October 19 - 25, 2009 TOYOTA TALK: Camry Drivers Confident Toyota Drivers Talk Tough Short Track NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: Toyota Camry drivers have combined for nine wins (Kyle Busch -- Las Vegas, Bristol-1, Richmond and Bristol-2; Denny Hamlin --...
October 19 - 25, 2009
Camry Drivers Confident
Toyota Drivers Talk Tough Short Track
NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: Toyota Camry drivers have combined for nine wins (Kyle Busch -- Las Vegas, Bristol-1, Richmond and Bristol-2; Denny Hamlin -- Pocono-2 and Richmond-2; David Reutimann -- Charlotte; Joey Logano -- New Hampshire; and Brian Vickers -- Michigan-2), 36 top-fives and 66 top-10 finishes through 31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races this season ... After five Chase races, Hamlin is 11th in the standings and Vickers is in 12th-place ... A year ago, Camry driver Scott Speed made his first career NSCS start at Martinsville ... Marcos Ambrose made his NASCAR debut in 2006 at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS).
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Why have you been so successful at Martinsville? "I think Martinsville is just a race track where the driver can make a little bit of a difference if his car's not 100 percent there. I've got a lot of laps at that race track, so the extra experience always helps. I think some drivers just adapt to certain race tracks quicker than others, and Martinsville has been that for us."
What are your goals for the final five races of the Chase? "My goal as soon as California happened, I said, Let's win one more race before the end of the season.' That would get us more wins than we have had in any year, at three. We 're going to run well. We're going to contend for every race win from here on out, I'm absolutely sure of that. But, we need to finish them off, get those wins and try to get as high in the points as we can."
Do you still consider this season as a success despite your struggles in the Chase? "I think we said going into it, being in the Chase was huge for us. We met our goals. We came into the season with goals of sitting on a pole, winning a race and being in the Chase. So, we accomplished all those goals. Once we got in the Chase, being competitive, we got greedy and we wanted to go win a championship. We're not going to say that it's out of the realm of possibilities. It's not very likely, but as far as I'm concerned, as long we're mathematically in it, we're in it. We're going to maintain that attitude for the rest of the year. Anything can happen. Now, a lot is going to have to happen for us to get back in the hunt for the championship, but we're going to do our best -- run as best as we can and finish as high as we can in the points. Where we finish is where we finish. Just enjoy it and try to learn something for next year."
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Little Debbie Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
How much have you improved since your NASCAR debut at Martinsville in 2006? "A lot has changed since my first Truck race at Martinsville. I was very nervous and I didn't know what to expect. I qualified decent, but during the race I hit everything including the pit wall. We've come a long way since then. Martinsville is a unique track where you see fast and aggressive racing. In our first time out at Martinsville in the Cup car, we ran competitively and brought it home in one piece. I'd like to think we will do even better this time around."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What makes Martinsville such a difficult track? "It's just a tough place because you're so hard on brakes, but everybody's minimum speed there is pretty much the same -- except there are a couple of guys who will get a half-mile-an-hour faster through the center of the corner, and that is the difference between the pole speed and being dead-last. You're looking to find things that will make your car just that much faster there. You want to drive into the corner one foot deeper than that other guy, you want to step on the gas one foot sooner than that other guy, and you want to roll a half-mile-an-hour better than that other guy. That's why it's so finicky and so hard there because everybody runs so tight that any little thing you can find, it can help a lot."
-credit: toyota motorsposts