Phoenix: Toyota Motorsports preview

NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: This year, Toyota drivers have combined for one win, five top-five results, 11 top-10 finishes and one pole position after six of 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races ... Brian Vickers (12th) is the highest Camry driver...

NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: This year, Toyota drivers have combined for one win, five top-five results, 11 top-10 finishes and one pole position after six of 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races ... Brian Vickers (12th) is the highest Camry driver in the NSCS point standings, 164 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson ... Toyota drivers Joey Logano (13th), Denny Hamlin (15th), Kyle Busch (16th) and Martin Truex Jr. (18th) are also in the top-20 in points ... Hamlin underwent surgery on a torn ACL in his left knee last week and is expected to race this weekend ... Hamlin's No. 11 FedEx Camry will carry a March of Dimes paint scheme in Phoenix .... Hamlin has finished no worse than sixth in the last four races at the one-mile Arizona oval ... The Toyota Camry Hybrid pace car will lead the field this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office/March of Dimes Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How is your knee feeling after surgery last week? "It's painful -- as anyone who has had this surgery or any similar surgery can tell you -- but I am working hard to get back my full range of motion and get back to where I need to be. The actual surgery went very well, no issues and no concerns so I owe big thanks to Dr. (Patrick) Connor and the team. They took good care of me and gave me every opportunity to be back in the car this weekend. All I can do now is work hard, follow the rehab program and see how fast I can get back. I have a couple of days yet to see how my knee responds and that will help me make the right decision when I get to Phoenix this weekend."

J.D. GIBBS, president, Joe Gibbs Racing

How has Denny Hamlin been recovering after his surgery last week? "Denny has been working hard on his rehab and has been making good progress. We have another day or two before we head out to Phoenix, so we'll see where we are at for this weekend, but we also will have Casey (Mears) out there should we need him."

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How will you approach the race at Phoenix? "It's a race track that once you get going, it's kind of hard to pass at like Loudon (N.H.). Everybody runs the same lap time -- you're within a tenth of each other every single lap. You might gain a couple tenths after a few laps on somebody, but then once you get to their bumper you can't ever really have enough to pass them. There are only certain cars that can do that. We've got our work cut out for us there. We ran 12th there last year and I felt like it was a long race there last fall. Now that it's going to be even longer, we'll have our work cut out for us. Looking forward to the challenges."

SCOTT SPEED, No. 82 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team

Why do you enjoy the Phoenix race? "It's cool and it's obviously something different to get out there under the lights for the first time this year. In general, Phoenix is always like a home race for me just because my business headquarters is there. When I lived in Europe, I always spent my off seasons in Scottsdale (Ariz.) so it's really been like a home for me. It's always fun going back there because I have a lot of friends and family there. This trip to Phoenix is going to be really busy because we have so much going on, so I probably won't get too much time for fun this time around."

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing

What do you think about working with Toyota for the first time in your career? "I have really been impressed with all of Toyota's involvement. Toyota is a big part of our team at Michael Waltrip Racing. Their engineers are in our race meetings. They are at the track and at our tests. That is something new for me in relation to the other manufacturers I have worked with. Toyota is an integral part of the team and how we do things. Obviously, they have given us tools. They give us a lot of things to work with that helps out a lot. It's been pretty impressive."

-source: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Jimmie Johnson , Martin Truex Jr. , Brian Vickers , Denny Hamlin , Joey Logano , Kyle Busch
Teams Red Bull Racing , Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing