NSCS/NCWTS: Toyota NASCAR Notes & Quotes Martinsville 10.28.15

October 26 – November 1, 2015


CAMRY CHASERS:  Two Camry drivers have advanced to the ‘Eliminator’ round of this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) championship playoff. With the points reset for this three-race stint, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch each have an equal chance to contend for the title. The Eliminator Round consists of races on the half-mile Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, the 1.5-mile oval of Texas Motor Speedway and the one-mile flat track of Phoenix International Raceway — before another four drivers will be cut from contention prior this year’s final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway where four drivers will vie for the trophy.

MARTINSVILLE MAGIC:  Toyota has had a great deal of success at the half-mile Martinsville Speedway in both the NSCS and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). In NSCS competition, Martinsville is second only to another Virginia track — Richmond International Raceway — for the total number of NSCS wins by Camry drivers since 2007. All five of the Cup wins belong to Virginia-native Denny Hamlin (March 2008, Oct. 2009, March 2010, Oct. 2010 and March 2015).  Tundra drivers have earned 11 wins at the track since Toyota entered the Truck Series in 2004, which ranks second to the 12 victories that Tundra drivers have earned at Texas. Tundra drivers who have visited Martinsville’s victory lane include Hamlin (Oct. 2011 and 2012), David Starr (March 2006), Jack Sprague (Oct. 2006), Mike Skinner (March and Oct. 2007), Johnny Benson (Oct. 2008), Timothy Peters (Oct. 2009), Johnny Sauter (March 2013), Darrell Wallace Jr. (Oct. 2013) and most recently Matt Crafton (March 2014).

TRUCKIN’ ON: Tundra driver and hometown favorite, Peters is from nearby Danville, Virginia and  enters this weekend’s NCWTS race at Martinsville as the series most recent winner. Peters started last Saturday’s race from the pole at Talladega Superspeedway and went on to take the checkered flag, claiming his first win of 2015 and back-to-back victories at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. Fellow Tundra driver Erik Jones earned a fourth-place result at Talladega, extending his lead in the NCWTS point standings to 18 over Tyler Reddick with only four races remaining in the 23-race season.


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS): Camry drivers have won 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races this season, including victories in 10 of the last 17 races … Toyota needs one more victory in 2015 to tie its most wins in a single NSCS season (14 victories in 2013) … David Ragan earned his best finish of the season at Martinsville in the spring when he finished fifth subbing in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Camry for Kyle Busch who was injured from an accident at Daytona.

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Are you at a disadvantage for missing a few of the races from earlier this season for the next three Chase races?
“I don’t think missing those races early on in the season will hurt us very much. I’ll definitely lean on my teammates for this week probably and try to get myself prepared and ready for what’s coming. It might be hard to lean on Denny (Hamlin) for Martinsville right now, I’m sure he’s still bumming. Hopefully what Carl (Edwards) learned from Denny for the spring race, Carl obviously ran well there and I’m looking forward to continuing the run of what the Gibbs cars had there in the spring.”

How helpful will your teammates be to your success in going for a championship?
“Certainly, there’s definitely things that you can do to help. It’s just a matter of me reaching out for that help and them giving it to me. I think sometimes when you’re competing against those guys as your teammates for victories or championships to move on in the championship, sometimes they may not tell you 100 percent of everything they know, but maybe 90 percent. At least maybe the information I get will be convincing enough to get me what I need and hopefully score a win at Martinsville.”

Is Martinsville the trickiest of the three races in this Chase round?
“It feels pretty good. I’ve been in this situation up to this week. I don’t remember what year it was, I got spun out at Martinsville and that pretty much ruined that year. I’ve got to get through Martinsville getting spun out or something happening at Martinsville and hopefully being able to move on to Texas and seeing what happens after that. Certainly this is definitely the farthest of most years, I guess of my average is way before this. Again, need to run well at Martinsville and get through that one. That’s probably one of those crapshoot type races because everyone is on top of everyone. Kind of like Talladega, but not quite that bad.”

CARL EDWARDS, No. 19 XFINITY Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Does it change the dynamic at Joe Gibbs Racing having only two of you advance?
“I really believe the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing, my teammates, we have something really neat going on there. It’s really competitive, but it’s a very respectful rivalry we have in the shop and within ourselves. I really don’t think it matters if one of us is in the Chase or all four of us are, it feels like we race each other really well, it’s pretty cool.”

Do you feel better about the third round of the Chase than the second round?
“This third round is way simpler than the second round in my opinion. We go to some tracks like Martinsville where a lot can happen there, but you’re really in control of things there a little bit more. Texas is Texas, that can be a really tough race track, but then you go to Phoenix where a good pit crew and a good car, driver doing the right things can make a difference and I feel like that’s a good place. This one feels a little more old school, a little more short track feel to it.”

NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS): Camry drivers Daniel Suarez (seventh) and JJ Yeley (13th) currently rank in the top-15 in the NXS point standings … Suarez leads the NXS Rookie of the Year standings by 31 points over Darrell Wallace Jr. with three races remaining … The NXS has this weekend off before next competing at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, Nov. 7.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS):  Tundra drivers Erik Jones (first), Matt Crafton (third), Johnny Sauter (fourth), Timothy Peters (fifth), Cameron Hayley (sixth) and Ben Kennedy (ninth) are in the top-10 in the NCWTS point standings … Jones has tallied 11 consecutive top-10 finishes in the NCWTS … With four races remaining on the NCWTS schedule, Toyota leads the NCWTS manufacturer standings by 51 points … Ross Kenseth, son of Matt Kenseth, will make his first career NCWTS start at Martinsville on Saturday driving the No. 18 Tundra … He finished sixth earlier this year in his first career NXS race at Chicagoland Speedway in June.

ERIK JONES, No. 4 Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Is Martinsville a track where you have a lot of confidence considering you’ve made the most NCWTS starts there?
“It’s hard to believe that Martinsville is the place where I have the most experience, because it’s a track that I feel like I struggled getting adapted to the first couple of races. The way it is laid out, it makes it a challenge for a lot of guys. The tough part is that you are hard onto the brakes into the corner, but then you have to be able to roll the center and be able to get off the corner. I feel like I’m still trying to figure it all out on my end, but each time out our Tundra has been faster and I’m getting better as well. We finished fourth there last year in the fall race and third this spring — hopefully we can improve a couple more spots and bring home a win this time around. KBM’s won the last four fall races there, it would be cool to win one of the grandfather clocks for myself and keep the team’s win streak alive.”

TOYOTA DRIVER ROSTER – Martinsville Speedway (NSCS & NCWTS)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Camry
Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Camry
Kyle Busch, No. 18 Camry
Carl Edwards, No. 19 Camry
Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Camry
JJ Yeley, No. 23 Camry
Jeb Burton, No. 26 Camry
David Ragan, No. 55 Camry
Matt DiBenedetto, No. 83 Camry
Michael Waltrip, No. 98 Camry

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Erik Jones, No. 4 Tundra
Dalton Sergeant, No. 5 Tundra
Ben Kennedy, No. 11 Tundra
Cameron Hayley, No. 13 Tundra
Timothy Peters, No. 17 Tundra
Ross Kenseth, No. 18 Tundra
Daniel Suarez, No. 51 Tundra
Gray Gaulding, No. 54 Tundra
Matt Crafton, No. 88 Tundra
Johnny Sauter, No. 98 Tundra

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