Toyota notes 2009-04-28

Richmond Rewind Hamlin Headed Home Success at Short Tracks for First-Year Camry Cup Driver Rookies Race to Career-Best Results RICHMOND REPLAY: Last year, Toyota drivers earned four top-five finishes in the two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) ...

Richmond Rewind
Hamlin Headed Home
Success at Short Tracks for First-Year Camry Cup Driver
Rookies Race to Career-Best Results

RICHMOND REPLAY: Last year, Toyota drivers earned four top-five finishes in the two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races at Richmond International Raceway (RIR). In the spring race at Richmond, Kyle Busch (second) and Tony Stewart (fourth) recorded top-five finishes. Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate Denny Hamlin, a Chesterfield, Va.-native, started from the pole and led 381 laps before a tire problem forced him to finish with a 24th-place result. In the fall race, former Camry driver Stewart finished second and Hamlin was third. Camry driver David Reutimann also earned a ninth-place result at the three-quarter-mile D-shaped oval.

HAMLIN'S HOMETOWN: Camry driver Denny Hamlin grew up just outside Richmond in Chesterfield, Va., -- about 15 miles from the Richmond track. Hamlin was a successful kart racer as a youngster around the Richmond-area, winning his first race at the age of seven. The 28-year-old racer has made six NSCS starts at RIR and has recorded three top-three finishes and four top-10 results, including a runner-up finish in his first NSCS start there (2006). Last spring, Hamlin dominated the competition at Richmond after starting from the pole position in his JGR No. 11 FedEx Camry -- leading the race twice for a total of 381 of 400 laps -- but had a tire go flat late in the race and missed his opportunity to capture the checkered flag. Hamlin finished third at Richmond last fall, and won from the pole in the

HOMETOWN TIES: Curtis Markham returns to his birthplace of Richmond, Va., as the spotter for Denny Hamlin and the No. 11 FedEx Camry. Markham, who calls Fredericksburg, Va., his home, is responsible for the partnership between Hamlin and JGR. When JGR planned a program to help minority drivers get into NASCAR, it was Markham who was sent to Hickory Motor Speedway in N.C., where he discovered Hamlin test driving and preparing vehicles for the program. Hamlin continually raced around the track with record-setting times. Markham, who was previously a driver in all three NASCAR premier series, immediately contacted team president J.D. Gibbs and within days Hamlin was signed to a developmental contract with the team in 2004.

SHORT TRACK SHOWDOWN: Before hitting the track at RIR, Denny Hamlin will host the second annual 'Short Track Showdown' at Southside Speedway in Richmond, Va., on Thursday (April 30). The race will feature Hamlin and fellow Camry drivers Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. Tony Stewart and Hamlin's spotter Curtis Markham will also compete in the 175-lap Limited Late Model event against some of the best racers in the south. The race benefits the Denny Hamlin Foundation and last year, a check for $50,000 was presented to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation from proceeds of the race.

SUCCESS AT SHORT TRACKS: Camry driver Marcos Ambrose, a former touring car champion, has proven he can also be successful on short tracks in the Cup Series. Ambrose, driver of the No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Camry, earned back-to-back top-15 finishes earlier this season. The Australian, known for his skills on road course tracks, earned a 10th-place result at Bristol (March 22) which marked his short track debut in the Cup Series. The following week, Ambrose earned a 14th-place result at Martinsville (March 29).

ROOKIE ROUNDUP: Camry rookies Joey Logano and Scott Speed each earned career-best results in NSCS competition Sunday in their first Cup appearance at Talladega Superspeedway. Speed, driver of the No. 82 Red Bull Camry, finished fifth and Logano, driver of the JGR No. 20 Home Depot Camry, finished ninth. Both drivers will make their career-first NSCS starts at Richmond.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Tony Stewart , Marcos Ambrose , Scott Speed , David Reutimann , Denny Hamlin , Joey Logano , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing