Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Toyota Sprint Cup Notes & Quotes Heading to Watkins Glen

Toyota has been rolling lately: 4 straight wins heading into Watkins Glen.
FOUR IN A ROW: Camry driver Matt Kenseth held on to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race decided by fuel mileage at Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway on Sunday – the fourth-consecutive Cup Series victory for Toyota. With Kenseth’s win, the four-victory streak is the longest for the manufacturer since entering NSCS competition with the Camry in 2007. Kyle Busch won three-straight races at Kentucky Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway prior to Kenseth’s triumph. The victory was Kenseth’s second NSCS win in 2015 after also visiting victory lane at Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway in April.

BUSCH BATTLES ON: Toyota driver Busch continued his success since returning from early-season injuries with strong performances last weekend at Pocono. Busch was leading on the final lap and poised to win the NSCS race when he ran out of fuel on the 2.5-mile track and finished 21st, but he won in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) on Saturday. Had Busch been able to secure the NSCS win, it would have marked his fourth-straight Cup Series triumph. The Camry driver is now just 13 points shy of 30th place in the NSCS point standings, where he must reach to compete in the Chase. Busch missed the first 11 events of the NSCS season while recovery from injuries sustained in an accident during the season-opening NASCAR XFINTY Series (NXS) race in February and returned to competition in May.

TOYOTA’S GLEN WINS: Toyota has four combined NSCS and NXS victories at New York’s Watkins Glen International. Busch claimed two Cup Series victories in New York and former Camry driver Marcos Ambrose won twice on the 2.45-mile road course in the NXS. Busch earned the first Watkins Glen victory for Toyota in 2008 at the upstate New York road course when he started from the pole and led 52 (of 90) laps in the event. Ambrose was victorious in the NXS in 2009 and 2010, and Busch again visited The Glen’s victory lane in 2013 with another NSCS win.

SUAREZ STANDING OUT: Rookie Camry driver Daniel Suarez could be a candidate to capture his first NASCAR national touring series win during a stretch of three road courses over four weeks – including this weekend’s stop at Watkins Glen. Suarez grew up racing in Mexico and cut his teeth in road races en route to nine wins in the NASCAR Mexico Series (2012-14). With four-consecutive top-10 finishes in the NXS, Suarez has shown consistency and confidence in recent weeks. Across both the NXS and NCWTS since mid-May, Suarez has combined to tally nine top-10 finishes in his last 12 events – including five top-five results.


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Camry drivers Matt Kenseth (seventh), Denny Hamlin (11th), Clint Bowyer (14th) and Carl Edwards (16th) currently rank in the top-20 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) point standings … Busch has the fourth-best average finish at Watkins Glen among drivers with more than one start at the track (11.3) … Busch has eight top-10 finishes in 10 starts on the circuit … The Las Vegas native also has the third best average starting position at The Glen (8.3) … Andy Graves, group vice president and technical director at TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development), is from Mexico, New York … Graves has been with Toyota since the manufacturer joined the NSCS prior to the 2007 season … Brian Pattie, crew chief for David Ragan and the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 Camry, has four wins at Watkins Glen, including victories in all three national touring series … Pattie won three times with Ron Fellows, a Truck Series win in 1999 and back-to-back XFINITY Series victories in 2000 and 2001 … Pattie was also victorious in the NSCS with Juan Pablo Montoya in 2010.

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Crispy Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How have you been able to have your recent success?

“I can’t say enough about Adam Stevens (crew chief) and everybody on this team. They continue to fight and each week it seems like everything just continues to get better and better for us. We’ll hopefully have that continue not only through these next weeks before the Chase starts but then end of the final 10 weeks as well. I look forward to continuing on our Chase march here and then once we get to Chicago being able to capitalize on this hot summer to have a continuation of that into the Chase.”

What makes the two Cup Series road courses different?
“I like going to Watkins Glen. It’s a road course, but it’s kind of a high-speed road course. The difference in the two road courses (is) you think of Sonoma as like a Martinsville-type road course and you would think of Watkins Glen like a two-mile oval like a California- or Michigan-type road course. Watkins Glen has some speed and has some wide-open spaces a little bit, but there is still a lot great racing that happens there since you are able to out-brake people getting into the corners – or having a better run through the bus stop or maybe getting by someone in the carousel. It’s a fun place to race. I really like Watkins Glen and I hope that we can have another solid run there with our M&M’S Crispy Camry and get ourselves up into the top-30.”

CARL EDWARDS, No. 19 STANLEY Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

What is the key to being successful at Watkins Glen?

“Watkins Glen is fun. It can be so aggressive there and the road course is really – for me, it’s become probably my favorite part of the season. It’s different, it’s unique and we have a lot of fans up there. Hopefully, we can go there and have a good time and get a road course win.”

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Are the two Cup road courses comparable?

“People group the two road courses we visit together, but Sonoma and Watkins Glen really couldn’t be any different from each other. Watkins Glen reminds me of Michigan in the sense that it has good grip, a lot of momentum, and high speeds so because of those traits, I’ve always enjoyed racing at the Glen a little more than Sonoma. To have a good day at a road course you need to have everything right where you hit your marks and hit the corners right every lap without stepping over that edge. It’s definitely a challenging weekend but also a lot of fun as well for all of us.”

NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS): Camry drivers Daniel Suarez (seventh) and David Starr (15th) currently rank in the top-15 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) point standings … Kenny Habul will drive the No. 20 Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) at Watkins Glen … Boris Said will pilot the No. 54 Camry for JGR at The Glen.

DANIEL SUAREZ, No. 18 ARRIS Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Have you had the road courses circled on your calendar?

“This weekend we head to Watkins Glen International and, to tell you the truth, I’ve been really looking forward to doing some road course racing. My racing roots come from racing go karts on circuits and it’s always fun for me to compete on those types of tracks. We’re going to try our best to keep getting good finishes and to achieve the goal we have every weekend of running up front and racing for a victory.”

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): Tundra drivers Matt Crafton (second), Erik Jones (third), Johnny Sauter (fourth), Cameron Hayley (fifth), Timothy Peters (eighth) and Ben Kennedy (10th) currently rank in the top-10 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) point standings … The NCWTS is off this weekend before next competing at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 15.

- Toyota Racing

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