HISTORY IN DELAWARE: This weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Dover International Speedway marks the fourth time the Toyota Camry has competed at the one-mile Delaware oval. In the spring, Kyle Busch earned one of his eight NSCS ...
HISTORY IN DELAWARE: This weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Dover International Speedway marks the fourth time the Toyota Camry has competed at the one-mile Delaware oval. In the spring, Kyle Busch earned one of his eight NSCS victories at 'The Monster Mile.' Two other Camry drivers earned top-15 finishes in the spring race -- Dave Blaney (ninth) and Brian Vickers (13th). Other Camry drivers in the field included J.J. Yeley (24th), David Reutimann (27th), Michael Waltrip (28th), Michael McDowell (30th), AJ Allmendinger (37th), Tony Stewart (41st) and Denny Hamlin (43rd).
TOYOTA TRIFECTA: During the May race weekend at the concrete oval, Toyota swept all three NASCAR races at the track -- marking the first time Toyota had accomplished that feat. Busch earned his fourth NSCS victory of the season (June 1), Hamlin won the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race (May 31) and rookie Tundra driver Scott Speed won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race (May 30). It marked only the seventh time in NASCAR history that one manufacturer earned wins in all three NASCAR series events at one track during the same race weekend.
RACE REWIND: Camry drivers Stewart (eighth) and Hamlin (ninth) each earned top-10 finishes at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday afternoon. Other Camry drivers in the field included Reutimann (15th), Waltrip (25th), McDowell (27th), Joey Logano (32nd), Blaney (33rd), Busch (33rd) Vickers (35th) and Allmendinger (38th).
PLACES IN THE 'CHASE': Toyota is represented in the 'Chase for the Sprint Cup' for the first time since entering the series in 2007. Three Camry drivers -- Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammates Busch, Hamlin and Stewart -- started the 10-race 'Chase' at New Hampshire. Busch went into the 'Chase' in first-place with a 30-point lead, but fell to the eighth position in standings after early mechanical problems and then a spin resulted in a 33rd-place finish in the first event of the 10-race 'Chase.' Hamlin remains sixth in the point standings and Stewart moved up to seventh.
'CHASE' CHATTER: "Jimmie (Johnson) wasn't even an issue until two or three months ago and then he did a lot of testing and picked up his program," says Hamlin, of competing in the 'Chase.' "It could happen for any of the other guys that are in, Greg (Biffle) is starting to run strong and I feel like we're coming into our own coming off of a couple of top-10 finishes -- and it was on a variety of race tracks between the big and the small. I think we've gotten our package better and each week it seems like we're getting a little more confidence and things are starting to mesh really well."
MORE 'CHASE' CHATTER: "We see it in the sport -- there's always peaks and valleys and guys always seem to really peak either before or during the 'Chase', adds Hamlin. "I t's hard to see someone really stay on top for an entire year simply because when someone goes out there and dominates it just forces everyone else to go to work. I think there's nine other guys in the 'Chase' that are thinking, 'we have something to prove so let's go test and let's figure out what we have to do to beat these guys.'"
JOEY JUMPS IN: Eighteen-year-old Logano made his much anticipated Cup debut at New Hampshire Sunday in the No. 96 Home Depot/DLP HDTV Camry. "It was fun -- I enjoyed it," said Logano, after the race. "By lap 200 I wanted it to end because we weren't running worth a dang. We are going to take what we learned and go at it. Deep down inside I really wanted a better finish. We got close to where we needed to be -- just too late in the race and we weren't able to work on it from there."
FUN PLACE TO RACE: After winning the spring NSCS race at Dover, Busch looks forward to returning to 'The Monster Mile' this weekend. "Dover is fun -- I love that place," says Busch. "I always run the triple there in the spring race because the trucks are there with us. I'm running the Nationwide race this time, too. There are a lot of characteristics that make it fun -- the concrete, the mile, the high banks and everything. I think we can run well there. We won the last time and this time around, hopefully things will go about the same way. If not, a top-three or a top-five would be good."
BLANEY'S BEST: Camry driver Blaney earned a season-best ninth-place finish the first time around at the one-mile Delaware oval. "We have only had a handful of races where we have run really well this year and Dover was one of them," says Blaney, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Camry. "I think we'll have a good combination to go back and hopefully be competitive and maybe have a shot at another top-10."
DAVE DESCRIBES DOVER: "That race track is fun because by race day you will see guys running way at the top of it, at the bottom and in the middle -- so there's room to race which is fun, but still the best handling cars always go to the front," adds Blaney. "At that place you are in the corners so long, there's not much straight-away to it and you have to stay out of trouble."
DOUBLE DUTY: Three Toyota drivers will compete in both the NSCS and NNS events at Dover. Busch will drive the No. 18 JGR entry in both races. Hamlin will be behind the wheel of the familiar No. 11 JGR entry in the NSCS race and the No. 32 Braun Racing entry in the NNS. Reutimann will once again compete for Michael Waltrip Racing in both events, pulling his regular Toyota 'double-duty.'
REFRESH MY MEMORY: "You can gain knowledge of the different lines around the track," says Busch, of running both NSCS and NNS races at Dover. "It's always good to have a refresher course. My memory is terrible. I can tell you anything about any race, but I couldn't tell you anything about the line I ran or where I broke. I've got to get a refresher course when I go back to race tracks, and it's always nice to have it fresh in your mind."
HOMETOWN TIES: Ty Norris, Michael Waltrip Racing's vice president and general manager, has strong ties to the state of Delaware. Norris grew up in Smyrna, Del., and attended Delaware State University where he studied journalism. Upon graduation, Norris was hired to work for the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal in 1984. He then became a sportswriter for the Delaware State News in 1988, where he covered regional collegiate and professional sports. As part of his job, Norris also covered auto racing events, including both NASCAR races at Dover each year.
TY TALKS: "I'm all set up to go to a friend's function in Dewey Beach and maybe I can catch a University of Delaware football game," says Norris, of his upcoming trip to Delaware for the race weekend. "I like to hang at my sister's house because she has horses and go to some of my friend's Little League games."
CLOSE TO HOME: Tom Dean, front tire carrier for the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing entry, is from Long Valley, N.J., which is approximately three hours northeast of 'The Monster Mile.' Dean joined JGR following the 1998 season and has been with the No. 20 team since its inception. Prior to joining the team, Dean worked as a mechanic with the IROC (International Race of Champions) Series from 1995-1998.
-credito: toyota motorsports