Motorsports Brands - Toyota Tidbits Martinsville Preview
Martinsville, Oct. 24, 2012: Camry driver Martin Truex Jr. registered a runner-up result in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway. It was his second straight runner-up result at the track after a second- place finish in April. Truex's MWR teammate Clint Bowyer (sixth) also earned a top-10 finish at his home track in Kansas.
CAMRY CHASERS: Heading into the seventh event of the 10-race 'Chase for the Sprint Cup' championship playoff this weekend at Virginia's Martinsville Speedway, Denny Hamlin sits in third-place in the point standings and trails point leader Brad Keselowski by 20 points and second-place Jimmie Johnson by 13 points. Bowyer remains fourth in the standings (-25 points) and Truex moved up to sixth (-43 points). HIGH HOPES FOR HAMLIN: Toyota driver Hamlin has been victorious in three of his last six trips NSCS to Martinsville Speedway -- in October 2009, and March and October of 2010. In capturing those three checkered flags, the Chesterfield, Va.-native led a race-high 206 laps (of 501) in 2009, another race-high 172 laps (of 508) in the 2010 spring race, and 40 laps in the 2010 fall race. Hamlin has a total of four NSCS wins at Martinsville. He scored his first win driving a Toyota Camry at the track in March 2008.MARTINSVILLE MAGIC: Toyota has had a great deal of success at the half-mile Martinsville Speedway in both the NSCS and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). In NSCS competition, Martinsville is second only to another Virginia track -- Richmond International Raceway -- for the total number of NSCS wins by Camry drivers since 2007. All four of the Cup wins belong to Virginia-native Hamlin (October 2010, March 2010, October 2009 and March 2008). Tundra drivers have earned seven wins at the track since Toyota entered the Truck Series in 2004. Those seven wins at one track are second only to the 10 victories that Tundra drivers have earned at Texas Motor Speedway. Tundra drivers that have visited victory lane at Martinsville include Hamlin (October 2011), David Starr (March 2006), Jack Sprague (October 2006), Mike Skinner (March and October 2007), Johnny Benson (October 2008) and Timothy Peters (October 2009). TIMOTHY'S TURF: Tundra driver Peters scored his first career NCWTS victory in October 2009 at Martinsville Speedway. The Danville, Va.-resident joined Red Horse Racing midway through the 2009 season and previously ran his own NCWTS operation out of his home 30 miles from Martinsville. This weekend's NCWTS race at Martinsville will prove crucial for Peters as he contends for the 2012 championship. Peters is currently third in the standings -- 26 points behind point leader Ty Dillon -- with only four races remaining in the season.
SOCIAL MEDIA & WEBSITE: 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): Since the start of the 2012 season, Toyota drivers have combined for 10 victories, 46 top- five results, 98 top-10 finishes and have led 3,304 laps … The next win for a Camry driver in the NSCS will be the 50th for Toyota in the series since the start of the 2007 season …Darian Grubb, crew chief on the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 11 FedEx Camry for Denny Hamlin is a graduate of Virginia Tech University and native of Floyd, Va. … Clint Bowyer will make his 250th career NSCS start at Martinsville on Sunday. DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What has prevented you from returning to victory lane at Martinsville? "Fuel strategy -- one time. It was when we finished 12th -- we were leading the race and pretty much dominating and got caught on pit road with a caution and went a couple laps down. Then after that, this year -- the spring race is the one race where we did not run well. We had some setup issues that we found in the car afterwards, after the race was over -- some mistakes that we made with our setup, basically putting the wrong pieces in the wrong places. So, that is hopefully why we ran so bad in the spring where we finished decent but not great. And so hopefully that's rectified. Honestly, we look forward to going back. Especially, as good as our short track program's been here in the last few -- between New Hampshire and Richmond -- that don't necessarily correlate, but still drive like a short track." MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing How different is the style of racing at Martinsville compared to other Chase tracks? "Totally different -- aero doesn't mean anything and track position is important. Martinsville has always been one of those tracks that I look at and think that I'm really not that good there. Chad (Johnston, crew chief) and the guys reminded me this week that I have three top-fives there and four top-10s in like the last three or four races there. We've had a good record there lately, so they are going to change my mind about it. We have a brand new car we're taking there and we're all real excited about it. The guys put a lot of effort into it back at the shop and, hopefully, we will go up there and have a shot at winning the thing."
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing How has Scott Miller helped with the turnaround at Michael Waltrip Racing? "Scott Miller (MWR competition direction) -- just like I did -- we both walked into a good situation. It wasn't he or I or any one person that turned the thing around. It was just bits and pieces here and there in the whole organization. They had a lot of depth -- a lot of organization already. It just seemed like he came in and he's got an understanding of keeping an eye on the ball and following that goal and keeping everything on track. People get to racing themselves and get grouchy. This is a tough schedule. He does a good job of just managing the crew chiefs, managing our R&D (research and development). This sport seems like if you lay down and take a break for a week, you're three weeks behind. It's unbelievable how fast things advance. If you don't have a game plan and have somebody in place to orchestrate all of that you're going to get behind, and Scott Miller is our guy for that."