TOYOTA TALK: Kyle Confident at Monster Mile Hamlin Hopes for Solid Finish at Dover Almirola Optimistic Heading West
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: This year, Toyota drivers have combined for 10 wins, 31 top-five results, 61 top-10 finishes and five poles after 27 of 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races … Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin will each make their 100th NSCS starts in a Camry at Dover … Hamlin and Busch are currently competing in the ‘Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship’ playoff … Hamlin is first and Busch is fourth in the Chase standings … Camry driver Martin Truex Jr. is from Mayetta, N.J. … Truex hosted the third-annual Martin Truex Jr. Foundation Golf Tournament presented by NAPA on Wednesday at Sea Oaks Country Club in Little Egg Harbor Township, N.J. … Ty Norris, vice president and general manager at Michael Waltrip Racing, grew up in Smyrna, Del., and graduated from Delaware State University … ‘Sponsafier 2’ voting runs through Sept. 23.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Why do you enjoy racing at Dover? “I like Dover. It’s a place where I really like to go. I run well there in the trucks, the Nationwide cars, the Cup cars. It’s a hard place to get around. It’s a little bit treacherous and kind of tricky sometimes, especially the way the rubber is there and the way Goodyear brings tires in. We won there in the spring. I feel like we can go back there and kind of repeat that performance. We ran top-five most of the day and then made some really good changes towards the end of the race and got there to try to compete for the win and we beat Jimmie (Johnson) on pit road. There again, you can have a mistake on pit road, on the last pit stop during a green flag stop or something. There’s so many different ways to lose these races that you have to keep your head on.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Does your second-place finish at New Hampshire give you confidence going to Dover? “It gives me somewhat of a buffer at Dover. We all know how Dover is for me. We’ve just got to minimize a bad day again at Dover. That’s our goal. You’ve got to set a number that you’re satisfied with, and try to reach that goal at Dover. The good news is we finished fourth there in the spring, which is a heck of a lot better than 22nd and two laps down last year in the Chase race (at Dover). Just if we can get past Dover, we’ve got a lot of really good tracks for us.” What makes this year the best year for you to win the championship? “I think the biggest thing is we’re competitive everywhere — competitive as in we can win races everywhere. We’ve shown we can win races and that means we’ve been up front a lot during the course of this season. For as many wins as we’ve had, we’ve had second and third-place finishes as well. That means we’ve been up front a lot during the season and that’s what it’s going to take to win the championship — a low average finish and making sure you have everything in line and prepared in case something does happen. Even if you have a bad race or two, if you consistently run in the top two to three positions every week and put yourself out there to possibly win a lot of races, I think you’ll be a contender.”
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Do you like racing at Dover? “I like Bristol a lot and Dover is a stretched out Bristol. It’s a cool race track. I enjoy going there. I wish there were more race tracks on the circuit like that. It’s fun and it’s fast and we usually get around pretty good there. I think we’ll be decent heading there and hopefully have a good run.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Do you enjoy racing at Dover with it being close to your hometown in New Jersey? “It’s a track that has been very good to me and my family. I won races there in both the Nationwide and Cup Series events. Back in May, I won the pole with my NAPA team and that was pretty cool. Now we want to get our first win there as a new team. Since the first time I took a lap on it, I have loved the place. When you find a track like that, it usually makes it easier to be good there. I like the fact that the concrete is very unforgiving. The speeds are high and the banking makes it intimidating. It’s pretty fast. I find it to be a track that you really have to attack, but at the same time, respect that it is very unforgiving. You have to be willing to put it right there on the edge and have the discipline not to cross over it.”
NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: This year, Toyota drivers have combined for 13 wins, 56 top-five results, 113 top-10 finishes and 13 poles after 27 of 35 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) races … Reed Sorenson has recorded 15 top-10 finishes in 20 NNS starts this season, including six of his last eight starts … Toyota currently holds a 35-point advantage over Chevrolet in the NNS manufacturer point standings.
JASON LEFFLER, No. 38 Great Clips Toyota Camry, Braun Racing Are you looking forward to racing at Dover? “The Dover race is always an exciting one. Everyone compares it to a Bristol on steroids and that’s a pretty good description for it. There’s a good reason they call it the ‘Monster Mile.’ For a one-mile track, it’s really fast. It’s also pretty narrow, so there’s not a whole lot of room to negotiate through the turns. Being able to charge hard into the corners so you can keep up your momentum on the straightaways is really important. This has been a good track to me over the years. My first NASCAR win came at Dover in 2003 when I was racing in the Truck Series.”
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: This year, Tundra drivers have combined for 12 wins, 45 top-five results, 93 top-10 finishes and nine poles after 19 of 25 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) races … Todd Bodine (first), Aric Almirola (second), Timothy Peters (fourth), Mike Skinner (eighth) and David Starr (ninth) are in the top-10 in the NCWTS point standings with six races remaining … Tundra drivers have recorded three wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway — Bodine (2005) and Skinner (2006 and 2008) … Toyota currently holds a 16-point advantage over Chevrolet in the NCWTS manufacturer point standings … Red Horse Racing drivers and crew members will visit Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas on Friday to meet the Red Horse Squadron (RHUSAF).
TODD BODINE, No. 30 Germain.com Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing Are you points racing at this point of the season or are you racing for wins? “We go out to win, that’s what we come for. When you get in a situation when you don’t have a truck that’s going to win, then you have to points race. Then you have to do the best you can staying out of trouble to get the most positions you can, and not make mistakes. That’s what we have to do the rest of the year.”
ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 51 Zyclara/Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota Tundra, Billy Ballew Motorsports How much do you enjoy racing at Las Vegas? “The track is a lot of fun to race on. It’s really fast, has a lot of grip and it is pretty rough making you able to pass. You can move around too and run the top or the middle. Some people run the bottom, but it just depends on how you are handling. The track allowed us to put on a great race last year. We got a top-10 result and I’m optimistic that we can beat that this year. I’m looking forward to going back there with some of the notes from last season to apply to the Graceway Pharmaceuticals Tundra. We’re really looking for wins.”
TOYOTA DRIVER ROSTER — Dover International Speedway/Las Vegas Motor Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series David Reutimann, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Camry Robby Gordon, No. 7 SpeedFactory.TV Camry Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Camry Casey Mears, No. 13 GEICO Camry Kyle Busch, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Camry Joey Logano, No. 20 Home Depot Camry Marcos Ambrose, No. 47 Bush’s Baked Beans/Scott Camry Mike Bliss, No. 55 Prism Motorsports Camry Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Camry Josh Wise, No. 64 Gunselman Motorsports Camry Scott Riggs, No. 66 Prism Motorsports Camry Scott Speed, No. 82 Red Bull Camry Reed Sorenson, No. 83 Red Bull Camry Joe Nemechek, No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports Camry NASCAR Nationwide Series Josh Wise, No. 10 Iron Horse Jeans Camry Brian Scott, No. 11 BigSpot.com Camry Michael Annett, No. 15 Germain.com Camry Kyle Busch, No. 18 NOS Camry Joey Logano, No. 20 GameStop Camry Reed Sorenson, No. 32 Dollar General Camry Jason Leffler, No. 38 Great Clips Camry Kevin Lepage, No. 56 RaceDaySponsor.com Camry Brendan Gaughan, No. 62 Snap On Camry Steve Wallace, No. 66 5 Hour Energy Camry Trevor Bayne, No. 99 Out! Pet Care Camry NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Mike Skinner, No. 5 International Trucks/Monaco RV Tundra Justin Lofton, No. 7 VisitPit.com Tundra Jason Bowles, No. 9 Germain Racing Tundra Nelson Piquet, No. 15 Qualcomm Tundra Timothy Peters, No. 17 Red Horse Racing Tundra Brian Ickler, No. 18 Toyota Tundra Johanna Long, No. 20 Panhandle Grading & Paving Tundra Tayler Malsam, No. 25 Exide Tundra Todd Bodine, No. 30 Germain.com Tundra Aric Almirola, No. 51 Zyclara/Graceway Pharmaceuticals Tundra Narain Karthikeyan, No. 60 SafeAuto Insurance Toyota Justin Hobgood, No. 77 Tundra David Starr, No. 81 Stratosphere Tundra Donny Lia, No. 90 Stringer Motorsports Tundra