Chicagoland: Toyota Motorsports pre-event notes, quotes

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: Toyota Camry drivers have combined for five wins (Kyle Busch -- Las Vegas, Bristol and Richmond; David Reutimann -- Charlotte; Joey Logano -- New Hampshire), 20 top-fives and 37 top-10 ...

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)

NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: Toyota Camry drivers have combined for five wins (Kyle Busch -- Las Vegas, Bristol and Richmond; David Reutimann -- Charlotte; Joey Logano -- New Hampshire), 20 top-fives and 37 top-10 finishes through 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races this season - A year ago, Busch made a dramatic last lap pass on Jimmie Johnson to win at Joliet's Chicagoland Speedway - Michael Waltrip Racing announced this week that Michael Waltrip will run a limited schedule next season and Martin Truex, Jr. will drive the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Camry full-time in 2010 - A Camry Hybrid will serve as the pace car for both races this weekend at Chicagoland.

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Does Chicagoland Speedway change more at night compared to other tracks? "The biggest thing I learned last year was the track didn't change much. It just got cooler and gained grip. The balance didn't change a lot -- that was pretty cool to see. Charlotte -- we go there and it's probably the most temperamental track on temperature -- it's so hot during the day and you're sideways loose busting your butt and then all of a sudden you get to night and you're knocking every wall down with the right front corner. At Chicago, it didn't change much and the track was well lit by the lights. Everything went good there last year."

Did sweeping the Sprint Cup and Nationwide races at Chicagoland a year ago make it a memorable race weekend? "Winning both races at Chicago last year -- it was just a great weekend. It was special, but there have been several special wins the last couple of years. Winning at Atlanta, Daytona, and Infineon last year, and winning at home in Vegas and on my birthday in Richmond, were also great races. But, winning Chic ago last year and beating Jimmie (Johnson) was definitely neat. I have a lot of respect for him (Johnson), Jeff Gordon, and anybody in this sport since it's so competitive. To go out and beat guys like that -- it's something that's pretty special. I really cherished that for sure and I know M&M's did too."

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

What do you like about racing at Chicagoland? "It's one of the tracks that you really can't compare to anywhere. It's a mile-and-a-half in its own, for sure. It's a relatively flat track and I think it's lost a ton of grip over the last couple years, whether it 's for weather or whatever reason. It's had really good racing in the past. I know last year they had a great finish with the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and the 18 (Busch). We like going there. It's somewhat close to the city so we can visit and spend time there on Sunday. I like going there for that reason."

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MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Kingsford/Clorox Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing

What is it you like about racing at Chicagoland? "I'm looking forward to Chicago. It's a unique track that we only get to once a year. I don't quite know what to expect, but I feel like our one-and-a-half-mile program has been going well. Any of those one-and-a-half-mile race tracks we feel we can contend for a top-10, which for my first year is what we're aiming for."

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MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing

What are your future plans as an owner/driver in the Sprint Cup Series? "As an owner, I knew there would come a time when I wouldn 't be a full-time driver anymore, and that time is now. In 2010, I'm going to run a limited schedule. I do know that for the 52nd running of my favorite race, and the biggest race i n the world, the 52nd running of the Daytona 500, I will be racing in the 500 in my No. 55 NAPA car. I do know that I'm going to run four or five races, and maybe as many as 10 or 12."

Why did you select Martin Truex, Jr. to replace you beginning in 2010? "I'm turning my car over to a guy that I think can go win the championship in it. If I thought I wasn't the best man for the job, I wouldn't have had a ride for this long. If I wasn't the guy to go race it on Sunday, somebody else would take my place. And I believe at this time in my career that Martin (Truex, Jr.) is the right guy to take over my car and go win races in it. I just wanted to do this -- to me it's always been about the sponsors, and NAPA has been the greatest sponsor I could ever have. I thought this was an opportunity to put them in victory lane on a regular basis. I couldn't be happier or prouder."

-credit: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Michael Waltrip , Jimmie Johnson , David Reutimann , Martin Truex Jr. , Joey Logano , Kyle Busch
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing