Toyota Motorsports Tidbits

Week of June 6 - June 12, 2011

HAMLIN HAD THE FUEL: Denny Hamlin was the highest finishing Camry driver with a third-place result in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Kansas Speedway. Hamlin started 15th and led the field three times for 34 laps (of 267) in the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 11 FedEx Freight Camry. Hamlin was running at the front of the field when he was forced to make a pit stop during a mid-race caution to make adjustments on his Camry. In the closing laps, the 30-yearold Chesterfield, Va.-native had enough fuel to make it to the finish when other drivers had to pit. Hamlin has earned four top-10 finishes in the last five races to move up six spots into the top-12 in points and is now just one point from 10th-place in the NSCS championship point standings.

WINDY CITY RECAP: In Saturday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Chicagoland Speedway, Kenny Wallace was the first Camry driver to the finish line with a seventh-place result in the 200-lap race. Wallace’s result in Saturday’s race was his fifth top-10 of the 2011 season, and his third top-10 in the last four races. Kelly Bires (eighth) made his second appearance of the season in the JGR No. 18 Camry. Michael Annett (ninth) also earned a top-10 finish in his Toyota -- his first top-10 result in 2011.

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

HAMLIN HAS HANDLE: Hamlin’s racing resume has more NSCS wins at Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway than any other track on the circuit. His winning ways at Pocono began during his rookie season in 2006 when Hamlin earned the win from the pole in both NSCS races held at the Pennsylvania track -- which included his first career Cup Series victory (June 2006). The 30-year-old earned his third win at Pocono in August 2009 when he crossed the finish line first after leading 91 laps (of 200). Hamlin was dominant again last summer, leading 88 laps (of 204) to bring home his fourth victory in last June’s rain-delayed race. The driver of the JGR No. 11 FedEx Camry has tallied a total of seven top-five and eight top-10 finishes in his 10 career NSCS starts around the 2.5-mile triangular track. Among active drivers, he is tied with Jeff Gordon for the most victories (four) at Pocono, while semi-retired driver Bill Elliott has five wins at the track.

NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Since the start of the 2011 season, Toyota drivers have combined for two victories, 13 top-five results, 28 top-10 finishes and have led 1,381 laps … After 13 races, Kyle Busch is fifth in the NSCS point standings, trailing leader Carl Edwards by 60 points … Denny Hamlin (11th) and Kasey Kahne (18th) are also in the top-20 in the standings …... Shaun Peet, jackman and pit crew captain for the No. 83 Red Bull Camry, was a defenseman for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins (hockey) during the 2001 season … Bryan Jacobsen, the No. 83 front tire changer, is from Honesdale, Pa., … Twin brothers from Warren, Pa., work alongside each other on the Red Bull Racing Team Camrys -- Scott Munksgard is the shock specialist on the No. 83 Camry, and his twin brother Lance is the pit crew coach for both Red Bull teams.

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

Why have you had so much success at Pocono? “It’s tough to say, I mean, because we’ve won there in different cars, different lines. The patch is no longer a huge advantage like it used to be in turn three and I run a much different line than what other guys run. I don’t know. I just search around and seem to find what works. The thing is, though, I’ve got cars good enough to where I can run 80 percent all day and still be able to keep up with the guys. That’s what makes it easy for me to look really good is the fact that I don’t have to push my car over the limit and it still has speed.”

What are your goals for the next 13 races before the Chase starts? “My goal right now, if I had to set out where I want to be going into Richmond -- I’d like to be top-five in points. Fifth is a good number and a feasible goal where we can reach. If we go on a run and win every race, sure we can be first, but a feasible goal is to be top-five so we don’t have to race our way into Richmond. That’s the goal. We don’t want to have to go to Richmond and still not know whether we’re going to be in the Chase or not. We need to be consistent and we need to learn how to finish races consistently in the top-five, not top-10 -- top-five. Obviously, we are getting better and our cars are getting better. I’m pretty sure we’re going to be good and in that position when we get to Richmond and not panicking whatsoever. We’ve made up a lot of distance in these last few weeks, so we have to keep that going.”

We finally got a finish we deserve...

Michael Annett

JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Do you enjoy racing at Pocono? “I’ve ran really good there and I’ve run really bad there. I’ve been kind of confused there before. I like it. I think it’s fun. It’s really interesting because you have three way different corners, so trying to get your car to handle good in all three corners is really tough. Trying to figure all that out and racing there is fun. You have that long straightaway in the front and even the one down Long Pond is really, really long too. It’s always good racing there and on restarts, it’s nuts because you can go four and five-wide into turn one, so it’s a lot of fun.”

***

NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): Since the start of the 2011 season, Toyota drivers have combined for six wins, 17 topfive results, 36 top-10 finishes and have led 1,120 laps … Kenny Wallace (seventh) is the top Toyota driver in the NNS point standings …Steve Wallace (eighth), Brian Scott (ninth), Michael Annett (10th) and Joe Nemechek (12th) are also in the top-15 in the standings… The NNS will enjoy a weekend off before returning to action June 18 at Michigan International Speedway.

MICHAEL ANNETT, No. 62 Pilot Flying J Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing

How do you feel about your finish at Chicagoland? “I’m really proud of my guys. We finally got a finish we deserve, and this should be the perfect momentum-builder for the season ahead. We unloaded one of the best cars I’ve had all season, and we consistently got better throughout practice sessions and the race. This season’s start hasn’t played out quite as expected, but our ninth-place finish proves that we’ve taken a turn in the right direction. I definitely think we’re on the path to contending with the top-10 week-in and week-out, so I look forward to the rest of the season.”

-source: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Rusty Wallace , Joe Nemechek , Kenny Wallace , Kasey Kahne , Carl Edwards , Denny Hamlin , Kelly Bires , Michael Annett , Brian Scott , Steve Wallace , Kyle Busch
Teams Red Bull Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing
Tags nationwide, sprint cup