TOYOTA NASCAR NOTES & QUOTES
Week of March 7-13, 2011
LEAVING LAS VEGAS: In Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Martin Truex Jr. was the highest-finishing Toyota driver with a sixth-place result. Denny Hamlin (seventh) and Brian Vickers (10th) also registered top-10 finishes in the 267-lap race at the 1.5-mile track. The top-10 effort for Vickers marked his first top-10 since Darlington last May when blood clots placed him on the sidelines for the final 25 races of the season. In Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race, Hamlin was the first Camry driver to the finish line with a seventhplace result.
KAHNE BACK WITH KBM: After successfully teaming together for one race with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) in 2010, Sprint Cup Series veteran Kasey Kahne will return to the wheel of the KBM No. 18 Tundra at Darlington Raceway -- where he has one career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) win (2004). Kahne previously drove for KBM at Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway last year, where he started on the outside of row one and finished second.
We just need to try avoiding wrecks. That’s the important thing -- avoid getting into wrecks and getting tore up.
‘LADY IN BLACK’ LOCALS: Two members of the Germain Racing team call South Carolina home. Mike Leitner, gas man on the No. 30 Tundra, hails from Winnsboro, S.C. -- about 80 miles west of Darlington. Richard Williams, jack man on the No. 9 Tundra, is from Camden, S.C. -- about 50 miles west of Darlington.
BRENDAN’S BACK: After a two-year hiatus from the Camping World Truck Series, Brendan Gaughan has returned to the series where he has had much success dating back to 1997. The 36-year-old Las Vegas-native has teamed with Germain Racing and is one of four NCWTS teams for the defending series championship organization. During his NCWTS career, Gaughan has earned eight wins, 32 top-five finishes and 55 top-10 results.
BRAZIL TO DARLINGTON: South Carolina’s Darlington Raceway is a long way from Brazil, and for Tundra driver Miguel Paludo that means he’s a long way from his hometown of Nova Prata, Brazil. Paludo is competing in his first full season in the NCWTS and has teamed with Red Horse Racing to drive the No. 7 Tundra. Last year, Paludo made four NCWTS starts, earning two top-10 results. In his first start of the 2011 season, Paludo finished fifth in the Daytona seasonopener. Paludo will make his first career start at Darlington on March 12.
SKINNER ROUND-UP: Toyota driver Mike Skinner and wife Angie will host the fifth-annual Toyota Skinner Round-Up next week. The two-day event kicks off to the public with the ‘Hoe Down Bash’ on March 16 (7-11 PM) in the Fanzone at Daytona International Speedway. Nashville recording artist Stacy Mitchhart will perform with other musical guests. The following day, celebrities and sponsors will play a round of golf in the Skinner Round-Up Golf Classic at Spruce Creek Country Club, followed by the Skinner Round-Up Poker Tournament. Over the past four years, the Skinner Round-Up has raised more than $500,000 for various Volusia County (Florida) charities. For more details and ticket information visit www.MikeSkinner.com and click on the Toyota Skinner Round-Up logo.
NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Since the start of the 2011 season, Toyota drivers have combined for two top -five results, seven top-10 finishes and have led 66 laps … In the NSCS point standings following Las Vegas, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin are 18 points behind leader Tony Stewart, sitting in the seventh and eighth position, respectively … Kasey Kahne (13th), Kyle Busch (14th) and Bobby Labonte (15th) are also in the top-15 in the standings after three races … The NSCS will enjoy a rare weekend off before returning to competition on March 20 at Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway.
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
What does your team need to work on during the stretch of five races after the off-week? “We just need to try avoiding wrecks. That’s the important thing -- avoid getting into wrecks and getting tore up. We’ve had good race cars and if we can finish where we’re running and not get tore up, that’s what we need to work on. Not necessarily anything we’re doing wrong, we’ve got good race cars and good speed. We’re just at the wrong place at the wrong time and that’s what’s been stopping us.”
Do you have any plans for the off-week? “I’m going to Saudi (Arabia) and Dubai to visit some friends. A buddy of mine is getting married over there. My original plan was to go to the Bahrain F-1 race -- but that got canceled. So, I’m still going to visit a buddy of mine that’s getting married in Saudi. Other than that, I’ll be ready for Bristol.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Do you have any plans for the off-week? “I’m going to Cancun with Kyle (Busch) and his wife, and David Ragan and our girlfriends. I went there when I was really young and don’t remember any of it. I’m sure we’ll have fun -- it’ll be cool.”
NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): Since the start of the 2011 season, Toyota drivers have combined for one win, one top-five result, eight top-10 finishes and have led 351 laps … In the NNS point standings following Las Vegas, Kenny Wallace is 27 points behind leader Reed Sorenson, sitting in the eighth position … Brian Scott (11th), Steve Wallace (14th), Michael Annett (15th) and Ryan Truex (17th) are also in the top-20 in the standings after three races … The NNS will enjoy a rare weekend off before returning to competition on March 19 at Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): Since the start of the 2011 NCWTS season , Tundra drivers have registered two wins , four top-five results, five top-10 finishes and have led 120 laps … Tundra driver Todd Bodine won last year’s NCWTS race at Darlington Raceway while fellow Tundra driver Timothy Peters earned the pole … Kasey Kahne has earned three Sprint Cup poles at Darlington in 2004, 2005 and 2006 … Tundra driver Johanna Long served as the Grand Marshal for the Mardi Gras parade in her hometown of Pensacola, Fla. last Saturday.
KASEY KAHNE, No. 18 Team ASE Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Are you looking forward to the Truck race at Darlington? “I raced the truck race there once and enjoyed it -- we won, it was a good race. Driving for Kyle (Busch) was really cool last year, I had fun doing that. I think we can run really well at Darlington. Kyle would if he was in the truck, but it’ll be good. I’m not ready for an off-weekend yet. It’s going to be nice going out and racing a little bit.”
BRENDAN GAUGHAN, No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing
How many ‘Darlington stripes’ have you had in your career? “More than I care to remember. In my first Cup Series race there, we had a bad race car. It was so bad that we changed camber on a pit stop and shocks on another pit stop. So, after I’d hit the wall like the 12th time, my coach, who was Buddy Baker, came over the team radio and said, ‘Hey, man, why don’t you give that wall a rest for few laps?’ I don’t think I actually laughed at that moment, but, I do love Darlington!”
TODD BODINE, No. 30 Germain.com Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing
Are you looking forward to returning to Darlington Raceway? “We won the race there last year in the Germain.com Tundra. I’ve always run well at Darlington in everything I’ve driven there, ever. I’ve got a win in our Toyota truck, a win in the Nationwide Series. It’s a driver’s track that’s a lot of fun. It’s real technical. Hopefully, I can give our teammates some pointers and help them speed up their learning curve a little.”
Who will be your toughest competition at Darlington? “I hope that my biggest challengers at Darlington are my Germain Racing teammates. I hope we are one-two- three-four. Brendan’s (Gaughan) got a lot of experience at these tracks. Justin’s (Lofton) still learning, and Max (Papis) still has some to learn. There’s no reason they can’t be competitive. Darlington’s a very technical track with a lot of little things that can make you go fast. If I can speed their learning curve up, that would be a good thing.”
MIKE SKINNER, No. 45 Toyota Tundra, Eddie Sharp Racing
Are you looking forward to hosting the Toyota Skinner Round-Up next week? “We are very excited to host our fifth-annual Toyota Skinner Round-Up. The Hoe Down Bash continues to grow each year and it is an opportunity for families in the Daytona area to come out and enjoy a fun-filled evening with great entertainment. Angie and I look forward to this event each year because it’s a great opportunity to bring the Volusia County community together and to give back to local charitable organizations in the area. We’ve got some great celebrity guests who will be onhand this year, so it should be a kickin’ time.”
-source: toyota motorsports