Wednesday October 24, 2012
Defending Race Winner Returns with New Number but Same Goal
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 22, 2012) - In last year's Kroger 200 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, home-state hero Denny Hamlin drove Kyle Busch Motorsports' (KBM) No. 18 Tundra to his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory. With the monumental win, Hamlin became the 23rd driver in NASCAR history to win at least one race in each of its top three divisions in his career, and just the fourth to accomplish the feat in the same season.
The 32-year-old driver returns to 'The Paperclip' for this year's 200-lap event, and although he is once again driving for KBM, he'll be behind the wheel of the team's second entry - the No. 51 Toyota Tundra - and he'll have a different chassis - #134 - underneath him. Hamlin has finished in the top-five in each of his three starts for his Joe Gibb's Racing teammate's Truck Series team the last two seasons, including a fifth-place finish earlier this year in the Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
The best recipe for success at a short track is to start up front and stay out front, and that is exactly what Hamlin has been able to accomplish on a regular basis at Martinsville. He has started inside the top five in four of his five Truck Series starts and led 60 or more laps in each of his last three. The Virginia native has produced one Truck Series win and three top-10 finishes. He has started inside the top five in half of his 14 career starts in the Sprint Cup Series and has led 30 or more laps nine times. The four-time winner in NASCAR's premier division has also captured two poles and collected nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes.
While the truck number and the faces surrounding the five-time winner at the .526-mile oval may be different this weekend, Hamlin's goal remains the same - start up front, stay out front and end the day in victory lane.
Denny Hamlin, Driver of the No. 18 NCWTS Toyota Tundra:
What is the key to being successful in a Truck Series race at Martinsville?
"You really have to manage your tires and take care of your equipment until the end of the race. Last year we were really good on the long runs. Each time we put tires on, I didn't abuse my truck for the first five to 10 laps to try to make sure I had something at the end and that really paid off for us."
What kind of advantage can running the Truck Series race Saturday give you for Sunday's Cup Series race?
"I think that I learned some things in last year's Truck Series race -- the track didn't rubber in as good as I thought it would and a little bit about the transitions that it went through -- that gave me a little bit more information to put towards running the Cup car on Sunday. When you run a Nationwide Series race, you typically have more of the Cup guys that are also running -- Kyle (Busch), Joey (Logano), Brad (Keselowski) and Kasey (Kahne) usually run a lot of them -- where in the Truck Series race I think that Kevin (Harvick) is the only other Cup guy racing Saturday. I'm sure that other guys -- drivers and crew chiefs -- will be paying close attention to the race and seeing what the track does and how tires wear, but I'll be able to experience it firsthand and share what I learn with Darian (Grubb) Saturday night after the race."
Rick Ren, Crew Chief of the No. 18 NCWTS Toyota Tundra:
Denny won this race last year in KBM's No. 18 Tundra, but he'll be working with a different team and driving a different chassis this year. What are your expectations for this weekend?
"We had a really good run with Brian Ickler in this same Tundra at Martinsville in 2010 and we have all of our notes from last year, so I'm really looking forward to this weekend. It's hard to ask for a better race car driver at Martinsville than Denny Hamlin. I think it's a win-win for both Denny and our team -- I can't imagine that he isn't going to learn something in our race Saturday that he can put towards his Cup car for Sunday's race."
Denny Hamlin's No. 51 Toyota Tundra:
Chassis 134: Chassis 134 will make its first start of 2012 in Saturday's Kroger 200. The Tundra has a pair of top-three finishes over its three career starts for KBM, including a runner-up finish from owner-driver Kyle Busch in the 2010 AAA Insurance 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.
*Rain cancelled qualifying; starting order was determined by 2009 owner points
Notes of Interest:
Denny Hamlin @ Martinsville:
Denny Hamlin's Martinsville NCWTS Performance Profile:
Denny Hamlin NASCAR 2012:
Denny Hamlin NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Career:
Denny Hamlin NASCAR Career:
Kyle Busch Motorsports' No. 51 Toyota Tundra:
Vote for Rowdy featured on tailgate of the No. 51 Tundra:
The tailgate on Denny Hamlin's No. 51 Tundra this week will promote team owner Kyle Busch's entry in the Toyota Racing Dream Build Challenge. The Toyota Racing Dream Build Challenge features four teams, fronted by world-class drivers and gearheads, facing-off to create customized versions of their favorite Toyotas. Busch's entry in the contest is a road-race-ready "Rowdy" Toyota Camry. Retaining all the functionality of the production car, his team added some generous muscle and ground effects for just the right amount of punch to push him over the top. Crew Chief Shawn Hughesman and his team at Detroit Speed, Inc. took the street car and added body, interior and suspension changes to make this dream Camry a reality. Fans can vote daily for the "Rowdy" edition Camry by visitingwww.ToyotaRacingDreamBuild.com. The deadline to vote is Monday, Oct. 29 and your vote can help put $50,000 into the hands of the Kyle Busch Foundation.
Quiroga will pilot the NET10 Wireless ® Tundra in the final three races:
Three-time NASCAR Mexico Series champion Germán Quiroga will pilot the No. 51 Tundra, with primary sponsorship from NET10 Wireless®, on the final three stops of the 2012 schedule; Nov. 2 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Nov. 9 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway and Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. Quiroga came from the 23rd starting position to finish eighth in his 2012 Truck Series debut at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
The Ren File:
KBM General Manager Rick Ren, who with 27 victories is the winningest crew chief in Truck Series history, will be calling the shots for the No. 51 Tundra team. Ren's drivers have posted an average finish of 12.2 across 17 starts at Martinsville, including five top-five and nine top-10 finishes. The two-time Truck Series champion crew chief's drivers have posted two runner-up finishes at 'The Paperclip' - Travis Kvapil in the 2001 spring race and Ron Hornaday Jr. in the 2009 fall race.
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This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Beth Lunkenheimer.
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