Pocono II: Toyota Motorsports preview

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) at Pocono Raceway HISTORY HERE: This weekend's trip to Pocono Raceway will be the fourth visit to the 'tricky triangle' for the Toyota Camry in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) competition. Earlier this year, Brian...

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) at Pocono Raceway

HISTORY HERE: This weekend's trip to Pocono Raceway will be the fourth visit to the 'tricky triangle' for the Toyota Camry in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) competition. Earlier this year, Brian Vickers (second) and Denny Hamlin (third) scored top-five finishes for Toyota, and AJ Allmendinger earned a 12th-place result. Current Camry drivers Tony Stewart (one win in 2003 and one pole in 2000) and Hamlin (two wins and two poles in 2006) have scored victories at the 2.5-mile track in Long Pond, Pa.

INCREDIBLE INDY: Sunday was a difficult day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for many competitors, but two Camry drivers were able to finish in the top-10 at the 'Brickyard' -- Hamlin (third) and Allmendinger (10th). It was Allmendinger's career best NSCS finish. Series points-leader Kyle Busch led the race twice for 14 laps and finished 15th. Other Camry drivers in the field included Stewart (23rd), J.J. Yeley (28th), David Reutimann (30th), Michael McDowell (34th), Dave Blaney (35th), Vickers (42nd) and Michael Waltrip (43rd).

ALLMENDINGER'S ANALYSIS: "It was fun in some ways -- running up front was a lot of fun -- and in another way it wasn't fun at all," said Allmendinger, following Sunday's race. "Every time we'd get to about lap seven or eight on the tires, we were just praying not to blow a right-rear. Every lap I felt it and I would just ask when the yellow was coming out. It was one of those things that if you restarted fifth then you could run there pretty easy, but once you got back to 10th there was 'dirty' air and that was tough. To have a 10th-place finish and make up a lot of points -- I'll take it."

HUNDRED FOR HAMLIN: This Sunday's race at Pocono will mark Hamlin's 100th NSCS race and it comes in his third full-time season of NSCS competition. The driver of the No. 11 FedEx Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has earned four wins, 25 top-five finishes, 50 top-10 results and six poles since his first race in October 2005. Much of his early success came at Pocono where he swept the poles and race wins in 2006, has led 300 laps and registered five top-10s in as many starts. "It's pretty amazing," says Hamlin. "I didn't realize it would be 100, but it's kind of fitting that it does come at Pocono. I'm excited about it. I don't know if any other driver has won on his 100th start or not, so I'm going to try to accomplish that."

TWO FLAT TRACKS: The NSCS goes from one 2.5-mile flat track to another -- the race at Indianapolis followed by this week's event at Pocono Raceway. Can success at the first race help at the second? "A lot of it (Pocono) is just like Indy," says Hamlin. "The corners are so big and there are so many of them that if a guy has his car handling a little bit better than everyone else, it makes a huge difference. That's why you don't see 20 passes for the lead like you do at some tracks. If a guy gets tuned in he can really make up some ground. That's why you see the racing that you do at Pocono, as well as at Indy. We've been fortunate enough to have our car in race-winning condition over the last couple of years. Hopefully, we can keep that trend."

RED BULL RETURNS: Vickers will return to Pocono with his No. 83 Red Bull Racing Camry team in an effort to better his June runner-up finish, but might not use the exact same car as earlier this year. "Pocono was a good run for us," says Vickers. "Sometimes you bring the same car back, but it's really tough with these cars. You can have one little donut on the door or a fender rub on the door and you have to spend three weeks trying to repair the body -- and spend a lot of money trying to fix it with this new car before you can take it back to the race track. It used to be that unless you totaled the car and it needed a front clip, then you could just about always take it back the next week, and that's not the case anymore."

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Camry drivers have led a total of 2,476 of the 5,852 laps run in this year's 20 NSCS races -- 42.3 percent of all the laps. In addition, Busch has led 1,079 laps in a NSCS Camry, making him the first driver to ever lead more than 1,000 laps in a Camry.

POINTS PACE: Busch continues to lead the NSCS point standings with a 253-point advantage over second-place Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Other Camry drivers among the top-15 in the unofficial NSCS point standings include Hamlin (eighth), Stewart (10th), and Vickers (15th).

-credit: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Michael McDowell , J.J. Yeley , David Reutimann , Brian Vickers , Denny Hamlin , Dave Blaney , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing