Hamlin Hopes to Win at Hometown Track Ambrose Looks for More Short Track Success Waltrip, Logano on Racing at Richmond Spotter Speaks About Hamlin's Handling NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: Toyota Camry drivers have ...
Hamlin Hopes to Win at Hometown Track
Ambrose Looks for More Short Track Success
Waltrip, Logano on Racing at Richmond
Spotter Speaks About Hamlin's Handling
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)
NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: Toyota Camry drivers have combined for two wins (Kyle Busch -- Las Vegas and Bristol), nine top- fives and 18 top-10 finishes through nine 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races ... In addition, Camry drivers have led 967 laps and earned three poles ... Chesterfield, Va.-native Denny Hamlin dominated the competition at Richmond last spring after starting from the pole position in his JGR No. 11 FedEx Camry -- leading the race twice for a total of 381 of 400 laps -- but had a tire go flat late in the race and missed his opportunity to capture the checkered flag ... Toyota rookies Scott Speed (fifth) and Joey Logano (ninth) recorded career-best NSCS finishes last weekend at Talladega.
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How many times had you been to the Richmond track before you raced on it? "I think the first race I went to was in 1992. Bill Elliott and Alan Kulwicki were battling. I was sitting in turn four, and I think I went to one of those two races there every year since -- from 1992 on. I grew up about 15 miles (from the track). So, it's relatively close."
Were you disappointed that you didn't win the Richmond race last spring? "I forgot it was last year. I thought it was 10 years ago. It definitely replays in your mind for sure. There's obviously nothing we could've done. It wasn't like I second guessed something that I did and I could've changed something to prevent us from not winning that race. It's just one of those things that bad luck strikes, but the good part about it is knowing that we're going back to the same track hopefully with the same weather conditions and we'll have a car that is just as strong. We're going to go back on the same set-up and if it isn't as strong we're going to fine tune it. Race tracks and races like that just slip away. It takes a little time to get over them."
Did winning the Nationwide Series race help you overcome your disappointment? "In my opinion, the Nationwide race that I won there the night before, that was the biggest win pretty much of my career regardless of whether it was Cup or Nationwide. Just winning at home, it didn't matter what series, was the biggest win for me. We had a shot at back- to-back, have the poles and win both races and that was going to be a good weekend for me. But it seemed like it overshadowed everything that did go good that weekend just in those last 10 laps."
Are you looking forward to your second-annual short track charity event at Richmond? "I'm looking forward to that. We're having it at Southside Speedway the Thursday before the race and have a good line-up of drivers there to enjoy it. I think it's going to be a great event. I think it's going to be very exciting to have Tony (Stewart) and those guys out there and we're going to be raising money for the Denny Hamlin Foundation which ultimately goes to a lot of different charities with Cystic Fibrosis being our main charity. We're trying to do our best to raise money for a good cause and I think that's a great way to do it."
CURTIS MARKHAM (Fredericksburg, Va.), spotter, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What was it about Denny Hamlin that impressed you enough to call J.D. Gibbs? "His (Denny Hamlin's) car control. He was taking what I considered a car that wasn't handling very well and he was just driving the wheels off of it and could make it do things that I've seen very few people be able to do. So, I called J.D. (Gibbs) and told him we ought to give him a shot."
What is the most important thing about being a spotter? "The spotter, in my opinion since I've driven myself, has got to be like the little guy standing on a driver's shoulder. You don't want to give him too much information. You want to give him just enough. You've got to understand when he's trying to concentrate you just need to be quiet and just try to be that little guy in his head that tries to help him drive the car. I don't help him drive the car anymore, he's perfectly capable of that."
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Bush's Best Baked Beans Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
How do you feel about making your first NSCS start at Richmond? "I like Richmond. It feels like a really racy place. I think with the cars that we're building now and my experience level are getting to a point where I think we're really going to do well there. It's a very smooth surface so you can be very precise in the way the car is set-up. I'm excited about it. I think night racing is a lot of fun and it's always a great crowd at Richmond."
Why have you done so well at short tracks this year? "I think we've done well in all races -- it's just the short tracks we were able to finish them. We've run great on the one-half-mile race tracks we just haven't had many finishes there with different problems that have put us out of the race. There hasn't been anything special for the short tracks -- it's just the way it's worked out."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Do you enjoy racing at Richmond? "Richmond is a great track for me. I love it. It is one of my favorites. I am looking forward to seeing how the No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine team will do since David Reutimann led the most laps there last fall. It's a unique venue. It has options and that is all a driver really wants. I can run high. I can run low. Richmond offers more options than any other track you can think of. You can run right up next to the wall. You can dive low. Inevitably, I believe the guy that is going to win the race on Saturday night will be on the bottom."
-credit: toyota motorsports