TALLADEGA TALK: Denny Hamlin (fourth) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Talladega Superspeedway. He led nine times for 17 (of 200) laps on the Alabama oval, in a race that saw a NASCAR...
TALLADEGA TALK: Denny Hamlin (fourth) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Talladega Superspeedway. He led nine times for 17 (of 200) laps on the Alabama oval, in a race that saw a NASCAR record 88 lead changes among 29 different drivers. It was Hamlin's third top-five finish in the past four races, including victories at Martinsville (March 29) and Texas (April 19). Camry drivers Kyle Busch (ninth), Martin Truex Jr. (12th), David Reutimann (14th), Scott Speed (15th) and Robby Gordon (20th) also posted top-20 finishes Sunday on the 2.66-mile track.
POINTS PICTURE: His finish Sunday at Talladega enabled Busch to climb one spot to fifth-place in the NSCS point standings, the highest position among the Camry contingent after nine of 36 races. Hamlin (ninth), Truex (15th) and Joey Logano (16th) are also in the top-20 in points at the one-quarter mark of the season. There are 17 races remaining before the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship playoff cutoff at Richmond in September.
RICHMOND RUN: Before the Chase field is set at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) later this year, the NSCS makes a trip to the three-quarter-mile speedway this weekend. Camry drivers swept both races at RIR in 2009, with Busch winning the spring race and Hamlin victorious in the fall. In last May's race, Busch led 53 (of 400) laps on his 24th birthday en route to victory lane. In September, Hamlin was dominant, leading 299 (of 400) laps for his first career NSCS victory at his hometown track. Since joining Toyota in 2008, Hamlin has led more than half the laps in four races at Richmond (832 of 1610), and in eight career races at the track, the Chesterfield, Va., native has five top-10 finishes and two poles.
RACING FOR A CAUSE: The third annual 'Short Track Showdown,' to benefi t the Denny Hamlin Foundation, is scheduled for Thursday, April 29 at Southside Speedway in Midlothian, Va. All proceeds from the race, which will include many top NSCS drivers and is hosted by Hamlin, will help raise awareness for the specific needs of individuals afflicted with Cystic Fibrosis, as well as other programs that support chronically ill children and underprivileged youth. Busch won the event in 2009.
NATIONWIDE NUMBERS: Logano (second) was the highest-finishing Camry driver in Sunday's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Talladega. Rain on Saturday forced the race to be run after the NSCS, marking the second consecutive weekend that 'double-duty' drivers raced more than 800 miles in a day. Toyota drivers Brian Vickers (ninth), Brian Scott (10th) and Trevor Bayne (13th) also finished in the top-20. Eight Camry drivers remain in the top-20 in the NNS point standings after eight of 35 races -- Busch (third), Logano (seventh), Scott (eighth), Brendan Gaughan (12th), Bayne (13th), Steve Wallace (14th), Jason Leffler (15th) and Michael Annett (17th).
VIRGINIA VICTORIES: Toyota drivers have won the past two spring NNS races at Richmond and will be looking for a third consecutive victory on Friday night. Busch swept both the NSCS and NNS races at the track last May -- including leading 115 (of 250) laps in the NNS race, while Hamlin was victorious in the 2008 event for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR).
TUNDRAS ON TRACK: The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) returns to action this weekend at Kansas Speedway after a month hiatus. Busch won the most recent NCWTS race at Nashville Superspeedway (April 2), and Tundra drivers occupy the top-three spots in the point standings heading into Sunday's event at the 1.5-mile track, with points leader Timothy Peters, Aric Almirola and 2006 champion Todd Bodine. Toyota driver Mike Skinner is the defending race winner at Kansas, leading 67 (of 132) laps in the rain-shortened event one year ago. It was the first win for Randy Moss Motorsports.
-source: toyota motorsports