Having A Hybrid Denny Discusses Tricky Track Busch Wants 600 Win NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: Toyota Camry drivers have combined for three wins (Kyle Busch -- Las Vegas, Bristol and Richmond), 10 top-fives and 20...
Having A Hybrid
Denny Discusses Tricky Track
Busch Wants 600 Win
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)
NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: Toyota Camry drivers have combined for three wins (Kyle Busch -- Las Vegas, Bristol and Richmond), 10 top-fives and 20 top-10 finishes through 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races in 2009 - The Toyota Camry Hybrid pace car will make its debut in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 - Ten local members of the United States Armed Forces have been selected to drive Toyota Tundra parade vehicles prior to Sunday's race - Those selected include Timothy Allison (Charlotte, N.C.) and Marty Hogan (Salisbury, N.C.) from the U.S. Air Force; Dale Oliver (Matthews, N.C.) from the U.S. Air National Guard; Robert Aaron (Rock Hill, S.C.), Marco Chiraini (Gastonia, N.C.), David Gaddy (Denver, N.C.) and Richard Hardick (Mooresville, N.C.) from the U.S. Army; Kenneth Bealer (Waxhaw, N.C.) and Joseph Clark (Huntersville, N.C.) from the U.S. Marine Corps; and Barry Sheilia (Kannapolis, N.C.) from the U.S. Navy - The Red Bull Racing Team will celebrate its Fan Appreciation Day at the team's headquarters in Mooresville, N.C. on Friday, May 22.
ED LAUKES, Corporate Motorsports Marketing Manager, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
Why is it important for Toyota to have the Camry Hybrid serve as the pace car for the Coca-Cola 600? "With our involvement in NASCAR we thought it would be exciting to get a Camry Hybrid in a race, as the official pace car of a race -- not just as a parade vehicle -- but for a whole race. It's a chance to demonstrate the performance of the vehicle. The fact that we can take a car that literally anyone can go buy from a local Toyota dealer and to have it go out and pass the performance characteristics that are necessary in NASCAR, we think is pretty exciting."
What is the importance of using a hybrid pace car in NASCAR? "I think it's symbolic for sure. It's special to know that Toyota does care and that they are trying to do what they can. I don't think that anyone is trying to say that using a hybrid as a pace car every weekend is going to save the world, but it is a symbolic gesture to say, It's not the final step, but it is a step in the right direction and it is a step that we're committed to and we want to show off how proud we are of this technology and it is a stepping stone to the answer.' I think it's important and no different than me driving or buying a hybrid. It's not the answer, but it's supporting the technology that is in the right direction."
Do you want to be the first car to follow the Toyota Camry Hybrid pace car to the green flag? "I'd love to be the first one to bump the Camry Hybrid pace car. Being on the pole would be pretty cool at the Coca-Cola 600 and to be the first one to follow a hybrid at a NASCAR event. Winning the race would be really special, so being the last one to follow him would probably be better than being the first."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What makes winning at Lowe's Motor Speedway special?
"I think it's just the atmosphere -- it's the people knowing they're at home and wanting to maybe show off or impress some people at the race shop and try to get that win. It's a big race for us drivers. We know when we win at home like that it is just a little bit more exciting than anywhere else. I think that's on the line and that's why you see guys pushing it and thinking it's maybe worth getting in a wreck to try to win this race."
How does the track surface at Lowe's Motor Speedway change from day to night? "Charlotte is one of the most critical tracks as far as heat is concerned. I've never seen a race track change as much as that race track does from day to night and I don't know what it is. We're not in weather that's hot or cold. You would think that Las Vegas or something like that would be a big factor, but for Charlotte there is something about the surface that just makes it to where when the sun comes out the oils come up and it just makes it very, very slick and it makes it very hard to get a hold of. It just seems like when it cools down the speeds start picking up and you gain a second or two seconds worth of time. It's pretty amazing to me as to why it's so sensitive."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What would a win in the Coca-Cola 600 mean? "People say that it's kind of like the home-base for everybody, where everybody wants to run well here. To run well here in the 600-miler means a lot and to go out here to win the thing -- of course being the longest race of the year and showing that you have the endurance and your equipment has the endurance in it -- just basically getting another win."
Does the lack of testing put more pressure on the driver? "Not really. I just think it's going to be a fine race for everybody -- it should be fun hopefully. Without the testing I think it should make things a little more interesting to see who is coming prepared and who has good notes from last year and who decided to change some things for this year."
-credit: toyota motorsports