BUSCH: Atlanta: Toyota preview

ATLANTA HOLDS HISTORY FOR TOYOTA: In June of 2006, Johnny Benson, driver of the No. 23 Toyota Certified Toyota Tundra, piloted one of the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Toyota Camrys around Atlanta Motor Speedway as part of the initial submission...

ATLANTA HOLDS HISTORY FOR TOYOTA: In June of 2006, Johnny Benson, driver of the No. 23 Toyota Certified Toyota Tundra, piloted one of the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Toyota Camrys around Atlanta Motor Speedway as part of the initial submission process for the vehicle in preparation for competition in 2007.

VETERAN KNOWLEDGE: Dale Jarrett and Dave Blaney have both made all three starts in 2007 with their Camrys in NEXTEL Cup competition and both drivers have had success at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Jarrett has earned two career pole positions (2000 and 2001) and one win (1997) while Blaney has earned one Busch Series pole (1999). All seven of Toyota's NNCS drivers have competed at Atlanta Motor Speedway including AJ Allmendinger, who started on the outside of row one in an NCTS event last year (Oct. 28) .

MARCH MADNESS: Dave Blaney, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Camry and a native of Hartford, Ohio, wil l be following the Ohio State Buckeyes throughout the NCAA men's basketball tournament which starts Thursday. Blaney remains loyal to his Ohio roots despite the fact that his brother, Dale, played guard for West Virginia University and led the team in scoring in 1986 with an average of 17 points per game. The men's championship game will be played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, April 2.

JARRETT ON DOWN FORCE: With this weekend's race being the final event before the Car of Tomorrow is unveiled at Bristol Motor Speedway, April 25, Dale Jarrett and his team used the Las Vegas event to try additional adjustments to their No. 44 UPS Camry. Jarrett knows what needs to be done to get the car working better. "We know the biggest thing is we have to go back and work on our bodies," says Jarrett. "We've got to get some more down force in these cars. We are just not capable of doing the things that these other guys are doing with their cars. That will help us more than anything, then we can show how good the pit crew is and that we've got smart guys, but down force will make a lot of difference. We won't have more down force cars ready before Atlanta, but after that we will have a few weeks before we run these cars again."

BORLAND ON PERFORMANCE AND DOWN FORCE: Matt Borland, crew chief for Dale Jarrett and the No. 44 UPS Camry, believes that one of the keys to improving performance is working together. "We'll be better in Atlanta than we were in Las Vegas, and hopefully the week after that we'll be even better," says Borland. "We also have a whole new deal with the COT program that we've got to get our hands around. I was at the 12 car (Ryan Newman) for the last seven years --- it just kept getting better every year. Just everyone working together knowing what all needs to get done and having a system in place for doing everything. Those are the kind of things we need to get worked out here."

REUTIMANN ON NBS RACING AT ATLANTA: David Reutimann will make his first career NASCAR Busch Series start at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend behind the wheel of the No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Camry. "I'm hoping to bring home a strong finish for Aaron's and Toyota," says Reutimann. "I have two top-five finishes in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Atlanta. It's also where I collected Toyota's first pole award in that division in only their second race. This will be my first time racing a Busch car there. It's important that we finish well since my sponsor - Aaron's - is headquartered in Atlanta. It's their home track and we want a solid finish for them. Also, our goal is to climb back into the top-10 in points."

HOMETOWN ADVANTAGE: The Atlanta area is home to three primary sponsors of the Michael Waltrip Racing team -- NAPA Auto Parts who sponsor the No. 55 Camry piloted by Waltrip, Aaron's who sponsor the No. 00 Dream Machine Camry in the Busch Series driven by David Reutimann, and UPS who sponsor the No. 44 Camry driven by Dale Jarrett. The Atlanta area is also home to Rockford-Montgomery Labs, Inc, the innovator of 360 OTC which sponsors the No. 36 Camry of Jeremy Mayfield, as well as the No. 36 Tundra in the Craftsman Truck Series driven by Tyler Walker.

FAMILIAR WITH THE FRONT: In five NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Toyota Tundras have earned four pole positions. Mike Skinner has earned the most NCTS poles at the speedway with two (2005 and 2006), while David Reutimann earned the first-ever NCTS pole award for Toyota back in 2004. The 2006 Craftsman Truck Series champion, Todd Bodine, won last season's spring event at Atlanta from the pole.

LUCK OF THE LUMBER: Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted the third event of the 2006 NCTS season and Germain Racing signed their primary sponsor, Lumber Liquidators, just prior to the race weekend. Bodine and his team embarked on their championship-winning season at Atlanta by starting on the pole and capturing the first of three wins at Atlanta. Bodine attributed his success of that weekend on the newly formed partnership with Lumber Liquidators.

TODD TALKS ATLANTA: "Wow. What can you say about Atlanta?," says Todd Bodine, driver of the No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Tundra. "That was a huge race for us. We earned a pole, which isn't something we concentrate on in practice as a rule, but we did it - my first ever Craftsman Truck Series pole. Then, we go on to win the race. It was our first race out for Lumber Liquidators - I didn't even have a fire suit made yet. Tom Sullivan, the founder of Lumber Liquidators says he might have brought some 'luck of the Irish' to the table, I don't know, but it was definitely the kick off to a storybook season for all of us. Rookie sponsor, they get a pole, a win, and we all end up with a championship."

SPRAGUE FEELING SPRY: Jack Sprague will make his 250th career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start on Friday night in the American Commercial Lines 200. Sprague earned his 28th career win at the 2007 season- opener at the Daytona International Speedway behind the wheel of his No. 60 Con-Way Freight Tundra.

TUNDRAS ON TOP: Tundra drivers sit atop the NCTS point standings with Jack Sprague and Mike Skinner tied for the top spot. Johnny Benson is only 25 points behind in third-place while Germain Racing teammates, Todd Bodine and Ted Musgrave, sit fifth and sixth in the standings. Aaron Fike is comfortably leading the Rookie-of-the-Year points battle and Toyota is currently leading the overall manufacturer's standings.

HOLLYWOOD HOOK-UP: Todd Bodine and Mike Skinner will participate in this year's Toyota Pro/Celebrity race on Saturday, April 14, as part of the 33rd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Bodine and Skinner will compete against more than 12 celebrities, in a field of 19 including director George Lucas, actors Chris Klein and Aisha Tyler, and tennis player Martina Navratilova. Toyota will donate $5,000 to 'Racing for Kids' in the name of each celebrity racer and another $5,000 to the winning racer's charity of choice. 'Racing for Kids' is a non-profit program benefiting children's hospitals in Long Beach and Orange County, California.

MORE FROM MIKE: "We have already completed two days of road course training and it has been more fun than I could have ever imagined," says Mike Skinner, driver of the No. 5 Toyota Tundra for Bill Davis Racing. "It was structured very well and everyone got along great. I have met lots of new people and have had a fabulous time."

-credit: tm

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY , NASCAR Truck
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Jeremy Mayfield , Michael Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Ryan Newman , Johnny Benson , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , David Reutimann , Aaron Fike , Tyler Walker , Dave Blaney
Teams Germain Racing , Michael Waltrip Racing , Bill Davis Racing