Toyota NASCAR Notes & Quotes Chicagoland Sept. 2011


Week of September 12 – 18, 2011

American Muscle

RICHMOND RECAP: Kyle Busch (sixth) and Denny Hamlin (ninth) were the highest finishing Toyota drivers in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Richmond International Raceway. David Reutimann earned his first pole of the season. Hamlin’s result was his third consecutive top-10 finish this season and eighth top-10 in 12 starts at the Virginia short track. Busch was victorious in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race on Friday night, leading 74 laps (of 250).

CAMRY CHASERS: Two Camry drivers will compete in this year’s 10-race championship hunt. Busch locked himself into the Chase following a victory at Michigan, three races before the start of the playoff. He is seeded first in the championship playoff after earning four regular season victories. His Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate Hamlin earned one of the ‘wild card’ spots to secure the 12th and final Chase position following Richmond. Only 12 points separate the 12-driver Chase field.

PREVIOUS PLAYOFF RESULTS: Camry drivers Busch and Hamlin are not strangers to the Chase. This is Busch’s fifth time in the Chase and his best performance was fifth in 2007. This year marks Hamlin’s sixth straight appearance in the championship playoff with his best result coming last year when he finished second. Busch and Hamlin have combined to win at eight of the 10 Chase race tracks. Hamlin has Camry victories at Martinsville (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011), Texas (2010) and Homestead Miami Speedway (2009). Busch has Toyota-powered wins at Chicagoland (2008), Dover (2008 and 2010) and Talladega (2008) along with victories at New Hampshire (2006) and Phoenix (2005) before joining the Camry lineup.

PAIR OF CHECKERS: Toyota drivers have two wins in four NSCS races at Chicagoland Speedway since joining the series in 2007. Busch was victorious in 2008 after starting from the pole. After winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) event the previous day (in 2008), the driver of the JGR No. 18 Camry led 165 laps (of 267) en route to victory lane. Last year, Reutimann was first to the finish line in his Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) No. 00 Camry — his second career NSCS victory. After starting seventh, Reutimann led three times for 52 laps (of 267) at the 1.5-mile race track.

TOYOTA ‘TRIPLE’: Only two drivers have won events in each of the top-three NASCAR series while piloting a Toyota, and both have visited victory lane in the NSCS race at Chicagoland Speedway. Reutimann, who has the most NASCAR starts (332) in a Toyota, has earned two Sprint Cup Series wins in a Camry. The Zephyrhills, Fla.-native also has one NNS triumph in a Camry (Memphis, 2007) and one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) victory in a Tundra (Nashville, 2005). In 308 Toyota NASCAR starts, Busch has collected 82 Toyota victories since joining JGR in 2008, including 19 NSCS wins, 40 NNS victories and 23 NCWTS triumphs. Five of those wins were at Chicagoland, where he’s the only driver to win races in all three NASCAR series at the track — NSCS in 2008, NNS in 2008 and 2010, and NCWTS in 2009 and 2010.

SCORE THREE IN FIVE: Camry drivers have three NNS victories at Chicagoland Speedway. Busch has a pair of Nationwide triumphs at the 1.5-mile oval earned in 2008 and 2010, while Joey Logano was victorious in the 2009 race. Camry drivers have also collected 13 top-five finishes and 20 top-10 results at Chicagoland Speedway. Overall, Camry drivers have collected 245 top-five finishing positions in NNS since 2007.

TWICE AS NICE: The NCWTS has visited Chicagoland Speedway twice, and both times Busch has driven his Tundra to victory lane. In 2009, Busch started fourth and led 79 laps (of 150) on his way to claiming the series inaugural victory at Chicagoland. He followed up that performance in 2010 by driving his own Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 18 Tundra to the front of the field after starting fourth and leading 121 laps (of 154).

NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Since the start of the 2011 season, Toyota drivers have combined for five victories, 29 top-five results, 57 top-10 finishes and have led 2,063 laps . After 26 races, Kyle Busch leads the series point standings headed into the Chase and Denny Hamlin is in 12th-place . Jay Frye, vice president and general manager at Red Bull Racing Team, is from Rock Island, Ill. . Nick Odell, front tire changer on the No. 18 Camry, calls Springfield, Ill., home . Toyota’s Ed Laukes was recently named vice president of marketing communications and motorsports . Laukes graduated from Chicago’s DePaul University in 1992 and has served as corporate manager, motorsports since 2007 and with Toyota since 1989.

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Doublemint Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How will the new points system impact the Chase? “It definitely minimizes your losses. This year, after the second race we were leading the points going into Vegas and we blew up and went all the way back to 14th in points and it took us like four or five weeks to climb all the way back to fourth or fifth. The bad days can certainly hinder your chances quite quickly.”

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Doublemint Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (cont.) Are you looking forward to opening the Chase at Chicagoland? “We ran really well there in ’08 and unfortunately ’09 and ’10 were kind of a struggle. I like going to Chicago. It’s been a really good track for us in the Trucks and Nationwide. We had a decent car at Kansas this year and Vegas and Charlotte. Some of those places that are kind of the same as Chicago. With the Chase starting, we know that’s where it all begins. We know that building a good foundation certainly helps your chances in being able to go through the final 10 races. To me, it’s kind of like the beginning of the year. We always try to set out and start out really good and build that foundation to where we know we can run through the middle of the year and not have to worry about catching back up.”

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How does it feel to make the 2011 Chase? “Well, there’s only one place to go from where we’re at right now and that’s forward. We’re very fortunate to be here, obviously, with the tough season that we’ve had and the ups and downs and the DNFs. It’s kind of a second lease on life for us and our season. Obviously we’re coming into the Chase now with three consecutive top 10s which we haven’t done all year long. We have some momentum. Who knows what’s going to happen next week.” How important will track position be in the Chase? “I think that track position is a little bit more important this year than it was last year. It’s just a steadily evolving — these cars, we’re getting them so good now that everyone is so equal. I think that the pit crews and the crew chief has a bigger role in this year’s Chase than what they did in years past. So, it ‘s not all about having the fastest car and the best driver. There’s a big strategy part that plays out in each and every race. It seems like it’s happening more this year than what it has in years past.”

NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): During the 2011 season, Toyota drivers have combined for 10 wins, 32 top-five results, 72 top-10 finishes and have led 1,573 laps . Kenny Wallace (seventh) is the top Toyota driver in the NNS point standings . Steve Wallace (eighth), Michael Annett (ninth) and Brian Scott (10th) are also in the top-10 . Ryan Truex earned his career- best NNS finish of fourth-place in last weekend’s NNS race at Richmond . Truex will race in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Camry this weekend at Chicagoland . Camry driver David Reutimann earned the NNS pole at Chicagoland in July 2008 . Camry NNS drivers have led 53 percent (528 of 1,000 laps) of NNS race laps at the 1.5-mile oval since joining the series in 2007 . Roger Purcell, engine tuner for the No. 20 Camry is from Decatur, Ill. . Brian Gainey, mechanic and jack man on the No. 62 Camry is from Moline, Ill. . Ken Adams, transport driver of the No. 62, is originally from Southside Chicago, Ill., and shares driving duties with his wife Lori as the only husband-wife driving team on the circuit.

RYAN TRUEX, No. 20 Martin Truex Jr. Foundation Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Are you looking forward to racing at Chicagoland? “I’ll be working with Jason Ratcliff and all of the 18 guys the next four weeks. Pretty much switching car numbers with the two teams. I will still be racing the 20 car, but it will be the 18 crew and crew chiefs. I’m excited for it. We have momentum coming out of these last two weeks. We had good runs, so that’s on our side, and I’ve been to Chicagoland before so that definitely helps. We’ll just go in with the same mindset as these last two and just keep the car in one piece and be there at the end of the race and see if we can make it happen.”

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): Since the start of the 2011 NCWTS season, Tundra drivers have registered eight wins, 28 top-five results, 51 top-10 finishes and have led 809 laps . After 17 races, Timothy Peters (third) is the top Toyota driver in the NCWTS points standings and sits just 14 points behind leader James Buescher . Tundra drivers Todd Bodine (10th), Brendan Gaughan (13th) and Max Papis (15th) are also in the top-15 in the points . 10-year-old Claire Winiarski of Naperville, Ill., was selected as the winner of the ‘Riding Shotgun with Kyle Busch Motorsports’ (KBM) for the Chicagoland race . KBM general manager Rick Ren is a native of Tilton, Ill. . Eric Phillips, crew chief for the No. 18 KBM Tundra, and Joe Stockov, the team’s rear tire carrier, are both from Canton, Ill. . Brandon Griffeth, gas man for the No. 18 Tundra, is from Pittsfield, Ill. . The Scion tC Release Series 7.0 will serve as the ‘grand marshal car’ for this weekend’s NCWTS Fast Five 225 . Tyrese Gibson and Jordana Brewster from the movie ‘Fast Five’ will drive the Scion to promote the movie’s release on DVD.

MIGUEL PALUDO, No. 7 Stemco/Duroline Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing How do you feel competing at another 1.5-mile track like Chicagoland? “The last 1.5-mile track we went to, our team did a great job in preparing the truck at the shop and we were really close. That definitely helps a young driver like myself when the set-up is close to my comfort level, I can then learn the track more quickly. I’ve learned to be patient at these types of tracks and I’ve learned to hit my marks. As the year progresses my communication with Rick (Gay, crew chief) is getting better so we make the right adjustments. Those things are what continue to put us up front like at Michigan where we had a shot at the win.”

TOYOTA 2011 NASCAR STATISTICS Series Races Starts (Drivers) Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Times Led Laps Led NSCS 26 309 (18) 5 29 57 6 188 2,063 NNS 27 210 (22) 10 32 72 4 92 1,573 NCWTS 18 192 (28) 8 28 51 2 44 809

TOYOTA DRIVER ROSTER – Chicagoland Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series David Reutimann, No. 00 TUMS Camry Kasey Kahne, No. 4 Red Bull Camry Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Ground Camry Casey Mears, No. 13 GEICO Camry Kyle Busch, No. 18 Doublemint Camry Joey Logano, No. 20 Home Depot Camry Bobby Labonte, No. 47 Kleenex Cool Touch Camry Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Camry Michael McDowell, No. 66 HP Racing, LLC Camry Brian Vickers, No. 83 Red Bull Camry Joe Nemechek, No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports Camry

NASCAR Nationwide Series Kenny Wallace, No. 09 Family Farmers Camry Brian Scott, No. 11 Shore Lodge Camry Joey Logano, No. 18 Sport Clips Camry Ryan Truex, No. 20 Martin Truex Jr. Foundation Camry Michael Annett, No. 62 Pilot/Flying J Camry Steve Wallace, No. 66 5-Hour Energy Camry Joe Nemechek, No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports Camry

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Todd Bodine, No. 5 International Truck Tundra Justin Lofton, No. 6 Tundra Miguel Paludo, No. 7 Stemco Duroline Tundra Max Papis, No. 9 GEICO Tundra Timothy Peters, No. 17 Red Horse Racing Tundra Kyle Busch, No. 18 Dollar General/Direct TV Tundra Brendan Gaughan, No. 62 South Point Hotel Casino Tundra David Starr, No. 81 Zachry-NCCER Tundra

WEEKEND RACE SCHEDULE Fri., Sept. 16 — NCWTS @ Chicagoland Speedway – 7:00 PM (CT), SPEED — Race 18 of 25 Sat., Sept. 17 — NNS @ Chicagoland Speedway – 2:30 PM (CT), ESPN2 — Race 28 of 34 Sun., Sept. 18 — NSCS @ Chicagoland Speedway – 1:00 PM (CT), ESPN — Race 27 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


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here