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Sep 26, 2012 - 08:21 PM
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2012 Dover II: Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Sep 26, 2012 - 08:18 PM
2012 Dover II: Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview


ALL HAMLIN IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: Prior to the weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Camry driver Denny Hamlin predicted he would win the event and Hamlin proved to be correct as he cruised to victory lane in the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 11 FedEx Freight Camry. Although he started 32th on the grid, Hamlin moved into the lead on lap 94 (of 300) at the one-mile oval. He crossed the finish line more than 2.5 seconds ahead of runner-up Jimmie Johnson. The Chesterfield, Virginia-native led the field four times for a race-high 193 laps to earn the 100th NSCS win for JGR and the 48th victory for Toyota.


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CAMRY CHASERS: Following the second event of the 10-race 'Chase for the Sprint Cup' championship playoff, Hamlin ranks third among the 12-driver field -- seven points behind leader Johnson and one point out of second-place. Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr., the first-ever Chase entries for Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR), sit sixth and 10th in the standings, respectively.

BREAK OUT THE BROOM: Toyota drivers have swept all three NASCAR series races at Dover International Speedway twice -- in 2008 and 2010. The 2008 sweep was the first time Toyota drivers took home three first-place trophies in one weekend at a single track, and only the seventh time in NASCAR history for a single manufacturer to complete a sweep of three races at one track. The 2008 victories were earned by Kyle Busch (NSCS), Hamlin (NNS) and Scott Speed (NCWTS). Busch (NSCS and NNS) and Aric Almirola picked up the wins in 2010 (NCWTS).

CAMRYS DOMINATING AT DOVER: Camry drivers have earned five victories and six poles in 11 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) races at Dover International Speedway. Driving for JGR, Busch has three NNS triumphs at the one-mile concrete oval -- Sept. 2008, May 2010 and Sept. 2010. Hamlin won the May 2008 race and his JGR teammate Joey Logano won the most recent race in May 2012. The six poles earned by Toyota drivers include three by Busch (Sept. 2008, Sept. 2009 and May 2010), two by Logano (May 2009 and Sept. 2010) and an additional pole by Ryan Truex in May 2012. Camry drivers have earned 35 top-10 finishes at Dover -- at least one every race since Sept. 2007. Toyota drivers also swept the top-four finishing positions in May 2012 with Logano (first), Truex (second), Brian Scott (third) and Kurt Busch (fourth). The top-three JGR finishers marked the first time in series history that one organization swept the top-three finishing positions.

TRUEX TAKES TO DOVER TRACK: JGR will field a NNS Camry for Ryan Truex, younger brother to Martin Truex Jr., at Dover International Speedway. The 2 1-year-old driver is a two-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion (2009 and 2010) with five series victories. A native of Mayetta, N.J., Truex earned a NNS career-best fourth-place result at Richmond last Sept. (2011) driving for JGR. Truex has seven top-10 NNS results, including a second-place finish at Dover in May 2012 after earning the pole.

RACING FOR AWARENESS: Nine women affiliated with the Toyota Racing program are involved in 'Racing For Awareness,' a friendly competition that includes driver wives, girlfriends, mothers and sisters creating a T-shirt design in support of breast cancer awareness. The winning design will be selected by fan votes and will be announced during the Charlotte race weekend in October, with the winning T-shirt made available for purchase. Proceeds from the contest will be given to Charlotte-based charity, Carolina Breast Friends, and fans can visit www.toyotaracing.com/RacingForAwareness to see the designs, cast their vote and also enter to win weekly prizes through Oct. 4, 2012 at 12 PM (ET).


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Since the start of the 2012 season, Toyota drivers have combined for nine victories, 40 top-five results, 82 top-10 finishes and have led 2,812 laps … Kyle Busch has recorded two NSCS victories at Delaware's Dover International Speedway in a Camry in the spring 2008 and 2010 races … Toyota drivers have also earned four poles at Dover - one by David Reutimann (May 2009), two by Mayetta, N.J.-native Martin Truex Jr. (May 2010 and Oct. 2011) and one by Mark Martin (May 2012) … Nine different Toyota drivers have earned a total of 18 top-10 finishes at the 'Monster Mile' with Busch leading the way with five top-10 results in the last nine races … Michael Waltrip Racing's (MWR) Ty Norris, who holds the title of vice president and general manager with the team, grew up in Smyrna, Del., and attended Delaware State University where he studied journalism … Jimmy Makar, senior vice president of racing operations at Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), hails from Cedar Knolls, N.J. … Hauler driver Bob Hannigan (High Bridge) from the No. 18 Camry is also from New Jersey … Washington, D.C., native Mike Metcalf is the gas man for MWR's No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Camry driven by Clint Bowyer … The fifth annual Martin Truex Jr. Foundation (MTJF) Golf Tournament will take place Thurs., Sept . 27 at Sea Oaks Country Club in Manahawkin, N.J.

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Are you prepared for Dover?

"Dover is one that my team has been working on quite a bit, even in the last two weeks we've been really studying that race track quite a bit. I will obviously lean on Kyle (Busch) a lot and ask a lot of questions leading up to Dover about what we need and what we can look forward to. The next races (Dover and Talladega) are really our biggest obstacles other than the superspeedway. I think that with all the remaining Chase tracks, the last five to six are very good tracks for us and so we're just looking to stay in contention here early on."

Can you talk yourself out of a good finish at Dover?

"No, not really because every Chase that we've been fast, we've found a way to finish top-10 there. We did it in 2010. Qualifying will be key -- very key for me there. I think that's going to set the tone for our weekend. I'm just realistic. I can pump myself and beat my chest all I want going into a race track, but when you haven't had success there that means you don't know what feel you are looking for. The good news is we're going there with a complete new package that Darian (Grubb, crew chief) thinks will make me more comfortable and we'll see how it goes. We know at worst we've going to be 18th, two laps down. That's where we usually are."

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing

What are your expectations for Dover?

"It's another good track for me -- we usually run well there. Dover is certainly a track where we feel like this team is capable of getting a really solid run and contending for a win, so that is a really good track for me and you've got to pay attention to that. I don't always seem to get a consistent finish there, but always run well. I think that Dover is a track that our group (MWR) can win at. Hopefully, this race will be the day."

NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): After 27 races, Mike Bliss ranks eighth in the series point standings … Brian Scott (ninth) and Joe Nemechek (10th) are also among the top-10 in the standings … The No. 18 JGR Camry currently leads the NNS owner's point standings by 13 points over the second-place No. 2 entry … Scott will make his 100th NNS start behind the wheel of a Camry this weekend at Dover International Speedway.

BRIAN SCOTT, No. 11 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How challenging is Dover?

"Dover's a tough track, and because it's only a mile everything happens really quickly. It's high-banked and it's concrete -- it's got a lot that we're not really accustomed to as drivers. Dover's the only place like it. When we go there it's about adapting and figuring it out quickly. You have to have a good team behind you as it requires a different setup than anywhere else we go. You have to have a team that's prepared for that and knows what Dover takes, and I know my group has that. From there on, it's just respecting the Monster Mile and trying to get good track position and maintain it."

RYAN TRUEX, No. 99 Grime Boss Toyota Camry, RAB Racing

Are you looking forward to returning to Dover?

"I can't wait to get to Dover this weekend. If we show up and we're strong in practice and qualifying, there's no reason we can't take the checkered flag. Dover has always been one of my strongest tracks. Martin (Truex Jr.) has taught me tricks over the years, plus I've always wanted to run well there since it's my hometown race. After June's race, I now know the feel I need in the car and how to run the race to win for sure. I learned a lot in the spring and it'll really help me coming back this time. Plus, I know now not to run into lapped cars with five to go."

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): After 16 races, Timothy Peters ranks third in the series point standings … Parker Kligerman (fourth) and Matt Crafton (sixth) are also in the top-10 in the standings … Todd Bodine will make his 200th NCWTS start behind the wheel of a Tundra this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he earned the win in 2005 … Bodine has earned two NCWTS driver's championships (2006 and 2010) for Toyota along with 22 wins, 91 top-five and 122 top-10 results since the 2004 season … Travis Pastrana will make his NCWTS debut in Las Vegas driving the No. 98 Tundra for ThorSport Racing … Through Oct. 1, the Kyle Busch Foundation will be raffling a custom motorcycle in conjunction with Deadwood Choppers at www.KBFChopperRaffle.com.

PARKER KLIGERMAN, No. 7 Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing

How much confidence do you have heading to Las Vegas?

"Any time you have a truck you've had a lot of success with, no matter where it was that you had the success, you feel like it's a truck that can find its way to excel at any type of race track. Obviously, Iowa is a little bit different than Vegas -- you have to lift and brake at Iowa where Vegas is wide enough you can pretty much go wide open. But, I think any time you show the speed in a truck like we did with this Tundra at Iowa, you have confidence it works and that you can go out and win with it. I know this team is capable of doing just that this weekend."

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