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Toyota NASCAR Notes & Quotes Champion’s Week Dec. 2013

TOYOTA BY THE NUMBERS:  Over the last 10 years, Toyota drivers have won 263 of 736 NASCAR races entered. Camry drivers have finished first in 63 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) events and grabbed the checkered flag in 88 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) races since entering both series in 2007.  Tundra drivers have visited victory lane 112 times since joining the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2004.  Kyle Busch has the most Toyota victories with 104 total wins in 456 starts (24 NSCS, 52 NNS and 29 NCWTS).  In addition, Toyota drivers have collected 225 pole positions across all three NASCAR series.

CAMRYS ON CUP CIRCUIT:  Toyota drivers combined for 14 wins, 12 poles, 54 top-five finishes and 97 top-10 results in 36 NSCS races in 2013.  The 14 wins in a single season for Toyota topped the previous high of 12 wins (2010) by Camry drivers.  Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammates Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth all claimed wins in 2013, with Kenseth taking a series- and career-high seven checkered flags (Las Vegas, Kansas, Darlington, Kentucky, Bristol, Chicago and New Hampshire), Busch claiming four wins (California, Texas, Watkins Glen and Atlanta) and Hamlin winning the season-finale at Homestead.  Kenseth finished second in the final NSCS point standings by 19 points to six-time champion Jimmie Johnson. Martin Truex Jr. (Sonoma) and Brian Vickers (New Hampshire) each earned one win in 2013 for Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR).  In addition, fellow MWR teammate Clint Bowyer finished seventh in the final NSCS point standings.

NATIONWIDE NUMBERS:  Camry drivers totaled 14 wins, 14 poles, 58-top five results and 106 top-10 finishes in 33 NNS races in 2013.  In 26 NNS starts, Busch totaled a series-best 12 wins (Phoenix, Bristol, California, Texas, Darlington, Charlotte, New Hampshire, Indianapolis, Bristol, Chicago, Charlotte and Phoenix).   His 12 victories give Busch a series record of 63 career NNS victories, including 52 behind the wheel of a Camry.  Kenseth also earned two NNS victories this season – Daytona and Kansas.  Camry driver Elliott Sadler was the top Toyota driver in the final NNS point standings, finishing in fourth-place.

TUNDRA TALK:  Tundra drivers combined for 13 wins, five poles, 43 top-five showings and 92 top-10 finishes in 22 NCWTS races in 2013 en route to the sixth NCWTS manufacturer’s championship for Toyota in 10 years competing in the series.  Matt Crafton earned one win (Kansas), but claimed 20 top-10 finishes and completed every lap (3,391 laps) of competition during the season to claim his first career NCWTS driver’s championship this year.  Busch claimed five wins (Charlotte, Dover, Bristol, Chicago and Homestead) to clinch the second NCWTS owner’s championship for his self-owned team, Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM).  Johnny Sauter (Daytona, Martinsville and Talladega), Timothy Peters (Iowa and Las Vegas), Erik Jones (Phoenix) and Darrell Wallace Jr. (Martinsville) also visited victory lane during the 2013 season.

TRUCKIN’ MILESTONES:  Two young Tundra drivers established three records during the 2013 NCWTS season.  Wallace became the youngest pole-sitter — at 19 years, seven months and 23 days — in NCWTS history when he took the top starting spot at Dover in May.  Wallace also earned his first career NCWTS victory at Martinsville in October to become just the second African-American driver to win a NASCAR national series event since NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Wendell Scott accomplished the feat 50 years ago.  Wallace’s KBM teammate Jones became the youngest   race-winner — at 17 years, 5 months and 9 days — in NCWTS history when he finished first at Phoenix in November.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS):  Camry drivers led 4,223 laps (of 10,553), pacing the field for 40 percent of the 2013 season

… Kyle Busch earned a career-best 22 top-10 finishes 

… Clint Bowyer tied his 2012 career-best with 10 top-five finishes 

… Martin Truex Jr. matched his 2007 career-high mark of seven top-five finishes
… Dollar General announced the company will increase their sponsorship of Matt Kenseth’s No. 20 Camry to 27 races beginning in 2014
… Veteran NSCS driver Jeff Burton will join MWR in 2014 to drive the No. 66 Camry at select races and serve the team as a test driver 

… Swan Racing will field two Toyota Camrys in 2014 with drivers Parker Kligerman and Cole Whitt. 

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Are you relieved the season is over after such a close championship fight?
“For me, when you’re running good, you kind of don’t want the season to end in a way. You want to keep going to the track. When you end the season on not as good a note — you’re ready for a month or two break.  I am looking forward to spending some time with my family this off-season, catching up with some people I haven’t seen for a while.  To me as I get older, the seasons go faster and faster honestly.  It was more fun this season.  More weeks than not, we were so competitive.  In a way you don’t want it to end.  You sit around for a couple months, wonder what it’s going to be like when you get to Daytona, Phoenix, Vegas, and if you’re going to have that competitive edge.”

How would you describe the 2013 season?
“It was just an unbelievable year for us really.  Obviously, we wanted to finish off and win the championship as good as we ran all year, but couldn’t be more proud of the whole Dollar General/Home Depot Toyota team.  They did a spectacular job all season.  Denny and Kyle (Busch) are awesome teammates and I’m really looking forward to getting into next season.  Overall, I don’t think you could ask for much more.”

Why was it important for Denny Hamlin to win the series season-finale at Homestead-Miami?
“Everybody might not have the same outlook as me, but it’s been a struggle for him (Denny Hamlin) this year between getting hurt and being out of the car and getting back in and not running as good as he always runs.  Denny is a guy that can win every week and contend for a championship just like Kyle (Busch).  I just think it’s good.  I’m not saying he was low on confidence, but it’s good to build confidence for him and that whole team and organization to get all three cars to where we feel that all three of us can go and compete for a title again.”

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What did it mean to get a win in the series season-finale at Homestead-Miami?
“At this point what I really love about the win (at Homestead) is that you appreciate it so much more because you went through the bad times.  I was just so fortunate for the first seven years of my career to not really have a horrible season.  We were always able to win races every year.  Any given week, we knew we could win.  It was just taken for granted, it seemed like.  When we went to victory lane, it was like, ‘Yeah, it’s another one.’  When you go an entire year or more without winning, it makes you appreciate when you get back there.  I think this does so much more emotionally to our confidence knowing that we can get back to the top.  For me, it just makes me appreciate that opportunity that I have.”
NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS):  Camry drivers led 2,665 laps (of 6,012), pacing the field 44 percent of the 2013 season
… Kyle Busch won nine races from the pole position — a series single-season record
… Busch earned a career-best 10 poles this season and won 12 races, one shy of his 2010 series record for wins in a single season
… Despite missing the final three races of the season, Brian Vickers earned 18 top-10 finishes — three short of his 2003 championship total — and finished seventh in the point standings
… Parker Kligerman ran his first full NNS season with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) and earned 13 top-10 finishes and ranked ninth in the series point standings. 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS):  Tundra drivers led 1,354 laps (of 3,391), pacing the field 40 percent of the 2013 season
… ThorSport Racing led the NCWTS point standings following all 22 races in 2013 between Johnny Sauter and series champion Matt Crafton
… John Wes Townley twice finished a career-best sixth-place in 2013 (Chicagoland and Homestead-Miami)
… German Quiroga earned his first-career NCWTS pole at Iowa
… Quiroga finished a career-best third at Texas and Pocono
… Erik Jones will attempt to defend his Snowball Derby title on Sunday driving the KBM No. 51 Camry. 

MATT CRAFTON, No. 88 Ideal Door-Menards Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing
What did it mean to earn your first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship?
“It’s an honor.  To be able to do it for Duke and Rhonda Thorson (team owners) that have been doing this for 18 years, and to give them the first championship and me driving for them for 13 years full-time.  And Menard’s, and all the people that have been behind me, every one of the guys that work on the truck, it’s an honor to be able to give them the championship.  These guys are the ones that work so hard.  I’m just the one that gets to celebrate and look like the hero because I got to drive a vgreat truck all year.”


Series        Races         Starts        Wins      Top-5s      Top-10s        Poles        Times Led         Laps Led
NSCS            36         414 (24)         14        54           97            12             206             4,223
NNS             33         441 (40)         14        58          106            14             154             2,665
NCWTS           22         226 (33)         13        43           92            5              96              1,354

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