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Toyota NASCAR Notes & Quotes Martinsville Oct. 2016

October 24 – 30, 2016


CHASE CRUNCH TIME: Following Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Talladega Superspeedway, the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field was reduced to eight drivers and all four Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Camry drivers – Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth – advanced to the ‘Round of 8.’ The series now heads to Martinsville Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway before the final four championship contending drivers will be selected to compete at Homestead-Miami Speedway for this year’s driver’s title. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) also reduced its Chase field at Talladega to six drivers and Tundra drivers Christopher Bell, William Byron, Matt Crafton and Timothy Peters all advanced into the next round.

TOYOTA TALLIES IN MARTINSVILLE: Toyota drivers have enjoyed success at Martinsville with 20 combined victories in both the NSCS and NCWTS, with six Cup triumphs and 14 Truck Series wins. Busch earned his first NSCS win at the half-mile speedway in the spring, while his teammate Hamlin has claimed five Cup victories for Toyota at the track (March 2008, Oct. 2009, March 2010, Oct. 2010 and March 2015). In the NCWTS, Toyota’s 14 wins at the half-mile track ranks second to the 15 victories that Tundra drivers have earned at Texas Motor Speedway. Tundra drivers who have visited Martinsville’s victory lane include: David Starr (March 2006); Jack Sprague (Oct. 2006); Mike Skinner (March and Oct. 2007); Johnny Benson (Oct. 2008); Peters (Oct. 2009); Hamlin (Oct. 2011 and 2012); Johnny Sauter (March 2013); Darrell Wallace Jr. (Oct. 2013 and Oct. 2014); Crafton (March 2014 and October 2015); and most recently Busch (April 2016).

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Camry drivers Matt Kenseth (fourth), Carl Edwards (fifth), Denny Hamlin (sixth) and Kyle Busch (eighth) are in the eight-driver field competing in the NSCS Chase for the Sprint Cup … Toyota currently leads the NSCS manufacturer point standings by 28 marks over Chevrolet with 1,320 points.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How do you feel about racing this weekend at Martinsville Speedway?
“We’ve run well the last couple times at Martinsville and definitely pumped about getting back there. I’m hoping we can have a really good car there again this time around like we did last time. We led a lot of laps and we were really fast. Hoping that some of those things that we were able to push through there at Martinsville, we’ll be able to do this time around.”

Are you looking forward to the next round of the Chase?
“I look forward to the next round – we’ve got Martinsville, we’ve got Texas and we’ve got Phoenix. Those are all three really strong tracks for us. Honestly, I don’t know that there are tracks on the schedule that are weak points for us unless there are crapshoot-type races like Talladega or Daytona. We lived through [Talladega], so we get to move on.”

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How do you feel about the ‘Round of 8’?
“Man, good race cars, good race car drivers, good teams – I think all eight of them are very capable so nobody knows what’s going to happen. It’s very unpredictable. I feel like certainly our team, we have the hardware needed to get it done, but we’ve got to be able to do all the right things throughout the weekend. I don’t think you can have any more mistakes for the rest of the year with only eight cars.”

What is your outlook for Martinsville?
“We just need to go race hard, so I’m looking forward to going to Martinsville. It’s been a tough place for me for a lot of years, but the last four years since I got with Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), we’ve been pretty competitive there. It’s certainly one that I’ve always wanted to go win. We’ve come up short, we’ve had problems there – things like that – but typically we run good, so I’m really looking forward to getting to Martinsville and hopefully we can perform well and get a good finish and kick off the next round in a positive way.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing
How would you sum up your team’s Chase this year?
“It’s been a roller coaster that’s for sure. I wish we could have done a better job at Kansas and Charlotte and maybe had a free pass [at Talladega]. That certainly would have been big knowing the circumstances, but we did the best we could. We have a great team and we’ve had a great season and we’re going to go out and try to win the rest of the races and see what we can do.”

NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS): Camry drivers Daniel Suarez (first) and Erik Jones (fourth) are competing in the inaugural NXS Chase for the Championship … Toyota currently leads the NXS manufacturer point standings by 21 marks over Chevrolet with 1,239 points … The XFINITY Series has one more weekend off before the NXS Chase for the Championship resumes at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, Nov. 5.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): Tundra drivers William Byron (first), Christopher Bell (second) Timothy Peters (third) and Matt Crafton (sixth) are in the six-driver field competing in the inaugural NCWTS Chase for the Championship … Toyota currently leads the NCWTS manufacturer point standings by 55 marks over Chevrolet with 654 points … Harrison Burton, the 16-year-old son of retired NASCAR driver Jeff Burton, will make his first-career NCWTS start in Saturday’s race driving the No. 18 Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports … Daniel Suarez will compete in the last four NCWTS races of the season while also contending for the NXS championship.

CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 4 JBL Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Are you getting more comfortable racing on short tracks?
“I’m definitely more confident on the short, flat tracks than I was the first time we raced at Martinsville. Jerry (Baxter, crew chief) has had a lot of success on the flat tracks with Bubba (Darrell Wallace Jr.), including a couple wins at Martinsville, so I have a lot of confidence that he is going to give me a truck that is capable of running up front if I can do my part. I felt like we struggled in April at Martinsville, but we were really good at Gateway (Motorsports Park) and New Hampshire and I think we’ll have another really fast JBL Tundra on Saturday.”

HARRISON BURTON, No. 18 DEX Imaging Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
What advice has your dad, Jeff Burton, given you about racing at Martinsville Speedway?
“My dad (Jeff Burton) said that protecting the bottom is huge at Martinsville. We watched tape and it gets crazy there, so he says you have to be cautious, but very assertive while protecting the bottom. He also told me that since this is my very first truck race and I am 16, I need to soak in this opportunity to learn and gain experience and the respect of the other drivers.”

What will you consider a success for your first truck race?
“Obviously, everyone wants to go out and win, but I think if I can have a good qualifying result, have good restarts and keep the fenders on my DEX Imaging Tundra through the whole race, I can be in good position with 20 to go and then anything can happen. My focus is learning the truck, the track and the guys I am racing with and then applying that as the race comes to the finish.”

Starts (Drivers)
Times Led
Laps Led
241 (14)
243 (30)
218 (27)

TOYOTA DRIVER ROSTER – Martinsville Speedway (NSCS & NCWTS)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Camry
Kyle Busch, No. 18 Camry
Carl Edwards, No. 19 Camry
Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Camry
David Ragan, No. 23 Camry
Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Camry
Dylan Lupton, No. 83 Camry
Matt DiBenedetto, No. 93 Camry
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Christopher Bell, No. 4 Tundra
William Byron, No. 9 Tundra
Matt Tiftt, No. 11 Tundra
Cameron Hayley, No. 13 Tundra
Timothy Peters No. 17 Tundra
Harrison Burton, No. 18 Tundra
Justin Fontaine, No. 22 Tundra
Ben Rhodes, No. 41 Tundra
Daniel Suarez, No. 51 Tundra
Donnie Levister, No. 62 Tundra
Ryan Truex, No. 81 Tundra
Matt Crafton, No. 88 Tundra
Rico Abreu, No. 98 Tundra
For NASCAR images visit: Social media: @ToyotaRacing, #ToyotaNation, and Website:

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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