New Camry Debuts at Daytona… The Toyota Camry enters the 2017 NASCAR season with a new look after Toyota unveiled its radically redesigned 2018 Camry production model alongside its new race car counterpart in January. In an unprecedented move, the new 2018 Camry will debut on the race track months before it hits showrooms across the country, allowing consumers and fans a sneak peek of the car each weekend. The 2018 Camry marks Toyota’s second update to NASCAR’s Gen-6 models that were introduced prior to the start of the 2013 season.
Cheers to Camry’s 10th Anniversary… The 2017 season marks the Camry’s 10th anniversary competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) and NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS). Over 10 seasons, Camry drivers have won 223 combines races (95 MENS and 128 NXS), and the Camry enters 2017 on the heels of Daniel Suárez becoming the first foreign-born NASCAR national series champion after winning the NXS title last season in a Toyota. In 10 years of Cup and XFINITY competition, Camry drivers have won driver’s and manufacturer’s championships in each series.
Defending the Daytona 500… Camry driver Denny Hamlin claimed his and Toyota’s first Daytona 500 victory in 2016 in the closest-ever finish in the race’s history. Hamlin nosed ahead of his Toyota teammate, Martin Truex Jr., to win NASCAR’s biggest race by 0.010 seconds as four Camry drivers finished in the top-five overall. Hamlin’s victory is one of seven consecutive wins by Toyota drivers in the Cup Series’ ‘crown jewel’ events; the streak includes wins by Kyle Busch (2015 Brickyard 400, 2016 Brickyard 400), former Camry driver Carl Edwards (2015 Coca-Cola 600, 2015 Southern 500) and Truex (2016 Coca-Cola 600, 2016 Southern 500). Over the last four years at Daytona, Hamlin has the best average finish of 10.4 at the 2.5-mile superspeedway in Florida – and his average finish improves to 5.5 over the last six races at Daytona, a span that includes results of first, second, third and fourth.
Camrys in the Clash… Five Camry drivers will compete in the Clash at Daytona on Saturday night – Busch, Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Suárez and Truex. Toyota drivers have four of the last five exhibition races with two triumphs by Hamlin (2014 and 2016) and one by Kenseth (2015), while Busch won the pre-season event with the Camry in 2012.
New Car, New Faces… Toyota opens the season with a new Camry in the MENCS and new drivers across all three NASCAR national touring series. The 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) champion Erik Jones and 2016 NXS champion Suárez headline NASCAR’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year class in the MENCS driving for Toyota. Joey Gase will pilot the No. 23 Camry for BK Racing in the Daytona 500, while Gray Gaulding will then take over for the remainder of the year. Matt Tifft will race his first full-time season in the NXS with Joe Gibbs Racing, while Toyota NASCAR newcomers Noah Gragson, Myatt Snider and Grant Enfinger will compete in the NCWTS.
Toyota Injector at Daytona… In 2016, Toyota opened the Toyota Injector, a four-level concourse entryway into Daytona International Speedway filled with Toyota-themed content. The Injector was built as part of Daytona Rising, a $400 million re-imagining of Daytona as a stadium. The Injector’s display elements includes the 2018 production Camry, Busch’s 2015 Cup Series championship-winning Camry in the Level 3 rafters, Hamlin’s 2016 Daytona 500 winning Camry on the center pedestal, Toyota Thrill Ride and Toyota Owner’s Hub for Toyota owners.
Mikey’s Last Ride… Two-time Daytona 500 winner and former Toyota team owner Michael Waltrip will sunset his racing career with the 2017 Daytona 500 as his last NASCAR race. Waltrip will enter this year’s race in the No. 15 Aaron’s Thanks Mikey Camry for Premium Motorsports, marking his 56th start at Daytona – the eighth most all-time at the track. Waltrip won the 500 in 2001 and again in 2003, and he also won the July 2002 race on the 2.5-mile track. Waltrip competed in a Camry in the 2007 Daytona 500 when Toyota first began Cup competition, and he then won the pole at Talladega Superspeedway in a Camry in October later that year.
When Last at Daytona… Camry driver Busch was the top-finishing Toyota with a runner-up results when the MENCS last visited Daytona in July. Busch led 16 laps (of 161) in a wrecked-filled race that stretched into overtime. When the NXS last raced at Daytona in July, Toyota tallied two top-10 finishes with Jeff Green in seventh and Jones in 10th. In the NCWTS’ season opener at Daytona in February 2016, the last Truck Series event at the track, Ryan Truex recorded a runner-up finish, while Ben Rhodes and Matt Crafton finished seventh and 10th, respectively.
Toyota at Daytona: Notes & Numbers…
Camry drivers have won two MENCS events at Daytona and four NXS events, while Tundra drivers won eight-straight NCWTS races from 2007 through 2010 … Kyle Busch recorded finishes of third and second in the two Daytona Cup races in 2016 … Busch has the 10th best average finish among active drivers at Daytona (17.5) … Erik Jones and Daniel Suárez are making their Cup debut at Daytona over SpeedWeeks, but both drivers have competed at the track in the NXS and NCWTS … Jones has made five starts at Daytona across the NXS and NCWTS with a best finish of second in the NCWTS in 2015 … Suárez has made six combined starts at Daytona with a best finish of eighth in the NXS in Feb. 2016, and he won the pole for the July 2015 event … Joey Gase is also making his Cup debut at Daytona.
Toyota Wins at Daytona:
Cup Series (2 & 4 Exhibition):
2016 Daytona 500 – Denny Hamlin
2016 Clash* – Denny Hamlin
2015 Clash* – Matt Kenseth
2014 Clash* – Denny Hamlin
2012 Clash* – Kyle Busch
2008, July – Kyle Busch
XFINITY Series (4):
2013, July – Matt Kenseth
2011, July – Joey Logano
2008, July – Denny Hamlin
2008, Feb – Tony Stewart
Truck Series (8):
2014 – Kyle Busch
2013 – Johnny Sauter
2012 – John King
2011 – Michael Waltrip
2010 – Timothy Peters
2009 – Todd Bodine
2008 – Todd Bodine
2007 – Jack Sprague
Toyota 2016 Statistics:
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