Montreal: Toyota Motorsports preview

NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Montreal) NATIONWIDE NEWS: This weekend will be the second trip to Canada for the Camry and the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS). During last year's inaugural visit to Montreal,...

NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Montreal)

NATIONWIDE NEWS: This weekend will be the second trip to Canada for the Camry and the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS). During last year's inaugural visit to Montreal, Reutimann was the top-finishing Camry driver with a ninth- place result. John Graham (23rd) and Jason Leffler (26th) also competed at the 2.709-mile road course a year ago.

ANOTHER WIN AT ORP: In July 2007, Toyota earned it's first-ever NNS victory when Leffler took the checkered flag first in his No. 38 Great Clips Camry at O'Reilly Raceway Park (ORP). One year later, a Camry driven by Busch cruised to victory lane again at ORP, earning Toyota's 17th series victory and 15th win in 2008. Busch began Saturday's race from the outside of row one and led 197 of the 200 laps in his JGR No. 18 Z-Line Designs Camry. Busch's teammate Joey Logano earned an eighth-place result -- his fifth top-10 in six NNS races. Other Camry drivers in the field included Leffler (16th), Mike Wallace (17th), Reutimann (26th) and James Buescher (28th).

RECORD RUN: Busch's NNS victory on Saturday helped JGR set a new Nationwide Series record for wins by one team in a single season. The JGR No. 18 (five wins) and No. 20 (nine wins) Camrys have combined for 14 total victories in 2008. Drivers who have recorded wins for JGR this season include Stewart (five), Busch (five), Hamlin (three) and Logano (one). "We've got a great group of people and I think it shows with this being 14 wins for us at the Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide program," said Jason Ratcliff, crew chief for the No. 18 Camry, after the ORP race. "It's all about the people here."

BUSCH NOW THE BEST: Busch's NNS win established another milestone on Saturday when he registered his 15th victory of the season across all three of NASCAR's national series -- breaking a record established in 2006 by Kevin Harvick. Busch's 15 NASCAR wins this season include seven in the NSCS (JGR), six in the NNS (five for JGR and one for Braun Racing) and two in the NCTS (Billy Ballew Motorsports). "It's just been a tremendous year for us," says Busch. "The opportunity that I've had at Joe Gibbs Racing and all the guys there, everybody in the Nationwide shop and the Cup shop as a whole, and Toyota has really stepped it up t his year. We've really come ready to play. For me, it's been a dream season all around."

HOME TRACK HISTORY: Montreal-native and past Formula 1 champion, Jacques Villeneuve , will compete for Braun Racing in the No. 32 Camry this weekend at a track named after his father and former Formula 1 driver Gilles Villeneuve. It will be the first time he'll race in the NNS after competing in seven NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) and two NSCS events over the last year and a half. "I am very grateful and happy to have the opportunity to drive for Braun Racing in Montreal," says Villeneuve. "The people of Montreal and Canada love their racing, and this town is going to go crazy! It's super exciting for me to be here to race for the Canadian fans."

KNOW THE TRACK: "It's always an advantage to know the circuit layout," says Villeneuve of his experience on the course in Montreal. "But, in a way I am worried about my Formula 1 habits that are already formed. My biggest worry would be my brake lines, and I will have to remind myself not to use the Formula 1 brake markers."

OFF BUT ON: With the NCTS taking the weekend off, Germain Racing's pit crew and crew chiefs have chosen to attend another race rather than take some time off. Mike Hillman, Jr., (NCTS No. 30 Tundra crew chief) will serve as crew chief for Braun Racing's No. 32 Camry driven by Villeneuve in Montreal. Crew members from Todd Bodine's No. 30 Tundra and Justin Marks' No. 9 Tundra will serve as the pit crew, and Jason Overstreet (NCTS No. 9 Tundra crew chief) will also assist the team in Canada. Hillman and his crew helped Bodine to fourth-place result in the NNS race at Darlington earlier this year.

OH, CANADA: Engine tuner for Reutimann's No. 99 NAPA Auto Parts Camry, Yves LaFrance , grew up near Montreal in Cornwall and is referred to as 'Frenchy' throughout the NASCAR garage. The 42-year-old has been involved in racing for several years. His father, Marcel LaFrance , raced Dirt Modifieds and was racing in Middletown, N.Y., some time around 1992/1993. Marcel wrecked his car during the heat race and together they repaired the damage and asked Emil Reutimann -- who is known as Buzzie, David's father -- to race the car because he was guaranteed a starting spot. David was there and helped work on the car and got to know Yves.

ROAD RACING ROOTS: Tundra racer (Justin) Marks began his career in road racing and will make his NNS debut in Braun Racing's No. 10 Camry this weekend that will be sponsored by Canadian company Future Electronics. "I'm really looking forward to it because road racing is where I got my start and how I established myself as a driver," says Marks. "It will be neat to race in a city that's so passionate about racing. I've been able to go there for (some) Formula 1 races and see the layout of the circuit. It's very much like a European-style race track -- the way the fans are right on top of the track. It's on an island and aesthetically it's a really neat place. I'm looking forward to it because it looks like its going to be a challenging course but there's slow speed stuff and real high-speed straight-aways. I've raced on tracks like that before and they're a lot of fun with a lot of opportunity for passing."

CAMRY COUNT: Camrys have won 15 of the first 22 NNS races this year. Busch has six wins, including three consecutive at Texas (April 5), Phoenix (April 11) and Mexico City (April 20), along with victories at Charlotte (May 24), Chicagoland (July 11) and most recently ORP (July 26). Stewart has five NNS wins at Daytona (Feb. 16), California (Feb. 25), Talladega (April 26), Darlington (May 9) and New Hampshire (June 28). Hamlin has recorded three victories at Richmond (May 2), Dover (May 31) and Daytona (July 4). Logano completes the 15 wins for Toyota with his victory at Kentucky (June 14).

CAMRY CONSISTENCY: Four Camry drivers currently hold positions in the top-15 in the NNS point standings after 22 races. Reutimann is fourth in points (290 points behind leader Clint Bowyer), followed by Busch (seventh), Wallace (eighth) and Leffler (11th).

-credit: toyota motorsports

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Todd Bodine , Jason Leffler , Jacques Villeneuve , Kevin Harvick , Mike Wallace , John Graham , Gilles Villeneuve , Justin Marks , Clint Bowyer , Joey Logano , James Buescher
Teams Germain Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing