Toyota NASCAR Notes & Quotes Michigan June 2012

[media-credit name=”mis.com” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]TOYOTA NASCAR NOTES & QUOTES

June 11 – 17, 2012

TOYOTA TIDBITS POLE TO PODIUM AT POCONO:  In Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway, Joey Logano earned his second career NSCS victory and his first of the 2012 season.  Logano, who started on the pole in his Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, worked his way past race-leader and fellow Toyota driver, Mark Martin, with four laps remaining in the 160 -lap race to claim the victory. The 22-year-old driver led a race-high 49 laps (of 160) and became the first driver to win a NSCS race from the pole in the past 31 events.

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TUNDRA TRIUMPHS IN TEXAS:  Tundra driver Johnny Sauter took advantage of a late race caution in Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Texas Motor Speedway to move past the leaders and earn his first win of the season.  Sauter, who started 20th in the No. 13 Hot Honeys/Curb Records Toyota Tundra, took the lead on lap 146 and stayed at the front of the field for the final 22 circuits at the 1.5-mile race track. The Necedah, Wis., native led the race twice for a total 41 laps (of 167).  The Texas triumph is the first by ThorSport Racing since the team began fielding Tundras at the start of the season.  Fellow Tundra driver and Sauter’s ThorSport teammate Matt Crafton finished second at Texas.

DOUBLE TAKE:  Camry drivers swept both NSCS races at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway in 2011. Denny Hamlin led only eight laps (of 200) to earn the win in June, and his JGR teammate Kyle Busch finished third.  In the August race, Busch would triumph leading 22 laps (of 203).  Toyota has won four of the last five NSCS races at Michigan, including victories by Brian Vickers (August 2009) and Hamlin (June 2010).

MAGIC MICHIGAN MOMENTS:  Toyota’s entry into NASCAR came through the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) in 2004.  The first win for a Toyota Tundra driver came at Michigan International Speedway — only 13 races into that first season — when Travis Kvapil captured the checkered flag.  Brian Vickers also earned a special win for Toyota at Michigan in the August 2009 race.  Vickers earned the second victory for a Toyota Racing Development (TRD)- built engine since the Camry entered the series in 2007.

MISSING MICHIGAN:  Camry drivers have won races at 18 of the 24 facilities on the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) schedule, however Michigan is one of only six tracks where Camry racers have not crossed the finish line first. Current Camry drivers Kyle Busch (2004) and Hamlin (2007) have earned wins at the two-mile oval in NNS competition prior to driving Camrys.

NUMBERS NOTE:  Since joining the NCWTS in 2004, Toyota has earned a total of 205 NASCAR victories across the three national touring series — 43 NSCS, 69 NNS and 93 NCWTS. Toyota’s 200th win came in the NNS race at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway (May 5) when Logano crossed the finish line first.  Since then Logano has earned two additional NNS wins — Darlington Raceway (May 11) and Dover International Speedway (June 2) as well as Sunday’s NSCS win at Pocono (June 10), making Logano the only winner in a Camry since the 200th milestone.  In addition, Todd Bodine (Dover, June 1) and Sauter (Texas, June 8) have triumphed in Tundras.

SOCIAL MEDIA & WEBSITE:  Follow Toyota Racing on Twitter (@ToyotaRacing) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/toyotaracing).  Background and images about the Toyota NASCAR program are available at www.toyotaracingmedia.com.

NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS):  After 14 races in 2012, Denny Hamlin is fourth in the series point standings, trailing leader Greg Biffle by 19 points … Martin Truex Jr. (seventh) and Clint Bowyer (ninth) also rank in the top-10 in the standings …  Bowyer helped to customize a 2011 Toyota Tundra for the Sherwin-Williams Planet Color All-Star Charity Challenge that will be sold at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Orange County, Calif., on June 23 …  As part of the challenge, Bowyer is competing with fellow NSCS driver, Greg Biffle, to garner the highest bid on vehicles they each designed … The winning bid for Bowyer’s Tundra will be donated to the Emporia Community Foundation in Bowyer’s hometown of Emporia, Kan. …  The No. 18 Camry team participated in the Goodyear tire test at Michigan International Speedway in April to test tires for the newly resurfaced race track.

JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What did it feel like to cross the finish line first at Pocono? “The moment is pretty surreal.  Not just crossing the line, obviously that’s an amazing moment, and I didn’t stop screaming until I got to about — well, victory lane, I guess.  You work so hard to do this, and them teaming me up with Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) has been an awesome experience.  We’ve been growing together a lot lately and able to make our cars better.  To get a victory, it meant so much, and pulling the Home Depot car into victory lane at a Sprint Cup race and winning it the right way was just an amazing, amazing feeling that you can’t replicate and you can’t explain what it means.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued) What did the win at Pocono do for your confidence? “Last year was obviously a tough year for us — this year getting those four Nationwide wins under our belts already, as a driver that puts a lot of confidence in you, saying, ‘Hey, I can do this.’  I expect to be running out front.  It wasn’t a surprise at Pocono that we were out front winning that race.  I expected that. I think you’ve got to have that confidence — you’ve got to have that little arrogance or cockiness as an athlete — that’s really important.  You don’t have to be a jerk about it, you can still be a nice guy and smile every once in a while, but at the same time you have to believe in yourself a lot and know that you’re the best race car driver out there, but at the same time be humble enough to learn things from other drivers and learn things from other people out there, I think that’s what makes a special athlete.”

What do you expect to find in Michigan? “Oh, I don’t know.  I haven’t been there yet, but according to Kyle (Busch) it’s really, really, really, really fast, so we’ll have to see when we get there.  I’m sure the racing is going to be pretty hairy.

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing What are you expecting from the race at Michigan? “Fast.  I’m not real sure to be honest.  It’s kind of interesting that we go to two race tracks in a row that are repaves, because it’s totally different with a test day at them.  We’ve been able to do a lot of testing this week and next week and learn a lot of things, which is cool — just looking forward to it.”

DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No 18 Snickers Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What are your thoughts on the new surface at Michigan? “The speeds are very fast. They did a really nice job repaving Michigan.  The facility looks great, but the race track looks great anyways.  It’s pretty much what we expected as soon as they said they were going to repave Michigan.  We knew we were going to have a lot of grip and we knew it would be fast.  It didn’t disappoint us.  It did have grip and it was fast.”

DARIAN GRUBB, crew chief, No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What do you expect with the new surface at Michigan? “Michigan is going to be all about pure speed.  It seemed like the drivers were a little uncomfortable even going the speeds that we’re capable of going.  It’s going to be all about keeping them comfortable and seeing how fast we can go.”

Were you surprised by the speeds at Michigan during the tire test? “Not really — we were almost expecting it to become a restrictor plate race because the track is fast already and now with the new pavement, it’s going to be extremely fast.  They were showing 219 (mph) or 220 (mph) in the corners so it’s going to be a very hair-raising experience for everybody to go out there and get used to that place.”

NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS):  After 12 races, Mike Bliss ranks eighth in the series point standings … Joe Nemechek (ninth) and Tayler Malsam (10th) are also among the top-10 in the standings … Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 20 Camry crew chief Adam Stevens is from Portsmouth, Ohio, and graduated from Ohio University in 2002 with a mechanical engineering degree … Camry driver Joey Logano has recorded four wins and three pole positions this year in NNS competition for JGR … Logano has compiled five top-five finishes and seven top-10 results and has led a series-high 425 laps in just 10 starts and has won three out of the last four NNS races he has competed in and has registered four straight top-10 finishes … Michael McDowell will drive the JGR No. 20 Pizza Ranch Camry at Michigan — his second of four NNS starts for JGR in 2012 … Matt Lucas, crew chief for McDowell, is from West Carrollton, Ohio.

BRIAN SCOTT, No. 11 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How do you approach Michigan with the new surface? “A lot will be reliant on our Cup teammates.  We have to get the setup right — that’s the first thing.  Then just learning what I can from the other drivers.  I won’t know really what to expect from Michigan until we get there and I see the repave and I get out on the track and see what it’s actually like for our team.  I have a lot of confidence in Joe Gibbs Racing and I know that when we show up we’ll be one of the most competitive teams throughout the garage with the 18, the 20 and this 11 team. It gives us a little of a leg up — just how good we are at preparing and doing our homework and showing up at a race track and unloading well.  I just like Michigan.  It would be fun to go up there and put a Toyota in victory lane.”

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS):  After seven races, Timothy Peters is second in the series point standings, trailing leader Justin Lofton by five points … Matt Crafton (seventh) and Todd Bodine (10th) are also in the top- 10 in the standings … … The NCWTS will enjoy two weekends off before returning to action on June 29 at Kentucky Speedway.

TOYOTA 2012 NASCAR STATISTICS

Series Races Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Times Led Laps Led (Drivers) NSCS 14 170 (19) 4 22 41 6 75 1,135 NNS 12 132 (24) 5 19 30 5 70 880 NCWTS 7 73 (16) 3 14 23 0 16 156

TOYOTA DRIVER ROSTER – Michigan International Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Office Camry J.J. Yeley, No. 49 JPO Absorbents Camry Clint Bowyer, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Camry Mark Martin, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Camry Kyle Busch, No. 18 Snickers Camry Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Camry Mike Bliss, No. 19 Humphrey Smith Racing, LLC Camry Landon Cassill, No. 83 Burger King Camry Joey Logano, No. 20 Home Depot Camry Joe Nemechek, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Stoves Camry David Stremme, No. 30 Inception Motorsports Camry Travis Kvapil, No. 93 Burger King Camry Bobby Labonte, No. 47 Charter Camry

NASCAR Nationwide Series TBD, No. 10 Camry Mike Bliss, No. 44 Camry Brian Scott, No. 11 Dollar General Camry Kurt Busch, No. 54 Monster Energy Camry Jeff Green, No. 14 Hefty/Reynolds Wrap Camry Jason Bowles, No. 81 American Majority Camry Joey Logano, No. 18 Dollar General Camry Joe Nemechek, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Wood Camry Tayler Malsam, No. 19 G-Oil Camry Kenny Wallace, No. 99 RAB Racing Camry Michael McDowell, No. 20 Pizza Ranch Camry

WEEKEND RACE SCHEDULE Sat., June 16 — NNS @ Michigan International Speedway — 3:45 PM (ET), ABC — Race 13 of 34 Sun., June 17 — NSCS @ Michigan International Speedway — 1:00 PM (ET), TNT – Race 15 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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