|Matt Kenseth won at Pocono for first time ever in a Toyota last fall.|
TOYOTA’S MAY TALLIES: Truex’s Charlotte victory marked the eighth-consecutive NASCAR national series points race win for Toyota dating back to Tundra driver William Byron’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) triumph at Kansas Speedway on May 6. During that span, Toyota drivers have won three-straight NSCS events, three-consecutive NCWTS races and a pair of NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) contests. Truex’s win also marked the seventh NSCS triumph for Toyota in the last eight Cup Series points races.
XFINITY COMES TO POCONO: The NXS will compete at Pocono Raceway for the first time this weekend and Toyota drivers enter the track with three-consecutive victories and seven wins in the first 11 NXS events of 2016. Camry driver Denny Hamlin piloted Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Camry to a victory at Charlotte on Saturday – the fifth for the No. 18 team in 2016 – andKyle Busch will pilot the No. 18 at Pocono. Camry driver Daniel Suarez ranks first in the NXS point standings with a 14-point lead over second place and is seeking his first win of the season as the XFINITY Series visits the 2.5-mile track. Busch (four wins), Erik Jones (two) and Hamlin (one) have combined to tally Toyota’s seven XFINITY wins in 2016.
NOTES, QUOTES & NUMBERS
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Camry drivers Kyle Busch (fourth), Carl Edwards (fifth), Martin Truex Jr. (seventh) and Matt Kenseth (10th) currently rank in the top-10 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) point standings … Toyota drivers have won 19 of the last 36 NSCS points races (52.77 percent) … Camry drivers have four wins at Pocono, including victories by Hamlin (Aug. 2009 and June 2010), former Camry driver Joey Lugano (June 2010) and Kenseth in the most-recent NSCS event at the track in Aug. 2015 …Hamlin has four total NSCS wins at Pocono, the most among active NSCS drivers (June 2006, July 2006, Aug. 2009 and June 2010) … Busch leads all drivers with three NSCS wins and nine top-five results in 2016 … Pocono is one of only two NSCS tracks where Busch is yet to cross the finish line first … Truex has led the most laps in 2016 with 809.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s 75th Anniversary Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How did the repave change the racing at Pocono Raceway?
“Now it’s all grip, so it’s all back to the bottom again and you can’t really make much time up on the outside anymore. I know they had a pretty tough winter up there, so hopefully it weathered the surface even more and it widened the groove and we can put on some good racing there.”
MARTIN TRUEX, JR., No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing
Do you feel like this is the best you’ve raced in your career?
“I’d say this is definitely the best position I’ve ever been in in my Sprint Cup career by far by a longshot. The laps we led last year, making the final four of the Chase and having a shot at going home and say we win a championship, that’s almost as good as it gets – and now here we are doing the same thing and feel like we’re better in every department this year than we were last year in every area. I feel like our goal obviously was to get to victory lane. We did that. Now we can focus on hopefully getting a few more, getting a good seed in the Chase and ultimately go back to Homestead with a shot at a championship and do a better job than we did last year, so that’s our goals – that’s our focus.”
How does it feel to head to Pocono after a win?
“I look forward to it. I love racing there. It’s a really fun unique racetrack and we tested there a couple months ago and thought it went pretty good. The second race there last year, we had a pretty good run and felt like we had a shot at winning – kind of got messed up on a fuel mileage deal. Hopefully, we’ll go back there and repeat. It would be a great place to win again. I love the folks up there, got a lot of fans up there, enjoy the area and looking forward to going to Pocono.”
BARNEY VISSER, team owner, No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing
How important has your change to Toyota been?
“I know a lot of people were critical of the change, but it was just something we had to do. Yeah, I think this does validate it. I think we were validated as soon as we started leading laps this year and Martin (Truex) is very familiar with Toyota, and (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) – those guys have just been a dream for our guys to work with. Like I said before, none of this happens without Toyota’s support and Joe Gibbs’ support. We’re thrilled to be working with them.”
CARL EDWARDS, No. 19 ARRIS SURFboard Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What makes Pocono different?
“Pocono is obviously a unique racetrack. It’s unlike any other track we go to. It’s a real tough track to get right. I’ve had some success there with a couple wins. I enjoy racing there. It’s as close to a road course as an oval can get – it has three distinct corners, has a long straightaway and every part of the team comes into play. You got to have a great engine, you got to have a really good setup and you got to be able to adjust. You have to drive well and restarts are important. When you do well there it means something, because you have to do everything right. Hopefully, we can go there and get our third win of the season.”