August 26 – September 1, 2013TOYOTA TIDBITS
MANUFACTURING A SWEEP: After Camry driver Kyle Busch claimed victories in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) and NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) races last week at Bristol Motor Speedway, his Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate Matt Kenseth captured the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) checkered flag for a Toyota sweep in Tennessee. Busch utilized a late-race pass on the half-mile oval to win Wednesday’s Truck Series event and went on to dominate Friday’s NNS event, where he led 228 laps (of 250). Kenseth led a race -high 149 laps (of 500), and held off a fast- closing Kasey Kahne over the final laps to register his fifth NSCS win of 2013 — the most in the series.
CLOSING IN ON THE CHASE: This weekend’s NSCS race at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) is the penultimate event before the ‘Chase for the Sprint Cup’ championship playoff begins in two weeks and Toyota drivers are seeking to qualify the most Camry entries in the title hunt since the manufacturer entered NSCS competition in 2007. Four Camry drivers are currently positioned for a berth in the 2013 Chase field — Clint Bowyer (second), Busch (fifth), Kenseth (sixth) and Martin Truex Jr. (14th). Bowyer and Kenseth are ‘locked’ into the Chase and come to Atlanta seeking wins for seeding, and Busch is comfortably positioned to qualify for the playoff. Truex, with one win (Sonoma Raceway) and 14th in points, currently holds the first of two ‘Wild Card’ Chase spots. If both Bowyer and Truex qualify in the playoff, 2013 would mark the second-consecutive year Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) has qualified two Camrys in the ‘Chase.’
HOME OF HISTORY: In March 2008, Busch guided a Toyota Camry to its first win in the NSCS in Atlanta. Busch’s Camry proved dominant in the event and led a race-high 173 laps (of 325) at AMS, including the final 40 circuits. Busch went on to win eight NSCS races in 2008 — his first season with JGR. Camry drivers have gone on to capture 59 victories in more than 230 NSCS starts, including 23 Camry wins by Busch. In addition to Busch’s 23 NSCS victories in a Camry, the 28-year- old driver has 49 NNS wins and 27 NCWTS triumphs with Toyota and enters the Atlanta race weekend needing one trophy to reach 100 with the manufacturer. With his NNS victory in Bristol, Busch now has 120 combined NASCAR national touring series wins (27 NSCS, 60 NNS, 33 NCWTS) — the second most all-time behind just Richard Petty.
DENNY DEFENDING: Camry driver Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag in the 2012 Labor Day weekend race at AMS and led a race-high 104 laps (of 327). Hamlin and Truex led the final 85 circuits in the event and Truex appeared to have the dominant car in the race’s closing stages. However, Hamlin claimed the advantage off pit road following a late-race caution and was able to lead the final laps and win under green-white-checkered conditions. Truex finished fourth.
NEEDS NATIONWIDE WIN: A NNS win in Atlanta would give Camry driver Busch victories in all three NASCAR national touring series at the 1.54-mile track in Hampton, Ga. Busch has one NSCS win (2008) in Atlanta and he has captured four checkered flags in the NCWTS when the tour raced at the track (2005, 2007-2009). However, Busch has been unable to reach victory lane in the NNS in Atlanta and has finished as a runner-up four times in nine starts. In those nine starts, Busch has started on the pole three times and has led 490 laps, the most at the track among active NNS competitors. Busch is the all- time NNS wins leader with 60 victories in the series.
MAKING LEFTS AND RIGHTS IN CANADA: The NCWTS is headed to Canada to compete on a road course for the first time in 13 years at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Sunday. The 64-lap event in Bowmanville, Ontario — the first event for the Truck Series in Canada — will be the first NASCAR national touring series to race on the 2.459-mile track since its opening in 1961. Tundra driver Germán Quiroga enters the race with considerable experience on road courses as a three- time champion of the Toyota NASCAR Series in Mexico, including a 2004 road course win at San Luis Potosí.
NUMBERS NOTE: Toyota enters the AMS race weekend one win shy of 250 victories in NASCAR’s three national touring series since entering NASCAR competition in 2004. After Busch’s Tundra triumph in the NCWTS at Bristol on Wednesday night, Tundras have totaled 106 victories. Since entering NSCS and NNS competition in 2007, Camry drivers have captured 59 first-place trophies in the Cup Series and Busch’s Bristol win on Friday evening was the 84th Nationwide Series triumph for the Camry.
NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Camry driver Denny Hamlin started from the pole in Atlanta in 2010… Atlanta is the home for two Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) primary sponsors — Aaron’s (Brian Vickers, No. 55 Camry) and NAPA Auto Parts (Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 Camry) … Truex suffered a scaphoid fracture and sprain of his right wrist in an accident at Bristol on Saturday, but is scheduled to compete at Atlanta … Matt Kenseth enters the Atlanta race weekend with the fifth best average result (12.7) at the track among active drivers … Three of Kenseth’s 2013 victories have been on 1.5-mile tracks (Las Vegas, Kansas and Kentucky), but the 2003 NSCS champion has never won at Atlanta … Kenseth’s primary sponsor, Home Depot, is also based in Atlanta … AJ Allmendinger will return to the seat of the JTG-Daugherty Racing No. 47 Camry for the Atlanta race and finished 10th at Watkins Glen International in his most recent start with the team.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Do you expect the racing to be different this year in Atlanta?
“I don’t think you’re going to see a race any different than what we’ve seen down in Atlanta the last few years. The race track has aged really nice where it’s probably aged too much, but you can’t repave Atlanta — that would just be stupid. It’s a place where you can run the bottom all the way from the white line all the way to the wall and anywhere in between. You have to have a good car there, but it’s a neat race track with the way that you can race around and move around and not get too comfortable running one lane.”
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What’s the key to having success at Atlanta?
“It’s a really fun track. Everybody always associates Atlanta with really high speeds and being fast and like, ‘Oh, who can suck it up and get a fast lap qualifying?’ But it’s actually kind of the opposite now. It’s fast, it’s got really long corners, but the track is so wore out that it’s more about tire management, having a car that will run fast on new tires, but be fast on old tires as well. It’s a fun compromise — a fun track to race at.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Is Atlanta one of your favorite race tracks?
“Atlanta is one of my top-five favorite tracks. We should have won it last year and obviously we didn’t. I had a great run at Texas earlier this year — very similar — so I think we can go there with a similar mindset. Atlanta is fun because you can run all over that place and the track changes throughout the night. You start the race running one groove and the next run you’re running a different groove and then at the end of the race you’re running something totally different than you’ve ever run there before. Last year, at the end of the race when I was leading, I was running a groove that I never thought I could run there. I was doing something totally different than I had ever done and it was working. I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve I think that are going to work there and hopefully that’s the case and we can go get what we should have got last year.”
How do you feel about where you sit in the points?
“It’s not the situation you want to be in obviously. I quit looking at the points two months ago and I told myself that all we can do is what we’re going to do. There’s no sense in worrying about it. There’s no sense in losing sleep. It’s hard not to think about it sometimes for sure, but again I think if we think about it too much and worry about it too much that we will beat ourselves and we don’t need to do that. We’re a good enough race team, had a good enough season that we shouldn’t be in this position, but we are and so we have to step up and make it happen when the pressure’s on and the way to do that in my eyes is to not look at it and not worry about the points and not stress yourself out and not say it’s the end of the world if we don’t make it and just go out and do the job.”
NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): After 23 races this season, Elliott Sadler (third), Brian Vickers (sixth) and Parker Kligerman (10th) rank in the top-10 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) point standings … Sadler is 11 points behind leader Sam Hornish Jr. … While Kyle Busch is yet to claim a NNS win in Atlanta, he leads the NNS with nine victories in 2013 … Kenneth Purcell, the gas man for Busch and the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Camry, is a native of Savannah, Ga.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): Timothy Peters (fifth) and Johnny Sauter (ninth) join points leader Matt Crafton in the top-10 in the standings … Crafton currently holds a 49-point lead over second-place James Buescher … Crafton is also the only driver to finish in the top-10 at all 13 races thus far in the 2013 season … Timothy Peters’ crew chief, Butch Hylton, was the winning crew chief in the GT class at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2009 and has two NASCAR road course wins as a crew member … Joey Coulter has two top-10 results in three road course starts in the ARCA Racing Series.
MATT CRAFTON, No. 88 Ideal Door/Menard’s Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing
Are you excited to race a road course in your Tundra?
“Looking forward to it. I wish we had more than just one in the season to go race, but we’ll make the best of the one we’re going to race. I had a lot of fun doing it and we ran fairly well in the road course racing that I’ve done. I went up there and tested in a Canadian Tire Series car — that track is going to be wild. It’s going to be very fast, very cool. Very, very blind corners where you’ll be blind for a good third of the corner before you can see it. It’s going to be interesting.”
GERMÁN QUIROGA, No. 77 OtterBox Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing
Are you excited to race on a road course again in any conditions?
“Yeah, that’s going to be fun. Obviously, I want to bring this Toyota Tundra to victory lane first. It’s a road course. I’m experienced in road course races, so hopefully everything goes well up there in Canada and we can have fun with the OtterBox Toyota Tundra up there. If it rains, it’s going to be more fun — even more fun for me. I love racing in the rain, so hopefully it rains. It’s going to be our first experience on road courses with these trucks. We tested already and we seem to be very good, so hopefully we can get a little bit more and then we can make it happen.”
TOYOTA 2013 NASCAR STATISTICS
Series Races (Drivers) Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Times Led Laps Led
NSCS 24 282 (21) 10 37 63 10 135 3,023
NNS 23 308 (33) 10 43 72 9 116 1,923
NCWTS 13 138 (29) 7 26 54 4 51 840
TOYOTA DRIVER ROSTER – Atlanta Motor Speedway and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 SportClips Camry AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Scott Products Camry
Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Camry Brian Vickers, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Camry
Kyle Busch, No. 18 M&M’s Camry Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Camry
Mike Bliss, No. 19 Plinker Tactical Camry David Reutimann, No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Camry
Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Home Depot Husky Camry Joe Nemechek, No. 87 NEMCO Camry
David Stremme, No. 30 Widow Wax-Lean1 Camry Travis Kvapil, No. 93 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Camry
NASCAR Nationwide Series
Blake Koch, No. 00 SR2 Motorsports Camry Ken Butler, No. 24 REMAX of Georgia Camry
Jeff Green, No. 10 TriStar Motorsports Camry Cole Whitt, No. 44 Takagi Camry
Elliott Sadler, No. 11 OneMain Financial Camry Kyle Busch, No. 54 Monster Energy Camry
Eric McClure, No. 14 Hefty/Reynolds Wrap Camry Tony Raines, No. 70 NEMCO Camry
Tanner Berryhill, No. 17 CoreyWhiteMusic.com Camry Parker Kligerman, No. 77 Toyota Camry
Mike Bliss, No. 19 TriStar Motorsports Camry Joe Nemechek, No. 87 PelletGrillUSA.com Camry
Brian Vickers, No. 20 Dollar General Camry Alex Bowman, No. 99 Toyota Care Camry
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
John Wes Townley, No. 7 Zaxby’s Tundra Darrell Wallace Jr., No. 54 Camping World Tundra
Chris Cockrum, No. 07 SS Green Light Racing Tundra Germán Quiroga, No. 77 OtterBox Tundra
Timothy Peters, No. 17 Parts Plus Tundra David Starr, No. 81 VIP Poker Tundra
Joey Coulter, No. 18 Monster Energy Tundra Matt Crafton, No. 88 Ideal Door/Menard’s Tundra
Chad Hackenbracht, No. 51 Tastee Apple/Ingersoll Tundra Johnny Sauter, No. 98 Carolina Nut /Curb Records Tundra
WEEKEND RACE SCHEDULE
Sat., August 31 — NNS @ Atlanta Motor Speedway — 7:30 PM (ET), ESPN2 — Race 24 of 33
Sun., September 1 — NCWTS @ Canadian Tire Motorsports Park — 2:00 PM (ET), Fox Sports 1 — Race 14 of 22
Sun., September 1 — NSCS @ Atlanta Motor Speedway — 7:30 PM (ET), ESPN — Race 25 of 36