A season high six Toyota Camrys started Sunday afternoon's Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS) race at Infineon Raceway. Prior to today's race, the most Camrys to start a Nextel Cup event in 2007 was five. (Five Camrys started...
A season high six Toyota Camrys started Sunday afternoon's Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS) race at Infineon Raceway. Prior to today's race, the most Camrys to start a Nextel Cup event in 2007 was five. (Five Camrys started the races at Bristol, Martinsville, Lowe's, Dover and Michigan.) P.J. Jones, sitting in for David Reutimann, began the race in the 43rd position and crossed the finish line 12th.
Dale Jarrett started the day 16th in the No. 44 UPS Camry and crossed the finish line 26th. Butch Leitzinger, a road course specialist for Bill Davis Racing, started the race 30th and finished 28th. Terry Labonte, subbing for Michael Waltrip, started the day 25th in the No. 55 NAPA Camry and crossed the finish line 35th. Marc Goossens started the race 21st in the No. 91 Commonwealth/RDM Camry and finished 36th in Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports' first NNCS race.
Dave Blaney began the race 19th and ended up 41st. The No. 22 Caterpillar Camry had electrical difficulties during the race, changing the battery under caution early in the race and changing the alternator, wiring and battery between laps 40-52. The best NNCS result for a Toyota Camry was when Brian Vickers finished fifth at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte (May 27). Camrys have two additional top-10 finishes; Brian Vickers finished 10th at California Speedway (Feb. 25) and Michael Waltrip finished 10th at Michigan International Speedway (June 17).
P.J. JONES, No. 00 Burger King® Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
How was your race? "The team was awesome. Our pit strategy played out perfectly and we were able to save fuel. The motor was awesome. This was the best finish for the No. 00 Michael Waltrip Racing team and I'm proud of these guys."
DALE JARRETT, No. 44 UPS Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing:
How was your race? "We just struggled all day. It was the same thing all weekend; we just couldn't get any forward bite and just couldn't get it off the corners. We weren't very good (on the road course), we have some work to do in that area."
BUTCH LEITZINGER, No. 23 Caterpillar Camry, Bill Davis Racing:
How was your race? "I'm a little disappointed, I got spun about halfway through which put us all the way to the back. It kind of threw out a little bit of our strategy because we were positioning ourselves for track position and we lost it with that. It was a great run with the team, they were really good with getting me up to speed and Dave Blaney was fantastic -- he was thoroughly open with me and was a great teammate. It was a lot of fun to work along side these guys. I had a lot of fun. It just shows how competitive NEXTEL Cup is when you work that hard and you end up 28th."
How has the series changed since the last time you ran a Cup race? "I've run three Cup races before, all at Watkins Glen about 10 years ago. It's more intense now for sure. The competition is that much closer. The last time I raced in a Cup car was in '96, and in '96 for me to come in and stay out of trouble we could get a top-20. But now, you have to fight for your life to stay in the top-40."
Do you plan on running at Watkins Glen? "There's some things to work out. I have an American LeMans race to run on Saturday of that weekend. It just depends on how open everyone is to it."
MARC GOOSSENS, No. 91 Commonwealth/RDM Camry, Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports
EDDIE D'HONDT, co-owner of Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports:
How was your team's race today? "The spin we had, when the No. 17 dived into the car really tore up the splitter. We made that best of it, but it destroyed the nose and threw off the downforce of the car. We are really happy to be able to come here and for Toyota's support to compete in our first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race."
What did you think of Marc Goossen's performance? "We knew of Marc's capabilities -- he's an accomplished road racer. The difficulties we had early on in the race really ended our chances of showcasing his talents. Marc is going to compete in the road course Busch race at Montreal and again at Watkins Glen later this summer. He's only going to get better and then we'll all see how great of a racer Marc is."
How do you rate Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports' season so far? "We are a new team and we are definitely going through growing pains. It's a great accomplishment to be able to make this race. We've ran three NASCAR Busch races so far and in only our second race David Green was able to give us an 11th- place finish in Nashville. We are learning, but we have experienced people working for us and we are taking it one day at a time."
-credit: toyota motorsports