Toyota NASCAR Notes & Quotes Kentucky June 2012

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

June 25 – July 1, 2012

TOYOTA TIDBITS WIN IN WINE COUNTRY:  Toyota driver Clint Bowyer captured his first victory of the season in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at the road course in Sonoma, Calif. — his first win in a Camry and first with Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) since joining the organization prior to the 2012 season. Bowyer started sixth and raced to the front of the field by lap 25 on the 1.99-mile track, where he led on three occasions for a race-high 71 laps (of 112).  Bowyer’s MWR teammate, Brian Vickers, finished fourth and Camry driver  Joey Logano claimed a 10th-place result in Northern California.

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ROAD AMERICA RACING:  In Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race on Wisconsin’s Road America, Michael McDowell was the top-finishing Camry driver with a runner-up result.  He started second and led the field twice for four laps (of 50) on the four-mile road course en route to a second-place finish.  McDowell’s Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate, Brian Scott, finished sixth and  Kurt Busch claimed an eighth-place result for Toyota.

WEARING WILDCATS PRIDE:  MWR team co-owner and driver Michael Waltrip returns to his home state of Kentucky for this weekend’s NSCS race and will drive a Camry honoring the University of Kentucky’s (UK) national championship- winning basketball team.  The Owensboro, Ky.-native attended the NCAA championship game won by the Wildcats, and will drive the UK-themed No. 55 Camry in Saturday night’s NSCS race at Kentucky Speedway.  The race will mark the second start of the 2012 season for the team co-owner while running a part-time schedule.

KING OF KENTUCKY:  Camry driver Kyle Busch won the inaugural NSCS race at Kentucky Speedway in July 2011. Busch started from the pole and led 125 laps (of 267) — including the final 11 circuits — to capture the historic victory on the 1.5-mile track.  In addition to his Cup Series triumph during the July 2011 race weekend, Busch also won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Kentucky two evenings prior.  By winning both the NSCS and NCWTS races last year, Busch has claimed victories in all three NASCAR national touring series at Kentucky Speedway, including a 2004 NNS victory.  In addition, the Las Vegas-native also has an ARCA win (2003) on the Kentucky track.

BOWYER’S BARRETT-JACKSON DESIGN:  A custom 2011 Toyota Tundra designed by Bowyer was auctioned for $100,000 at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Costa Mesa, Calif., on June 23.  The custom Tundra features a red patina paint job to give it the appearance of a well-used, weathered ‘tri-five’ style work truck.  Proceeds from the auction benefit the Emporia (Kan.) Community Foundation in Bowyer’s hometown of Emporia.

NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS):  After 16 races in 2012, Clint Bowyer is seventh in the series point standings, trailing leader Matt Kenseth by 67 points … Denny Hamlin (eighth) and Martin Truex Jr. (ninth) also rank in the top-10 in the standings … With his start in the NSCS race at Sonoma last Sunday, Kyle Busch now has the most combined NASCAR starts for a Toyota driver across all three national touring series (345) … Lexington, Ky.-native Jason Gay was a member of Bowyer’s race- winning team at Sonoma … Gay serves as the front tire carrier for the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Camry … John Eicher, the gasman for Joey Logano and the No. 20 Home Depot Camry, hails from London, Ky. … 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 How does it feel to recognize the University of Kentucky basketball championship? “That’s pretty cool to be able to have that honor.  I was actually at the game in New Orleans when they won.  I grew up in Owensboro, Ky., and watched the replays of the UK games at 10:30 after the local news — Cawood Ledford (former UK play-by-play announcer) calling the action.  Just grew up a Kentucky fan and still am and just to be able to put that Wildcats championship celebration car on the track in Kentucky, in my home state — it’s really a special feeling.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts, Michael Waltrip Racing Are you looking forward to racing at Kentucky Speedway? “We pretty much struggled there last year.  It will be interesting to see what we can go back with.  One of our cars ran really well there last year and ours was terrible, so we’ve got a lot to learn from.  We really look forward to every race track that we go to this year with the way our cars are running and the job the team is doing.  Everywhere we go has been fun and even places where we’ve typically in the past struggled, we’ve run good at this year, so look forward to it.”

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18  M&M’s Red-White-Blue Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Are you looking forward to returning to Kentucky? “Last year we were really fast at Kentucky.  We unloaded really well and we were quick.  We had that open test day and were fast.  We were fastest in practice and then qualifying actually got rained out, so it gave us the automatic pole, but I still say we won the pole.  It was a great race for us.  We started up front, we led some laps and Kurt (Busch) led some laps.  It was cool to battle with Kurt for a while.  I remember Kurt was up there, (Brad) Keselowski was there, Jimmie Johnson got up there — David Reutimann finished second there at the end.  A lot of good cars and a lot of really fast guys that we had to deal with and race hard.”

Is it more challenging to race at a track only once a year? “I think it makes it more challenging.  You’ve definitely got to go through your notes and find the things that made you good there and watch the film — no different than a football player studying film to see what they can do to be better.  For me, you do some of those same things.  Kentucky is a race track where we used to only go once with the Nationwide cars anyways, so I was kind of used to that.  I ran the truck, the Nationwide car and the Cup car, so I got a lot more experience on the race track through the weekend.  Then, during the race , saw some of that may have paid off for us in the Cup race.”

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What will it be like returning to Kentucky Speedway this year? “It’s a lot different, that’s for sure.  It’s going to be the first time we’re not at a new paved track for a while.  We’re going to have some tire wear there.  It’s going to be fun.  I think I finished right outside the top-10.  It’s a fun track, but it’s also a very hard track to pass on.  It looked like during the race the groove widened out on that track tremendously.  I’m interested to see how they’ve done — they changed the track around since the traffic, but that’s a good thing when you have people fighting to get in the race track.  That means there’s a lot of people in the stands.  It’s a fun race track to race on and obviously we would like to be a little more competitive knowing our teammate won there last year.”

NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS):  After 14 races, Mike Bliss ranks eighth in the series point standings … Brian Scott (ninth) is also among the top-10 in the standings … Kenny Wallace is tied for the most career NNS starts at Kentucky Speedway with nine.

KENNY WALLACE, No. 99 Toyota Camry, RAB Racing with Brack Maggard Are you excited to return to Kentucky? “We finished sixth in this race last year — knowing that we were fast in that race certainly gives us something to be excited about.  We’re going to be bringing the same Toyota Camry that we raced at Michigan two weeks ago.  It was a very fast car all weekend, but we had an issue at the beginning of the race that took us out early.  I’m running a part-time schedule this year with RAB Racing, so I look forward to getting behind the wheel of their Toyotas and making the most of this weekend at Kentucky.”

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 … After two weeks off, the NCWTS returns to action at Kentucky Speedway where Tundra drivers have four wins (2007-2008, 2010-2011) … Two-time NCWTS champion Todd Bodine has recorded three-straight top-10 finishes at Kentucky … Tundra driver Jason Leffler finished fifth in each of his two previous starts at Kentucky Speedway (2002-2003).

TODD BODINE, No. 11 Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing How did you win the 2010 NCWTS race at Kentucky? “We were up front for the majority of the race and drove back to fourth before everyone started to pit.  Our team stayed out and held off the win.  Kentucky is a momentum track — where you have to be able to run the truck really free, but it can’t be loose and it has to be drivable.  We were fortunate enough that time to get the truck very drivable.”

TIMOTHY PETERS, No. 17 Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing How do you feel about your mile-and-a-half program in 2012? “I think we have exceeded our 1.5-mile program this year compared to last year.  Every time we race at one of the tracks, we keep getting better.  I’m really looking forward to these tracks.  As a company, we have won at every track at other sizes except a 1.5-mile and I think this year we are going to do it.”

TOYOTA 2012 NASCAR STATISTICS

Series        Races         Starts        Wins      Top-5s Top-10s        Poles        Times Led         Laps Led (Drivers) NSCS            16         194 (20)         5         24           45          6              82              1,223 NNS             14         154 (27)         6         22           37          5              75               920 NCWTS            7         73 (16)          3         14           23          0              16               156

TOYOTA DRIVER ROSTER – Kentucky Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Camry                          J.J. Yeley, No. 49 JPO Absorbents Camry Clint Bowyer, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Camry                          Mike Skinner, No. 52 CrusaderStaffing.com Camry Kyle Busch, No. 18 M&M’s Red-White-Blue Camry Michael Waltrip, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Camry Mike Bliss, No. 19 Humphrey Smith Racing, LLC Camry Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Camry Joey Logano, No. 20 Dollar General Camry Landon Cassill, No. 83 Burger King Camry David Stremme, No. 30 Inception Motorsports Camry                 Joe Nemechek, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Stoves Camry Bobby Labonte, No. 47 Scotts Products Camry Travis Kvapil, No. 93 Burger King Camry

NASCAR Nationwide Series Jeff Green, No. 10 Camry                                          Mike Bliss, No. 44 Camry Brian Scott, No. 11 Dollar General Camry                          Kurt Busch, No. 54 Monster Energy Camry Eric McClure, No. 14 Hefty/Reynolds Wrap Camry                    John Jackson, No. 72 Crash Claims R Us Camry Tanner Berryhill, No. 17 New Gulf Resources Camry Jason Bowles, No. 81 American Majority Camry Denny Hamlin, No. 18 Dollar General Camry                         Joe Nemechek, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Wood Camry Tayler Malsam, No. 19 G-Oil/Ryobi Camry Kenny Wallace, No. 99 Ethanol/Family Farmers Camry

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Johnny Chapman, No. 07 Wear Your Gear Tundra Timothy Peters, No. 17 Tundra Ross Chastain, No. 08 Watermelon Assoc. Tundra Jason Leffler, No. 18 Dollar General Tundra John Wes Townley, No. 09 Tundra David Starr, No. 81 Advocare/ZACHRY Tundra Todd Bodine, No. 11 Tundra                                        Matt Crafton, No. 88 Menard’s Tundra Johnny Sauter, No. 13 Hot Honeys/Curb Records Tundra Dakoda Armstrong, No. 98 EverFi.com Tundra

WEEKEND RACE SCHEDULE Thur., June 28 — NCWTS @ Kentucky Speedway — 8:00 PM (EST), SPEED — Race 8 of 22 Fri., June 29 — NNS @ Kentucky Speedway — 7:30 PM (EST), ESPN2 — Race 15 of 33 Sat., June 30 — NSCS @ Kentucky Speedway — 7:30 PM (EST), 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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