Loudon II: Toyota Motorsports preview

NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: This year, Toyota drivers have combined for 10 wins, 30 top-five results, 58 top-10 finishes and five poles after 26 of 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races ... Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammates Kyle Busch and Denny...

NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: This year, Toyota drivers have combined for 10 wins, 30 top-five results, 58 top-10 finishes and five poles after 26 of 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races ... Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin -- who will compete in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship playoff -- have combined to win nine of 26 races in 2010 ... The nine combined wins are the most by a pair of teammates ... Toyota has now won the last four NSCS races at Richmond following Hamlin's win Saturday night ... JGR has won seven of 11 NSCS races in Virginia since the team began utilizing Toyotas in 2008 -- four at Richmond and three at Martinsville Speedway ... 'Sponsafier 2' voting runs through Sept. 23.

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

How important is it to have a good start in the Chase? "If you run well for the first five races and then you go to Talladega and struggle, you 'll have a cushion built up. You want to always try to build a cushion as big as you can. You don't want to start from behind. It's really important to come out of the gate strong and to run well. It's no different than the beginning of the year. I always feel like the beginning part of the year is the most important -- the first 10 or 12 races are the most important to get your footing and your point standings because then you have a little bit to lose. You might go a week or two here or there where you finish 20th or worse, but you have something that you can lose a little bit. You definitely want to get through the first five at least strong where you have a good setting and then just work towards the rest of the year, and keeping that and of course, maybe even getting away from some guys. "

What would happen if the championship came down to Denny Hamlin and you at Homestead? "If it does, it's going to be no holds barred. It came down to us last year (at Homestead), and if it's the same, Denny (Hamlin) was leading the race, I was running second chasing him down and I moved around my line a little bit and he moved his, and I couldn 't catch him anymore. If it comes down to me having to win the race in order to win the championship, or if he wins the race he wins the championship, it's going to be whatever happens. If it comes down to where he wins the race and I finish second, it's going to be an awfully disappointing night for the 18 team, but yet a very exciting one for the 11 (Denny Hamlin).

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

How important is it to have a strong run at Loudon in the first Chase race? "For us, it's the first three races -- Dover is the second one and then Kansas. Those are the ones that we've got to get around in the sense of if we're within 50 to 100 points after we leave those, then we 've got a great shot. We always make a heck of a run at the end of the Chase no matter where we're at in points -- those last five races. Those tracks seem to be good for us. So, for me, it's about damage control. If we can go out there and we can win one or two of those first five Chase races, then that 's going to be a big boost for us when we need it at the end."

Is this the most confident you have felt entering the Chase? "At this point, I would say yes. We have won at three or four of the Chase tracks during the course of my career, and that's encouraging for us. Never through the course of my career have I ever felt that anywhere I show up, I could win. With the exception of a road course, I feel like I can run top-5 there, but I've never felt like I could just win anywhere I went, until this year. And especially at this point now, the confidence level is pretty high."

Do you believe in momentum heading into the Chase? "Your momentum ends as soon as you go to the next race track, as far as I 'm concerned. It's about getting better at that race track. What's different this year from last year is six wins versus two. So, from my standpoint, I feel like the last five races of the Chase always seem to be really good for us, and we always gain points those last five. But the problem is, we race ourselves right out of it for the first two or three. So, for me, it's about damage control at the beginning and trying to get the best finishes we can and see where we end up. If we are within shouting distance with five (races) to go, then I'm pretty confident we'll have a good shot at it.

MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Kingsford/Bush's Baked Beans Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing

Do you like racing at Loudon? "I like Loudon -- it's a great track. It's a lot of fun to go around that place and it's a really fast feeling race track. The corners are pretty flat, but you carry a lot of momentum. It's a big one-mile flat track and there's not many of those in the country. You really have to be brave getting into the corner because you know it's going to be loose getting in and somehow get it around the track. It's a good, fun place to race and I look forward to going up there."

NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS)

NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: This year, Toyota drivers have combined for 13 wins, 56 top-five results, 113 top-10 finishes and 13 poles after 27 of 35 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) races ... Toyota currently holds a 35-point advantage over Chevrolet in the NNS manufacturer point standings ... The NNS enjoys an off-weekend and returns to action at Delaware's Dover International Speedway, Sept. 25.

TREVOR BAYNE, No. 99 OUT! Pet Care Toyota Camry, Diamond-Waltrip Racing

What do you think of the 'new' Nationwide Series cars? "I really like these new cars. I actually like the way they drive a little bit better than the current style cars. Everybody at our shop has put so much time and effort into these cars. They've built all brand new race cars for two teams -- myself and Ryan (Truex). We've got four cars sitting there ready to go and not a lot of teams can say that. I love the way they drive. I had to get used to that 'free' in, but that's something we're going to have to learn for the progression to the Cup cars. I like the way they drive, like the way they look and the adjustability -- it's there. These cars, they've designed them in a way that you can adjust on them and you can make them better as the race goes on."

-source: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing