Daytona: Toyota, Robert Hoffman win season opener

Toyota, Huffman Win At Daytona Earns Toyota's Second Victory in a Row at the Legendary Speedway DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 9, 2002) Robert Huffman , driving the No. 37 White House Apple Juice Toyota Celica, worked his way through the field to win...

Toyota, Huffman Win At Daytona Earns Toyota's Second Victory in a Row at the Legendary Speedway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 9, 2002) Robert Huffman , driving the No. 37 White House Apple Juice Toyota Celica, worked his way through the field to win the NASCAR Goody's Dash Daytona U.S.A. 150 on Saturday, Feb. 9.

"I'm really happy to bring Toyota another victory at Daytona," Huffman exclaimed enthusiastically from victory circle. "We didn't qualify as well as we wanted on Wednesday, but the Celica ran great today. This is our second win in a row at Daytona, which is a real thrill."

The Claremont, N.C. , native is a four -time champion in the Goody's Dash series; 2002 is his second year racing the Toyota Celica. His victory on June 16, 2001 at the Kentucky Speedway was the first win for Toyota in the series, and the first for an overhead-cam, multi -valve engine in all of NASCAR.

Huffman, who qualified 16 th, patiently worked his way to the front of the pack to win on the famed Daytona superspeedway for the third time in his career. He led 12 of the last 13 laps of the 62 -lap race, which kicks off the 2002 NASCAR Goody's Dash season. The win is the 35 th of Huffman's career, making him second in all -time series victories.

"I'm not sure what my secret was today," said Huffman, who owns the team with his wife Ashley. "I had great support from the crew, Toyota, TRD, and the folks at White House. Today was our day."

Junior Miller , running the No. 77 Big Daddy's BBQ Toyota Celica for Weaver Racing, also ran a strong race to finish 16 th. Miller, from Winston-Salem, N.C. , took the wheel on Friday after replacing qualifier Mike Swaim Jr. He started from the 40 th provisional spot and took to the Celica immediately.

"The Celica was real easy to drive," Miller said. "The first time in the car on Friday, I could motor it around with two fingers if I wanted."

Fellow Toyota dri ver Tim Nichols , in the No. 52 Food Country Celica, also ran a consistent race to finish 26 th. Nichols, Ceder Bluff, Va. , also started from a provisional spot but did not stay at the back for long. He gained 10 spots by the final pit stop on his way to t he checkered flag.

The Daytona U.S.A. 150, broadcast live on Speedvision, was the first of 14 races on the NASCAR Goody's Dash Series schedule. The series travels to Hardeeville, S.C., on April 6 for the second race of the season. 2002 is the third seaso n in the Goody's Dash Series for the Toyota Celica, the only car in NASCAR to run a multi - valve, overhead cam engine.

-toyota-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Junior Miller , Robert Huffman