TRYING FOR THE 'TRIPLE': Kyle Busch's third-place NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) finish at Auto Club Speedway Sunday left him two positions shy of being the first driver in NASCAR history to score a 'hat trick' -- winning all three NASCAR races...
TRYING FOR THE 'TRIPLE': Kyle Busch's third-place NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) finish at Auto Club Speedway Sunday left him two positions shy of being the first driver in NASCAR history to score a 'hat trick' -- winning all three NASCAR races during one weekend. Despite missing that opportunity, the Las Vegas native established another record by becoming the first driver to win two NASCAR races on the same day when he won twice Saturday -- the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) events.
VEGAS VENGEANCE: Camry drivers have been tested at Las Vegas Motor Speedway since entering the NSCS and NNS in 2007. In last year's NSCS race, Denny Hamlin recorded a ninth-place finish, followed by Busch (11th) -- who led 56 laps after starting from the pole. In NNS competition, the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Camrys, driven by Busch and Tony Stewart, combined to lead 79 laps in 2008, only to have their days shortened by accidents. The Germain Racing entry of Mike Wallace finished seventh, while the rest of the Camry drivers, including Braun Racing's Brian Vickers -- who started from the pole -- were also involved in on-track incidents or had mechanical difficulties.
LEAVING LAS VEGAS: Busch grew up in Las Vegas before moving to North Carolina when he began his NASCAR career. The 23-year-old, who graduated early with honors from Durango High School in 2002, still keeps in contact with several friends in the Las Vegas-area. His fondest racing memory of Las Vegas Motor Speedway is winning his first-ever Late Model event at the track. A year ago, Busch won 21 NASCAR races to bring his career total to 44 wins across the top-three series in NASCAR.
WHO'S MY HERO?: Two Toyota drivers who grew up on the west coast -- Busch and Scott Speed have uniquely different racing heroes. Busch's first racing hero was Jeff Gordon because the four-time champion was at the top of the series standings when Busch began paying attention to NASCAR. He also looked up to Carroll Shelby -- sponsor of the Las Vegas race, for what he's done in building cars. Speed, on the other hand, followed his Dad's lead and became a fan of NASCAR driver Ernie Irvan, before his love for open-wheel racing led him to support Michael Schumacher.
MAX MAKES FIRST: Max Papis will make his 2009 NSCS debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Italian driver was the 2004 Grand-Am Daytona Prototype champion after a season in which he registered four wins, eight podium-finishes and 11 poles in 12 races utilizing a Lexus-powered entry. He earned the nickname 'Mad Max' for his never give up attitude during the 1996 24 hours at Daytona. Max and his wife, Tatiana, recently welcomed their second son, Matteo Fittipaldi Papis, on February 14. Matteo weighed in at 6 lbs. 10 oz., and measured 18 inches.
WHAT'S FOR LUNCH?: Toyota drivers Scott Speed and Max Papis will participate in a Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year cooking competition, with some assistance from the ESPN Zone culinary team, on Thursday, Feb. 26. The drivers will learn basic cooking skills, as well as how to prepare healthy and delicious meals. Then they will roll up their sleeves to prepare a meal for some tough critics -- kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Las Vegas, who will watch and judge.
-credit: toyota motorsports