Motorsports Brands - Toyota NASCAR Notes And Quotes - Homestead
KAHNE COLLECTS CHECKERS: Red Bull Racing Team driver Kasey Kahne beat championship-contenders Carl Edwards (second) and Tony Stewart (third) to the finish line to capture the checked flag in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Phoenix International Raceway. Kahne led the final 14 laps en route to victory lane at the recently redesigned one-mile Phoenix track. It was his first win in a Camry, and it also marked the first win for the Red Bull Racing Team this season. The 31-year-old Enumclaw, Wash., native has put together a strong finish to the current campaign, registering top-10 finishes in six of the past seven Sprint Cup Series races. The victory was the first for a Camry driver in the NSCS at Phoenix International Raceway and it was also the fourth win for a TRD-built engine.
PHOENIX FLASHBACK: Along with Kahne's win, Camry driver David Reutimann also earned a top-10 result at the one-mile Phoenix race track with a seventh-place result. In Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Phoenix, Joey Logano was the highest-finishing Toyota driver with a fourth-place result. Camry drivers Ryan Truex (eighth) and Michael Annett (10th) also registered top-10 finishes at the Arizona oval. In six races driving for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) during the 2011 season, Truex recorded four top-10 results and never finished lower than 13th-place.
SEASON-FINALE CHASE RACE: Sunday's NSCS race at Homestead-Miami Speedway is the 10th and final race in the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup championship playoff. Camry drivers Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin have both competed in this year's Chase. Hamlin sits 10th in the standings, 110 points behind series leader Carl Edwards, and Busch is 12th, 135 points back.
HOMESTEAD HIGHLIGHTS: Hamlin earned the first NSCS win at Homestead for Toyota in 2009, leading the field three times for a race-high 71 laps (of 267). Hamlin has posted three top-three finishes in six career starts at Homestead. JGR teammate and fellow Chase competitor Busch recorded his only top-10 finish in six starts at Homestead with an eighth- place result that year. Camry drivers have earned two poles at the 1.5-mile oval -- Reutimann in 2008 and Kahne earned the pole last year. Last year, Kahne led the first 10 laps and fellow Camry driver Martin Truex Jr. led the field six times for 62 laps.
TRIPLE PLAY: Hamlin will compete in all three NASCAR races in the same weekend for the first time in his career at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hamlin is set to drive the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 18 Tundra in Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race and will then climb behind the wheel of the JGR No. 18 Camry in the NNS race on Saturday to help JGR battle for the Nationwide Series owner's championship. He will then pilot the No. 11 Camry in the season-ending NSCS event Sunday at the 1.5-mile oval.
TUNDRA TALLY: Tundra drivers have had a great deal of success in NCWTS competition at Homestead, winning four of the seven NCWTS races they have competed in at the track, including victories by Busch (2010), Todd Bodine (2008 and 2005) and Johnny Benson (2007). Tundra drivers have also captured the pole position four times with Reutimann earning back-to-back poles in 2004 and 2005, and Mike Skinner captured the top starting spot at Homestead in 2008 and 2006.
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NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Since the start of the 2011 season, Toyota drivers have combined for six victories, 38 top-five results, 75 top-10 finishes and have led 2,473 laps … Red Bull Racing Team will field a third Camry race car for the second straight week at Homestead with Cole Whitt … Whitt earned a 25th-place finish in his NSCS debut last Sunday at Phoenix … Former University of Miami walk-on quarterback Trey Burklin is the jack man for the Red Bull Racing Team No. 4 Camry … Kyle Busch will run a TRD-built engine in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Camry at Homestead.
KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Camry, Red Bull Racing Team How has your team been able to run so strong at the end of the season? "We're lucky that everybody is working hard and has stayed after it, preparing great race cars. We're bringing awesome cars to the track. I wouldn't say there's anyone out there that's building better cars at this time. The Red Bull guys are doing an awesome job and they haven't given up. I think it's just the people. They're doing a great job and we've been able to stay focused. I love racing. If I'm in a race car, I want to do the best that I can. Kenny Francis (crew chief) has given me some cars in the last few months that we've been able to perform with and run with Carl (Edwards) and Tony (Stewart), who have been probably the two best."
KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Camry, Red Bull Racing Team What does it mean to possibly get the Red Bull Racing Team its last win as an organization? "It feels really good. Hopefully, it's not their last win. I think we're going to have a shot at Homestead too. I'm looking forward to Homestead. It feels great to get a win for Red Bull and get a win in the No. 4 car. It's something new for both of us to come over and have a one-year deal. It takes time to get familiar with things and the people and working together. To win a race at this level, as competitive as everything is right now, for myself, to see how happy all the pit crew guys were, the guys preparing the race cars at Red Bull, it was pretty cool. Makes you feel pretty good to be part of that."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What do you need to work on at Joe Gibbs Racing to get ready for 2012? "I think everyone is ready to do what it takes. One thing about Joe Gibbs (team owner) is he's never short on resources. If we feel like we need to get something and we don't have it, he'll go buy it and go do it. He's one of those owners where he'll do whatever it takes, hire whoever he has to hire, and I feel like that's hard to come by in our sport. You're not going to hold down JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) for so long. They've done a really good job over the last 20 years of existence of staying one of the elite race teams and they will in the future."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What does it take to be fast at Homestead? "It's been a good track to us in the first third of a race, but then in the last two thirds it's been tough. I like going to Homestead. To be fast there, you have to be able to get your car comfortable getting into the corner -- that's the biggest thing. The corners there, you can build so much speed through them that you have to be comfortable carrying that speed into the corner just as much as coming out of it."
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing How much do you want to win a race? "A win this year would be huge, it's not over yet. We've been in position this year to have a shot at winning two or three of these things and we just haven't taken advantage of it. We've had good speed in our cars and it's just a matter of us racing smarter, being better prepared and making better decisions. I'm confident in this team and that we can get the job done. Homestead last year was probably our best run of the year. We led a bunch until we got a flat. It would be awesome to close the year out with a win."
NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS): During the 2011 season, Toyota drivers have combined for 10 wins, 37 top-five results, 83 top-10 finishes and have led 1,610 laps … Kenny Wallace (seventh) is the top Toyota driver in the NNS point standings … Michael Annett (eighth), Brian Scott (ninth) and Steve Wallace (10th) are also in the top-10 in points … Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 18 Camry team leads the NNS owner championship standings by one point going into Homestead.
BRIAN SCOTT, No. 11 Shore Lodge Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How would you evaluate your first season at Joe Gibbs Racing? "The first half of the season we really weren't finishing and running to our expectations. We had good performances fairly often, but we were never there to capitalize on it at the finish. We scratched up a lot of good race cars. Then, in the sec ond half of the season, we've done much better and we've really come a long way with this whole team. It gets me fired up because of how we've been running lately going into next year and having a legitimate shot at being a title contender."
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): Since the start of the 2011 NCWTS season, Tundra drivers have registered nine wins, 34 top-five results, 71 top-10 finishes and have led 1,111 laps … After 24 races, Timothy Peters (fifth) is the top Toyota driver in the NCWTS points standings … Tundra drivers Todd Bodine (sixth), Brendan Gaughan (12th), David Starr (13th), Miguel Paludo (17th) and Max Papis (18th) are also in the top-20 in the points … The Toyota Tundra will make its 200th NCWTS start this weekend at Homestead since joining series competition in 2004 … Bryan Berry, crew chief on the Germain Racing No. 62 Tundra, hails from Homestead, Fla. … NASCAR Mexico Series Champion German Quiroga will make his second career NCWTS start at Homestead in the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 Tundra.
BRENDAN GAUGHAN, No. 62 Tire Kingdom/Service Central Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing Are you looking forward to racing at Homestead? "I'm excited about getting to Homestead with the momentum this team has built in the last few weeks. We hope to finish off the year strong. The racing groove has really opened up a lot. You can run around the top, bottom, or middle. It gives the driver and the crew chief a lot of options for chassis setup and chassis adjustments. One thing about Homestead is that it's not like any other 1.5-mile track on the circuit. There's no dog-leg, so the corner entry and exit is different than any other intermediate track we race."