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May 23, 2013 - 06:19 AM
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2013 Charlotte (Coca-Cola 600): Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Tidbits
Posted by: newsla on May 22, 2013 - 07:30 PM
NASCAR News
2013 Charlotte (Coca-Cola 600): Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Tidbits


TOYOTA TIDBITS ALMOST THE ALL-STAR: Camry driver Kyle Busch finished third behind race-winner Jimmie Johnson and second- place Joey Logano in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In the 90 lap rain-delayed race -- featuring four 20 lap segments followed by a 10 lap dash to the finish line -- Busch led the field two times for a total of 29 laps in the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 18 Snickers Bites Camry. The Las Vegas-native won the event's second and third segments -- enabling him to be the second car on pit road for a required four tire pit stop, however he was the third car off pit road for the final dash to the checkered flag, and he was never able to catch Johnson. Other Toyota drivers in the non-points event were Denny Hamlin (sixth), Matt Kenseth (ninth), Clint Bowyer (18th) and Mark Martin (21st).

 

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TUNDRA TRIUMPH: In Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race on the 1.5-mile Charlotte oval, Busch collected his first series win of the 2013 season in his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) No. 51 Toyota Care Tundra, as well as the fourth win by Tundra drivers in five races this year. It was Busch's 25th NCWTS victory behind the wheel of a Tundra, his 31st career win in the series and his fifth triumph in the NCWTS at Charlotte. In addition, Busch's five wins at the Charlotte track give him more wins at the track than at any other in the series. Busch started fourth on the grid and led the field three times for 80 laps (of 134) en route to victory lane. Matt Crafton also registered a top-five finish with a fourth-place result -- which increased his lead to 22points over second-place Jeb Burton in the unofficial NCWTS point standings.

CAN KYLE CATCH CHECKERS IN CHARLOTTE?: Busch has 26 career NSCS race wins, but a Sprint Cup Series victory at Charlotte has eluded the 28-year-old racer. He has earned one pole (May 2008) at the speedway, along with eight top-five finishes and 11 top-10 results in 18 career starts. However, the 1.5-mile oval is one of only six facilities on the current 22 track NSCS schedule where Busch has yet to take a victory bow following a Sprint Cup event.

CONSECUTIVE CHEMISTRY: To say that Busch has chemistry with Charlotte Motor Speedway when it comes to NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) racing might be an understatement. In 19 NNS races at the 1.5-mile oval, Busch has accumulated a total of six wins, 14 top-five finishes and 16 top-10 results. But perhaps the most impressive of those statistics is that Busch has 12 consecutive top-10s in NNS races at Charlotte.

TOYOTA SALUTES THE TROOPS: On Sunday, May 26, Toyota will join Charlotte Motor Speedway in saluting members of the military during the Coca-Cola 600 race weekend. Toyota will transport 600 military members and their families from South Carolina's Fort Jackson to Charlotte for the day's racing festivities, including lunch and hospitality, as well as providing the group with grandstand tickets for the NSCS race.

NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Through 11 races in 2013, Matt Kenseth (third), Clint Bowyer (fifth) and Kyle Busch (eighth) currently rank in the top-10 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) point standings … Camry drivers have led 2,073 laps (of 3,549) in NSCS competition -- more than 58 percent of the total laps this year … JGR drivers have led 1,677 laps (of 3,549) in NSCS competition -- more than 47 percent of the total laps this year and more than the other two manufacturers in the series combined … Kenseth was voted the first quarter 'Driver of the Year' by an elite panel of American broadcasters and journalists … Bobby Labonte will present Donnie Freeman from Louisiana with a 2010 Toyota Tundra Limited Edition as part of a contest via Scottbrand.com and Racesavers.com with more than 43,000 entries.

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Do recent results suggest a Joe Gibbs Racing driver will win in Charlotte? "I hope you're right. I really feel like as an organization we've been pretty strong everywhere -- I mean at all the race tracks. I feel like there's a couple where we've been off a little bit, but one of them was California (Auto Club Speedway) and Denny (Hamlin) was leading the last lap and Kyle (Busch) won. So, yeah, I think our cars have been pretty fast everywhere. It's hard for me to put my finger on exactly what it is because this is my first year. It's a whole new race car. It's hard to compare to last year's car."

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Does a 600-mile race wear down drivers? "Some of the 500-mile races we run are just as long simply because of the average speed that we run. I don't treat it any differently. I try to hydrate a little more and that's about it. I don't notice that much of a difference between the 500 and the 600. To me, I notice more between a 400 and a 500-mile race. It seems like with the 600, you have a little more give and take the first half of the race than you would normally have. You just try to set your car up to be in good track position on lap 300 because the cooler the temperatures get, the harder it is to pass."

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's M-Prove America Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Can Joe Gibbs Racing win the championship this season? "It's real early to be talking championship, but certainly I will give a lot of credit where its due and that's to the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing -- all the guys and gals that have worked so hard at giving us some really great race cars -- and I think it's proven. Unfortunately, Denny's (Hamlin) been out for a few weeks, so he hasn't gotten a full taste of it all, but he had a great race at Darlington -- one of his favorite race tracks. We had a good race there -- (Matt) Kenseth won of course and Kenseth has won three of them. He's certainly no slouch and that's why we all talked last season about what we needed and what we were looking for in another driver and we knew Kenseth had it."

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Do you notice a difference between racing 500 and 600 miles? "I think that generally races always feel longer when your car is not handling good or you're having a tough night. It doesn't matter whether there's 300 miles or 600 miles. I feel like if your car's bad, they feel long. If your car's good, they feel short. That's just always the way it's gone. Obviously, the extra 100 miles throws a lot into it. It's going to be hot this weekend. Guys are going to get tired. It's just 100 more miles. What's 600 when you do 500 every week? Pretty much anything over 200 miles all feel the same to me."

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Why is the 600 at Charlotte so special? "The 600 at Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend is a tradition in NASCAR. The folks at Charlotte Motor Speedway do such a great job of honoring our troops -- they really do roll out the red carpet for the military. The pre-race demonstration, invasion of the infield is awesome. All that stuff really hits home and it's great to see. It helps remind us of how lucky we really are to be out here racing cars and all the folks out here enjoying a great weekend at the races -- that's all possible because those young men and women are over there fighting for our freedom and way of life."

NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): After nine races in 2013, Elliott Sadler (third), Brian Vickers (fifth), Parker Kligerman (seventh) and Alex Bowman (ninth) rank in the top-10 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) point standings … Toyota drivers have led 857 laps (of 1,677) this year -- more than 51 percent of this season's NNS laps.

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Will the momentum from Darlington help at Charlotte? "It was nice to have a week off, but we are excited to get to Charlotte Motor Speedway this week and continue to build on our momentum from Darlington. I definitely think we will be competitive for this weekend's race. I feel like we are getting close to a win. The last two weeks we were probably one of the better cars on the race track. We just need to figure out how to start there and make no mistakes during the race."

PARKER KLIGERMAN, No. 77 Toyota Camry, Kyle Busch Motorsports Is Charlotte one of your favorite race tracks? "Charlotte is one of my favorite tracks -- it's a unique, 1.5-mile track and you don't really see anything else like it on our circuit in terms of how fast it is and how different the corners are on each end. It lends itself to a different kind of racing -- you'll see a lot of two- and three-wide racing in the corners and then it gets back to single file on the straightaways. With the high speeds and the tire that Goodyear brings -- it's a stiffer tire that is a little bit tougher to control, so it puts a premium on having a good handling car and being at the front."

How would you evaluate your season so far? "Our season has gone almost according to plan. I set a goal that after 15 races I wanted to be in the top-five in points -- we've already been inside the top-five twice this year and we're just six points out of fifth heading into this weekend. We were running inside the top-five at Las Vegas when we had a broken part and ended up finishing 30th. If we had those points back, we would be second or third in points right now. Overall, I think we've had a good start, but we need to continue to improve and keep finding speed so that we can challenge for wins. In the second half of the season, that's when you'll see the true championship contenders show their hand and hopefully we will be one of those teams that can be in contention all the way to Homestead (Miami Speedway)."

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): After five races this season, Matt Crafton leads the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) standings by 22 points over second-place Jeb Burton … Johnny Sauter (sixth) and Darrell Wallace Jr. (10th) also rank in the top-10 … The NCWTS will enjoy a weekend off before returning to action at Dover International Speedway on May 31.

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