Michigan II: Toyota Motorsports preview

NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: This year, Toyota drivers have combined for eight wins, 22 top-five results, 47 top-10 finishes and four poles after 22 of 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races... Four Camry drivers are in the top-20 in the NSCS point ...

NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: This year, Toyota drivers have combined for eight wins, 22 top-five results, 47 top-10 finishes and four poles after 22 of 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races... Four Camry drivers are in the top-20 in the NSCS point standings -- Denny Hamlin (sixth), Kyle Busch (seventh), David Reutimann (18th) and Martin Truex Jr. (20th)... Brian Vickers earned the first NSCS win for Red Bull Racing Team one year ago at Michigan International Speedway (MIS), but will not compete this weekend due to ongoing medical treatments... Hamlin won the most recent NSCS race at MIS in June. Kasey Kahne will drive a Red Bull Racing Team Toyota in 2011.

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

Do you expect the race track to have changed much since the June race at Michigan? "I think once you go to Michigan the second time, you tend to see similar cars running up front. It's very similar to Pocono in the sense of there's not much time between races, so the track tends to be very, very similar. We're going to take the same car and hopefully have the same result. Michigan has always been one of our tougher race tracks until the last time we went there. Hopefully we'll go back and repeat."

What do you like about Michigan? "I like a track where the driver can make somewhat of a difference. When his car's not handling well, he's got multiple grooves to change the way his balance is on his race car and Michigan is one of those race tracks. Your car's not always going to be perfect, but you can almost make it that way by the way you drive there. We see guys from the top to the bottom and it's a drafting race track. On the restarts, we see guys three and four -wide simply because the draft is such a big deal at that track. It's exciting from my standpoint."

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Are you looking forward to going back to Michigan? "Denny (Hamlin) is. They're really looking forward to going back there. They are going to take the same car, same stuff, same everything. Myself and Dave (Rogers, crew chief), we're going to take a new car there and try to shake down a new car. We feel like we only have one really, really good race car for the Chase. We need to find a second one. You can't go into a 10-race stretch with one bullet. We're hoping that next week at Michigan we can find a good race car. We've got some work ahead of us to find some good tuning tools to work with in the Chase. We'll try to keep ourselves locked into it (the Chase) the next five races and then go fight them at the end."

BRIAN VICKERS, Red Bull Racing Team

What did it mean to win at Michigan last year? "Winning at one of my favorite tracks on the circuit was a very special moment for me, and even more so because it was Red Bull's first win in the sport. It seems so long ago now. I think it's not so much what went right, but that nothing went wrong. We made no mistakes as a team and had a consistent day. Leading up to that race, we had shown speed in the past, but we had some sort of failure that had prevented us from winning. It felt great to put together a full, error-free race and get the end result we had been wanting for so long. It was a great day."

What affect has being out of the race car had on you the past few months? "Being out of the car has given me an opportunity to have a new appreciation for the sport I love. When you are in the middle of something for 10-15-20 years, you can lose perspective to how cool it actually is. This experience has given me the opportunity to do some things I normally wouldn't have been able to if I was racing. I've gone to the Formula 1 race in Montreal and to the Red Bull Air Race in New York City and I've done some traveling on my own. I've been able to see behind the scenes on our team and gain more knowledge of other roles, like watching the race from the spotter's stand and on top of the pit box with the crew chief and engineers. Doing these things now will help me be more focused on racing when I come back because I will have done a lot of the things I have wanted to do -- basically just clearing my head. In a way, it has been a blessing in disguise."

-source: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Kasey Kahne , David Reutimann , Martin Truex Jr. , Brian Vickers , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch
Teams Red Bull Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing