Toyota Motorsports 2008 season review

10 FOR TOYOTA: Toyota Camry drivers earned 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) wins in 2008. Kyle Busch led the Camry contingent with eight victories in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Camry. Busch earned Toyota's initial Cup triumph at Atlanta...

10 FOR TOYOTA: Toyota Camry drivers earned 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) wins in 2008. Kyle Busch led the Camry contingent with eight victories in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Camry. Busch earned Toyota's initial Cup triumph at Atlanta (March 9), followed by victories at Talladega (April 27), Darlington (May 10), California's Infineon (June 22), Watkins Glen (Aug. 10), Dover (June 1), Daytona (July 5) and Chicagoland (July 12). Denny Hamlin visited victory lane at Virginia's Martinsville Speedway (March 30) and Tony Stewart crossed the finish line first at Talladega (Oct. 5).

MEMORABLE MOMENT: Busch earned Toyota's first-ever NSCS victory in the fourth race of the 2008 season at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The 23-year-old Las Vegas-native led 173 of 325 laps in the JGR No. 18 Snickers Camry en route to the checkered flag. Toyota's inaugural NSCS victory came in the 40th race for the Camry since joining the series in 2007. Busch's JGR teammate, Stewart, finished second to give Toyota a one-two sweep. "It was pretty special," said Busch, after his Atlanta win. "We are fortunate to have Toyota on our side, giving us the help that we need. To win the first race for Toyota was fun. I'm sure they wanted it sooner, but I'm glad I was able to do it for them."

UNBELIEVABLE BUSCH: Busch competed in a total of 81 NASCAR races across the three national series in 2008 -- NSCS, NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS). During the season he registered 21 wins, seven poles, 45 top-five finishes and 57 top-10 results. He now holds the NASCAR record for most wins by one driver in a single year across the top-three series. "It's been a great year and it means a lot to have a year like this and win as many races as we have," says Busch. "People discounted the Nationwide and the Truck wins because it's a lesser series than what the Cup series is, but there are Cup guys that are running in those series. There are ex-Cup guys in the Truck series and Cup guys now in the Nationwide Series and upcoming guys that are supposed to be the best of what there is today."

POKER PLAYING: Crew chief Steve Addington led the JGR No. 18 Camry team to its first 'Chase' appearance in 2008 after earning eight wins with Busch in the first 26 races of the season. The team entered the 'Chase' with on top of the standings, but bad luck early in the 10-race playoff ended any hopes of a title -- and the team finished 10th in the final NSCS point standings. "Don't show your hand too early in the season and let these other guys go to work and get better than you," says Addington. "The one thing that I learned is how to approach this stuff. We know we have a good package, so let's try some different things and not show our hand. We've got a good enough race team to be in the 'Chase.'"

PLACES IN THE 'CHASE': In 2008, the three JGR Camrys of Busch, Hamlin and Stewart gave Toyota its first drivers in the 'Chase'. Hamlin finished the year eighth in points as the highest Camry driver in the point standings. Stewart finished the season in ninth-place and Busch was 10th in the standings. Other Toyota drivers who finished in the top-35 in the 2008 NSCS point standings include Brian Vickers (19th), David Reutimann (22nd), Michael Waltrip (29th) and Dave Blaney (30th).

DENNY DELIVERS: Denny Hamlin recently visited Japan to participate in Toyota's annual Motor Sports Day at Fuji Speedway. The event featured Toyota drivers from a variety of different racing series, including NASCAR and Formula One, as well as Toyota race cars that participate in various racing series. "This was my first time traveling overseas," said Hamlin, who took a few demonstration laps in the JGR Camry. "It was an excellent experience. The Fuji Speedway was a good track and I was impressed with the Japanese fans and how excited they were to see a NASCAR race car. It was really enjoyable and I'm glad I was able to attend Toyota's Motorsports Day."

WALTRIP'S TEAM WORKING: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) ended the season with Reutimann's No. 44 Camry on the pole in the season-finale at Homestead. "MWR made huge strides in 2008," says team owner Waltrip. "We led races, had chances to win and established ourselves as contenders this year. We went from missing races with no cars in the top-35, to having two cars in the top-30 and one right on the bubble. We know we must continue to improve, but, we also know we have our foundation built that will make us better than we were in 2008."

-credit: toyota motorsports

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