Toyota Motorsports Notes
TWICE AS NICE: Toyota driver Kyle Busch was triumphant in two of the three NASCAR national series events last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. On Friday, he pulled his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) Tundra into victory lane in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race. On Saturday, he recorded another win in his Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Camry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) event. Busch ended the weekend with a runner-up result in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race.
BUSCH IS BACK: Las Vegas-native Busch returns home this week as the NSCS visits Las Vegas Motor Speedway, holding a three-point lead over his older brother, Kurt, in the championship standings after two 2011 Sprint Cup Series races. In six NSCS races at the 1.5-mile oval, the 25-year-old driver has one win (2009), two poles (2008 and 2009), three top-five finishes and four top-10 results at his hometown track.
COMEDY TIME: Toyota team owner Michael Waltrip and his 'Comedy Garage' tour will make a stop in Las Vegas this weekend. Comedians Henry Cho and John Reep will join Waltrip on stage at the show on March 4 and 5 at the Mirage. Earlier this year, the show made stops in Kansas City and Windsor, Canada.
RENO GAS MAN: Nevada-native Wes Evans grew up in Reno, approximately 450 miles north of Las Vegas. Prior to becoming a gas man for Red Bull Racing Team's No. 83 Red Bull Camry driven by Brian Vickers, he played football at Reno High School where he was an all-state tight end in 2003. Evans was also named Nevada All-State Game Offensive MVP in 2004. After playing football at Arizona State University from 2004-2008, the now 25-year-old was recruited by Red Bull and is in his third season with the team.
ALL ABOUT ADVENTURE: Some may consider the life of a NASCAR driver an adventure in itself, but not if you're Brian Scott, driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry in the NNS. The 23-year-old Boise, Idaho-native grew up enjoying family outings and is known to go extreme snowmobile riding, fishing and hunting, and has run into a bear on more than one occasion while fishing in places like Alaska. The Las Vegas race is the closest to Scott's home despite the 600-mile distance.
TWO FOR TWO: Tundra drivers have been triumphant in the first two 2011 NCWTS races. Waltrip won the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway and Busch took the checkered flag last Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. The series takes a week off, before returning to action at Darlington Raceway, March 12.
BACK STORY: Follow Toyota Racing on Twitter (@toyotaracing) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/toyotaracing). Background and images about the Toyota NASCAR program are available at www.toyotamotorsportsmedia.com.
NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Since the start of the 2011 season, Toyota drivers have combined for two top-five results, four top-10 finishes and have led 62 laps … Kasey Kahne has two poles (2004 and 2005) at Las Vegas … Bobby Labonte also has two poles (1999 and 2003) at Las Vegas … In two NSCS starts at Las Vegas, Joey Logano has earned sixth- and 13th-place results … Las Vegas-native Busch leads the NSCS point standings and Bobby Labonte is seventh following Phoenix.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Snickers Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Do you enjoy returning to your home town for the race weekend? "It's fine coming back here. There's really not much family out here, it's just family friends. There's a lot of friends that you get to see and catch up with that you text back and forth, or talk back and forth during the year , but you never get to see them. So, that's always cool to come out here to the race and stuff. Besides that, there's the different appearances we do for M&M's. You get to go to some of the restaurants that you liked here growing up -- so that's always cool. It's just another weekend -- I particularly know my way around this city more than I do any other place."
TOYOTA NASCAR NOTES & QUOTES -- Feb. 28-March 6, 2011 -- Page 2
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Snickers Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued) What was it like to get a win at your hometown track in 2009? "It was cool. To go out there and to run a smooth race, and to have a shot at winning the race at the end of the race is what it's all about. I watched Vegas being built from the ground up, and I remember when it wasn't anything but a gleam in Richie Clyne's (track founder) eye -- all those guys who made that place happen. I'm hoping we can do it again this weekend."
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Do you enjoy racing at Las Vegas? "I really enjoy racing at Vegas. My record there is pretty good. That was one of the places starting off my career that I went to and was a good track for me. I always look forward to going to places like that. It's kind of like Charlotte -- it's got a lot of grip so that makes it a lot of fun for me. I enjoy that. It's very fast, but it's fun. I like the tracks that are kind of two lanes and not six lanes. It seems to work out better for me."
KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Are you looking forward to Las Vegas after your strong finish in Phoenix? "I love Vegas. It's a good track with great atmosphere. The track is pretty cool and the crowds are great. There should be a lot of fans and it should be a fun week. It should be exciting. I've run well there and other times where we weren't quite as good. The track is 'racey' -- you can race around. I liked the old track and I like the new track. The crowd and atmosphere makes for an entertaining weekend in Vegas."
NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): Since the start of the 2011 season, Toyota drivers have combined for one win, one top-five result, six top-10 finishes and have led 239 laps … Camry drivers have two NNS pole positions at Las Vegas Motor Speedway -- Brian Vickers (2008) and Scott Speed (2009) … Denny Hamlin will drive the JGR No. 20 Camry this weekend in Las Vegas … Camry driver Kyle Busch was the first driver since July 2003 to lead all the laps in a NASCAR national series event when he led all 200 laps en route to victory lane in the Nationwide race at Phoenix … Busch's Phoenix victory makes 100 total wins in a Toyota by Joe Gibbs Racing affiliated drivers since 2008 … The wins include 30 NSCS JGR victories, 50 NNS JGR wins, one NNS Braun Racing (Busch) triumph, 10 NCWTS Billy Ballew Motorsports (Busch) wins, and nine NCWTS KBM victories … Kenny Wallace earned his first top-10 this season at Phoenix … The St. Louis-native's 10th-place result was also his 160th career top-10 in the series, and first since Iowa in 2009.
KENNY WALLACE, No. 09 Federated Auto Parts Toyota Camry, RAB Racing with Brack Maggard Do you have more confidence heading to Las Vegas after earning your team's first top-10 result at Phoenix? "I have a lot of confidence in my ability, but after our finish at Phoenix, I'm more proud of my team because we're going to run the same car at Las Vegas. They're going to leave being all proud. The car doesn't have a dent on it, so they'll only have to do the maintenance on it. I'm just happy for the team where they can feel good about themselves. We're going to go to Las Vegas knowing we just came off a top-10 run."
BRIAN SCOTT, No. 11 Shore Lodge Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How has it been getting acquainted with your new Joe Gibbs Racing team? "I have a great group of guys, I like them a lot. I think that we're going to have a lot of success throughout the year. We're still learning some things and figuring some things out. I think we'll just keep getting better. For our second race (in Phoenix), where we should have been seventh -- is not all that bad. We'll just move on and keep getting better as a team."
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): Since the start of the 2011 NCWTS season, Tundra drivers have registered two wins, four top-five results, five top-10 finishes and have led 120 laps … Since joining the series in 2004, Tundra drivers have earned 82 victories and 78 poles … Tundra driver Kyle Busch led the final 107 (of 150) laps to earn his first NCWTS triumph of 2011 at Phoenix … Justin Johnson finished eighth at Phoenix in his NCWTS debut … Tundra driver Justin Lofton will spend his off-weekend shooting a music video with 'Weekend Warriors TV' … They previously shot a video for country singer Tim Dugger's song 'Sunday Drive.'
JUSTIN LOFTON, No. 77 Lofton Cattle Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing What will you be doing during the NCWTS off-week? "The off-week gives me some time to shift my focus back to 'Weekend Warriors TV.' We're going to be shooting a music video for Paperback Hero in my hometown of Brawley, California. They are a rock band based out of LA. My sister, Brittany, met one of the guys a few years ago when she was at a restaurant with my mom. They know what we do with 'Weekend Warriors TV' and it just came together."