PREVIOUSLY AT POCONO: Kyle Busch (second) was the top Toyota driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway and two other Camrys -- Martin Truex Jr. (12th) and Denny Hamlin (15th) also placed in the top-15. Busch, who finished runner -up to race-winner Brad Keselowski, led three segments for 27 laps and Hamlin led four times for a race-high 65 laps. Joey Logano started on the pole and paced five stints for 44 laps, but finished 26th after a late tire issue. Busch also claimed second-place in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Pocono and Timothy Peters finished 10th -- his third straight top-10 result.
IOWA REPEAT: The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) visited Iowa Speedway this past weekend for the second time in 2011 with seemingly similar results. Kenny Wallace (seventh) was again the top finishing Camry driver in Iowa and Michael McDowell (ninth) also claimed his second top-10 finish this year at the track. After finishing 12th and 13th at Iowa in May, Drew Herring (11th) and Michael Annett (12th) each finished one position better this past weekend. McDowell led one time for 17 laps and Herring also led once for four laps.
WATKINS GLEN WINNER: Toyota claimed a NSCS victory at Watkins Glen International (WGI) when Busch took the checkered flag for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in 2008 at the upstate New York road course. Busch started on the pole after qualifying was rained out and led the field for 52 (of 90) laps in the event, leading a one-two JGR sweep, as former Toyota driver Tony Stewart finished second. Busch won both NSCS road course races that season -- also winning at Northern California’s Infineon Raceway -- and coupled with a Nationwide Series victory at Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, became the first driver to win three road course races across multiple national series in the same year.
EMPIRE STATE OF MIND: Andy Graves, vice president of chassis engineering and NSCS manager for TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development), will return to his home state this weekend when NASCAR visits Watkins Glen International. Graves, a Mexico, N.Y.-native, has been with TRD since Toyota joined the series in 2007. In addition, eight additional Toyota team members are from the New York area.
WINNING WAYS: A Camry has visited victory lane back-to-back years in the Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen with former Toyota driver Marcos Ambrose and JTG – Daugherty Racing in 2009 and 2010.
RUSTY’S RETURN: Toyota team owner Rusty Wallace knows a thing or two about racing at Watkins Glen. The owner of the No. 62 and No. 66 Camrys in the Nationwide Series has two NSCS victories at the upstate New York road course -- in 1987 and his championship season of 1989. Rusty’s son, Steve Wallace (No. 66), and Annett (No. 62) will drive the Rusty Wallace Racing Toyotas at Watkins Glen.
NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Since the start of the 2011 season, Toyota drivers have combined for four victories, 24 top-five results, 47 top-10 finishes and have led 1,934 laps … After 21 races, Kyle Busch is third in the series point standings, 11 points behind leader Carl Edwards … Denny Hamlin (11th), Kasey Kahne (16th) and Joey Logano (20th) are also in the top-20 in the standings … NSCS regular Logano will run a triple header at Watkins Glen and will compete in the NSCS, NNS and make his first career start in the GT class of the Grand-Am Sports Car Series … NASCAR fans can enter to win one of four $250 gas cards in the ‘Toyota Gas and Go Giveaway’ at Watkins Glen by entering to win at the Toyota PitPass display … Watkins Glen and the Upstate New York Toyota Dealer Association ran a sweepstakes for a 2011 Camry - - the winner will be awarded the keys during pre-race ceremonies … Five members of the No. 13 Geico Toyota team hail from New York including team general manager Mike Hillman Sr. (Lockport) and his mechanic sons Mark and Mike Hillman Jr. (Lockport), mechanic Rich Ohlhorst (Centereach) and shock specialist Mike Tyska (Clifton Park) … Red Bull Racing Team members Ryan Pemberton (Saratoga), the crew chief for Red Bull’s No. 83 Camry, and front tire changer Danny Kincaid (Port Byron), are also from New York … JTG-Daugherty Racing pit crew coach Gary Smith (New Paltz) is also from New York.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What is the difference for drivers at Watkins Glen compared to Infineon Raceway? “Sonoma is kind of like Martinsville and Watkins Glen is kind of like Talladega. That’s how different they are. Watkins Glen seems like it’s an easier road course for these cars. They’re not as agile as other sports cars are. We’re in 3,400 pound race cars, where other sports cars are maybe 2,500 or 2,800 pounds. You can throw them around a lot easier. Their brakes are a lot better and they stop a lot better.”TOYOTA NASCAR NOTES & QUOTES – Aug. 8 - 14, 2011 -- Page 2
Will we see a lot of contact at Watkins Glen like we did at Infineon Raceway? “I think you will. You’ll see a little bit of it, especially on restarts and stuff like that. Watkins Glen is a place where we get a little bit more spread out throughout the run. Certainly there are some areas where some guys can make some moves. Like getting into turn one -- you can out-brake somebody really good. Getting into the bus stop -- you can out-brake somebody pretty good there too. If you out-brake somebody getting in there and you both are already on so much edge -- one of you is going to have to give. If you’re that guy on the inside, you’re going to run into the guy on your left and you’re going to put him off into the island there in the grass. You’ve got to be conscious of that.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Are you looking forward to running a triple-header (NSCS, NNS and Grand-Am) at Watkins Glen? “I’m pumped up about that. I’m going to run a GT car for the Rolex race at Watkins Glen. I’m going to run with Boris (Said) and have a ton of fun with that. I think that’s going to be cool. I’ve never driven one before and I wish I got to test, but it all came together (last) Thursday to be honest with you. I had an appearance for Toyota to make in Wallingford in Connecticut and we got a phone call at nine in the morning about if we wanted to run this car. So, we landed and the shop is right down the road in Connecticut so we went there, sat in the car and it all came together really, really quick. Boris is a tall guy like me, so I fit in the car good and we’re going to have fun with it. It’s going to be a blast. I’m really, really pumped up about that. Obviously, we ran really good there in the Nationwide race last time we were there. It’s all going to help me with my Cup stuff. It goes to show when I ran that West race (at Infineon Raceway) it helped me a lot for my Cup car, and we had a really good run out there, so we’ll keep working hard.”
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
How much will you rely on the JTG-Daugherty team notes for Watkins Glen? “A lot. We didn’t go test anywhere for the Glen. I don’t know if sometimes you go test somewhere and it’s almost like Road Atlanta -- you use yourself up or you try to tune for something and you don’t really know what you’re tuning for. I’m looking forward to it. I struggled last year when I drove for James Finch. I hope that we can get up there and do really good. I really like the road courses and I really like Watkins Glen -- I think it’s a fast, fast place and it can be a lot of fun.”
NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): During the 2011 season, Toyota drivers have combined for eight wins, 22 top-five results, 59 top-10 finishes and have led 1,222 laps … Kenny Wallace (seventh) is the top Toyota driver in the NNS point standings … Steve Wallace (eighth), Michael Annett (ninth) and Brian Scott (10th) are also in the top-10 in the standings … Former Camry driver Marcos Ambrose won the pole at Watkins Glen International in 2010 … Pastrana-Watrip Racing driver Travis Pastrana announced he will delay his NNS debut until 2012 after breaking his right ankle and foot in the 2011 X-Games two weeks ago … Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Ryan Truex will race six events in the No. 20 Camry -- Atlanta, Richmond, Chicagoland, Dover, Kansas and Phoenix … The Toyota Thrasher Monster Truck will perform a car crush approximately 30 minutes after the NNS race at WGI and will be on display at the Toyota PitPass display.
MICHAEL ANNETT, No. 62 Pilot/Flying J Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing
Does your finish at Road America earlier this year give you confidence heading into Watkins Glen? “It definitely gives me more confidence than I’ve had going into any other road course race I’ve ever been in. I’m going in there with the same mentality that I had for Road America -- I know I’m not by all means the best road course racer. The same mentality, stay on the track, keep all the fenders on it, take care of the transmission. We always know how Nationwide races end at those road courses and that’s what happened last time when we put ourselves in position. Our car was intact and we were able to take off when we needed to there at the end and we’ll have that same mentality for Watkins Glen.”
KENNY WALLACE No. 09 New York Toyota Dealers Toyota Camry, RAB Racing
How does it feel to have Toyota dealers from NY sponsor your Camry at Watkins Glen? “Myself and RAB Racing have received a lot of assistance from Toyota this year. It makes me happy, and seems to be the right thing to do. Without Toyota we would not have had this great of a year. I would like to thank the five New York Toyota dealers for their support at Watkins Glen.”