Toyota NASCAR Notes & Quotes Daytona

TOYOTA NASCAR NOTES & QUOTES Week of June 27 – July 3, 2011

TOYOTA TIDBITS TWO TOYOTA TOP-10s:    Camry drivers Joey Logano (sixth) and Martin Truex Jr. (eighth) earned top-10 finishes in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

Logano started from the pole and led the first five laps in the 110-lap race at the 1.99-mile, 11-turn Northern California road course.    

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Truex ran among the top- five in the later stages of the race and held on for his fifth top-10 finish of 2011.  Kyle Busch (11th) and Kasey Kahne (20th) also finished among the top-20 in their Toyotas.  Busch currently sits fifth in the NSCS points and his Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate Denny Hamlin ranks 11th in the standings.  

ROAD AMERICA REWIND:  Michael Annettwas the highest finishing Camry driver in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., posting a seventh-place result in the 200-mile event on the four-mile road course.    

Annett survived three green-white-checkered flag finishes to earn his second top-10 finish in the last three NNS races.  Michael McDowell finished 12th in the JGR No. 18 Camry after starting from the pole.    

The 26- year-old, Phoenix-native led 30 (of 57) laps in the race, but was involved in an incident on the second green-white-checkered flag attempt that sent his Camry spinning through the grass and forcing him to the 18th position for the final restart.     Brian Scott paced the field once for five laps and finished 16th following contact on the first green-white-checkered flag attempt. 500

FLASHBACK:  The NSCS and NNS will return to the recently repaved Daytona International Speedway this weekend.     In February’s season-opening Daytona 500, several Toyota Camry drivers ran at the front of the field throughout the 208-lap race at the 2.5-mile Florida tri-oval.  When the checkered flag waved, it was two Toyota drivers, Bobby Labonte (fourth) and Busch(eighth), who managed to come home with top-10 finishes in a race that ended with multiple attempts at green-white- checkered flag finishes.     Labonte started 31st in his inaugural race for JTG-Daugherty Racing and managed to avoid multiple accidents to record his first top-five in a Toyota.  

FLORIDIAN FRANCIS:  Kenny Francis, crew chief for the Red Bull Racing Team No. 4 Camry driven by Kasey Kahne, hails from Jacksonville, Fla., and attended the University of Florida.  Francis began racing go-karts at the age of eight in the Jacksonville-area and went on to compete in Late Model stock cars locally while studying mechanical engineering at the University of Florida.  He eventually began working under the hood in NASCAR in 1996, and has been a crew chief since 2002.  This year marks the sixth season Francis has been paired as Kahne’s crew chief.  Together, they have combined for 10 wins, and were also victorious in a 2010 qualifying race at Daytona.   BACK STORY: Follow Toyota Racing on Twitter (@toyotaracing) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/toyotaracing).  

NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS):  Since the start of the 2011 season, Toyota drivers have combined for three victories, 16 top-five results, 35 top-10 finishes and have led 1,546 laps … After 16 races, Kyle Busch is fifth in the NSCS point standings and Denny Hamlin ranks 11th … Martin Truex Jr. (18th) and Kasey Kahne (19th) are also in the top-20 in points … Truex has earned four top-10 finishes in the last seven races … Busch won the July 2008 NSCS race at Daytona International Speedway … Camry driver David Reutimann hails from Zephyrhills, Fla. … Reutimann’s spotter and cousin, Shawn Reutimann, currently resides in Zephyrhills … David’s father Buzzie Reutimann, 70, competes at Tampa’s East Bay Raceway in open-wheel Modifieds and has recorded two feature wins in 2011, including last weekend.  

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How exciting is racing at Daytona International Speedway? “I think it’s an exciting race for everyone.  Even the teams that maybe run mediocre at times, Daytona is always their chance to win a race because it puts everyone on such a level playing field no matter what you got under you — you’re capable of winning.  I think that part of it is exciting.  Now that they’ve repaved it, it almost seems like we’re racing at a different race track.  So, for me the Daytona that I won on is the old Daytona and we don’t even run on that anymore.  It feels like a total different race track, so it’s hard for me to bring back memories when I feel like I’m racing somewhere else.”  

BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Kingsford Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Are you looking forward to returning to Daytona after a fourth-place result in February? “The Daytona 500 was awesome for us.  We had a pretty good week.  We ran the Shootout and went from the Shootout not knowing how to draft to almost winning the thing at the end.  So, we made the biggest gain of everybody throughout the weekend, and really happy that we’re going back there.  I don’t think that the track has lost a lot of grip.  The repave was 100 percent grip and I’m sure from February to now it’s probably not lost a lot.  I think we’ll see the two-car drafting like we’ve seen before.  Just would like to get back down there and have a little bit of redemption of what we missed out on last time.”  

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Do you like racing at Daytona? “I always look forward to going to Daytona.  I enjoy plate racing.  I enjoy Daytona.  Since I’ve been in the NAPA Toyota we’ve had a shot to win the 500 both years.  We ran really well, especially last year, but even this year.  We got in that late race wreck this year and it was disappointing.  But, I always look forward to going there.  It’s a bit of a wild card, but if you can make it to the end, it’s always fun.”   Will the track lose grip for the July race? “I don’t think it’s going to be any different than what we saw in February.  The track is so new it has so much grip.  We could’ve ran 40 miles an hour faster than we did in February and still not have to let off.  It should have plenty of grip still and I assume for a couple of years it will be like that.  The racing will be just like in February, but it will be under the lights.   It will look cooler.”  

BRIAN VICKERS,No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Do you think the racing at Daytona in July will change from years past? “The old surface was slick year round, but it was really hot and slick in July, and I think it made for a great race.   I think the July race — I am curious to see any surface, even the new ones in an environment like Daytona, the heat, the sand, it’s going to wear quicker than most places.  But, I can’t imagine it’s going to change that much from February to now.  It’s going to be hotter for the drivers.  The tires are going to have less grip, but not enough at a place like Daytona that it’s going to matter. We’re still going to be wide open.  I’m sure the bump drafting is still going to be there, but maybe a little bit more of a handful.”  

NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS):  Since the start of the 2011 season, Toyota drivers have combined for six wins, 18 top- five results, 39 top-10 finishes and have led 1,159 laps … Kenny Wallace (seventh) is the top Toyota driver in the NNS point standings … Steve Wallace (eighth), Brian Scott (ninth), Michael Annett (1 0th) and Joe Nemechek (15th) are also in the top-15 in the standings … Camry drivers have earned two victories in NNS races at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) … Tony Stewart won in a Camry in Feb. 2008 and Denny Hamlin crossed the finish line first at DIS in July 2008.  

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Did you notice a difference between the NSCS and NNS cars on Daytona’s new surface? “The biggest difference I’ve seen is the way the bumpers are.  The Nationwide cars are a lot rounder than the Cup cars, so it seems like it’s a little easier to get guys out of shape with the Nationwide car.  Overall, there’s a drag difference between the two cars, the horsepower difference between the two cars you feel and other than that the technique and the drivability is relatively the same.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Are you hoping to finally get a win at a restrictor-plate track in the Nationwide Series? “I saw the stat that I’ve pushed four different winners to victory lane between Daytona and Talladega over the last couple of years and that is crazy.  It is good, because that means we’ve always had a fast car and been able to stay out of trouble and be up at the front at the end of the race, but it sucks to always finish second.  I think it’s about time to get the No. 20 up front and let someone push me for the win.  It is all about putting yourself in the right position with just a handful of laps left in the race.  If you can do that, you can win these races.”  

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS):  Since the start of the 2011 season, Tundra drivers have registered six wins, 14 top-five results, 27 top-10 finishes and have led 642 laps … Timothy Peters (sixth), Brendan Gaughan (10th), Max Papis (11th), Todd Bodine (13th), Justin Lofton (18th), Miguel Paludo (19th) and David Starr (20th) are currently in the top-20 in the point standings … Justin Lofton parted ways with Germain Racing and returned to Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) and will drive the No. 46 Tundra at Kentucky Speedway … Lofton won the ARCA Racing Series championship in 2009 with ESR … The NCWTS has one more weekend off before returning to action July 7 at Kentucky Speedway.  

JUSTIN LOFTON, No. 46 Eddie Sharp Racing Toyota Tundra, Eddie Sharp Racing Are you looking forward to returning to Eddie Sharp Racing? “I am really excited about returning to ESR (Eddie Sharp Racing).  It feels like we’re going back home.  I had so much success with Eddie (Sharp), and we have a great relationship beyond an owner-driver working relationship.  When you run the Truck Series, it is so competitive.  You can’t be off with the setups or communication.  One little thing can throw everything off.  Working with Eddie eliminates all of that.”

NASCAR STATISTICS Series Races Starts (Drivers) Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Times Led Laps Led NSCS 16 191 (18) 3 16 35 2 116 1,546 NNS 16 126 (20) 6 18 39 3 67 1,159 NCWTS 9 115 (24) 6 14 27 2 31 642

TOYOTA DRIVER ROSTER – Daytona International Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series David Reutimann, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Camry Kasey Kahne, No. 4 Red Bull 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 Bobby Labonte, No. 47 Kingsford Camry Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Camry Mike Skinner, No. 60 Big Red Camry Michael McDowell, No. 66 HP Racing LLC Camry Brian Vickers, No. 83 Red Bull Camry Joe Nemechek, No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports Camry Kevin Conway, No. 97 Extenze Camry NASCAR Nationwide Series Kenny Wallace, No. 09 G-Oil Camry Brian Scott, No. 11 Shore Lodge Camry Kyle Busch, No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Camry Joey Logano, No. 20 Sport Clips Camry Michael Annett, No. 62 Pilot Flying J Camry Steve Wallace, No. 66 5-Hour Energy Camry Kevin Conway, No. 87 Extenze Camry

WEEKEND RACE SCHEDULE Fri.,  July 1 — NNS @ Daytona International Speedway — 7:30 PM (ET), ESPN — Race 17 of 35 Sat., July 2 — NSCS @ Daytona International Speedway — 7:30 PM (ET), TNT — Race 17 of 36

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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