Sonoma: Toyota Motorsports preview

Camry Drivers Discuss Sonoma Strategy NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: This year, Toyota drivers have combined for seven wins, 18 top-five results, 34 top-10 finishes and four poles in 15 of 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races ... Following his Michigan ...

Camry Drivers Discuss Sonoma Strategy

NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: This year, Toyota drivers have combined for seven wins, 18 top-five results, 34 top-10 finishes and four poles in 15 of 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races ... Following his Michigan victory, Denny Hamlin has won seven of the last 20 NSCS races dating back to last October ... Kyle Busch was triumphant at Infineon Raceway in 2008 ... The winning 'Sponsafier' design racecar will be entered into this weekend's race by Michael Waltrip ... Toyota is the co-sponsor of Sunday's race, the Toyota/SaveMart 350 ... Mattias Ekstrom will pilot the No. 83 Red Bull Camry at Sonoma ... Red Bull Racing Team's Scott Speed (No. 82 Camry) hails from Manteca, Calif., and crew chief Jimmy Elledge (No. 83 Camry), is from Redding, Calif.

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DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Is this turning into a dream season for you? "It's been good so far. We had a rocky first five races or so -- we weren't setting the world on fire. Seems like once we got to Martinsville and turned that corner, it's been really good for us. Statistically, the last 10 have been a pretty good run of tracks for us. Where we need to improve is those Chase race tracks. We felt like we made strides at Dover, we kind of used that as a test session. We went from a two-lap-down, non -competitive race to finishing in the top five -- we're making strides at all of our worst tracks. It seems like I used to go into every season thinking, 'We ought to get a couple wins, Martinsville, Pocono.' Now I feel we can win anywhere. That to me is a feeling I don't think we've ever had before."

How will multiple 'green-white-checkered' flag attempts affect the Sonoma race? "It's tough to say, I think it's going to depend on how long they're going to let cars sit on the race track. I think a lot of it is going to have to be in NASCAR's hands as to how quick they're going to throw a yellow for the multiple green-white-checkereds. There's going to be cars turned around every restart, it doesn't matter if it's at the end of the race or through the middle. Hopefully we're not in them. We were towards the front last year, we finished fifth at Sonoma and led some laps. It's a fuel mileage race for the most part and a lot different than what we're used to."

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KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Pedigree Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Do you enjoy road course racing at Sonoma? "The road courses are fun, I enjoy it. It's pretty cool to go out there and race the road courses. You get to turn right, turn left and everything so it's fun. Sonoma is more technical just because there's more turns and it's a little bit slower. You have to concentrate on getting off the corner a little bit and have good forward bite. Watkins Glen is more like a speedway road course, it's real fast and you have to maneuver the corners at a high rate of speed. Sonoma is going to be fun, going out there and seeing what these cars have this year. The spoiler is probably not going to be much different with the speed we carry there, it's not that fast. It will be a fun race though, I always look forward to going up there and challenging the road course."

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MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Clorox/Kleenex Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing

Are you looking forward to racing again at Sonoma? "It's a really big weekend for me. It's the first road-course race of the season and we fancy our chances at those events, plus with Clorox headquarted up there we're really excited to be heading up there. Last year, we qualified third but we went to the back of the field because of an engine change, so we had to come from the back of the field. We got off strategy pretty badly there trying to get out of sequence to pass the pack and get in contention. We got up front, but ran out of time. It's normally a race of attrition, so you have to look out for your stuff and qualify well to stay out of trouble. Hopefully we can have a little easier run than last year. We really tore our stuff up trying to get through the field. By the end of the race, the gearbox was about done, so too were the brakes."

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JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Do you enjoy racing at Sonoma? "Sonoma is a good track for me. I ran really good there in the (NASCAR K&N Series) West car and I ran good there in the Cup car last year. I just got in a wreck, that was my biggest problem. If I stay out of that, I should have a decent finish. It's a big fuel mileage and track position game, so it seems like the better fuel mileage you can get and short pit to be there at the end is what you need to do. I think I had a top-10 to a top-five run going last year so we need to make sure we do that again."

-source: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Mattias Ekström , Scott Speed , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch
Teams Red Bull Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing