March 5 – 11, 2012
TOYOTA TIDBITS DENNY DELIVERS IN DESERT: Camry driver Denny Hamlin captured his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) victory of the 2012 season after leading the final 59 (of 312) laps on Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway. The triumph in the second race of the year was his 15th NSCS win in a Toyota — his 18th overall in the series — and marked his first victory with new crew chief Darian Grubb. The Phoenix win is the earliest victory to start a season in Hamlin’s career, and is also the soonest in a season by a Toyota driver in the NSCS since Kyle Busch won the third race of the 2009 season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Hamlin now leads the series standings with 89 points — six points ahead of Greg Biffle.
RECORD TYING WIN: The Phoenix triumph by Hamlin enabled the No. 11 to tie the No. 43 for most race wins (198) in NSCS history by a car number. Hamlin has driven his Camry to 15 wins and accounts for 18 total trophies in the No. 11 entry. A combined 13 drivers have visited victory lane in the No. 11, includ ing Cale Yarborough (55), Ned Jarrett (49), Darrell Waltrip (43), Junior Johnson (11), Bill Elliott (six), Geoffrey Bodine (four), Terry Labonte (four), Bobby Allison (three), Buddy Baker (two), Mario Andretti (one), A.J. Foyt (one) and Parnelli Jones (one).
BUSCH IS BACK: Las Vegas-native Busch returns home this weekend when the NSCS visits Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In eight NSCS races at the 1.5-mile oval, the 25-year-old driver has one win (2009), two poles (2008 and 2009), three top-five finishes and four top-10 results at his hometown race track. His 2009 victory at Las Vegas in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry was the first NSCS victory by a Las Vegas-native at the track.
MAKE YOUR MARK: Camry driver Mark Martin has proven to be a driver to beat in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) at Las Vegas. In six NNS Las Vegas starts, Martin has four victories (1999, 2005, 2008 and 2011), two pole positions (1998 and 1999), a runner-up result (2000) and a sixth-place finish. The Batesville, Ark., native has also led 333 (of 1,202) laps at the 1.5-mile oval in the NNS. This Saturday, Martin will pilot the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry — his first-ever start with JGR.
BROTHERS IN ARMS: This season, Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) is fielding a full-time entry in the NNS with Las Vegas natives and brothers Kyle and Kurt Busch sharing seat time in the No. 54 Monster Energy Camry. Team owner and younger brother Kyle is competing in the first five races, before splitting the balance of the season with Kurt, the 2004 NSCS champion. Older brother Kurt will make his first KBM start at Texas Motor Speedway in April where he visited victory lane in his very first series start (2006). Mike Beam, who was a part of the 2011 NNS owner’s championship, serves as crew chief. In 224 NNS starts, Kyle is the series all-time wins leader with 51 career victories, 120 top-five results and 149 top-10 finishes. Kurt has recorded three wins and three poles in 13 career NNS starts.
NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): In the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season, Toyota drivers have combined for one victory (Phoenix), two top-five results, eight top-10 finishes, 211 laps led and one pole position … Mark Martin won the inaugural NSCS race at Las Vegas in 1998 … Martin has the most NSCS starts (14), most top-five finishes (six) and top-10 results (10) at Las Vegas … Bobby Labonte has two poles (1999 and 2003) at Las Vegas … Joey Logano will trade orange for yellow when he drives the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry at Las Vegas.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Brown Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Is there more pressure racing at your hometown track? “Yeah, Vegas is always a little bit more pressure — more pressure on myself just because it’s the hometown and you want to win there. Thankfully, I have won there and I’ve knocked that one off the list, but certainly you want to win there every year. It seems like either Carl (Edwards) and Jimmie (Johnson) are better than most, but I love Vegas — the atmosphere and everything going on around that place. It’s been sold out for a lot of years — I think ever since it started. They’ve added more grandstands, which is cool. It’s a big race.”
MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing What do you like about Las Vegas Motor Speedway? “I love the size and shape of it — mile-and-a-halfs are my favorite race tracks and Las Vegas has been good to me. I can’t wait to get there with our Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota with Rodney (Childers, crew chief) and this team. It’s a race track I like to drive on even more than Phoenix, and I like Phoenix, but I like Vegas even more. I’m excited.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Is Las Vegas a similar racing surface to Phoenix? “It’s different. I think it’s really kind of a big Phoenix in the sense that the asphalt is kind of getting a little aged now so the racing should be pretty good. It’s a fast track — a lot of load and G’s (G-forces) on the drivers themselves because of the banking there. We haven’t had a ton of success there, but we’ve run okay. I’m excited to get there with Darian (Grubb, crew chief) because I know that he and Tony (Stewart) ran extremely well there last year during this race. Interested to put that setup in my car and see how it goes.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Do you enjoy racing at Las Vegas? “I love Vegas. That might be my best race track. I’ve ran really well there in the past. Ever since we unloaded there for the first time in ’09, we’ve been pretty good there. I’ve never ran a Nationwide race at Las Vegas, but I’ve always had good Cup cars there and we did the tire test at Las Vegas, so that’s going to help us a little bit. Even though we have a new crew chief (Jason Ratcliff) since then, I still think the tire test is going to help us at Las Vegas. With our Phoenix finish we have some good momentum and hope to carry it through Las Vegas where we’ll have Dollar General on our Cup car for the first time.”
NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): In the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season, Toyota drivers earned three top-10 finishes, led 74 laps and one pole position … Camry drivers have two NNS poles at LVMS (2008 and 2009) … Toyota drivers have earned 11 top-10 finishes at Las Vegas … Las Vegas is one of six tracks on the 2012 schedule where the Camry has yet to visit victory lane … Camry driver Brian Scott visited his hometown of Boise, Idaho during NASCAR’s early season west coast swing where he enjoys outdoor activities like helicopter skiing … Tayler Malsam is scheduled to ‘workout’ with UFC fighter Amir Sadollah on Thursday in Las Vegas.
MARK MARTIN, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Are you looking forward to your first start with Joe Gibbs Racing? “This is exciting. No organization has been better in the Nationwide Series over the past three or four seasons and to have the chance to get behind the wheel of a Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide car will be a thrill. Maybe I can pick up a few more races and try to catch Kyle (Busch) to get my record back again.”
BRIAN SCOTT, No. 11 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Do you enjoy racing at Las Vegas? “I’m looking forward to Vegas because I really think our mile-and-a-half program was a strong suit last year. We have a good set-up for this weekend and we’re coming off a better finish than we had in Daytona, so hopefully Vegas will be a turnaround for our Dollar General team. Our 14th-place finish in Phoenix wasn’t exactly what we were looking for, but at least we brought the car home in one piece. We’re going to keep building from that and do our best in these next few races to dig ourselves out of the hole we got into in Daytona. Vegas is one of the biggest weekend’s of the year for our sponsor Dollar General, so we’re really striving for a strong performance on Saturday.”
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): Tundra drivers registered one win, three top-five results and five top- 10 finishes at Daytona to start the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season … Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Jason Leffler will participate in a tire test at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway on March 6 and 7 in preparation for the NCWTS’ first appearance at the track on April 15 … The NCWTS will take three more weeks off before returning to action at Virginia’s Martinsville Speedway on March 31.
JASON LEFFLER, No. 18 Dollar General Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports How will the tire test at Rockingham benefit you and your team? “This Goodyear tire test is a great opportunity to not only provide Goodyear with feedback on the tire selection for the upcoming race, but to get some laps in behind the wheel of the Dollar General Tundra and continue to get adjusted to working with a new team. Working with these guys at the NASA (Kennedy Space Center, Fla.) test and down in Daytona, you can see why they’ve been successful — they’re really organized and make quick changes. It all starts at the top with the experience of Eric Phillips (crew chief) and Rick Ren (general manager). At Daytona, you don’t go through a lot of adjustments, so this test will give us the chance to get a better feel for each other and build a stronger driver-crew relationship.” -more-
TOYOTA NASCAR NOTES & QUOTES – March 5 – 11, 2012 — Page 3
TOYOTA 2012 NASCAR STATISTICS
Series Races Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Times Led Laps Led (Drivers) NSCS 2 23 (13) 1 2 8 1 15 211 NNS 2 22 (12) 0 0 3 1 14 74 NCWTS 1 10 (10) 1 3 5 0 2 10
TOYOTA DRIVER ROSTER – Las Vegas Motor Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Freight Camry J.J. Yeley, No. 49 America Israel Racing 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 Brown 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 Camry Joe Nemechek, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Stoves Camry Bobby Labonte, No. 47 Kingsford Camry Travis Kvapil, No. 93 Burger King Camry
NASCAR Nationwide Series Kenny Wallace, No. 09 RAB Racing Camry Tayler Malsam, No. 19 G-Oil Camry Jeff Green, No. 10 TriStar Motorsports Camry Mike Bliss, No. 44 TriStar Motorsports Camry Brian Scott, No. 11 Dollar General Camry Kyle Busch, No. 54 Monster Energy Camry Eric McClure, No. 14 Hefty Black Out Camry Joe Nemechek, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Stoves Camry Mark Martin, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Camry
WEEKEND RACE SCHEDULE Sat., March 10 — NNS @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway — 2:00 PM (PT), ESPN2 — Race 3 of 33 Sun., March 11 — NSCS @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway – 12:00 PM (PT), FOX — Race 3 of 36