouraged by what we’ve learned and it’s a testament to everybody back at Red Horse Racing that has worked really hard on our Tundras to make them what they are now. Not to say that out stuff was bad, but you can ask anybody in this garage area that there’s always room for improvement. A-plus all the way.”
Source: Toyota Motorsports, Press Release
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