HISTORY AT ATLANTA: The Toyota Camry will make its fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) start at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. In March, Kyle Busch scored Toyota's inaugural NSCS victory at the 1.5-mile Georgia oval, leading 173 of 325...
HISTORY AT ATLANTA: The Toyota Camry will make its fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) start at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. In March, Kyle Busch scored Toyota's inaugural NSCS victory at the 1.5-mile Georgia oval, leading 173 of 325 laps en route to the checkered flag. Busch was followed to the finish line by Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate Tony Stewart, for a one-two Toyota sweep. Camry drivers Brian Vickers (ninth) and Denny Hamlin (15th) also posted top-15 results in the spring race earlier this year.
RACE REWIND: Hamlin was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in the most recent NSCS race, recording a fifth-place result in the No. 11 FedEx Camry at Virginia's Martinsville Speedway. Toyota drivers Vickers (11th) and Michael Waltrip (20th) also finished inside the top-20. Camry drivers Dave Blaney (22nd), David Reutimann (24th), Stewart (26th), Ken Schrader (28th), Busch (29th), Scott Speed (30th) and Mike Bliss (39th) were also in the field.
HAMLIN HAS HOPE: Through the first five races of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup,' Hamlin has suffered a series of bad luck, including a blown right-front tire while leading at Talladega -- which ultimately took the Chesterfield, Va.-native out of championship contention. However, a fifth-place run at Martinsville has Hamlin excited for the final four races of the season. "It definitely feels good," said Hamlin, following the Martinsville race. "It's a relief for us. I'm excited to make it to the second half of this Chase'. We've had a rough start and a realistic goal for us is to try to get to the top six or seven in points."
INAUGURAL WIN: Toyota earned its first NSCS victory at Atlanta in March when Busch crossed the finish line first in his JGR No. 18 Camry. Toyota's inaugural NSCS win came in the 40th race for the Camry since joining the series at the start of the 2007 season. Busch also won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race that weekend at Atlanta, becoming the first driver to sweep both the NSCS and NCTS races on the same weekend. It also marked Busch's first NSCS victory at JGR since joining the team at the start of the season.
'ROWDY' REFLECTS: "It was pretty cool to be able to bring home Toyota's first win, not only for myself, but for the whole JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) camp," says Busch. "Of course, for the 18 team too -- to bring the history back to that car from Atlanta with all the success that they've had there -- that was pretty cool at that track. It means the world to be able to win any time, but to get Toyota their first win was pretty cool."
GEORGIA ON HIS MIND: This weekend, Stewart will make his 20th NSCS start at Atlanta, a track where the Columbus, Ind.-native has enjoyed considerable success. The two-time Cup champion has two wins (spring 2002 and fall 2006), one pole (fall 2002) and 12 top-10 finishes in 19 previous starts at Atlanta. "I'm excited about it," says Stewart, of heading to Atlanta. "Atlanta is a huge market for us with Home Depot and Coca-Cola being down there. It's a driver's race track. It's about guys that can get up on the wheel and get comfortable up by the wall. So, we're all looking forward to going back."
CAMRY 'CHASE' RACERS: Stewart is the highest-ranking Toyota driver in the 'Chase,' currently sitting eighth in the 12-car field, 338 points behind current leader Jimmie Johnson. Hamlin (11th) and Busch (12th) are also in the top-12 in points after six of 10 'Chase' races, and 32 of 36 races complete in the 2008 NSCS season.
JOEY JUMPS IN AT JGR: Joey Logano, who has been tapped to take over driving duties of the No. 20 Home Depot Camry in 2009, will make his NSCS debut with JGR this weekend at Atlanta. The 18-year-old has competed in 15 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) races with JGR and has made a pair of NSCS starts with Hall of Fame Racing, but will debut in the No. 02 Home Depot Camry on Sunday. "I ran (in Atlanta) a lot when I was little in the Bandoleros and Legends," says Logano. "There is a lot of history and a lot of memories there. It's kind of like a second home track for me."
300 STARTS FOR BLANEY: Dave Blaney will make his 300th career Sprint Cup Series start Sunday at Atlanta, driving the Bill Davis Racing No. 22 Caterpillar Camry. The Hartford, Ohio-native will also celebrate his 46th birthday at the track on Friday, Oct. 24. Blaney made his NSCS debut at North Carolina Speedway (Rockingham, N.C.) in 1992. In total, he has logged more than 110,000 miles in NSCS competition.
TEN FOR TOYOTA: Toyota Camry drivers have earned 10 NSCS wins through the first 32 races of 2008. Stewart earned Toyota's most recent victory at Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway (Oct. 5), recording his 33rd career NSCS win, his first Cup win at the Talladega track and his initial Cup victory driving a Camry. Busch has won eight races in his JGR No. 18 Camry -- most recently recording a win at the Watkins Glen road course (Aug. 10). Busch also earned victories at Atlanta (March 9), Talladega (April 27), Darlington (May 10), Dover (June 1) , Infineon (June 22), Daytona (July 5) and Chicagoland (July 12). Hamlin visited victory lane at Martinsville (March 30) to record Toyota's second NSCS win.
-credit: toyota motorsports