Toyota Motorsports tidbits

Toyota NASCAR news and notes - Week of April April 18-24, 2011

Toyota Motorsports tidbits

Race winner Kyle Busch and Joey Logano
Race winner Kyle Busch and Joey Logano

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

TALLADEGA TALES: Camry drivers swept the top-three positions in last Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway. Kyle Busch drove his Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Camry to victory lane, and was followed to the finish line by his JGR teammate Joey Logano (second) and Joe Nemechek (third). In Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) event, Logano was the top Toyota with a 10th-place result at the 2.66-mile race track.

NATIONWIDE AT NASHVILLE: Camry drivers Logano (April) and Busch (June) earned a pair of Gibson guitar NNS trophies at Nashville Superspeedway in 2009. In addition to his win at the track, Logano has two pole positions at the 1.33- mile concrete oval -- one last spring and another in June 2008. Busch started from the pole in April 2008.

TUNDRAS IN TUNE TOWN: Toyota drivers have five victories in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) at Nashville, including a sweep of last season’s races. A year ago, Busch picked up a first-place trophy in the spring race and Todd Bodine was first to the checkered flag in the summer event. David Reutimann (2005) and Johnny Benson (2006 and 2008) also have NCWTS wins in the ‘Music City.’

HAMLIN’S CHARITY RACE: Toyota driver Denny Hamlin will host his ‘Short Track Showdown’ at Virginia’s Richmond International Speedway next Thursday, April 28. Among the NSCS drivers who will join Hamlin in the race are Busch, Kasey Kahne, Logano and Michael Waltrip. The charity event, which will benefit the Denny Hamlin Foundation, will begin immediately following the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) event at the three-quarter-mile race track. Toyota will sponsor the Fan Zone at the Hamlin ‘Short Track Showdown.’

REVOLUTION RUNDOWN: Revolution Racing’s Sergio Pena earned his first career victory in last Sunday’s weatherdelayed NKNPE event at Virginia’s South Boston Speedway. The win was the third in the last 12 races for a Drive for Diversity (D4D) driver, and the first East win since the team began utilizing Toyotas during the off-season.

***

NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Since the start of the 2011 season, Toyota drivers have combined for one victory, five top-five results, 14 top-10 finishes and have led 704 laps … After eight races, Kyle Busch is sixth in the NSCS point standings, trailing leader Carl Edwards by 38 points … Denny Hamlin (17th), Kasey Kahne (18th) and Martin Truex Jr. (19th) are also in the top-20 in the standings … The NSCS takes this weekend off, before returning to action Sat., April 30 at Virginia’s Richmond International Raceway … Camry driver Bobby Labonte will host and participate in the Bobby Labonte Foundation ‘Share the Road Memorial Ride’ to benefit the Bikes Belong Foundation and Habitat for Humanity … The charity ride will take place Sat., April 23, beginning in Archdale, N.C., with 25 and 50 mile routes through Randolph County.

We wanted to have an event to benefit the community and ...bring awareness to the need for motorists and cyclists to share the road responsibly.

Bobby Labonte

BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Kingsford Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing

What led you to host a bike ride for charity? “We wanted to have an event to benefit the community and at the same time bring awareness to the need for motorists and cyclists to share the road responsibly. This gives cyclists a chance to come together to pay tribute to their friends and fellow cyclists. Cycling is something I am very passionate about. We’re expecting around 250 riders on Saturday. It will be a really special day for all of us.”

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

What does it mean to host a charity race in your hometown? “It’s good because there are so many hometown fans and race fans I know in that area that when a Cup race is on Saturday night, but their local short track is on the Saturday night -- they’re there watching the local heroes. For me, I know the hardcore fans are right there in the Richmond-area and that’s why I know we’ll have a great turnout and raise a lot of money.”

***

NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): Since the start of the 2011 season, Toyota drivers have combined for four wins, eight top-five results, 18 top-10 finishes and have led 657 laps … Brian Scott (eighth, -27 points) is the top Toyota driver in the NNS point standings … Kenny Wallace (ninth), Joe Nemechek (10th), Michael Annett (12th) and Steve Wallace (13th) are also in the top-15 in the standings … Rusty Wallace Racing (RWR) will run the No. 64 Camry in a partial schedule this year, beginning with David Reutimann at Nashville … David Stremme and Jason Bowles will also share time in the RWR No. 64 … Race fans can put their name on a special ‘fan car’ to be run by K. Wallace later this season (Charlotte, Oct. 14) by logging onto kennywallace.com and donating $20.

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Do you enjoy racing at Nashville? “The race track is real finicky. It’s a fun place. It’s a 1.33-mile, and yet it feels more like a short track almost. You got real long straightaways, real fast speeds and you get down in the corner and you have to use a lot of brake, but yet there’s a lot of grip because of the concrete surface and the tire that Goodyear brings there. With the Trucks and the Nationwide cars being there on the same weekend, I like it because it gives you a little bit -- it’s kind of like a Nationwide-Cup weekend. It gives you a little bit more track time, kind of gives you maybe a little bit of an advantage. I enjoy the back and forth stuff. And, Nashville being a standalone non-Cup weekend, seems to be a little bit more relaxing and a little bit easier.”

David Reutimann
David Reutimann

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

KENNY WALLACE, No. 09 Toyota Camry, RAB Racing with Brack Mallard

Do you feel you can be successful at Nashville? “This particular race track -- an all concrete track -- has been good to me. I have a couple second-place finishes over the years, of course I haven’t run great there the last three or four years, but I truly am looking forward to going to Nashville and finishing in the top-five. I am excited about it -- I love the race track. It’s a beautiful facility with easy access to the interstate. There’s not a lot of drama -- you’re in and out. I would really like to see the grandstands a little bit fuller this time so we can keep racing there.”

Is the April race at Nashville different than the summer race? “They’re all a little different. What happens is you go early in the year when everything is a little bit cooler and then what happens is all the race tracks, kind of like your yard at home, heat sinks in and the grass starts burning up, so the second time we go to the race tracks, it’s really warm. Just because you ran well the first time doesn’t mean you’re going to run well the second time. You always come the second time prepared for something different.”

DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 64 Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing

Why are you going to race this weekend instead of taking time off? “We’re going to go and run the Nationwide race. No sense in having an off-weekend. When you enjoy racing there is nothing better. The opportunity just kind of looked like it presented itself where we could go and run Nashville. I really, really like Nashville a lot. That’s one of my favorite race tracks, so hopefully we’ll be able to go there and have the possibility of doing well.”

How did the opportunity to race this weekend come about? “Rusty (Wallace) gave me a call and asked if I would be interested in maybe doing something, and I was like, ‘Yeah.’ Heck, to drive for Rusty Wallace would be a cool opportunity. It’s a pretty cool opportunity that he’s given us and they’re going to take a third car and do a little experimenting on the thing. Just trying some different setups and stuff like that and hopefully be able to make all of the cars better. Not that I’m going to have anything to do with that -- they are just letting me drive.”

***

The surface, the banking and the corners all separate Nashville from the other intermediate tracks.

Todd Bodine

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): Since the start of the 2011 NCWTS season , Tundra drivers have registered three wins , eight top-five results, 13 top-10 finishes and have led 291 laps … Six Toyota drivers are currently in the top-15 in the NCWTS points after four of 25 races -- Timothy Peters (third, -7 points), Todd Bodine (eighth), Max Papis (ninth), Miguel Paludo (10th), Brendan Gaughan (13th) and Craig Goess Jr. (15th) … Nine-year-old Spring Hill, Tenn.- native Dalton Griffin will be ‘Riding Shotgun with Kyle Busch Motorsports’ after submitting an essay about receiving his first trophy from the Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby in his third year competing … Griffin’s photo and name will be visible on the passenger side of the No. 18 Dollar General Tundra piloted by Busch.

TODD BODINE, No. 30 Germain.com Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing

Is Nashville Superspeedway similar to any other race track? “The surface, the banking and the corners all separate Nashville from the other intermediate tracks. The concrete racing surface is the single biggest difference from the other 1.5-mile tracks -- they are all asphalt. The concrete doesn’t change from day to night as much or throughout the race as rubber gets put down on it. What that means is the better you can get your Tundra handling in practice, the more consistent it will be in the race.”

BRENDAN GAUGHAN, No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing

Do you enjoy racing at Nashville? “Nashville’s always been a good track for me going back to my earliest days in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. I’ve rarely had a bad race at the track. Nashville is the start of us being back to tracks that are good for me and for Germain Racing. I like the concrete surface and banking at Nashville -- it suits my driving style. It’s a fast track. I like rolling the corners and driving into the corners real hard. We’re coming into a stretch of tracks where I kind of look at them and see the string of bigger tracks that I feel as a driver I am better at than other places.”

-source: toyota motorsports

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