TALLADEGA TIME: The Toyota Camry will make its fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) start at Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. In April, Camry driver Kyle Busch won his second of eight races this season, leading 12 of 188 laps on...
TALLADEGA TIME: The Toyota Camry will make its fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) start at Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. In April, Camry driver Kyle Busch won his second of eight races this season, leading 12 of 188 laps on the 2.66-mile, high-banked superspeedway. Denny Hamlin (third) and Brian Vickers (fifth) also scored top-five finishes for Toyota at Talladega earlier this year.
RACE RECALL: AJ Allmendinger scored his career-best finish in the most recent NSCS race at Kansas Speedway this past Sunday as the first Toyota driver to cross the finish line, finishing ninth in the No. 84 Red Bull Camry. Hamlin (11th) and Vickers (15th) also posted top-15 finishes for Toyota. Camry drivers David Reutimann (19th), Busch (28th), Dave Blaney (31st), Michael Waltrip (35th), Joey Logano (39th) and Tony Stewart (40th) were also in the field.
REUTIMAN'S ROLLING: Heading into this weekend's race, Reutimann has registered five consecutive top-20 finishes in the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 44 UPS Camry, and six top-20s in his last seven starts. After a 33rd-place finish at Watkins Glen in August, Reutimann ranked 27th in the NSCS point standings. Since his recent run -- which has included back-to-back ninth-place finishes at California and Richmond -- the 38-year-old has climbed five spots in points to 22nd with seven races remaining.
'CHASE'-BITTEN: After the first three races of the 'Chase for the Sprint Cup,' the three Toyota drivers competing for the championship -- Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammates Hamlin, Stewart and Busch -- are ranked 10th, 11th and 12th in the current NSCS point standings, respectively. With seven races remaining, Hamlin is 243 points behind current leader Jimmie Johnson.
PLATE TALK: "So far this year, our restrictor plate program's been really good," says Busch. "We've had some great luck on it. Our cars have handled the best, but they haven't had the most speed. Hopefully, this time around we can change that and be better. A nything can happen (at Talladega)."
BLANEY BACK IN 'BAMA: Blaney was the highest-finishing Toyota driver at Talladega last October, recording a third- place result in the Bill Davis Racing No. 22 Caterpillar Camry. It was also the best finish in 2007 for Toyota in NSCS competition. Current Camry drivers Hamlin (fourth) and Stewart (eighth) also posted top-10 finishes at Talladega last fall.
QUALIFYING QUINTET: Toyota driver Waltrip is the defending pole-winner in the October race at Talladega, and led six laps in his No. 55 NAPA Camry during the event. It was the second NSCS pole for Toyota in its inaugural season. Last October, Toyota drivers recorded five of the top six qualifying times for the race, with Blaney (second), Vickers (third), Reutimann (fifth) and Jacques Villeneuve (sixth).
BRIAN'S BIG BREAK: In 2006, Vickers scored his first-career NSCS win in the Talladega fall race. Now with the Red Bull Racing Team, Vickers (then with Hendrick Motorsports) is looking forward to heading back to the site of his breakthrough victory and registering the inaugural win for the Red Bull team. "I love restrictor-plate racing, and really like Talladega," says Vickers. "I'm looking forward to going back. Hopefully, we can have another good run there. You can't let your guard down. You just do your part the best you can and hope the rest of it avoids you."
HISTORY LESSON: After making four starts for the team earlier this season, Ken Schrader returns to the seat of Hall of Fame Racing's No. 96 DLP HDTV Camry at Talladega. This weekend's race marks the 20th anniversary of Schrader's NSCS victory at the track. The 53-year-old Fenton, Ohio native won the season's second race at Talladega in 1988, and has made 46 NSCS starts at the circuit.
CLOSE TO HOME: Todd Foster, mechanic for the No. 20 JGR entry, is from Birmingham, Ala. Foster, who joined JGR following the 2001 season, has worked in racing since graduating from high school. Foster began his career working with driver Stanley Smith in various Late Model, Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup endeavors between 1989 and 1993. When Smith was injured following an accident at Talladega in 1993, Foster worked for Smith's drywall company from 1993 to 1997. Foster moved to Charlotte in 1998, where his first job in Sprint Cup was with Cale Yarborough Motorsports and driver Rick Mast.
-credit: toyota motorsports