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Mar 20, 2013 - 07:41 PM
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2013 Fontana: Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Tidbits
Posted by: ASkyler on Mar 20, 2013 - 07:37 PM
NASCAR News
2013 Fontana: Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Tidbits


BRISTOL BACK TRACK: Camry driver Kyle Busch captured his second victory of the season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday -- his 13th NASCAR win at the track. On Sunday, Busch finished runner-up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Bristol, where Clint Bowyer (fifth) also earned a top-five result. Toyota drivers led 258 laps (of 500) in the NSCS Bristol race, including a race-high 117 laps by Denny Hamlin, 85 circuits by Matt Kenseth and 56 turns out front by Busch.

TOYOTA TERRITORY: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., headquarters is located in Torrance, Calif. In its initial dealership in Hollywood, Calif., Toyota debuted its first car -- the Toyopet Crown -- in 1957. Sales began in 1958 and totaled 288 vehicles that first year. Over the last 25 years, nearly seven million Toyota Camrys have been built in the U.S., including many at the Georgetown, Kentucky manufacturing facility -- a site several Camry drivers visited in February. The Camry has been the best-selling car in America for 11 straight years, and 15 of the past 16 years.

ENGINES IN THE O.C.: TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) is based in Costa Mesa, Calif. The 47,000 sq. ft., Southern California facility employs about 180 associates and is in charge of design, development, testing and production of the NSCS engines. TRD produces Camry V8 engines for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR), and each engine will travel approximately 4,800 miles before ever firing up at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana -- as engines are shipped to teams in North Carolina in advance of the race for installation and transported back across the country on the team haulers for the Auto Club 400. Several NSCS drivers have visited TRD's Costa Mesa facility and Kenseth, who recently earned his first Toyota victory at Las Vegas, plans to visit TRD before the race in Fontana, Calif.

TOYOTA MOTORSPORTS DAY: Toyota NASCAR, NHRA, off-road and Scion drift drivers as well as legends Darrell Waltrip and Ivan Stewart will visit Toyota headquarters in Torrance, Calif., on Thursday for the 19th annual Toyota Motorsports Day. The drivers will sign autographs for Toyota associates and meet with executives.

KYLE CONNECTS WITH CALI: Camry driver Busch has been a regular in victory lane at California's Auto Club Speedway. The 27-year-old has picked up eight NASCAR trophies at the track-- one NSCS (Sept. 2005), five NNS (Aug. 2008; Feb. 2009; Feb. 2010; Oct. 2010 and 2011) and two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (2008 and 2009). Busch set a NASCAR record when he was victorious in two races -- NNS and NCWTS -- on the same day on Feb. 21, 2009. In 15 NSCS races at the two-mile oval, the Las Vegas-native has six top-five results, 10 top-10 finishes and one pole (Feb. 2005). Busch finished runner-up after leading 80 laps (of 129) in last year's rain-shortened event -- his best result at the Fontana, Calif., race track in a JGR Toyota Camry.

EIGHT STRAIGHT: Camry drivers have swept the last eight NNS races at California's Auto Club Speedway -- the most Toyota NNS victories at any track. All eight victories have been earned by JGR drivers -- Busch has five Camry wins, while Joey Logano has two victories and Tony Stewart has one triumph in a Toyota at Auto Club Speedway.

PRO/CELEBS CHOSEN: The 37th annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity (#TPCR) race field has been set for the April 20 event on the street course in downtown Long Beach, Calif. Some of the celebrities to pilot the new 210-horsepower Scion FR-S race vehicles include Jenna Elfman (1600 Penn), Jesse Metcalfe (Dallas), Dakota Meyer (Medal of Honor recipient), Jackson Rathbone (Twilight), Jeremy Sisto (Suburgatory), Wanda Sykes (Entertainment Weekly's 25 Funniest People in America) and Rutledge Wood (Top Gear USA). The celebrities will take part in race training this weekend. Pro drivers competing in this year's event include last year's Toyota Pro/Celebrity race winner and comedian Adam Corolla, Andy Bell (motorcross), Tyler Clary (Olympic gold medal swimmer and race car driver) and Melanie Troxel (NHRA).

SOCIAL MEDIA & WEBSITE: The ToyotaRacing.com website was recently redesigned. Background and images about the Toyota NASCAR program are available at www.toyotaracingmedia.com, @ToyotaRacing, www.facebook.com/toyotaracing and www.youtube.com/toyotaracingusa.

NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Through the four races of 2013, Clint Bowyer is fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) point standings, trailing leader Brad Keselowski by 38 points … Denny Hamlin (sixth) and Kyle Busch (10th) also rank in the top-10 … Toyota drivers have led 41 percent (531 of 1,283) of race laps this season, more than any other manufacturer … Last year, Toyota drivers swept the top-three starting positions at Fontana with Hamlin (first), Busch (second) and Mark Martin (third) … Camry drivers have three pole positions at Auto Club Speedway -- Hamlin (Oct. 2009 and March 2012) and Brian Vickers (Feb. 2009) … Auto Club Speedway is one of only two tracks where Toyota has yet to visit victory lane in the NSCS … The other is Indianapolis Motor Speedway … Matt Kenseth has three California NSCS trophies (Feb. 2006, Feb. 2007 and Feb. 2009). - more -

TOYOTA NASCAR NOTES & QUOTES - March 18 - 24, 2013 -- Page 2

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Is Auto Club Speedway aging gracefully like Michigan? "Yes, it's taking shape just like Michigan. Michigan is one of the most fun race tracks we go to as a race driver. Auto Club Speedway has matured great even though it's got battle scars in the corners and things like that and different seams around the line that people fight -- that's what makes it fun. That's what makes guys search around and try to find different lines. Even in qualifying, this is one of the very few race tracks where you see guys qualify from all the way at the top, to all the way at the bottom. That's fun when a driver can make a difference and he can here at California."

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Do you enjoy visiting Toyota headquarters each year for Motorsports Day? "Looking forward to Motorsports Day. Earlier this year we went to Georgetown, Kentucky, where Toyota builds the Camry. Now, I'm looking forward to visiting Toyota's headquarters and meeting all the associates."

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How has racing changed at Auto Club Speedway over the last few seasons? "California has changed a lot over the last three or four years. Historically until about three or four years ago, it used to be one of our best tracks and it's really changed a lot. It seems like the groove has moved around. The seams -- everybody always talks about them when we go there as well. It's five or six lanes wide and there are seams between every lane and it gets really tricky to navigate that -- you can't really run across them, you have to pick a lane and go in between them. It's really interesting to pick different lines. I think that's something that creates the biggest challenge there, is to keep trying different lanes constantly to find the most grip throughout the race and throughout the run."

Are you looking forward to your first trip to Toyota headquarters and TRD Costa Mesa? "I'm looking forward to going to Toyota headquarters and checking it out. I'm really looking forward to going to the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) facility and see where the engines are built and all the things that go on out there. That's always been something I've wanted to see and I'm looking forward to it."

NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): After four races in 2013, Brian Vickers is fifth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) point standings, trailing leader Sam Hornish Jr. by 30 points … Alex Bowman (eighth) and Elliott Sadler (10th) also rank in the top-10 … Kyle Busch is now tied for most NNS starts (140) in a Camry with Jason Leffler … Toyota drivers have led 818 of 1,204 laps (68 percent) in the last eight NNS races at Auto Club Speedway … Camry drivers have six NNS poles at Auto Club Speedway … Elliott Sadler attended James Madison University (JMU) on a basketball scholarship before an injury derailed his career … Sadler was a student at JMU when the school last participated in the NCAA tournament in 1994.

JOE GIBBS, Owner, Joe Gibbs Racing What does it mean for Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas to have won eight consecutive NNS races at Auto Club Speedway? "It means a lot -- I don't know how that happened. These things are so hard to win. We spent years and years trying to win a race. It's a credit to all the guys. We have a hard-working bunch of guys that we have put together in Nationwide and we also do a lot of it in our Cup operation. We work back and forth with each
other. I think it's really a credit to the Nationwide shop. I really appreciate those guys. The motors -- Mark Cronquist (JGR engine builder) and everybody has done a great job. We love coming to Southern California, it's a great place. We spent 30 years here running all over the place and it's fun for me to come back and be here. We really appreciate our fan base here also."

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Do you enjoy racing at Auto Club Speedway? "I've always liked racing at Auto Club Speedway. I think it's a great race track, especially from a driver's perspective and from a fan's perspective it is, too. Fans get to see us going by at 200 MPH. It's a great track because the surface allows you to run all the way at the top of the wall, all the way at the bottom and even all the way at the apron between turns three and four. Obviously, restarts are exciting and you see guys two, three and four-wide sometimes. I think it makes for great racing."

ELLIOTT SADLER, No. 11 OneMain Financial Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What do you think about James Madison making the NCAA tournament this year? "They are going to the dance for the first time since 1994 when I was there in college. I think it's cool. I'm kind of an underdog guy so it's neat for JMU to win their way into the big dance. I know it's great for their school, great for their program and most of all good for those kids. Anytime you're a student at a school and your team makes the big dance and you're not at a school that normally makes it, that makes a celebration for everybody. I think the whole school really gets behind you and enjoys that part of it."

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): After winning the season-opening race at Daytona, Johnny Sauter leads the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) standings with 47 points … Matt Crafton (eighth) and Todd Bodine (10th) also rank in the top-10 … The NCWTS returns to action at Martinsville Speedway on April 6 after an extended break.


 

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