TOYOTA NASCAR NOTES & QUOTES
April 9 – 15, 2012
TOYOTA TIDBITS TEXAS TWO STEP: Two years ago (2010), Camry driver Denny Hamlin swept both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races at Texas Motor Speedway. In 13 career starts at the 1.5-mile oval, the Virginia-native has five top-five finishes, eight top-10 results and has run all but 13 laps — completing 99.7 percent (4,339 of 4,352 total race laps). Hamlin has driven a NSCS Camry in eight events at Texas – finishing among the top-20 in all eight of those starts in the ‘Lone Star’ state.
LABONTE LOWDOWN: JTG Daugherty Racing’s Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 47 Camry, is originally from Corpus Christi, Texas. Labonte has been racing in the NSCS since 1991. The 47-year-old racer is the 2000 series champion and has collected 21 victories, 115 top-five finishes, 201 top-10 results and 26 career poles. Labonte has the most NSCS starts at Texas (22), and has three top-five finishes, five top-10 results and two pole positions (2003 and 2004) at the Texas track.
OTHER BROTHER: Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) will have another brother behind the wheel in Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Texas as older sibling Kurt Busch takes the wheel for the first time this season. He’ll drive the No. 54 Monster Energy Camry at Texas — the track where he earned his very NNS first victory in his first series start. In 2006, he started seventh and led 70 laps (of 206) en route to victory lane. The Busch brothers, Kurt and Kyle, have combined for six Texas triumphs, 11 top-10 finishes, 13 top-10 results and have led 1,257 laps in 15 total NNS Texas starts. Kurt has recorded three wins and three poles in 13 career NNS starts.
TEXAS TIES: Texas is home to Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Texas (TMMTX). The production facility, which is located in San Antonio, opened in November of 2006 and produces both the Tacoma and Tundra pickup trucks. The facility has about 2,000 Toyota team members, with an additional 2,000 people employed at on-site suppliers.
ROCKINGHAM RECOLLECTIONS: Butch Hylton will return to the one-mile Rockingham Speedway with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) this weekend as crew chief on the Red Horse Racing No. 17 Tundra driven by Timothy Peters. Hylton was a tire changer for Mark Martin in 1996 and 1997 when he earned both the spring and fall NNS wins at Rockingham. In 2001, Hylton served as the car chief on the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) NSCS entry for Labonte when their team led the most laps, but ultimately watched Steve Park drive a Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) car to victory lane — just one week after the ‘Intimidator’ died in Daytona. Hylton and his team clinched the 2003 NNS owner’s championship for Richard Childress Racing at the fall Rockingham race for the No. 21 car — driven that year by Kevin Harvick, Jeff Green and Jay Sauter.
REMEMBERING ‘THE ROCK’: Rick Gay remembers winning at Rockingham Speedway. Gay is competition director at Red Horse Racing and crew chief for Todd Bodine in the No. 11 Tundra. He worked with Kenny Wallace in 2001 in the NNS when Wallace won his most recent NNS race. Gay served as Wallace’s car chief, front tire changer and shock specialist en route to the Rockingham win. His first experience at ‘the Rock’ came in 1997 when he was the tire specialist for NSCS driver Brett Bodine.
GLITZ, GLAMOUR & GLORY: The 36th Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race will take place through the streets of downtown Long Beach, Calif., on Sat., April 14. Among the celebrities that will participate in this year’s 10-lap event are Adrien Brody (‘The Pianist’), Kate del Castillo (‘La Reina del Sur’), Kim Coates (‘Sons of Anarchy’), William Fichtner (‘Armageddon’ and ‘Black Hawk Down’) and Rutledge Wood (‘Top Gear USA’). Pros competing include Scion drift driver Fredric Aasbø, former USAC National Midget champion and 2012 driver of a Toyota-powered USAC team, Bryan Clauson and Jim Jonsin, Grammy award-winning record producer, ‘American Idol’ mentor and owner of Rebel Rock Racing.
SOCIAL MEDIA & WEBSITE: Follow Toyota Racing on Twitter (@ToyotaRacing) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/toyotaracing). Background and images about the Toyota NASCAR program are available atwww.toyotaracingmedia.com.
NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): After six races, Martin Truex Jr. is in a four-way tie for third in the series point standings, trailing leader Greg Biffle by 12 points … Denny Hamlin (seventh) and Clint Bowyer (ninth) also are among the top-10 in the standings … Toyota drivers have combined for two victories (Hamlin, April and Nov. 2010), one pole (David Reutimann, April 2009) and 13 top-10 finishes at Texas … Denny Hamlin and crew chief Darian Grubb have combined to win three of the last four Texas NSCS events … Grubb helped Stewart earn a victory at Texas last November while Hamlin swept the 2010 races … Jason Ratcliff, crew chief for Joey Logano, called the shots for all five of Kyle Busch’s Texas NNS triumphs … Mark Martin has one victory (1998) at Texas, which is about 450 miles from his hometown of Batesville, Ark. … Interstate Batteries, sponsor of Busch’s No. 18 Camry, is based in nearby Dallas.
MARTIN TRUEX JR, No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Do you enjoy racing at Texas? “I love Texas. It’s always been a fun track. It’s one of those tracks I’ve really had a lot of success with earlier in my career and the last couple years we’ve kind of struggled at it. We went there in the fall last year with our new car and we had a really strong run. I’m looking forward to going there and working on that, building on the success we had there in the fall and hopefully having a good run.” MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron’s Best of the Best Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Do you notice more fan support at Texas? “Texas Motor Speedway is about 450 miles from my hometown of Batesville, Arkansas. I’ve had a stronger fan following there than anywhere else. Sure I listen in driver introductions when the fans cheer or boo, but I really notice the fans in general throughout the weekend. They are pretty vocal. Since it isn’t that far from Batesville it’s one of the places where my fans go. Texas and Kansas are probably the two places where I see or hear from most of my fans. That’s always a great feeling.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office March of Dimes Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How would you evaluate the start of the season with Darian Grubb? “It’s been good so far. What he’s (Darian Grubb, crew chief) brought to us is a lot of knowledge and a lot of race wins — just a different way of thinking basically. He thinks a little bit further outside the box than we do as far as setups he runs. We’re trying to incorporate the two and figure out which ones better — what I had been running or what he is used to running. You try to work through that stuff during a race weekend. We’re going to all these race tracks where he has his notebook, we have ours and we don’t know which one to run unless it’s a track where we know what we have is good. Until we go back to these tracks for a second time — that’s where we’re really going to be strong. That’s when I expect the race win column to pick up.”
NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): After five races, Tayler Malsam ranks eighth in the series point standings … Mike Bliss (10th), Joe Nemechek (1 3th) and Kenny Wallace (14th) also rank among the top-15 in the standings … Camry driver Kyle Busch earned five consecutive NNS Texas race wins from April 2008 through April 2010 … Camry drivers have three NNS pole awards at Texas — Busch (April 2009), Joey Logano (April 2010) and David Reutimann (Nov. 2007) … GameStop, the sponsor of Logano’s No. 20 Camry, is based in nearby Grapevine … Ryan Truex will make his first start at Texas on Friday in the RAB Racing No. 09 Grime Boss Camry. KURT BUSCH, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry, Kyle Busch Motorsports Why did you choose Texas as your first NNS race with KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports)? “I wanted to run Texas — that was where I made my first-ever start in Nationwide and I won it. The same feel when I go back there is that it will be my first Nationwide race with Kyle (Busch) and we want to win. The raw speed there — it’s a fast race track. I’m looking forward to dialing the car in and being upfront in the Monster Energy Camry. I want it to be known that Kurt’s driving this weekend and have fun at Texas. The place is fast and you can really hang the car out sideways and try to beat the other guys. It’s a fun track to race on. I think we can win our first time out. Will we be disappointed if we don’t? No, we just need to have a good, solid run our first time out.” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): After two races, John King leads the series point standings … It marks the first time in series history a ‘Rookie of the Year’ contender has led the point standings after multiple races … Timothy Peters (second) and Todd Bodine (10th) also are in the top-10 in the standings … Jason Leffler, driver of the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 18 Dollar General Tundra, has previously made two NSCS and five NNS starts at Rockingham … Johnny Sauter, driver of the ThorSport No. 13 Tundra has previously made one NSCS and six NNS starts at Rockingham … ThorSport Racing, the longest-standing NCWTS organization, will set a new series record at Rockingham when the team makes its 350th consecutive start this weekend. JASON LEFFLER, No. 18 Dollar General Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports Will it be an advantage for you to have a tire ‘management’ race at Rockingham? “Maybe — it will be an advantage to have good equipment and I have that with KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports). The Dollar General Tundra so far has been running good. You’re going to have to have a good handling truck. We don’t go to a lot of places anymore where tire management is really important. I think it might be more important on the Cup side than it is on the Nationwide side or the Camping World Truck side because they have so much more horsepower and we’re kind of bogged down. From a driver’s standpoint, I think that’s fine.”
TIMOTHY PETERS, No. 17 Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing What do you think about racing returning to Rockingham? “I like it. The last time I was here, I won my first diamond ring in a go -kart in 1991. My father raced go-karts on the big track and I told him that I always wanted to race on it — here I am. It’s pretty cool to be here in our Toyota Tundra. It’s going to make for great action for the fans. The tire that they’ve given us is good and we’ve been running it through different scenarios. You’re going to see people on the bottom, middle and top. It’s going to be awesome.”
TOYOTA 2012 NASCAR STATISTICS
Series Races Starts Wins Top-5s Top-10s Poles Times Led Laps Led (Drivers) NSCS 6 71 (15) 1 7 17 2 26 454 NNS 5 53 (16) 1 4 10 3 28 387 NCWTS 2 21 (13) 1 4 9 0 2 10
TOYOTA DRIVER ROSTER – Texas Motor Speedway & Rockingham NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Office March of Dimes Camry J.J. Yeley, No. 49 JPO Absorbents Camry Clint Bowyer, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Camry Mark Martin, No. 55 Aaron’s Best of the Best Camry Kyle Busch, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Camry Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Camry Mike Bliss, No. 19 Humphrey Smith Racing 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 Dr. Pepper Camry Bobby Labonte, No. 47 Bush’s Beans Camry
NASCAR Nationwide Series Ryan Truex, No. 09 RAB Racing Camry Joey Logano, No. 20 GameStop Camry Jeff Green, No. 10 Camry Mike Bliss, No. 44 TriStar Motorsports Camry Brian Scott, No. 11 Dollar General Camry Kurt Busch, No. 54 Monster Energy Camry Eric McClure, No. 14 Hefty Black Out Camry John Jackson, No. 72 Crash Claims R US Camry Denny Hamlin, No. 18 SportClips Camry Jason Bowles, No. 81 American Majority Camry Tayler Malsam, No. 19 G-Oil Camry Joe Nemechek, No. 87 SWM International Camry
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series John King, No. 7 Red Horse Racing Tundra Timothy Peters, No. 17 NTB Service Central Tundra Ross Chastain, No. 08 Florida Watermelon Assoc. Tundra Jason Leffler, No. 18 Dollar General Tundra John Wes Townley, No. 09 RAB Racing Tundra David Starr, No. 81 ZACHRY Tundra Todd Bodine, No. 11 Red Horse Racing 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 Fri., April 13 — NNS @ Texas Motor Speedway — 7:30 PM (CT), ESPN2 — Race 6 of 33 Sat., April 14 — NSCS @ Texas Motor Speedway — 6:30 PM (CT), FOX — Race 7 of 36 Sun., April 15 — NCWTS @ Rockingham Speedway – 1:00 PM (ET), SPEED — Race 3 of 22