|Toyota is looking very good in the Chase.|
FOUR TO CONTEND: With Busch’s runner-up result at Dover, all four JGR Camrys – Busch, Carl Edwards,Denny Hamlin and Kenseth – qualified for the ‘Contender 12’ round of the Chase. Both Hamlin and Kenseth won in the first, three-race round – at Chicagoland Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway respectively – to qualify for the ‘Contender’ round, while Edwards tallied finishes of second, fifth and 15th to advance. The ‘Contender’ round begins at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night and continues to include Kansas Speedway and Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway before the championship field is cut to eight drivers.
CHARLOTTE CAMRY COUNT: The JGR Camry drivers have combined to tally 57 combined top-10 finishes at Charlotte in their NSCS careers, including two wins by Kenseth (2000, 2011) and a win by Edwards at the track in May. All four rank in the top-eight in average finish at the track among active drivers, with Edwards ranking second (10.8), Hamlin fifth (13.2), Kenseth sixth (16.8) and Busch eighth (14.9). In the May Cup Series race, Edwards (first), Kenseth (fourth) and Hamlin (eighth) all finished in the top-10 overall. The victory was Edwards first in a Camry.
NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Joe Gibbs Racing will host its Fall FanFest on Oct. 9 at the team’s headquarters in Huntersville, North Carolina … Camry drivers have won 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races this season, including victories in 10 of the last 14 races … Toyota needs one more victory in 2015 to tie its most wins in a single NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season with 14 … Camry driver previously won 14 races in 2013 … Camry driver Kyle Busch is seeking his first career NSCS win at Charlotte, but has six finishes of third or better in 23 NSCS starts at the 1.5-mile track … Busch will race a pink Camry at Charlotte to support breast cancer patients and the North Carolina-based Pretty in Pink Foundation … The Kyle Busch Foundation (KBF) is donating $57,000 to help with medical expenses for 22 “champions” and the KBF will host “champions” from the Pretty in Pink Foundation at the track this weekend in Charlotte.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s/Project Pink Racing Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Is there a plan for this round to make it through?
“I think you would want to win at a Charlotte or a Kansas for sure. You want to take a win at either of those places, I don’t care which. It’s just to have yourself solid in through Talladega, that’s just the biggest crap shoot we have. I feel like as a race team if we can make it through this round with Talladega being in there then to me the rest of the year is kind of simple. I feel like we can run really well at Martinsville and Texas and Phoenix – those are places we’ll run fine at in order to score a win at either of those or be able to move on through and go to Homestead with a good chance to win a championship.”
Are you looking forward to your charity dinner Wednesday night here in Charlotte?
“Looking forward to Wednesday with our charity dinner that we have and all the work that Samantha (Busch, wife) pours into that throughout the year and what everybody does in order to have the Kyle Busch Foundation charity event – the dinner. It’s a lot of fun. The first year we made $55,000, the second year $75,000 and this year we’re already up to about $120,000 or so. People really enjoy coming back to that – it’s not so stuffy. We try to make it fun and enjoyable and kind of chic for everyone to be able to come out and have a nice time. It goes to a great cause and it benefits the Charlotte, North Carolina area with Project Pink and the Pretty in Pink Foundation and then of course with our newest edition this year, Brexton (son), adding to the Bundle of Joy Fund for REACH and other families to be able to add to their family.”
CARL EDWARDS, No. 19 STANLEY Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Can you compare Charlotte Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway?
“Not really. Charlotte (Motor Speedway) and Kansas (Speedway) appear a lot alike, but they’re different and I’ve not mastered either one of them, so to me those are going to be tough races and then like we were just talking about I mean we’re going to have to go there and get every single position and qualifying – everything is going to have to be perfect. Restarts are going to have to be perfect because really you want to win one of those. You don’t want to go to Talladega (Superspeedway) having to finish 10th or something. That’s not going to be a fun way to race at Talladega. You either want to go there with a win or with nothing to lose and just go race.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Do you have a better chance to win at Charlotte this weekend to lock yourself into the next Chase round?
“I think the intensity for wanting to win Charlotte is the greatest because my chances of winning Charlotte is greater than my chances of winning Kansas simply by my track record there and I know the tracks I’m good at and the ones I’m not so good at. I look at this week as a very important week for myself personally even though I haven’t won a Charlotte points-paying race, it’s been a very good track for me in the past and I feel like I can win.”
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What did you learn from last year’s Chase that’s helping you for this year?
“It’s a lot different for us this year because last year we came into the Chase and our performance was very mediocre. We were pretty consistent and we were doing a really nice job on pit road and we had a lot of that stuff going on. But, like I said, our performance was very mediocre where this year we come in being one of the stronger teams. Certainly, the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and the Hendrick cars and everybody has really stepped it up the last few weeks, but we’ve been competitive and we’ve been winning races so that’s a lot different feel than it was last year. But, you’ve got to have the performance but you also can’t have any mistakes or failures or real bad finishes.”
JASON RATCLIFF, crew chief, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How do you feel headed into the ‘Contender 12’ round?
“We’ve typically run pretty good at Charlotte. Need to put our best foot forward obviously next week. I think that out of the next three races, that’s going to be the one we need to try to capture, but we run well at Kansas also. But, we need to get two good finishes under our belt in the next two because then you have Talladega, which is always a wild card race. I’m looking forward to going to Charlotte.”
NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS): Camry drivers Daniel Suarez (seventh) and JJ Yeley (12th) currently rank in the top-15 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) point standings … Camry drivers have seven NXS victories at Charlotte Motor Speedway, including six triumphs by Kyle Busch, who will pilot the No. 54 Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in Charlotte … Busch’s next NXS victory will be his 75th in the series to extend his series record for wins … Erik Jones will drive the No. 20 Camry for JGR on the 1.5-mile track.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS): Tundra drivers Erik Jones (first), Matt Crafton (second), Johnny Sauter (fourth), Timothy Peters (sixth), Cameron Hayley (seventh) and Ben Kennedy (ninth) are in the top-10 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) point standings … Jones holds a four point lead over Crafton with five races remaining on the NCWTS schedule. The NCWTS is in its first of three off weeks before the series next competes at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, Oct. 24.
- Toyota Racing