Toyota NASCAR Notes & Quotes Phoenix Nov 2013

November 4 – 10, 2013TOYOTA TIDBITS
CAMRY CHASERS:  Two races remain in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship playoff, and Toyota driver Matt Kenseth currently trails leader Jimmie Johnson by seven points.  Kyle Busch sits fourth in the standings — 52 points behind Johnson, while  Clint Bowyer is seventh — 69 points from the leader.

A CLOSER LOOK AT KENSETH:  The 2013 season has been one of Kenseth’s strongest performances in his 16 years racing in the NSCS.  In his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and driving a Toyota Camry, the 41-year-old Cambridge, Wis.-native has won seven races — both the current season-high and a career single season-high.  The 2003 series champion has also led a career-high 1,639 laps so far this year.  Kenseth’s No. 20 Camry crew chief Jason Ratcliff is also no stranger to championship form as he led the effort in securing the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) driver’s championship with Busch as well as the 2009 and 2010 NNS owner’s titles for JGR.  In addition to his seven Cup victories, Kenseth has two NNS wins this year while driving ‘double duty’ in select events this season, which he will do once again this weekend at Phoenix.
TOYOTA DESERT TROPHIES:  Toyota drivers have won a total of 11 NASCAR races at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR).  Camry drivers have two NSCS victories at the one-mile desert oval — Denny Hamlin in March 2012 and former Toyota driver Kasey Kahne in Nov. 2011.  In NNS events, Camry drivers have collected five first-place trophies at PIR — four by Busch (April 2008, April 2010, Feb. 2011 and March 2013) and one by Joey Logano (Nov. 2012).  Tundra drivers have finished first at Phoenix four times — Busch (2011), Johnny Benson (2006), Todd Bodine (2005) and Brian Scott (2012).
CRAFTON CONTENDING:  Tundra driver Matt Crafton is the current NCWTS points leader and has one win (Kansas) and 18 top-10 finishes in 20 races this year and could clinch his first NCWTS driver’s championship at Phoenix.  The 37-year- old Tulare, Calif.-native holds a 46 point advantage on the field and would need to leave Phoenix with at least a 49 point lead to clinch this weekend.  If Crafton finishes at least two positions ahead of Ty Dillon and three spots ahead of James Buescher at Phoenix, he’d seal the deal a week early.  Alternatively, the driver of the ThorSport Racing No. 88 Tundra would need finishes of 18th or better in the two remaining races to secure the 2013 NCWTS driver’s championship.
TWEET RACE:  Two NSCS races remain in the @ToyotaRacing Tweet Race (, where  fans, after registering online, can use Twitter to advance their favorite Toyota driver around a virtual track and enter for a chance to win prizes.  Fans selected Busch as the winner of the first five Chase events and Bowyer for the three most recent races.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS):  For the last three seasons, the  NSCS point leader after Texas has not gone on to capture the championship … Camry drivers have competed in 250 NSCS races since entering the series in 2007 …
In seven seasons, Toyota drivers have won 62 NSCS races and 54 pole positions …
Camry drivers are 58 laps shy of reaching 20,000 laps led in the NSCS since Toyota entered the series in 2007 … In NSCS competition, Camry drivers have earned three of the most recent pole positions at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) …
Mark Martin started first in a Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) Camry in March 2012 and March 2013, while Kyle Busch was the top qualifier one year ago (Nov. 2012)  …
Busch has the most laps led (318) among all drivers in the last six races at PIR …
Camry driver Denny Hamlin has the best average finishing position (6.8) among all drivers in the last six Phoenix events …
Former Arizona State University football player Wes Evans is the gas man for Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 56 NAPA Toyota team …
Evans played defensive end and tight end during his collegiate career (2005-2008) before making the jump into NASCAR in 2009 …
Sunday’s race will be Bobby Labonte’s 100th NSCS start in a Toyota and final race with JTG-Daugherty Racing before AJ Allmendinger takes over the reins at Homestead-Miami Speedway and in 2014.
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How is your confidence heading into the season’s final two races?
“I’m still confident.  I wish I was seven points ahead, but at the end of the day it’s in our hands.  If you win both of the last two races and the math works out to where you still win it, so it’s still in our hands.  I have the greatest race team out there and we’re going to go work as hard as we can and try to get the best finishes we can and see where it ends up.”
Will you change any strategy in the final two races?
“The strategy part is really easy.  As the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) has proven time and time again, if you’re going to win a championship, you have to win races and you have to go t hrough him.  We’ve had the same strategy since the first race of the Chase to the last one.  You go try to qualify the best you can, lead as many laps as you can and try to win the race.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What do you think of the battle between Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson?
“It’s pretty impressive because they both are running top-five every single week and they’re running around each other every single week.  It’s a dog fight for sure.  It’s interesting to watch and see because you look for one of them to feel the pressure and stumble a little bit, but so far they haven’t.  You come to places like Phoenix and Homestead — I think two of the five guys you look at winning those races are the two top guys that are going for the point’s championship right now.  It’s ‘mano- a-mano’ here for the next two.”DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How do you feel about the remaining two Chase races?
“It’s the same as what we said at the beginning of the Chase — we’re going to race as hard as we can race for 10 races and at the end we’re going to see where the points put us.  Hopefully, it’s good enough to be first.  Realistically, at this point with two races left, you’re probably not going to out -race the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and the 20 (Matt Kenseth) to accumulate more points than them to win the championship, but anything can happen.  We’re going to give the next two races 100 percent and if those guys stumble a little bit then hopefully we’re there to capitalize.”ELLIOTT SADLER, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Are you looking forward to going to Phoenix?
“Well, Phoenix I won the spring Nationwide race there last year, so that was pretty good to be able to do that.  I think I finished fifth there this year in the spring and I wrecked there last fall.  So, let’s hope let’s have more of a spring result than a fall result for me.  I haven’t been in a Cup car in Phoenix in a long time — not since the repave — so I know it’s going to drive a little bit different.  I feel like the MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) program is pretty good.  I know the 55 sat on the pole there last year, so they definitely have a good short track program.  So, we’ll go there and see where it takes us.  Two of the last three races that we have been there in the Nationwide car is a win and a top-five, so I feel pretty good about that.”

NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS):
After 31 races this season, Elliott Sadler (fourth), Brian Vickers (eighth) and Parker Kligerman (10th) rank in the top-10 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) point standings … Toyota currently trails Ford by three points in the 2013 NNS manufacturer standings … Camry drivers have seven Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) NNS poles … Kyle Busch has the most career NNS wins at Phoenix among all drivers, including four in a Camry since 2008 … Busch also has the most career NNS laps led among all drivers at PIR with 935 laps … Matt Kenseth has one win (2006) and 10 top-10 finishes in 12 NNS races at PIR … Alex Bowman, driver of the RAB Racing No. 99 Camry, is from Tucson … Drew Herring will drive the JGR No. 20 Camry for the final two events of the season … In four starts this season, the 26-year-old JGR test driver has one pole (Iowa) and two sixth-place finishes (Iowa and Kentucky).
DREW HERRING, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How can you prepare to race at two tracks you’ve never competed at before?
“There are always challenges heading to tracks where you’ve never raced before, and both Phoenix and Homestead will be new to me, but I know I have a great team behind me.  I’ve gone back and watched race footage and talked to Kyle (Busch), Matt (Kenseth) and Denny (Hamlin).  I’ve got a lot of great teammates that I can rely on.  It will take a few laps to get used to, of course, but we will keep digging and I’m sure we will hit it right.  I know these 20 guys were really good at Phoenix earlier in the year, so hopefully we will be good right off the truck.”
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS):
Toyota currently leads the NCWTS manufacturer point standings by 12 points … Toyota can secure the NCWTS manufacturer’s championship at PIR as long as a Tundra driver is the third- finisher or better in the event … Since 2004, Tundra drivers have visited victory lane 110 times and earned 91 pole positions …ThorSport Racing’s Johnny Sauter has a current career-best string of six consecutive top-10 finishes, enabling him to go from 10th to fourth in the standings in as many races … In addition to Crafton (first) and Sauter (fourth), Tundra drivers Darrell Wallace Jr. (sixth) and Timothy Peters (10th) are also in the top-10 in driver standings … Wallace now leads the NCWTS Rookie of the Year standings by one point over Ryan Blaney with two races remaining this season … Red Horse Racing’s John Wes Townley has earned a career-best four top-10 finishes in the last five races … Crafton has the most top-10 finishes (seven) among all drivers in the last 10 NCWTS races at Phoenix … Sauter has three top-five results in the last four PIR races … Erik Jones is scheduled to drive the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 Tundra at Phoenix … The 17-year-old has finished in the top- 10 in all four NCWTS starts this season, including a runner-up result at Iowa in July.
MATT CRAFTON, No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing
How do you approach Phoenix knowing the NCWTS driver’s championship is within reach?
“I’ll say it every week until the season’s done because nothing ever changes with this race team and our record shows it. We’ll unload at Phoenix prepared to win the race and that’s all we’ll look at.  At the same time, we’ll keep trying to make smart decisions — and it’s a given that my guys at ThorSport never give up, as they proved at Texas.”What does it take to be successful at Phoenix?
“Phoenix is definitely a tough place to get ahold of and when you look at the current configuration — I’ve only raced (a complete race) on it once.  The old track was always a big favorite of mine because I knew it like the back of my hand, and that’s kind of funny because the new racetrack isn’t a ton different.  But like I said, it’s a very difficult place to get a handle on, because both corners are so dramatically different.  You’ve got to be decent in Turns 1 and 2 and if you’re decent in 1 and 2 and you know what you’re looking for in 3 and 4, then you’ll maintain in 1 and 2 and you’ll kick their butts in 3 and 4.”TOYOTA 2013 NASCAR STATISTICS

Series        Races       (Drivers)       Wins      Top-5s      Top-10s        Poles        Times Led         Laps Led

NSCS            34         392 (24)         13        50           90            11             193             3,989
NNS             31         415 (38)         13        55           99            13             143             2,458
NCWTS           20         205 (33)         11        40           85            5              86              1,194

TOYOTA DRIVER ROSTER – Phoenix International Raceway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Ground Camry                           Elliott Sadler, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Camry
Clint Bowyer, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Camry                          Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Camry
Kyle Busch, No. 18 M&M’s Camry                                    David Reutimann, No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Camry
Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Dollar General Camry                         Joe Nemechek, No. 87 NEMCO Camry
Cole Whitt, No. 30 Swan Energy Camry                              Travis Kvapil, No. 93 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Camry
Bobby Labonte, No. 47 Wounded Warrior Project Camry

NASCAR Nationwide Series
Blake Koch, No. 00 SR2 Motorsports Camry                          Ryan Ellis, No. 24 SR2 Motorsports Camry
Jeff Green, No. 10 TriStar Motorsports Camry                      Chad Hackenbracht, No. 44 Tastee Chocolate Apples Camry
Elliott Sadler, No. 11 OneMain Financial Camry                    Kyle Busch, No. 54 Monster Energy Camry
Eric McClure, No. 14 Hefty/Reynolds Wrap Camry                    Parker Kligerman, No. 77 Toyota Camry
Matt Kenseth, No. 18 GameStop Camry                               Joe Nemechek, No. 87 SWM/ Camry
Mike Bliss, No. 19 Tweaker Energy Shot Camry                      Alex Bowman, No. 99 Fuelxx Camry
Drew Herring, No. 20 Dollar General Camry

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
John Wes Townley, No. 7 Zaxby’s Tundra                         Darrell Wallace Jr., No. 54 Camping World/Good Sam Tundra
Chris Cockrum, No. 07 Tundra                                   Germán Quiroga, No. 77 NET 10 Wireless OtterBox Tundra
Timothy Peters, No. 17 Parts Plus Tundra                       David Starr, No. 81 BYF/NCCER Tundra
Joey Coulter, No. 18 Tundra                      Matt Crafton, No. 88 Splash/Menards Tundra
John Hunter Nemechek, No. 22 SWM Tundra                        Johnny Sauter, No. 98 Carolina Nut /Curb Records Tundra
Erik Jones, No. 51 Wake Up Narcolepsy Tundra

Fri., Nov. 8 — NCWTS @ Phoenix International Raceway — 6:00 PM (MT), Fox Sports 1 — Race 21 of 22
Sat., Nov. 9 — NNS @ Phoenix International Raceway — 2:00 PM (MT) ESPN — Race 32 of 33
Sun., Nov. 10 — NSCS @ Phoenix International Raceway — 1:00 PM (MT), ESPN — Race 35 of 36

For NASCAR images visit:  Social media:  @ToyotaRacing, #LetsGoPlaces, and

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