Toyota NASCAR Notes & Quotes Phoenix November 2012
by Official Release On Wed, Nov. 07, 2012
November 5 – 11, 2012
BUSCH BOUNCE BACK: Camry driver Kyle Busch crossed the finish line third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday — his fourth top-five result in the last five NSCS races. Busch ran at the front of the field four times for a total of 80 laps (of 335), but couldn’t get past eventual race-winner Jimmie Johnson or runner-up Brad Keselowski in a green-white-checkered flag dash to the finish. In addition to Busch’s third-place showing, Clint Bowyer (sixth) also registered a top-10 result. Busch also recorded a third-place result in Saturday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) event in Texas.
CAMRY CHASERS: Heading into the ninth event of the 10-race ‘Chase for the Sprint Cup’ championship playoff this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR), Bowyer remains in third-place in the standings and trails point leader Johnson by 36 points and second-place Keselowski by 29 points. Hamlin is now seventh in the standings (-73 points) and Martin Truex Jr. is in ninth-place (-80 points).
SAUTER TWO-STEP: Tundra driver Johnny Sauter led the final 11 laps to take the checkered flag in Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) at Texas Motor Speedway and claimed a NCWTS season sweep on the 1.5-mile track. Sauter started 13th on the grid and led the field twice for a total of 28 laps (of 147). Earlier this season in June, the Wisconsin-native picked up his first victory in a Tundra at the Texas track. In addition to Sauter’s victory, Tundra drivers Parker Kligerman (second) and Busch (fourth) also finished in the top-five in Texas.
PHOENIX DEFENSE: Chase contender Hamlin returns to Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) as the most recent race- winner after taking the checkered flag in the March event at the track. Hamlin led 61 laps (of 312) en route to his first victory with crew chief Darian Grubb, who won the 2011 NSCS championship with Tony Stewart. In addition to his win in Phoenix, Hamlin has compiled the fourth-best average finish at the track among active drivers (10.9), including seven top-10 results in 14 starts. Hamlin also earned his first-ever NSCS pole at PIR in 2005.
FAMILIAR WITH PHOENIX: Camry drivers Busch and Mark Martin have each had success at the one-mile track in Arizona. Martin has made the most NSCS starts at PIR — 31 dating back to 1988 — and the veteran driver has two wins at the track (1993 and 2009), in addition to 12 top-five results, 19 top-10 finishes and one pole position. Meanwhile, Busch has one win (2005), one pole (2006) and nine top-10 results in 15 starts at PIR. Both Busch and Martin recorded top-10 results at the track in March, finishing sixth and ninth, respectively.
TOYOTA TALLIES AT PIR: Toyota drivers have tallied eight victories in NASCAR’s three national touring series at PIR, with Hamlin claiming a NSCS win at the track in March and Busch winning the most-recent NCWTS race at the track in 2011. Prior to Hamlin’s NSCS win, former Camry driver Kasey Kahne captured a Sprint Cup Series victory at Phoenix in the fall of 2011. Busch has three NNS wins in a Camry at Phoenix (2008, 2010 and 2011) and four total NNS wins at the track (2007) — and Camry drivers have combined to take six of the last nine NNS poles in Phoenix. In addition to Busch’s NCWTS win, Todd Bodine (2005) and Johnny Benson Jr. (2006) also guided Tundras to NCWTS victories at PIR.
SUN DEVIL ON PIT ROAD: Former Arizona State University football player Wes Evans currently works on the pit crew for Truex and the No. 56 MWR Camry team. The 25-year-old Evans, who now serves as the gas man for Truex, started his career with the Sun Devils as a defensive end, but moved to tight end during his junior season. The Reno, Nevada-native graduated from Arizona State with a degree in marketing communications before moving on to a career in NASCAR.
SOCIAL MEDIA & WEBSITE: Background and images about the Toyota NASCAR program are available at www.toyotaracingmedia.com, @ToyotaRacing, www.facebook.com/toyotaracing and www.youtube.com/toyotaracingusa.
NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Since the start of the 2012 season, Toyota drivers have combined for 10 victories, 49 top- five results, 104 top-10 finishes and have led 3,579 laps … The next win for a Camry driver in the NSCS will be the 50th for Toyota in the series since the start of the 2007 season … Denny Hamlin recently participated in a tire test at Phoenix in advance of the November race weekend … Mark Martin won the pole for the March NSCS race at Phoenix … Martin’s Phoenix pole was his first of four this season for Michael Waltrip Racing in 22 starts.
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Do you feel the championship is still within reach? “I’ve said this all along — it’s fun to be racing for the championship, but I’m more proud of where we’re at contending for that championship — winning three races our first year together as a group. Got a long time to work. We just keep polishing the edges and keep getting better, fixing our program week in and week out. We’ll be there.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Do you think the surface has ‘aged’ in Phoenix? “I hope it aged a little bit so then we can all race a little bit better. It was a little bit difficult to pass it felt like still and getting into turn one was a little bit slick. I think that’s kind of always been the tradition at Phoenix. I haven’t heard much about the test and how it went out there. I think that it should be a good one hopefully and we just need to get a little bit better. Denny (Hamlin) was pretty fast out there last time, so we’ll see if we can’t steal some more of their notes.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What do you expect from the Phoenix race? “I think going out there for the second time this year should help a little bit with the track coming in a little bit sooner, rubbering in a little quicker hopefully. It has a couple years on it now so we’ll see what happens when we get there. I think that’s definitely going to change compared to last year when we were out there.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Do you look forward to racing in Phoenix? “I always look forward to Phoenix — it’s a great race track. Since they repaved it, it’s been really cool with the changes. I expect that it’s going to be one of those places that just keeps getting better and better each time we go back. It sat all summer long and that should help it a bunch and weather that asphalt a little bit. Looking forward to going there. It’s one of my favorite tracks and hopefully we’ll go out there and have a shot at winning.”
NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): After 31 races, Mike Bliss ranks eighth in the series point standings … Brian Scott (ninth) also ranks in the top-10 in the standings … The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Camry currently leads the NNS owner’s point standings by 27 points over second-place … Brian Vickers, the 2003 NNS champion, will pilot the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Camry at Phoenix … JGR recently announced Vickers will pursue the 2013 NNS championship driving a JGR Camry … Tucson-native Alex Bowman will pilot the No. 99 RAB Racing Camry at Phoenix.
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Are you excited to join the JGR Nationwide Series program for 2013? “I’m very happy to stay in the Toyota family and when you look at the Nationwide Series over the past several years no team has dominated like Joe Gibbs Racing. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get Dollar General, Toyota and JGR a Nationwide Series championship next season.”
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): After 20 races, Timothy Peters ranks third in the series point standings — 25 points behind series point leader James Buescher … Parker Kligerman (fourth), Matt Crafton (sixth) and Johnny Sauter (ninth) are also in the top-10 in the standings … Three-time NASCAR Toyota Series champion German Quiroga will make his third NCWTS start of 2012 at Phoenix driving the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) No. 51 Tundra … Quiroga finished a career-best eighth at Talladega Superspeedway earlier this season … KBM recently announced Joey Coulter will drive a KBM Tundra during the 2013 NCWTS season.
PARKER KLIGERMAN, No. 7 Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing What are your expectations for Phoenix? “Phoenix is kind of an unknown and a wild card being repaved. None of us have been there yet. I enjoyed the old Phoenix. I think the new Phoenix looks really exciting. I do have a little history on the new repaved tracks — I’ve been doing a lot of testing on those tracks with my former situation. I feel like that gives me a little of a level up on everyone else in the competition. Just knowing the preparation this team has with Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and all that they do to help us be prepared from all their outside resources, I see no reason why we can’t go out to Phoenix and win.”
GERMAN QUIROGA, No. 51 NET10 Wireless Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports Have you enjoyed the competitiveness of the Truck Series? “I’m very happy now that the other drivers are getting to know me. I’ve seen them on TV, but they don’t know who I am. It’s nice to be racing against them and they are very talented and very fast. I just keep learning. I got to work with Todd Bodine and he took me around the track at Texas. I think they are getting to know me and once I start racing with them every week then we are going to have more respect for each other. It’s not like I’m just this new kid. I’m having fun and I’m getting to know my competitors for sure. Kyle (Busch, team owner) has helped me a lot with my progress. I have gone to as many races as I could go to for the Nationwide and Truck races, so I’ve been learning a lot of things from the team and that has helped me to prepare not only to jump into the truck, but what to expect in the races.”
TOYOTA 2012 NASCAR STATISTICS
Series Races Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Times Led Laps Led (Drivers) NSCS 34 410 (24) 10 49 104 10 198 3,579 NNS 31 353 (42) 9 40 75 10 131 1,675 NCWTS 20 202 (27) 8 44 78 4 71 997
TOYOTA DRIVER ROSTER – Phoenix International Raceway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Ground Camry Bobby Labonte, No. 47 Vektor Vodka Camry Clint Bowyer, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Camry Mark Martin, 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/Value Place Camry Landon Cassill, No. 83 Burger King Camry Joey Logano, No. 20 Dollar General Camry Joe Nemechek, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Stoves Camry David Stremme, No. 30 Inception Motorsports Camry Travis Kvapil, No. 93 Burger King Camry
NASCAR Nationwide Series Blake Koch, No. 00 Toyota Camry David Starr, No. 24 OCR Gazbar Camry Jeff Green, No. 10 G-Oil/Embassy Suites Camry John Blankenship, No. 44 Coal Save the Country Camry Brian Scott, No. 11 Dollar General Camry Kyle Busch, No. 54 Monster Energy Camry Eric McClure, No. 14 Hefty/Reynolds Wrap Camry Joe Nemechek, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Stoves Camry Joey Logano, No. 18 GameStop Camry Tony Raines, No. 91 Embassy Suites Camry Brian Vickers, No. 20 Dollar General Camry Alex Bowman, No. 99 Port of Tucson/Levine Camry
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Parker Kligerman, No. 7 Red Horse Racing Tundra Timothy Peters, No. 17 Red Horse Racing Tundra Ross Chastain, No. 08 Toyota Tundra Brian Scott, No. 18 Dollar General Tundra John Wes Townley, No. 09 Zaxby’s Tundra German Quiroga, No. 51 NET10 Wireless Tundra Todd Bodine, No. 11 Toyota Care Tundra Chris Fontaine, No. 84 Glenden Enterprises Tundra Johnny Sauter, No. 13 Seal Master/Curb Records Tundra Matt Crafton, No. 88 Menards Tundra
WEEKEND RACE SCHEDULE Fri., November 9 — NCWTS @ Phoenix International Raceway — 6:00 PM (MT), SPEED — Race 21 of 22 Sat., November 10 — NNS @ Phoenix International Raceway — 2:00 PM (MT), ESPN — Race 32 of 33 Sun., November 11 — NSCS @ Phoenix International Raceway — 1:00 PM (MT), ESPN — Race 35 of 36