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Friday, March 15, 2013

Toyota notes heading into Bristol

MILESTONES MET:  In the first three weeks of the 2013 NASCAR season, Toyota drivers achieved a trio of milestones.
First, Johnny Sauter earned the 100th Tundra win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) when he claimed the victory at the season-opener in Daytona.  The following weekend, Kyle Busch took the checkered flag in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Phoenix International Raceway to tally the 75th victory for a Camry in the series.
This past weekend, Camry newcomer Matt Kenseth was first to the checkered flag in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to secure the 50th triumph for Toyota since entering series competition in 2007.

MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH MATT:  Several milestones were reached in Sunday's afternoon NSCS race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  When Kenseth crossed the finish line first at the 1.5-mile Nevada oval, it was the 50th victory for the Camry in the Sprint Cup Series and the first win for the Camry in 2013.  In addition, it was Kenseth's inaugural triumph driving a Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and his 25th career NSCS first-place finish -- and all of the milestones were accomplished on Kenseth's 41st birthday.   Kenseth became only the third NSCS driver in history to win on his birthday, joining NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough and Busch, who also won in a Camry on his birthday (May 2, 2009) at Richmond International Raceway.

TOP-FIVE TRIO:  The trio of JGR NASCAR Nationwide Series Camrys all earned top-five finishes in Saturday's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway -- Busch (second), Brian Vickers (third) and Elliott Sadler (fifth).  Both Busch (13 laps) and Vickers (27 laps) led during the 200 lap race, while Sadler picked up his second consecutive top-five finish in the first three races of the 2013 season.

SHORT TRACK SEASON START:  The new 2013 Camry will make its first NSCS short track appearance of the season Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway.  After competing at the superspeedway of Daytona International Speedway, the flat track of Phoenix International Raceway and the 1.5-mile intermediate Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the first short track showing of the new cars will come at the Tennessee half-mile, high-banked oval.

2012 TOYOTA TALLY:  The two NSCS races at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2012 proved successful for the Camry drivers in the field.  Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) placed all three of their Camrys in the top-five last March (2012) at Bristol -- Martin Truex Jr. (third), Clint Bowyer (fourth) and Vickers (fifth).  Five Camrys finished in the top-10 in August 2012 -- Hamlin (first), Vickers (fourth), Busch (sixth), Bowyer (seventh) and former Camry driver Joey Logano (eighth).

THREE FOR KB:  Busch has been victorious at three of the last five NNS races at Bristol, -- winning the fall race in 2010 and sweeping both races in 2011.  Busch, the all-time leader in NNS victories with 52, was dominant at the track during his three-race streak, leading 570 laps (of 800) en route to three checkered flags for JGR.  In 2013, Busch returns to the seat of the JGR Camrys after racing for his own NNS team in 2012 -- Kyle Busch Motorsports -- and he hopes to reclaim his Bristol magic driving the JGR No. 54 Monster Energy Camry.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS):  Through the first three races of 2013, Denny Hamlin is fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) point standings, trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 27 points … Mark Martin (sixth), Matt Kenseth (seventh) and Clint Bowyer (ninth) also rank in the top-10 … Camry drivers have totaled one win, four top-five finishes, seven top-10 results and led 273 laps … Camry drivers have earned victories in five of the last eight NSCS races at Bristol -- Busch (four) and Hamlin (one) … Hamlin earned his first Bristol NSCS win in August 2012 … Busch became the first driver in NASCAR history to sweep all three races at one track in a single weekend at Bristol in August 2010 … Busch has a total of five NSCS victories at the short track, the most he has at one facility … Camry drivers Kenseth and Martin are the only drivers to win 25 races in both NSCS and NNS during their career … Busch's next NSCS win will be his 25th career victory and along with his 52 NNS wins will place him among Kenseth and Martin … Brian Vickers will do 'double duty' at Bristol in the NSCS and NNS when he drives the Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) No. 55 Camry for the first time in 2013 in Sunday's NSCS race and Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race in the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 20 Camry … For mechanic and jack man Tony Cardamone, racing at Bristol is a trip down memory lane … Cardamone spent several years living with his family in nearby Bristol, Va., and is now part of the MWR No. 55 Camry team … JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Jodi Geschickter is from the Knoxville, Tenn. area and graduated from the University of Tennessee.


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