TOYOTA NASCAR NOTES & QUOTES
March 12 – March 18, 2012
TOYOTA TIDBITS VISIT TO VEGAS: Toyota newcomer Clint Bowyer posted a sixth-place finish in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his best result in a Camry. Bowyer, who joined Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) prior to the 2012 season, gained track position with a late-race gamble — he and crew chief Brian Pattie opted not to pit with 35 laps remaining — that vaulted the first-year Toyota driver to the lead and ultimately a top-10 finish. The No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Camry led three laps (of 267) in the 400-mile race and the six-place result moved Bowyer to 14th in the NSCS point standings.
DELIGHTFUL DEBUT: Mark Martin, who joins Bowyer as a newcomer to MWR in the NSCS for 2012, also posted his best finish in a Camry at Las Vegas — a second-place result in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race in his debut driving a Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) entry. Martin, who is scheduled to compete in six NNS events for JGR in addition to a 25 race NSCS schedule for MWR, started seventh and ran among the leaders throughout the race. Martin has 49 career NNS wins, two shy of the NNS record held by fellow Camry driver Kyle Busch.
MOVE OVER MARK: While Martin is schedule to compete in 25 events in the MWR No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine, Brian Vickers will get behind the wheel beginning with this weekend’s NSCS race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Bristol entry will mark the first of six starts for Vickers with MWR in 2012 and is the season debut for the nine-year veteran of the NSCS. The 28-year old Camry racer became the first driver utilizing a TRD-built engine to qualify for the Chase in 2009. He is also a member of Toyota’s ‘freshman class’ from 2007 when the manufacturer began competing in the NSCS and raced for the Red Bull Racing Team each of the last five seasons. Vickers has two career NSCS victories (2006 and 2009).
STATISTICAL SURPRISE: Busch has won three straight NNS races at Bristol and has four total Nationwide triumphs on the .533-mile track, but Joey Logano can boast he has a better average finish at Bristol — with a 9.3 average result to 9.9 for Busch. Logano’s average finish ranks fourth at the track among active drivers and he has four top-10s in six NNS starts there. Most recently, Logano raced door-to-door with Busch to the finish as the runner-up, his best result at the track.
TITLE-WINNER TO TEAM: The JGR No. 11 FedEx Camry team and Toyota driver Denny Hamlin added a championship caliber crew chief for 2012 and the pairing has already resulted in winning ways. Darian Grubb, who won five of 10 Chase races last year with Tony Stewart en route to the 2011 NSCS title, joins Hamlin this season — and has already guided his fellow Virginian to victory lane in Phoenix. The Phoenix win enabled the Floyd, Va., native and Virginia Tech graduate to post his sixth triumph in the last 13 NSCS point races. In three seasons at Stewart-Haas Racing, Grubb led the team to 11 victories, 33 top-five results and 59 top-ten finishes. He previously worked at Hendrick Motorsports and earned three wins as crew chief — including the 2006 Daytona 500 with Jimmie Johnson.
TENNESSEE TEAM OWNER: JTG-Daugherty (JTG-D) co-owner and Knoxville-native Jodi Geschickter is one of only a few female owners in the NSCS and may be the most ‘hands on.’ After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Geschickter met her husband Tad and the pair started a race team thereafter, with both working two jobs to support their passion. With JTG-D, Geschickter has handled everything from licensing to hospitality and human resource duties — and even worked on the souvenir hauler. JTG-D fields the No. 47 Camry for 2000 NSCS champion Bobby Labonte.
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): During the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season, Toyota drivers have combined for one victory (Phoenix), two top-five results, nine top-10 finishes, 214 laps led and one pole position … After three races, Denny Hamlin ranks third in the series point standings, trailing leader Greg Biffle by 12 points … Martin Truex Jr. (eighth), Joey Logano (ninth) and Mark Martin (10th) also are among the top-10 in the standings … Kyle Busch has five NSCS wins at Bristol, his most NSCS victories at any track … Busch is two wins shy of tying NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson for the second most combined series wins in NASCAR history with 106 victories … Currently totaling 104 triumphs, Busch can tie Pearson’s record by sweeping the NSCS and NNS races at Bristol this weekend — a feat he has accomplished twice (Aug. 2010 and March 2011) … Martin Truex Jr.’s second-place result in last fall’s NSCS race at Bristol was his best finish during the 2011 season … Tony Cardamone, the jackman for the No. 55 Camry, is a native of Bristol, Tenn.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Wrigley Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How have you been so successful at Bristol? “I like going to Bristol — it’s always fun. It just kind of clicked. I think I missed a little bit of some of that stuff last fall — just not having the car setup right and trying too many different things that we’re not quite used to. We ventured from the path a little bit and it seems like when you can get a good setup somewhere you ought to stick with it and try to just fine tune on it a little bit instead of saying, ‘This isn’t working this time or it’s not working on this tire.’ The track most of the time will influence how your setup should be, not the tire.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What is necessary to be successful at Bristol? “You need to survive — that’s one thing you need to do. You have to have a good handling car. I’ve had cars there that were really good that are capable of winning and I’ve had cars there that are, ‘Holy cow, we’re going to be in trouble tonight.’ You have to have a good car, but man, staying out of trouble there is probably one of the hardest places to do that.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR, No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Are you looking forward to returning to Bristol? “We’re looking forward to it. Bristol is a special track for me — I won my first Nationwide race there and had some good runs there last year with our NAPA Toyota. We ran second there in the fall. Hopefully we can go back and better it by one.”
Do you like the new Bristol race surface? “I like the new version a lot better. It’s really racey –you can run all over it. You don’t have to knock guys out of the way to pass them. I enjoy that and certainly the high line coming in there is right up my alley and it’s a lot of fun to run it.”
NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): During the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season, Toyota drivers have combined for one top-five result, four top-10 finishes, 123 laps led and one pole position … After three races, Tayler Malsam ranks seventh in the series point standings, trailing leader Elliott Sadler by 41 points … Joe Nemechek (11th) and Mike Bliss (14th) also rank among the top-15 in the standings … During Kyle Busch’s three-race NNS win streak at Bristol, he has led 570 laps (of 800) … Ryan Truex will compete in his first of seven 2012 NNS races for JGR beginning at Bristol … Charlie Brock of Brentwood, Tenn., is the car chief for the JGR No. 18 Camry and he is the grandson of legendary racer ‘Red’ Farmer … Kevin Kidd, crew chief for the JGR No. 11 Camry, is from nearby Tazewell, Va.
KENNY WALLACE, No. 09 Toyota Camry, RAB Racing What do you enjoy about Bristol? “There are certain tracks that drivers excel on because they know exactly what they need — they know the feel they need. Bristol is one of those tracks for me. I just love going there, because I know exactly what I need. Last year, we were sitting there — we qualified fourth and we were running third or fourth — and we had a right front tire issue that put us out of the race. The atmosphere is incredible. It’s one of those tracks that reminds you of a collegiate feel — a college football feel. Just jam 150,000 people into a little, bi tty race track and it’s just breathtaking.”
When did you first come to Bristol and could you imagine what the track would become? “In 1984, I was a Sprint Cup crew chief for driver Joe Ruttman . We raced there when there was just very minimal grandstands on the front and the back and it was all grass — it was incredible. It was a race track back then. Now it’s a coliseum. Never in a million years could we have thought that when Bruton Smith bought it that he would do what he’s done with it. If you were to look at pictures of Bristol when I was there in ’84, you wouldn’t even recognize it. They’ve done so much with it and it’s a very unique race track. I love that place.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 18 GameStop Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Why do you run well at Bristol in NNS? “I’ve always run well there. I haven’t won yet there, so I don’t really see that much success yet. I’ve had chances. I almost won that last race. We were door-to-door across the line with Kyle (Busch). I think our cars have been good and I like racing there a lot. It’s fun — it’s Bristol. I always thought that was a really cool race track growing up. Even watching on TV like, ‘Man, Bristol’s awesome — Bristol’s awesome.’ You get to race there and it’s a lot of fun.”
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 … Tundra driver John King, who won the season-opening NCWTS race at Daytona, is a native of nearby Fort Blackmore, Va. … The NCWTS is currently in the third of four weeks off before racing resumes 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 3 35 (13) 1 2 9 1 16 214 NNS 3 32 (14) 0 1 4 1 16 123 NCWTS 1 10 (10) 1 3 5 0 2 10
TOYOTA DRIVER ROSTER – Bristol Motor Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Ground Camry J.J. Yeley, No. 49 America Israel Racing Camry Clint Bowyer, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Camry Brian Vickers, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Camry Kyle Busch, No. 18 Wrigley Camry Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Camry Joey Logano, No. 20 Home Depot Camry Landon Cassill, No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Camry David Stremme, No. 30 Inception Motorsports Camry Joe Nemechek, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Stoves Camry Tony Raines, No. 40 LittleJoe’sAuto.com Camry Travis Kvapil, No. 93 Burger King/ Dr. Pepper Camry Bobby Labonte, No. 47 Clorox-Scott Products Camry
NASCAR Nationwide Series Kenny Wallace, No. 09 RAB Racing Camry Ryan Truex, No. 20 Grime Boss Camry Jeff Green, No. 10 Camry Benny Gordon, No. 24 Kentucky Antler/VSI Camry Brian Scott, No. 11 Dollar General Camry Mike Bliss, No. 44 TriStar Motorsports Camry Eric McClure, No. 14 Hefty/Reynolds Wrap Camry Kyle Busch, No. 54 Monster Energy Camry Joey Logano, No. 18 GameStop Camry Joe Nemechek, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Stoves Camry Tayler Malsam, No. 19 G-Oil Camry
WEEKEND RACE SCHEDULE
Sat., March 17 — NNS @ Bristol Motor Speedway — 1:00 PM (ET), ESPN — Race 4 of 33
Sun., March 18 — NSCS @ Bristol Motor Speedway — 12:30 PM (ET), FOX — Race 4 of 36