Toyota Motorsports notes, quotes 2008-10-15

HISTORY AT MARTINSVILLE: The Toyota Camry will make its fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) start at Martinsville Speedway this weekend. In March, Camry driver Denny Hamlin earned Toyota's second NSCS win of the season at the Virginia oval.

HISTORY AT MARTINSVILLE: The Toyota Camry will make its fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) start at Martinsville Speedway this weekend. In March, Camry driver Denny Hamlin earned Toyota's second NSCS win of the season at the Virginia oval. Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate Tony Stewart also recorded a top-five finish for Toyota with a fifth-place result. Other Camry drivers in the field included Brian Vickers (23rd), Michael McDowell (26th), J.J. Yeley (27th), Mike Skinner (31st), Michael Waltrip (35th), Ken Schrader (37th), Kyle Busch (38th), David Reutimann (39th) and Dave Blaney (43rd).

RACE REWIND: Busch earned the top finish for Toyota in Saturday's race at Charlotte's Lowe's Motor Speedway with a fourth-place result -- his best finish in this year's 'Chase'. Stewart (11th), Hamlin (16th) and Vickers (18th) also earned top-20 finishes for Toyota. Other Camry drivers who competed at Charlotte included Waltrip (24th), Blaney (27th), Reutimann (32nd), Schrader (38th), Skinner (39th) and AJ Allmendinger (43rd).

KYLE CLIMBING: After his fourth-place result in Saturday's race, Busch has now tallied 16 top-five finishes, 18 top-10 results and has led 1,671 laps in 31 races this season. "It was a hard-fought fourth -- it was the best the car was there at the end of the race, the last couple runs," said Busch, following the race. "We were fortunate enough to bring this car home up front with a good fourth-place finish. I'm proud of all the efforts there with all these guys."

'CHASE'-CONTENDERS: Busch gained two positions in the 'Chase for the Sprint Cup' following Charlotte and moved into ninth-place in the standings. Stewart held onto seventh-place and Hamlin is ranked 12th in the current NSCS point standings. With five races remaining in the 'Chase,' Stewart is 228 points behind current leader Jimmie Johnson.

TURNAROUND TIME: In March, Hamlin started from the outside of the front row at Martinsville and led the field three times for a total of 82 laps en route to his victory. "I'm looking forward to Martinsville," says Hamlin. "It seems like our luck has been so bad I'm looking to turn it around any way I can -- and Martinsville seems to be a track we've done that at. It's one I'm looking forward to -- I definitely consider it my second 'home' track."

TROPHY TALK: Hamlin's win at Martinsville in March was special for the Chesterfield, Va.-native, not only because it was in his home state, but also because of the first-place prize. "That was very cool because I always would get made fun of by my team guys and my spotter about not having a grandfather clock," explains Hamlin, of his trophy. "Now that I have one, they have to come up with something else. Then I got a duplicate that's actually at my house -- the original is at my parent's."

GAINING GROUND: "It's going to be a track that is somewhat of a wild card, but I think it's just that you have some guys that are in the 'Chase' that don't particularly run well at Martinsville and some guys that do," says Hamlin of Martinsville. "It's a track that we always look at that we can make up a few points. Jimmie (Johnson) as the leader is going to be hard because he runs really well there, but we can obviously gain on some guys that are in front of us in points right now. We have some good tracks coming up for us, for s ure. I'm cautiously optimistic that we can get back in it."

SHORT TRACK STRATEGY: "It's just a short track race and you've got to try to have a good car for (it) and it's hard to have a good car there with the field as tight as it is," says Busch of Martinsville. "Qualifying up front seems to help out a little bit. We know who the guys that are going to be tough there are. Really, there's not hing that you can change about that race track to stay out of trouble or what not. Basically, you can be leading the race and have a wreck in front of you while you are trying to lap some guys."

MARTINSVILLE MAKE UP: Vickers believes the new NASCAR chassis is better suited for racing at the Virginia short track. "These cars are probably more suited for Martinsville and take the beating and banging and the punishment even better than the old cars because the bumpers do align and everything is so rigid and the foam in the doors," says Vickers.

MILESTONE AT MARTINSVILLE: Reutimann will make his 200th career start driving a Toyota in a NASCAR race when he pilots the No. 44 Michael Waltrip Racing Camry at Martinsville on Sunday. Reutimann has made the most starts among all Toyota drivers, including 57 NSCS starts, 66 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) starts and 76 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) starts.

SPEEDY START: After qualifying was rained out last week at Charlotte, former Formula One racer and current Red Bull Racing Team development driver Scott Speed will now make his first career NSCS start at Martinsville in the No. 84 Red Bull Camry. The 25-year-old will also sit behind the wheel of the No. 84 Red Bull Camry at Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. In 10 NCTS starts this year, Speed has recorded four top-10 finishes including a win in only his sixth NCTS start at Dover (May 30).

-credit: toyota motorsports

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Ken Schrader , Michael McDowell , Scott Speed , J.J. Yeley , David Reutimann , Denny Hamlin , Dave Blaney , Kyle Busch
Teams Red Bull Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing