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Jun 12, 2013 - 07:57 PM
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2013 Michigan: Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Tidbits
Posted by: newsla on Jun 12, 2013 - 07:51 PM
2013 Michigan: Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Tidbits


RACE RECAP: Three Toyota drivers registered top-15 finishes in Sunday NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway -- Kyle Busch (sixth), Denny Hamlin (eighth) and Clint Bowyer (15th). Busch started eighth and ran among the front of the field throughout much of the race, but was never able to battle for the lead at the tricky Pennsylvania triangle.


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SOAKING UP IOWA: In Sunday's rain-postponed NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Iowa Speedway, Elliott Sadler (third) was the highest-finishing Camry driver at the 0.875-mile short track. Following a lengthy rain delay in the middle of the race, Sadler restarted in the sixth position on lap 168 (of 250) and worked his way up to third-place, but was unable to track down race-winner Trevor Bayne. The third-place finish enabled the Camry driver to climb two spots in the series point standings to fifth. The 38-year-old driver, who started the race in the seventh position, posted his sixth top-five result of the 2013 season, and has recorded five top-10 results in five career starts at the Newton, Iowa track.

CAREER BEST FOR QUIROGA: In Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Texas Motor Speedway, German Quiroga (third) was the first Tundra driver to the finish line with a career-best result. Quiroga started 13th and ran among the top-10 through much of the 167 lap event at the 1.5-mile Texas track. The finish was the 33- year-old Mexico City native's career best result in 13 NCWTS starts. Quiroga battled Matt Crafton for third-place and overtook the series points leader in the final 10 laps, while Crafton finished fourth. NEW CAMRY MAKING WAVES: The new 2013 NSCS Camry race car has visited victory lane five times in the first 14 races this season. Matt Kenseth was victorious at Las Vegas (March), Kansas (April) and Darlington (May), while Busch won at California (March) and Texas (April). Toyota drivers have also led more than 55 percent of NSCS laps this year in the new race car, pacing the field for 2,478 laps (of 4,509). Camry drivers have also earned eight pole positions this year.

MAGIC MICHIGAN MOMENTS: Soon after Toyota entered NASCAR competition in the NCWTS in 2004, the manufacturer captured its first victory only 13 races into the inaugural season when Travis Kvapil's Tundra took the checkered flag at Michigan International Speedway. Brian Vickers also earned a special win for Toyota at Michigan in the August 2009 race -- the second victory for a Toyota Racing Development (TRD)-built engine since the Camry entered the series in 2007. Camry driver Hamlin has also claimed two Sprint Cup Series wins for Toyota at the two-mile track (2010 and 2011), and Busch has one victory at the speedway (2011).

MARK'S THE MAN AT MICHIGAN: Camry driver Mark Martin has five wins at Michigan International Speedway, the most among active drivers. Martin, who joined Michael Waltrip Racing in 2012, claimed his first Michigan victory in 1990 and captured his most recent trophy at the track in 2009. The veteran driver also has the most top-10 results at the track (31) and the most lead lap finishes (36) in 55 starts in Michigan. Martin trails former NASCAR champion Bill Elliott for the most NSCS entries at the track by six starts.

LOCAL CHIEF: Joe Gibbs Racing crew chief Adam Stevens of the No. 54 NNS team is no stranger to the Michigan-area. Stevens is from Portsmouth, Ohio, and graduated from Ohio University in 2002 with a mechanical engineering degree. He had been a member of the No. 20 Sprint Cup Series team since 2005 before becoming crew chief of the No. 20 NNS team in 2011 and has taken the reins of the No. 54 with Busch this season -- already earning six NNS wins in their first 10 races in 2013.

TRD TAKES TO THE MOUNTAIN: After setting an electric class record in the Toyota TMG EV P002 race car in the 2012 Pikes Peak Hill Climb (PPIHC), Toyota's entry has been upgraded by TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) for the 2013 event. The TRD-backed team will participate in a two-day test on June 15-16 to select tires for the historic race scheduled for June 30. Rod Millen, who set the overall record in 1994 in a Celica GT Turbo which stood for 13 years, will pilot the Toyota entry. TRD has outfitted the car with an upgraded electric power train and gear box, improved brakes and made aerodynamic changes following recent wind tunnel testing.


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Through 14 races in 2013, Clint Bowyer (third), Matt Kenseth (sixth) and Kyle Busch (seventh) currently rank in the top-10 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) point standings … AJ Allmendinger will drive the No. 47 Camry for JTG-Daugherty Racing at Michigan to help the team refine the new 2013 Camry … Allmendinger was a member of Toyota's 'freshman class' in 2007 when the Camry began competing in NSCS … Bobby Clark, a mechanic for the JGR No. 18 team is from Wyandotte, Mich., and JGR mechanic Bill Byrne currently resides in Marne, Mich. … Kirk Butterfield, an engine specialist on the No. 18 JGR team, is from Carrollton, Ohio, and Jake Seminara, the rear tire changer on the No. 18 team, is from Steubenville, Ohio … TRD engine tuner Jarod Egert, who works with the JGR No. 20 entry of Kenseth, is from Elmore, Ohio … Glenn Shano, hauler driver for the No. 55 MWR team, is from Toronto, Canada.

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Do you expect the surface at Michigan to have aged since last year?

"I'm hoping it's aged a bit and widened out a little bit more. We struggled on the repaved tracks last season, but we were much improved at Pocono last weekend than we were there last year, so that gives me hope that we can do the same at Michigan this week. We just have to keep working hard and chip away at it like last week. I'm hoping we can learn enough in practice that we can have a good run there this weekend. One of the biggest things on repaved tracks is track position. Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and the M&M's guys have worked really hard on our qualifying setup, and it's really showing this year. Our worst qualifying effort is 13th. We've been qualifying even better on the intermediate tracks. We've got a pole on one of those tracks and haven't qualified worse than eighth. It will have to start with a good qualifying effort and see what we can learn in practice Saturday."

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

Do you feel comfortable at speeds of 200 mph at Michigan?

"It's pretty fast -- it's really fast. The center corner speed is fast. It doesn't feel any different down the straightaway or whatever else if your car is handling good. Let me tell you, when you're fighting loose conditions and the thing snaps sideways on you and you're running 200 mph, it gets your attention pretty quick. You usually don't make it very many more laps before you come in and ask for an adjustment."

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Has it been more important to adjust to your new team or the team to adjust to your style?

"I don't know. I think that's always a balancing act. I mean for as many different cars that we went through and teammates and theories and all that stuff -- through all my years in racing, everything is not always the same. Even when Roush (Fenway Racing) was really big, you couldn't really take five cars and set them up exactly the same and build them exactly the same and get the exact same results. Everybody has their things or the crew chief has their things that they like a little bit better, try a little bit different or whatever. Again, just looking forward and looking at what we've done this year and not going back further than that. The transition has obviously been pretty good. I think the key is to not change your approach and just keep digging and keeping working on it and keep trying to get better."

MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing

Do you enjoy racing at Michigan?

"I love Michigan. It's like a big short track. The track lends itself to the guys who focus on the handling of their race cars. That's always been my specialty. The cars are different this year, so I don't know if we'll repeat last year's performance. We'll just have to see how we stack up against the competition."

NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): After 12 races in 2013, Elliott Sadler (fifth), Parker Kligerman (sixth) and Brian Vickers (eighth) rank in the top-10 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) point standings … Toyota drivers have led 1,118 laps (of 2,327) this year -- more than 48 percent of this season's NNS laps … Former Camry driver Joey Logano earned the first NNS win for Toyota last June at Michigan with Ohio-native Adam Stevens as crew chief.

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Do you look forward to Michigan?

"Michigan has always been one of my favorite tracks on the circuit. I've got a Cup win there and would love to win on the Nationwide side. This week will be my first time at Michigan since the repave, so that will be something new for me. I've always liked intermediate tracks. We've done pretty good on intermediate tracks so far this season, but we need to be just a little better there."

ADAM STEVENS, crew chief, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Is it fun to race near Ohio where you grew up?

"I have some family coming to the race. I am pumped to be back with KB (Kyle Busch) this weekend. We let one get away at Dover. We had a great weekend at Michigan last year. It's a totally different place than it used to be since the repave. You really have to maximize your wide open throttle time to be good here. You can't tell who has a good car until you get 10 or 15 laps on your tires. If you have to lift a little more than the next guy it will really show up at this point. It was awesome to get a win for Toyota at MIS last year. We had a good car at Fontana earlier this year and are hoping the setup will work again this weekend."

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): After seven races this season, Matt Crafton leads the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) standings by 23 points over second-place Jeb Burton … Johnny Sauter (fourth) and Darrell Wallace Jr. (eighth) also rank in the top-10 … Tundra drivers have won five out of the first seven races in 2013 … The NCWTS will enjoy two weekends off before returning to action at Kentucky Speedway on Thursday, June 27.

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