TOYOTA NASCAR NOTES & QUOTES March 19 – 25, 2012
TOYOTA TIDBITS THREE TOP-FIVES FOR MWR: In Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway, three Camry drivers finished together in the top-five for the ninth time since Toyota entered the series in 2007. Martin Truex Jr. (third), Clint Bowyer (fourth) and Brian Vickers (fifth) teamed up to earn the first trio of top-five finishes in a single race for Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) — in the team’s sixth season of competition. Vickers, who made his first of six starts this season in the No. 55 MWR Camry substituting for Mark Martin, led three times for 125 laps (of 500) at Bristol. The third-place result by Truex moved him up four spots in the driver point standings to fourth-place.
TAKING A TURN AT HOME: NASCAR’s annual trip to Southern California is a homecoming of sorts for the Toyota racing program. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS), is headquartered in Torrance, Calif., and TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) is based in Costa Mesa, Calif. Toyota sold its first car — the Toyopet Crown — in its initial dealership located in Hollywood, Calif., in 1957. Sales began in 1958 and totaled 288 vehicles that first year. Since production of the Toyota Camry began in Georgetown, Ky., almost 25 years ago, nearly seven million Camrys have been built in the U.S. The Camry has been the best-selling car in America for 10 straight years, and 14 of the past 15 years.
KYLE KNOWS CALI: Camry driver Kyle Busch has been a regular visitor to victory lane at California’s Auto Club Speedway. The 25-year-old has picked up eight NASCAR trophies at the track — one NSCS in Sept. 2005, five NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) in Aug. 2008, Feb. 2009 , Feb. 2010 , Oct. 2010 and 2011 and two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) in 2008 and 2009. In 14 NSCS races at the two -mile oval, the Las Vegas-native has five top-five results, nine top-10 finishes and one pole (Feb. 2005). Last year, Busch led 151 laps (of 200) before finishing third — his best result at the two-mile race track driving a Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Toyota Camry.
CALIFORNIA CHECKERED COLLECTION: Camry driver Mark Martin knows how to get around Auto Club Speedway. The 53-year-old NASCAR veteran has 20 NSCS starts at the race track and was victorious in 1998. He also has six top-five finishes, 10 top -10 results and has led 324 laps. Martin visited victory lane at California in the NNS (2005) and the NCWTS (2006) — making Martin and Busch the only two drivers to accomplish the feat in Fontana, Calif.
SEVEN STRAIGHT: JGR Camry drivers have swept the last seven Nationwide Series races at Auto Club Speedway — the most Toyota NNS victories at any track. Busch has five Camry wins — Aug. 2008; Feb. 2009; Feb. 2010; Oct. 2010; and 2011. Joey Logano has a win in Oct. 2009 and Tony Stewart won in a Toyota in Feb. 2008. Toyota drivers have also led 713 laps (of 1,054) in those seven races.
NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): During the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season, Toyota drivers have combined for one victory (Phoenix), five top-five results, 12 top-10 finishes, 339 laps led and one pole position … After four races, Martin Truex Jr. ranks fourth in the series point standings, trailing leader Greg Biffle by 18 points … Denny Hamlin (fifth), Clint Bowyer (eighth) and Joey Logano (ninth) also are among the top-10 in the standings … Camry drivers have earned two NSCS pole positions at California’s Auto Club Speedway — Brian Vickers (Feb. 2009) and Denny Hamlin (Oct. 2009) … MWR’s Scott Miller, executive vice president of competition, is from Anaheim, Calif. … Frank Hodel, the hauler driver for the No. 11 Camry, is a native of Blythe, Calif. … Auto Club Speedway is one of three tracks on the NSCS circuit a Toyota Camry has yet to visit victory lane … On Wednesday, Camry driver Kyle Busch is visiting San Jose’s Williams Elementary School to spend the day with AJ Bulow, winner of the Toyota Sponsafier 4 contest … Through March 25, the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation is auctioning off two Ride-Along experiences to help children in need and information can be found at www.martintruexjrfoundation.com.
MARTIN TRUEX JR, No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing What kind of race track is Auto Club Speedway? “California is tricky. The tire that we’ve had there the past few years has been really difficult. The track is just ultra-slick and obviously we know it’s one of the fastest places we go. Going off into turn one at 208 or 210 MPH and not having much grip when you get there is challenging. It’s really hard to get your car to work good there. Goodyear I know is bringing a new tire there this year, so it will be different. It’s a fun place to race. It’s another place where you can run from the yellow line all the way to the fence. It puts on some good racing and I always look forward to going out there.” MARTIN TRUEX JR, No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing (continued) Has the MWR organization become stronger since last year? “Michael (Waltrip) and Rob (Kauffman, co-owners) really took a step back as an organization, bringing in Scott Miller (executive vice president of competition) towards the end of last year. Really kind of restructuring how we did things. We started building some new cars. TRD (Toyota Racing Development) was giving us a lot of input. Toyota had a lot of influence on the direction we headed. Once we started bringing the new cars out, it’s just been a constant evolution throughout the middle of last year and towards the end of the year we started having good runs, having consistency. I think for our team a big part of that was Chad (Johnston) coming in as my crew chief through the middle part of last year. In the off-season we continued to build on that. We brought in key people — Mark (Martin), Clint (Bowyer), Brian Pattie (No. 15 crew chief), (Rodney) Childers (No. 55 crew chief) — the 55 car has been really good. We just have a good organization right now, a good bunch of people. We have three cars that seem to go to the race track and run really well each week. We’re able to feed off each other. We really showed that in Bristol all running up front at different parts of the day. Across the board it’s been a lot of hard work and dedication by the team.” DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What do you think of the racing at Auto Club Speedway? “I like California. I think the track is aging really well. It’s getting to where you can run all over from the bottom to the very top. It takes 10 years to get a surface to do that. We’re going through a stage right now in NASCAR where some tracks are having to get repaved and things like that. I feel like the older surfaces are better as long as it doesn’t break apart and tear our cars up. Fontana is one of the most fun race tracks we go to all year long as far as the driver being able to make a difference.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Why do drivers find Auto Club to be difficult? “That place is tough. It’s really a hard race track to get ahold of now, especially when it’s hot and the sun is out. There are two completely different types of racing when you run the top versus the bottom groove. You can run from the top to the bottom, but when you run the bottom, you really feel like you’re puttering around the racetrack. You feel like you aren’t making up any time on the bottom. But, when you are running the top groove, you feel like you’re getting the job d one. The guys who run the bottom have a little bit more patience and handle it better than the guys who are on the gas on top.”
NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): During the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season, Toyota drivers have combined for two top-five result, six top-10 finishes, 282 laps led and two pole positions … After four races, Tayler Malsam ranks seventh in the series point standings … Mike Bliss (10th) and Joe Nemechek (14th) also rank among the top-15 in the standings … Camry drivers have earned five NNS pole positions at California’s Auto Club Speedway — Dave Blaney (Feb. 2007), Kyle Busch (Aug. 2008 and Oct. 2010) and Joey Logano (Oct. 2009 and Feb. 2010) … Jason Bowles, a native of nearby Ontario, Calif., will compete in the No. 81 MacDonald Motorsports Camry this weekend. JOEY LOGANO, No. 18 Translux Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Why has Joe Gibbs Racing been so successful at Auto Club Speedway in the NNS? “I think if you look at the stats, we’ve been very dominant there for sure. We’ve been pretty good in the new car, but not as good as we want to be. We’re trying to get these cars a little bit better on the speedways and it looked like from the Vegas race that they’ve done a good job with that. I look forward to getting back in the Nationwide car at a bigger track and seeing what happens. California takes a really good motor because it’s a big race track and it takes a good body. You have to have a lot of downforce when you come to a race track like that. It’s so big and it’s so fast through the turns and it’s such a handling race track. You have to be smart and use your tires when you need them. Pit strategy has always come into play at California at the end of the races. It takes a lot to win there.” JASON BOWLES, No. 81 American Majority Toyota Camry, MacDonald Motorsports How much experience do you have racing at Auto Club Speedway? “I’ve spent a lot of time at Fontana because it’s only five minutes from where I grew up in Ontario, but I’ve mainly watched races. I’ve only raced there once — and I won. In 2007, they had the K&N Pro Series (West) race on the road course and I sat on the pole and won. So, I guess I have a pretty good record at that track. I also had an Indy Car road course test there with Bobby Rahal when I was 18 or 19, but when it comes to experience on the oval, I don’t have a lot of it. Our Camry was fast in Las Vegas — I think we probably surprised some people qualifying in the top-10, but that’s what we want to do and we’re obviously hoping for the same in California.” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): Tundra drivers have registered one win, three top-five results and five top-10 finishes at Daytona to start the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season … Toyota NCWTS drivers John King, Timothy Peters and Johnny Sauter visited the ‘From Rocks to Racing’ exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville on March 20 … The NCWTS will return to racing next weekend at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, March 31.
TOYOTA 2012 NASCAR STATISTICS
Series Races Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Times Led Laps Led (Drivers) NSCS 4 47 (14) 1 5 12 1 10 339 NNS 4 42 (15) 0 2 6 2 19 282 NCWTS 1 10 (10) 1 3 5 0 2 10
TOYOTA DRIVER ROSTER – Auto Club Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express 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 Interstate Batteries Camry Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Camry Mike Bliss, No. 19 Camry Landon Cassill, No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper 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/ Dr. Pepper Camry Bobby Labonte, No. 47 Charter Camry
NASCAR Nationwide Series Kenny Wallace, No. 09 RAB Racing Camry Tayler Malsam, No. 19 G-Oil Camry Jeff Green, No. 10 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 Jason Bowles, No. 81 American Majority Camry Joey Logano, No. 18 Translux Camry Joe Nemechek, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Stoves Camry
WEEKEND RACE SCHEDULE Sat., March 24 — NNS @ Auto Club Speedway – 2:30 PM (PT), ESPN — Race 5 of 33 Sun., March 25 — NSCS @ Auto Club Speedway — 12:00 PM (PT), FOX — Race 5 of 36