TOYOTA AT TEXAS: The Toyota Camry will make its fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) start at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Three Camry drivers -- Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammates Kyle Busch (third), Denny Hamlin (fifth) and Tony Stewart...
TOYOTA AT TEXAS: The Toyota Camry will make its fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) start at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Three Camry drivers -- Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammates Kyle Busch (third), Denny Hamlin (fifth) and Tony Stewart (seventh) -- recorded top-10 finishes during the spring race at the 1.5-mile oval. After starting third and leading 16 of the first 29 laps, Busch was able to work with an ill-handling car to finish third.
ATLANTA REWIND: Hamlin (third) and Busch (fifth) scored top-five finishes for Toyota at Atlanta. Hamlin led 56 laps to record his career-best NSCS finish at the Georgia oval and his ninth top-three result of 2008. Other Toyota drivers in the field included Stewart (17th), Brian Vickers (21st), David Reutimann (28th), Marcos Ambrose (29th), Scott Speed (34th), Ken Schrader (35th), Michael Waltrip (37th) and Dave Blaney (41st). Ambrose made his first career Cup start in a Camry at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
RACE RESTART: Hamlin was leading the race when a debris caution bunched up the field with 15 laps remaining, enabling race-winner Carl Edwards and runner-up Jimmie Johnson to pass him. "We struggled on the restarts," said Hamlin. "But, the 99 (Carl Edwards) was coming. I think I was in the middle of the track versus going high or low and he hit us and knocked us down the race track. He chose what lane he wanted to be in. Once you get the guy on the outside on the restart, it's over. The only way regain was to do it back to him, but our car would not take off."
MAKING THE MOST: As an eight-time NSCS winner this season, Busch and his No. 18 Camry team didn't give up in Atlanta despite handling problems during the second half of the event. "This was a hard fought finish," said Busch, after the race. "The guys kept digging in and Steve (Addington, crew chief) kept making changes to get us further up there. We made the most of a solid run. We need to start running in the top-five and then the wins should come back our way."
CONSISTENCY COUNTS: In 13 NSCS starts at Texas Motor Speedway, Stewart has been quite consistent by accumulating one win, being one of only three drivers with eight top-10 results and leading the most laps at the track. "It puts you in a positive frame of mind when you go to a track knowing that you've run well there before," says Stewart. "You have to be comfortable or you're not going to go fast. You can move around on the race track to where you can run on the top side or the bottom side. It's nice from a driver's perspective to be able to have that flexibility behind the steering wheel, knowing that if your car's not driving exactly the way you want it to, you can find a spot the car likes better."
TUNING IN A TRACK: "Anytime you put more seasons on a race track, the better it gets because it seems like the pavement wears out on the bottom and it makes it to where you can run the top and be fast and you can run the bottom and be fast," says two-time Cup champion Stewart. "Every year that we come (to Texas), I think the racing just gets better and better, as far as being able to move around on the race track and guys not having to just follow each other and get stuck behind each other. You can actually pass, you can race and you can get away from guys if your car's fast."
CAMRY 'CHASE' RACERS: Stewart is the highest-ranking Toyota driver in the 'Chase,' currently sitting eighth in the 12-car field, 401 points behind current leader Johnson. Hamlin (11th) and Busch (12th) are also in the top-12 in points with 33 of 36 races complete in the 2008 NSCS season.
TOYOTA TOP-10S: This season, nine of the 10 full-time Camry teams have earned top-10 NSCS finishes. The No. 00 entry, which will be driven by Marcos Ambrose as the No. 47 Camry for the remainder of the year, will attempt to earn a 10th-place or better finish. Camry drivers have earned 43 top-five results and 67 top-10 finishes in 2008. Toyota drivers have led 3,447 of a possible 9,412 laps in NSCS this season -- more than one-third of all laps.
-credit: toyota motorsports